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2012 NIKE GLOBAL CHALLENGE — RECRUITING NOTES
The Nike Global Challenge got underway on Friday at Episcopal High School in Alexandria (VA). It was the place to be of this first 5-day July evaluation period for Division 1-A basketball coaches as John Calipari, Rick Pitino, Jim Calhoun, Tom Izzo, Tom Crean, Jay Wright, Buzz Williams, Jamie Dixon, Oliver Purnell, Fran Dunphy, Billy Donovan, Frank Martin, Lorenzo Romar, Tubby Smith, Mark Gottfried, Scott Drew, Sean Miller, Mike Rice, Kevin Willard and more were on hand during the games NBE took in.
These coaches were on hand to watch some of the best players in the world at the youth level. There are eight teams total competing in the Nike Global Challenge with three from the United States (East, West & Midwest) and one each from Brazil, Canada, Lithuania, Puerto Rico and China.
Here are some recruiting updates from six of the US players we were able to catch up with on Friday…
Anchoring the middle for USA-East is Class of 2013, 6-foot-8 big man Beejay Anya out of DeMatha/Team Takeover DC. In the 109-70 USA win, Anya scored 12 points, grabbed 8 rebounds and blocked 4 shots in a productive 24 minutes of action. Matt Whitfield was able to spend some time getting an update on the latest in his recruitment, which many seem to believe there is one school that is clearly the one to beat for his services, but not so fast according to Anya.
“It’s not the case [that Indiana] is the favorite,” Anya told Matt Whitfield on Friday. “They’re a school I like and I’ll go out there [to visit].”
The links between Anya and Indiana are pretty strong. AAU teammate Stanford Robinson committed to the Hoosiers shortly after Tom Cream added Kenny Johnson to his staff as an assistant, hiring Johnson away from Towson. Prior to working at Towson, Johnson was a coach with Team Takeover DC working with both Robinson and Anya.
“No, I think he’ll do a good job there, but it won’t really affect me that much,” Anya said of Johnson’s presence on the IU staff influencing his decision.
Indiana is just one of the top programs Anya is currently considering.
A last minute replacement joining Anya on the USA-East squad was Austin Colbert, an athletic forward who chipped in 12 points (on 6-11 shooting) in 18 minutes of action.
Colbert, a New Jersey native, attended Hotchkiss (CT) School last season and there are some whispers that he could be headed back to the Garden State to finish up his high school career, possibly Gil St. Bernard’s, but no final decision has been made at this point. As for his recruitment, five schools have put themselves currently in the best position.
“I don’t have any officials planned yet,” Colbert told Matt Whitfield on Friday. “Even though I narrowed it down I’m still wide open. I’m still accepting offers and trying to get as many offers as I can.”
Currently he considered Florida, Baylor, Georgetown, Seton Hall and Texas as his top five with only the Longhorns yet to extend an offer at this point. Other schools are still trying to make their pitch, and it could pay off as Colbert admitted he is still willing to consider other schools.
“Illinois, Virginia and Oklahoma have texted me as of late,” he said.
One could not help but notice Seton Hall, led by head coach Kevin Willard, looking very interested in Colbert’s work this afternoon.
Kennedy Meeks had a strong few days last week at the Lebron James Skills Academy in Vegas, but the Team United big man struggled playing for USA-West in an 87-77 loss at the hands of USA-Midwest in his first Nike Global Challenge outing. Meeks finished with just 4 points and 5 rebounds in 20 minutes. His evening line (6 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists in 20 minutes) in a 98-69 in over Puerto Rico was much closer to the well-rounded game he showed in Sin City.
As for his recruitment, Meeks shared with NBE who is putting in the most effort with his recruitment of late.
Meeks also shared that he would like to visit Indiana as one of his official visits in the fall.
Kyle Washington, who was a teammate of Colbert’s this past season at Hotchkiss School, had a very impressive week last month at the NBPA Top 100 High School Camp on the campus of the University of Virginia. Between that camp and the Nike Global Challenge, Washington spent some time take a couple unofficial visits, including a trip to Notre Dame.
“It was a good visit,” Washington told NBE Friday. “I needed to go and see how I would fit into the community, how I’d fit into the program. It was a good visit overall. I know how Coach Brey feels about me, how Coach Solomon feels about me so it was good.”
The Minnesota native is playing things close to the vest these next few weeks, so he is holding off on naming schools that are on his list until after the live recruiting periods of July. He is enjoying the attention fromt he college coaches at his games.
“It feels great [to be watched by so many major coaches], but you just got to remain calm in what you do because that’s what they like you for. The schools are great. The fans are great, but in the end it’s just basketball.”
Washington is teaming up with Anya and Colbert for USA-East here at the Nike Global challenge and in their lopsided win over China he contributed 9 points while collecting a game-high 13 rebounds and also adding a game-best 5 assists in his 25 minutes of action.
While a list is not coming out quite yet, Washington did confirm that “Wisconsin is still recruiting me really hard.”
Kameron Williams of Baltimore Elite was the leading scorer of the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League this spring and he brought his offense with him this week as well, getting off to a quick start with 20 points in 23 minutes in the win over China for USA-East.
As for his recruitment, Williams shared with Matt Whitfield that he is hoping to make an early fall decision, either in September or October, and admitted the ACC is his favorite conference. He mentioned schools such as Dayton, VCU, Virginia Tech, Miami, Providence, Rutgers, Florida State, Boston College, NC State and Marquette in the mix currently for his services.
Class of 2014 wing Theo Pinson showed off his impressive scoring touch, putting 9 points on the board in just 15 minutes of action for USA-East against China.
The youngster mentioned Louisville, North Carolina, Duke, Baylor, Florida State, Alabama, Indiana, Wake Forest, NC State, Syracuse, Seton Hall, DePaul, Tennessee, and others involved in the early process of his recruitment.
Pinson wants to work on the consistency of his jump shot and also improve defensively and on the boards to make himself a complete basketball player. He hopes that will lead to an aggressive recruitment from his favorite school growing up.
“My favorite school when I was young was Duke,” he said. “They said they were going to come watch me, so we’ll see.”
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