New Mexico Recruiting
by Alex Schwartz
While the last week or so has not been crazy on the recruiting trail, it has certainly not been as slow as the holiday season. The rundown includes a few high-major programs adding 2013 commitments, a powerhouse getting a 2014 pledge, USA Basketball releasing some big news and more.
We begin with the 2014 pledge, which came from Joel Berry, the No. 20 prospect in the NBE Sports Class of 2014 Post-July Top 75. Berry, a 6-foot-1 point guard from Lake Highland Prep (FL), has popped for North Carolina, per Alex Kline of TheRecruitScoop.com. He is a major pickup for the Tar Heels and is the highest ranked committed player in the NBE Sports 2014 rankings.
Amida Brimah, a 6-foot-11 class of 2013 center committed to UConn, per Coast 2 Coast Hoops. Brimah attends Archbishop Carroll (FL), after transferring over from Monsignor Pace (FL). He is a bit under the radar and fairly raw, but has some definite upside and can really impact the game when he is in the groove.
Jerron Wilbut of St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy (WI) is off the board to Seton Hall, according to Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com. Wilbut is a 6-foot-3 class of 2013 shooting guard who is in a post-graduate year after attending Downers Grove South (IL).
Sticking with the news on ZagsBlog.com and the current BIG EAST, Rutgers picked up a commitment from South Kent (Conn.) point guard Shane Rector. The 6-foot-1 Rector is the first commit in the 2013 class for Mike Rice and the Scarlet Knights.
by Alex Schwartz
After a long swoon during the holiday season, things have picked back up in a hurry on the recruiting trail. One of the nation’s best big men made his pledge and several, as did a top-notch junior guard and several other players.
Dakari Johnson of Montverde Academy (FL) became yet another part of the star-studded Kentucky recruiting class. The 6-foot-10 class of 2013 center picked the Wildcats over Georgetown and Syracuse.
Johnson had been ranked No. 3 in the NBE Sports Class of 2014 Post-July Top 75, but he has since reclassified up to 2013. UK already has four additional top-15 commits in the NBE Sports Class of 2013 Post-July Top 125, as John Calipari is putting together his, if not the best class yet.
By Raphielle Johnson
The first open weekend of the spring/summer meant action throughout the country, including Las Vegas with Sin City hosting three events. The biggest of the three was the adidas VIP Exclusive Run, which featured most of the nation’s best programs under the three stripes banner.
The program that stole the show this weekend at adidas was the Florida Rams, whose 16u and 17u teams both won championships. The 17 and under team is well-known by this point, as they’re led by one of the country’s top prospects in the 2013 class in Chris Walker.
A slender forward who can run the floor and finish with the best of them, Walker played well on both ends of the floor for much of the weekend and likely had one of the early frontrunners for dunk of the AAU season. But he had plenty of help as well, especially from Florida commit Kasey Hill.
The 2013 point guard ran the show for the Rams, displaying the ability to get to the basket off the bounce at will. Hill also did a good job of distributing the basketball, setting up Walker and Kansas commit Brannen Greene frequently.
By Raphielle Johnson
This past weekend the sixth annual Easter Classic was played at multiple locations in Phoenix. It was a good opportunity to check out some of the better talents in the region, with teams from New Mexico and California also taking part.
And with some of the top prospects showing up it was a good opportunity to ask recruits an important question when it comes to basketball on the West Coast:
What’s wrong with the Pac-12?
The league’s been down for a couple of years now, and with 11 of the conference’s top 20 scorers from this past season moving on there will be a lot of pressure on some highly touted newcomers to pick things up (Arizona likely being the team many pick to win the conference next season).
2013 wing Payton Banks, who played at Orange Lutheran with Arizona signee Gabe York, feels that the conference will bounce back in 2012-13 and the Wildcats are a big reason why.
“[This year] was a bad year for the Pac-12, but this year will change a lot,” remarked Banks when I asked him the question.
2014 point guard Brian Beard and 2013 forward Chancey Hill both pointed to recruiting as the biggest problem for the conference, with Beard citing conference teams being outworked by the likes of Long Beach State and San Diego State while Hill said that the conference needs more diversity (geographically speaking) in recruiting.
Personally speaking, the recruiting issue is where the problem lies when it comes to the caliber of play in the Pac-12 in recent years. Lots of teams throughout the country have players leave school for the NBA after one or two seasons, making those recruits expected to spend three and four years on campus even more important.
Look at national champion Kentucky. While one could definitely argue that the Wildcats were talented enough to win with their youngsters this season, there’s no ignoring the role that senior Darius Miller played on that team. And from a recruiting standpoint there’s Kentucky and then everyone else she looking at who’s coming in annually.
Arizona and Indiana both welcome in outstanding classes this summer, but John Calipari and his staff do a good enough job to bring in a new team that can contend for a national title every year.
If you’re not able to do that you’d better be able to get a good mix onto campus, and that hasn’t happened for the Pac-12 outside of Arizona’s Elite Eight run in 2011. Can the conference come back? Sure it can, provided they win some important recruiting battles for the best talent on the West Coast.
But it’s also going to take the development of players who don’t fall into the “one and done” or two-year categories. That can’t be forgotten when discussing what the conference needs to do in order to return to the pinnacle of western basketball while also regaining national respect.
As for the action there were some high-level products on display, and below are updates on their recruitment along with other standouts this weekend.
G Payton Banks (2013)
Banks is a high-level wing who is on the radar of many of the top teams on the West Coast. A versatile guard with size, when Banks decides to attack the basket with authority he’s a tough player to deal with. That’s the key for him: being in attack mode consistently. Banks holds offers from Arizona State, Colorado, Penn State, USC, UTEP, Washington and Washington State.
G Brian Beard (2014)
The 2014 pass-first point guard was solid if not spectacular for the Compton Magic Black. Speaking with Beard on Saturday, he says that his goal this summer is to improve his perimeter shooting and thus become a bigger threat to opponents offensively. Recently the schools who have shown “medium-to-high” interest are Marquette, Oregon State and San Diego State with none having offered.
G Richaud Gittens (2013)
Gittens is one of three players on the Arizona Stars who stood out this past weekend, displaying some very good athleticism in the open floor. A left-hand dominant player right now, Gittens wants to improve his right this spring/summer. He’s looking for a bigger school that plays an up-tempo style of basketball, and currently has received interest from Colorado State, Drake, UCSB and Weber State. Obviously with his goal being to land at a larger institution this is going to be a big summer for him.
F Chauncey Hill (2013)
The Fairfax product had a good weekend in Phoenix, showing off a high-level motor and finishing ability above the rim. The key for Hill will be how he goes about expanding his offensive repertoire, something than can also be said for club teammate Jordan Bell (who played with ICP in a different event this week). Speaking with Hill, who said that he tries to model his game after Kenneth Faried, he’s looking to become more of a wing player skill-wise as he spends the majority of his time in the paint. Boasting a mohawk that’s dyed blonde on top, Hill has received interest from Colorado, Fresno State, Marquette, San Diego State and Washington but no offers as of yet.
G Jaron Hopkins (2013)
Hopkins is one of the best perimeter prospects on the West Coast; how he’s been unranked by multiple scouting sites is one mystery that’s difficult to explain. If Hopkins gets a step on his defender he’s going to the rim and he’s going with authority. He says he’s been attempting 500-600 jumpers a day in hopes of improving that aspect of his game. Hopkins currently holds offers from the likes of Boise State, Colorado, Colorado State, Pennsylvania, Penn State, San Francisco and Washington State, with interest from Harvard, Stanford and UCLA. Hopkins is aware of the coaching situation at Colorado State (Tim Miles moving on to Nebraska) but that’s something he’s left to his father, also noting that Miles has been in contact with his father since taking over at Nebraska.
G Dorian Pickens (2014)
Pickens is a smooth wing who was able to score in a variety of ways for the Arizona Stars. The recent recipient of an offer from Arizona State, Pickens knocked down perimeter jumpers while also showing off his mid-range game. He’ll need to get better at attacking the basket so opponents can’t play him too close, and he says he’ll also be working at becoming a better defender. He’s looking for a school with good academics that provides a family atmosphere while playing an up-tempo style of basketball. In addition to the ASU offer, Arizona, Boston College and Indiana have shown early interest. When asked if the high number of transfers at Arizona State (12 in three years) would affect how he viewed Herb Sendek’s program Pickens said no, stating that he’s just going to focus on how he meshes with the coaching staff.
F Pablo Rivas (2014)
Rivas is a 6-6 forward with very good athleticism as he’s also a wide receiver for his high school’s football team. And despite his wiry frame Rivas showed off some of the physicality gained from playing football, as he was more than willing to bang with opposing big men. Rivas runs the floor well and has room for growth from a skill standpoint; another summer spent working on his game could yield positive results when it comes to what he’ll be able to do offensively. Looking to major in engineering in college (mechanical and computer being the two disciplines he’s most interested in), Northern Colorado has shown some interest in Rivas. He did say that his “dream school” is Memphis, but this is going to be a big summer for him in terms of improving his skill set if he wants to draw the attention of the future Big East member.
F Paul Watson (2013)
Watson was solid but had a tough weekend due to the fact that he had to play center. To say the least the wing prospect who has received offers from high major programs is not a center. Watson’s a good scorer from multiple areas on the floor but for his sake hopefully they can get some size to help him out. But that doesn’t mean that Watson isn’t’ using this as an opportunity to add to his game, as he’s working on a turnaround jumper and a sweep-through move. Watson currently holds offers from Arizona State, Boise State, Fresno State, Oregon State and Texas Tech, and Arizona, Duke, New Mexico State, UNLV and USC have shown varying levels of interest.
Other Players of Note
G Bryce Alford (2013)
The New Mexico verbal commitment may be known by many for his famous lineage, but he’s a very good player in his own right. Alford played off the ball for much of the weekend, doing a good job of finding looks on the perimeter. Needs a little more work creating off the dribble but to be fair he didn’t man the point much for the Danny Granger Hurricanes.
G Malcolm Allen and G Marcus Allen (2013)
Twins from Las Vegas, these two played well this weekend alongside Jaron Hopkins and Paul Watson. Both are good athletes, with Malcolm showing a little better when it came to getting to the basket. Keep an eye on these two as the spring/summer rolls on, and that should be easy to do given the attention being heaped upon Hopkins and Watson from a recruiting standpoint.
G Sedrick Barefield (2015)
A member of the Compton Magic’s 2015 squad, Barefield is going to be one of the best guards in the country regardless of class by the time he’s a senior. Already ranked among the best guards in his class, Barefield is very good at finding quality looks. Good handle, good shooting form and a solid defender as well.
F Joe Boyd (2013)
The former New Mexico State verbal has bulked up some to match his 6-9 height, and he’s got the strength needed to bang inside. Still has to work on his mid-range jumper and free throw shooting, but he’ll be a good get for someone at the low to mid-major level with a solid spring/summer. At last check (a couple of months ago) New Mexico State remains high on his list, although depending on what happens with Marvin Menzies and the Colorado State opening maybe that changes.
F Kendall Lauderdale (2015)
He’s with Barefield on a Compton Magic 2015 team that recruiting fans are going to want to keep track of in the coming years. Already standing at 6-7, Lauderdale displayed a very good motor in the paint and good athleticism as well. Having his jersey ripped to the point where it looked like something Tarzan would wear didn’t slow him down either (they eventually gave him a new jersey. He’ll be one of the many high-major products on this roster with continued growth and development.
G Dikembe Martin (2016)
Martin can get to the basket off the dribble and while he’s got some work to do on his perimeter shot he was able to knock down a few jumpers as well. His best work may have come in the distribution area, where he set up fellow 2016 prospects Jace Rivera and Martin Tombe inside. This was as part of a Compton Magic 2016 class team that managed to beat a 17U squad on Saturday, and they’re only going to get better.
G Bubba Mears (2012)
Mears hasn’t been able to drum up enough interest scholarship-wise but the 5-9 point guard is a good athlete who also played football in high school. To describe Mears as a “bulldog” defensively would be more than accurate, as he helped lead the Tucson Heat seniors past the Compton Magic Black on Saturday afternoon. Offensively he did a good job of running the show, setting up teammates for quality looks while also using his quickness to get to the basket. Not sure if he goes D-1 due to the height, but he’d be a good late addition for a team in need of a point guard.
G Cullen Neal (2013)
Like teammate Bryce Alford, Neal’s the son of a coach (UNM assistant Craig Neal) who can also get the job done on the court. Neal, a Saint Mary’s verbal, was on the ball for most of the weekend for the Danny Granger Hurricanes and while his shot selection left something to be desired at times there’s no doubt that he can make plays. He’s got good size for a point guard, and he’ll be a very good addition when he steps onto the SMC campus next summer.
G Jeff Van Dyke (2013)
He was one of the good perimeter shooters on a tough Gamepoint 17U Black squad. Very good in catch and shoot situations this past weekend, Van Dyke was also able to create some good looks off of the dribble as well. High-major 2013 big Kameron Rooks didn’t play with them this weekend, which likely opened some things up for Gamepoint’s other 2013 prospects. 2012 wing Nathan Wright spent most of his time inside as a result.
F Arren Wells (2012)
While Alford and Neal are the headliners for the Danny Granger Hurricanes they’ve got some good 2012 big men who are still on the market with Wells being one of them. A good athlete who can finish above the rim, Wells had no problem getting physical inside. Not sure what level he ends up playing at as a college freshman, but with the first open evaluation period coming up in less than two weeks western teams in need of some late size should make it a priority to check in on the Hurricanes.
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Each year the spring signing period sees many junior college prospects make their decisions on what four-year college to attend following their two-year stint at the JUCO level. One prospect that is seeing quite a bit of interest is Cochise (AZ) College big man Matt Korcheck.
The 6-foot-9, 220-pound PF/C orginially signed with UTEP and then head coach Tony Barbee in November of 2009 as part of the 2010 recruiting class out of Sabino High School in Tucson (AZ). When Barbee left UTEP for Auburn and Tim Floyd took over the Miners program, Korcheck headed to Cochise College where he averaged 8 points and 6 rebounds as a freshman. With a good performance at the annual Jerry Mullins JUCO showcase camp over the summer and a strong season so far, interest has picked up tremendously in Korcheck among high-major programs and he took the time over the weekend to participate in a Q&A with the NBE Basketball Report…
By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst
Now that the 2012 Hoophall Classic has come to a close and I’ve had a few days to process all the basketball I saw it’s time to compile player rankings from the weekend’s performances. Below you will see players ranked by class based solely on their performance from the Hoophall Classic. These rankings are not an opinion on players overall game or potential but rather on the way they performed in Springfield.
2012 Player Rankings:
1) Shabazz Muhammad (Bishop Gorman) – Muhammad only strengthened his place as the top overall player in the 2012 class for his efficient 37 point performance.
2) Kaleb Tarczewski (St Mark’s) – signed with Arizona – In an event loaded with top big men Tarczewski stood out as the top low post offensive option.
3) Katin Reinhardt (Mater Dei) – signed with UNLV – The future Runnin’ Rebel put on an offensive show knocking down nine 3 pointers en route to 35 points in a blowout victory.
4) Kyle Anderson (St Anthony) – signed with UCLA – Anderson’s fingerprints have been all over every one of St Anthony’s 44 consecutive victories and Monday was no different as he compiled 18 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, and 5 steals.
By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst
The 2012 Hoophall Classic came to a close on Monday highlighted by four national games all broadcast live on national television. Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski and Kentucky front man John Calipari were front and center all day each flagged by two assistants. They were joined by a host of other coaches all trying to make an impression on the many uncommitted talents in action. While Shabazz Muhammad, Jabari Parker, Tony Parker, and others were the focus of these coaches, a senior guard who has already made his college decision stole the show and he receives top billing today.
Katin Reinhardt (Mater Dei 2012) – signed with UNLV – After watching Reinhardt for a week at the City of Palms in Florida last month I came away seriously underwhelmed. He struck me as a player that forced shots, was careless with the ball, and cared more about making the flashy play than the right play. After dropping 35 points on a Hoophall Classic record tying nine three-pointers it’s safe to say he has changed my mind. Reinhardt got in the flow early with an easy dunk and once he found a rhythm the shots just kept falling and falling. Equally adapt off the catch or the dribble he made shots from well beyond the college 3 point line and was able to get enough elevation on his shot to make them over defenders. Not exclusively a shooter (although it was clearly his calling card today) Reinhardt used a low, tight crossover to get in the lane and finished a pair of floaters over help defenders. He also showed passion and aggression on the defensive end forcing Uconn commit Omar Calhoun into a miserable 6-22 shooting day. For now I’m willing to label Reinhardt a streaky shooter that has the ability to single handedly take over a game when he’s on a hot streak. If he can string together consistent performances like today’s I’ll be forced to simply label him a great shooter.
By Brian Bosworth, National Scouting Analyst
The National Prep Showcase was back in full swing on Sunday with top teams like Brewster Academy, New Hampton Prep, and the Tilton School all in action. While the rosters of most prep schools in this event are dominated by seniors and post-graduate players it was a pair of underclassmen that stole the show on Sunday.
Co-Headliners of the Day:
Nerlens Noel (Tilton School 2013) – With college coaches such as John Calipari (Kentucky), Steve Lavin (St. John’s), and Ed Cooley (Providence) on hand to watch him play Noel put on quite a show Sunday night. Having already established himself as the premier defensive big man in America during the summer with BABC, Nerlens showcased an expanding offensive game that brings his upside to a new level. He played on the wing for much of the first half and repeatedly used a deadly right to left crossover to attack the rim and finish with his left hand. Despite being right handed he seems to prefer using his left to finish around the basket and did so with startling efficiency in this game. If Noel can continue to develop his offensive skills to complement his defensive brilliance he will give Jabari Parker a serious challenge for the spot of #1 overall player in the class of 2013.
By Brian Bosworth
After a lunch break for teams, college coaches, and scouts alike, the 17U tournament got back in swing on Tuesday evening with jaw dropping performances becoming commonplace.
Peach Jam 2nd Session Scoreboard:
Team Takeover 85, Athletes First 54
Oakland Soldiers 69, Texas Titans 51
Memphis YOMCA 71, City Rocks 62
BABC 79, Meanstreets 70
All-Ohio Red 73, Houston Hoops 69
Baltimore Elite 78, Boo Williams 71
NJ Playaz 72, California Supreme 60
CIA Bounce 55, All-Iowa Attack 53
Georgia Stars 78, Arkansas Wings 71
Indy Spiece 62, Louisiana Select 61
CP3 66, The Family 61
Mac Irvin Fire 60, Howard Pulley Panthers 53
Here are the highlights from some of the top performances NBE caught in action on Tuesday:
By Matt Whitfield
The return to the summer basketball camp scene by Reebok has been well received. The competition and talent level is certainly solid at the Gallagher Athletic Center on the campus of Philadelphia University. NBE took in the action for the most part of the day Thursday and was able to touch base with many of the players to learn the latest on their recruitments. While the camp had a strong group of Mid-Major+ prospects, there was more than a fair share of players who will land at higher levels in college. Below is a rundown of who we caught up with yesterday.
Rysheed Jordan (Robert Vaux HS/Players Teaching Players)
There was a lot of hype centering Jordan entering the camp and many scouts, reporters and college coaches were anxious to get a look at him. He did not disappoint as the 6-foot-3, Class of 2013 point guard has all the look of a sure fire high major recruit. He has definitely noticed the increased attention of late.
“I think I’m blowing up,” said Jordan of the recent influx of recruiting attention. “I’m easing my way up.”
By Lauren Kirschman
About this time last year Steve Taylor was a mid-major-plus player who had the potential to be a high-level prospect. With good size and length, allowing him to be effective defensively as a result, Taylor was trying to find his position offensively. After a year of development with Simeon High School and an impressive spring on the AAU trail with Mac Irvin Fire he has realized the potential and has very much become a high-level prospect, coveted by two BIG EAST programs in the Midwest as well as many other programs.
Taylor’s inside-out game at the forward position is a tough match-up and he continues to develop into a classic small forward that has certainly drawn his share of observers at the Lebron James Skills Academy this week and one can be certain coaches will follow him throughout this July. Taylor spent some time with NBE this afternoon to give us his thoughts on his recruitment and game…
By Lauren Kirschman
The Lebron James Skills Academy took it up another notch on Thursday as college coaches were allowed to watch the action at the James A. Rhodes Arena on the University of Akron campus. After getting their feet wet with several workouts and the opportunity to play with and against King James himself in their first day and a half of the camp, now the players are playing for scholarships.
Right out of the gates the big name coaches arrived. By the time the first morning high school workout had finished names and faces we all know populated the viewing areas like Tom Izzo, Coach K, Jim Calhoun, Jim Boeheim, Billy Donovan, John Thompson III, Thad Matta, Bill Self, Matt Painter, Lorenzo Romar, Anthony Grant, Josh Pastner, Bruce Weber and many more with others planning to be here before the day is done.