Santa Clara Recruiting
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By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst
Championship Sunday in North Augusta capped an amazing 2012 Peach Jam by crowning champions in both the 16U and 17U divisions. The Texas Titans defeated the Southern Stampede in double overtime to win at the 16U level. A few hours later the Oakland Soldiers were crowned EYBL champions after defeating CIA Bounce 51-50 to capture the 17U title. In those games and the 17U semifinals before them, some players separated themselves from the competition. Here’s who stood out to NBE.
Top Performer of the Day:
Andrew Wiggins (CIA Bounce 2014) – While his team came up a point short of an EYBL title this day, this tournament, and the entire EYBL circuit have belonged to Andrew Wiggins. In the morning semifinal Wiggins looked passive and a non factor for much of the game until his team needed him down the stretch. He turned a tight game into a double digit lead in a matter of minutes by scoring at will in the game’s biggest moments. In the title game Wiggins’ stat line wasn’t his best of the week (7-22 shooting, 23 points) but his dominance was as evident as ever. The Soldiers had two future pros to throw at Wiggins defensively in Aaron Gordon and Stanley Johnson and frankly neither one stood a chance. He was too quick, too strong, too explosive, and too good for every elite defender that was thrown at him all week. Stanley Johnson was the best defender in this tournament and even he couldn’t handle Wiggins. While I’ve been on record since last year’s Peach Jam that Wiggins was the top prospect regardless of class, the 2012 Peach Jam erased that debate in everyone’s mind. Everyone else in America is looking up at Wiggins and the gap is rather substantial.
This weekend starting Friday evening colleg coaches will hit the road for AAU events across the country. Stops in Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and areas far and wide will be popular destinations for Division 1-A head coaches and assistants as they are allowed to evaluate talent for the first time in the busy April AAU schedule in a few years. While the intensity of the action is likely to be ratcheted up a few nothches, CIA Bounce big man Isaiah Watkins is taking it all in stride.
The 6-foot-8 Watkins attends St. Benedict’sPrep in Newark (NJ) and performing in front of college coaches is a regular event for him and his Gray Bees teammates. It was one of the reasons why he chose to attend a school like St. Ben’s and play with a powerful AAU program like the Canadian CIA Bounce program, which participates in Nike’s Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL).
Yet, Watkins is looking forward to showcasing his improvement as a player, but also has goals for himself to continue to impove against the top flight competition he will be facing.
By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst
Now that the 2011 City of Palms Classic has come to a close it’s time to put some measure on what I saw this week. Below are player rankings by class based on performances from this week alone. While they do impact my overall perception of these players, they are rankings strictly of what I saw in Florida this week.
Top 2012 Players:
1. Isaiah Austin (Grace Prep) – signed with Baylor – Austin was more committed to play inside on offense than he has been in the past and still rebounded and blocked shots at the highest level. He looked poised to challenge Shabazz Muhammad for top player in the class throughout the rest of the reason.
2. Shabazz Muhammad (Bishop Gorman) – It speaks to Muhammad’s talent that after a subpar week by his standards he still slots in at # 2. He was the most persistent scorer at the tournament, getting his points every way imaginable.
As for his recruitment, Muhammad told NBE on the opening day of the event that he has no timetable for a decision and sounds as though he’ll wait right up until the spring signing period to make his call. He listed an up-tempo style and a program that gets its players to the next level as the two most important factors in his decision making process. When the time comes Muhammad will be choosing from his final 6 of UCLA, Kansas, Duke, Kentucky, UNLV, and USC.
There are a lot of new faces within the St. Benedict’s Prep basketball program in Newark (NJ) this season. From new head coach Mark Taylor to Class of 2015 must-see point guard Isaiah Briscoe and more new talent on the Gray Bees’ roster it is an exciting new era for the program in Newark. One player that still seems to be under the radar nationally is Isaiah Watkins, another member of the Canadian AAU program CIA Bounce that will look to excel this year for Taylor’s squad.
“What drew me to St. Benedict’s was the goal of becoming better,” Watkins told NBE earlier this evening. “Improving every day and hopefully being able to win at the highest level possible.”
The improvement of Watkins has been ongoing through the spring and summer according to Nolan Shulman, National Recruiting Analyst of Flagrant Fouls and Editor-in-Chief of the Ultimate Recruiting Handbook which is the authority on Canadian basketball prospects. Shulman also noted that Watkins will come to work every single day at St. Benedict’s, which should only enhance his goal of improving.
By Alex Schwartz
ALLENTOWN, N.J. — Although the Summer Shootout is not necessarily well-known outside of New Jersey, the event is filled with quality teams and talented players on a yearly basis. The 2011 edition was no different, as NBE Basketball Report took in some of the action on Saturday and got to catch up with a handful of Big East recruits.
Isaiah Watkins, a 6-foot-8, 215-pound power forward, really saw his stock increase this summer. A class of 2013 prospect who hails from Toronto and is in his first year at St. Benedict’s (NJ), Watkins already lists a number of high-major offers.
Watkins said that Santa Clara, Missouri, Arkansas, Cincinnati and Virginia have all extended scholarship offers to him. In addition, he is hearing from Harvard, Ohio State, Georgetown, Michigan, Elon, Lafayette, Niagara, Villanova, Rutgers, Seton Hall, Temple, West Virginia, Kansas and more.
Khan/Judah not the only prize fight in town
By Raphielle Johnson
While boxing fans enjoyed the battle between Amir Khan and Zab Judah over at Mandalay Bay, two of the top AAU teams on the West Coast did battle at Bishop Gorman in the Las Vegas Fab 48. Led by the interior tandem of 2012 Brandon Ashley and 2013 Aaron Gordon, the Oakland Soldiers withstood a late rally to beat Belmont Shore 85-80. Both showed off their vast array of skills, especially Gordon with a few thunderous dunks.
The game was also valuable to see what Belmont Shore big men Zena Edsomwan and Grant Jerrett could do against two of the best prep players regardless of class. Edsomwan isn’t the kind of player who’s going to dominate the basketball but rather do the little things on both ends of the floor needed to win. Jerrett had his moments as well but it proved to be a tale of two halves for the Arizona commit.
In the backcourt the battle was just as intense, with the likes of Dominic Artis and Jabari Bird taking on Ikenna Ireogbu and Katin Reinhardt for Belmont Shore. With regards to dribbling skills, Artis may not have an equal in the 2012 class (Kris Dunn is another to consider). Bird can do just about everything on the floor, and while the 2013 prospect needs to continue to improve as a shooter he’s shown the ability to knock down open shots.
One of the most intriguing prospects in the Class of 2013 is Tyler Ennis out of St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark (NJ) and the CIA Bounce AAU program. The Canadian import has been having a tremendous spring and summer on the AAU and camp scene and his recruitment continues to skyrocket.
Ennis is a smooth scoring guard that can put points on the board. He continues to improve his floor game as a point guard and with a busy July travel schedule you can be certain college coaches will continue to be seen at his games. The attention from the coaches keeps Ennis grounded and working hard to his goals. He also updates readers on the latestr in his recruitment in the following Q&A with NBE Sports…
NBE Basketball Report (NBE): What is your current height and weight?
Tyler Ennis (TE): 6’3, 180
The live July evaluation period is right around the corner. Once again NBE will be out in full force during both 10-day recruiting periods, stretching from East to West and North and South to keep up with all the recruiting information. It is always a fun process to see what college coaches are out on the recruiting trail and who they are watching.
In the meantime, the phones of top prospects in the Class fo 2013 have been ringing off the hook as colleges are permitted to contact a recruit once a month on the phone or via email. June 15th was the first day contact was allowed and programs wasted little time reaching out to prospects.
“Santa Clara called me at 12:00 on the dot,” said Tyler Ennis. “Oregon State, Santa Clara and Iowa State all did.”
Ennis is a 6-foot-3, 178-pound guard who plays on the AAU spring and summer circuit with CIA Bounce out of Canada. He attended St. Benedict’s in Newark (NJ) last season and has had a busy early summer season with trips to LA for the Pangos Camp and to the University of Virginia campus for the recent NBA Top 100 Camp. His play has drawn very good reviews and it shows in the latest list of schools that have been in contact since the 15th.