Wichita State Recruiting
by Alex Schwartz
The two biggest high school hoops stories to come since our last Recruiting Notebook are both out of the class of 2014.
First off, Chris McCullough became just the second player in the top 25 of the NBE Sports Class of 2014 Post-July Top 75 to make a college decision. The 6-foot-9 power forward from Brewster Academy (NH) pledged to Syracuse, in news that looks to have been first reported by CuseNation.com.
The Orange may not be done in 2014 as NBE’s 19th best player in the class, Isaiah Whitehead, has narrowed his list to 10, per ESPN, and the Orange remain one of the leaders. The final 10 for the NYC guard are: Syracuse, St. John’s, Rutgers, Kentucky, Louisville, Arizona, Maryland, Florida, Kansas and UCLA.
Dakari Johnson was the other 2014 stud to make news this week, except, well, Johnson is no longer a member of that class. Johnson has made the decision to reclassify to 2013, per Garrett Tucker of Future150.com.
The 6-foot-10 center from Montverde Academy (FL) was ranked No. 3 in the NBE Sports 2014 Top 75. He is the third top-20 player to reclassify from 2014 to 2013 in the past few months, following Andrew Wiggins, Noah Vonleh and Wayne Selden.
by Alex Schwartz
KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Monday was championship day at the ESPN Wide World of Sports for the 11th Grade AAU Nationals tournaments. Although Division I coaches were not allowed to be in the gym, NBE Sports was there to take in the action and wrap up our coverage of the event. A future SEC big man was easily the day’s top performer, while a rising senio guard who had a big week in Orlando listed a top three.
Bobby Portis was the clear cut choice for this spot from Monday’s action. A top-notch big man in the class of 2013, Portis is an Arkansas commit out of Little Rock Hall (AR). The 6’9 power forward was clearly the best player on the floor in the championship game and he was very impressive overall. Portis showed off some nice offensive skills and even knocked down a midrange jumper. He got the free throw line and displayed nice touch at the stripe too. Portis is not only tall, but also long and looks to have added some strength. Portis runs the floor well and demonstrated some very good passing ability. Additionally, he is a talented defensive player who can really impact the opposition around the rim.
*********Follow NBE Sports on Twitter: http://twitter.com/NBESports*****
By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst
Friday afternoon in North Augusta brought 16U pool play at the Peach Jam along with a quick stop at the Nike Invitational. Here’s who managed to standout while NBE was watching.
Top Performer of the Afternoon:
Obi Enechionyia (Team Takeover 2014) – At 6’8”, the athletic forward showed off both an inside and outside scoring package. He flashed major bounce around the rim with a few ferocious dunks along with swatting away countless attempts at his own basket. While his work in the paint alone would have made Enechionyia a very intriguing prospect, he was also able to step out and make jump shots past the college 3-point line. The combination of owning the paint and being able to draw big men away from the rim by spacing the floor make it easy to project Enechionyia at the high major level for his college future. He needs to continue refining his ball handling and overall skill package and frankly could end up playing on the wing if his skills improve quickly enough.
*********Follow NBE Sports on Twitter: http://twitter.com/NBESports*****
by Alex Schwartz
AIKEN, S.C. – The second Live Evaluation Period of July tipped off on Wednesday night and NBE Sports was in the building at USC Aiken for the Peach State Summer Showcase.
While the tournament might not get as much hype as Nike Peach Jam does, Peach State is also loaded with talented prospects. Several of those players stood out on opening night and NBE Sports caught up with a few guys as well.
John Egbunu might not be 7-foot like he is listed, but the future South Florida Bull is an impressive player nonetheless. The Class of 2013 center out of Eagle’s Landing (GA) is a rugged interior presence who simply gets things done around the cup. Egbunu turned in an impressive performance for Douglas Brothers Elite in a victory over Birmingham Ice Xpress and was extremely difficult to defend in the low post. He finishes well and does a great job of grabbing offensive rebounds and then putting the ball back in the cup for an easy deuce. Possessing strength and power, Egbunu is also capable of throwing down a big-time dunk, as he most certainly showed on Wednesday night.
by Alex Schwartz
ENGLEWOOD, N.J. – Shane Rector and Dayshon Smith are two of the top New York City natives in the class of 2013. Both point guards, Rector and Smith have different styles of play, but they each get the job done on the hardwood.
On Friday night, NBE Sports had the opportunity to catch up with both of the Big Apple floor generals while at City Sports for the first round of games in the 2012 Rumble in the Bronx.
Rector, who stands 6-foot-1 and attends St. Raymond’s (NY), listed scholarship offers from Providence and Hofstra. The Playaz Basketball Club standout also named Arizona, Iowa State, Georgetown, Pittsburgh, North Carolina State, Stanford, and UMass as programs involved in his recruitment.
Dayshon Smith has opened many eyes this summer. Eyes of fans, scouts and college coaches alike.
Right out of the gates this spring as one of the NJ Playaz Spring Fling Top Performers with the NY Lightning AAU program and through three sessions of play in the Nike EYBL, Smith has performed at a high level. His biggest strengths right now are his perimeter shot, tight handle, and the calm with which he plays. The best point guards know how to control pace and make opponents play their speed and that is something that Smith understands very well.
This is what NBE’s Brian Bosworth wrote about Smith on the final day of the Spring Fling:
Smith capped an outstanding weekend by making his best plays in the second half of the championship game. His Lightning came up short in overtime against the New Rens but Smith did everything he could to get the game into overtime. Two plays in particular stand out and deserve mention. Late in the second half Smith came down the lane after turning the corner from a high ball screen and dunked in the face of 6’8” jumping jack Kenton Facy. Then with 30 seconds remaining and his team trailing by three, Smith brought the ball up court and pulled up from behind the line tying the game and sending it to overtime. He had the guts to both take and make the biggest shots in the championship game and increased his stock in the process.
by Alex Schwartz
HAMPTON, Va. – Sunday was the final day of the 2012 Hoop Group Southern Jam Fest and champions were crowned in the afternoon. Team Takeover beat BWSL Woods, 77-53, to win the U15 Gold championship and Team Takeover also won the U16 Gold championship with an 82-75 victory over the SC Raptors Elite. The U17 Gold title went to Garner Road, who beat UA Baltimore’s Fines, 49-44, in the championship.
Therence Mayimba: While the Team Takeover U16 team has several players who are more well-known, Mayimba was terrific in both the semifinals and championship. A 6’7 combo forward who attends Montrose Christian (MD), Mayimba is a bouncy player with a great frame. The 2014 prospect repeatedly sliced right down the lane past defends and to the rim, where he showed nice body control in air. He handles the ball pretty well and also does a nice job of getting rebounds. Mayimba has room to continue to improve as a player and will be someone whose stock will rise as time goes on.
TOP SLEEPER PERFORMER
Scott Spencer: BWSL Kelly made a surprise run to the championship game of the U15 Gold bracket and Spencer used that contest to show what he can do. He was the game’s top scorer, with 15 points, which accounted for nearly 30% of his team’s total in the lopsided defeat. Spencer is a 6’4 shooting guard who has great length and nice athletic ability. He is a bouncy wing who can really jump, but he is by no means only about his physical tools. Spencer has a nice midrange jumper from the baseline that he utilizes as well.
By N.D. Kendrick, special to NBE Basketball Report
Midwest star power was on display this past weekend in Fort Wayne, Indiana where some of the top clubs from the middle of the country and a few from other locations took part in the Bill Hensley Memorial Run-n-Slam.
Quite possibly the attraction that brought in the most basketball junkies was a battle between Spiece Indy Heat, featuring Indiana-commit Trey Lyles, Purdue-bound Bryson Scott and JaQuan Lyle, facing Mac Irvin Fire, which was tabbed as the favorite to win the event.
Mac Irvin Fire got a quiet 20 point effort out of the Gatorade National Player of the Year Jabari Parker, and won by the score of 80-70. Both the Mac Irvin Fire and Spiece Indy Heat – arguably the two most star-studded rosters – failed to reach the championship games of their respective brackets.
The Derrick Walton (Michigan-commit) and Monte Morris led Michigan Mustangs emerged as the champions of the 17u tournament when the coaches of The Family decided to forfeit due to several players cramping up.
Run-n-Slam allows you to evaluate several prospects due to the format and way the massive gym is set up. The focus of the weekend was incoming juniors and seniors. Provided are several prospects (not in any particular order) that impressed over the weekend…
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.
After spending the 2010-2011 school year at Southern Miss, battling NCAA eligibility and clearinghouse hurdles, Trency Jackson left the program to play for coach Steve Forbes and attend Northwest Florida State Junior College. The move has paid off as Jackson has played a key role helping the Raiders to a 29-1 record and state championship. Next up in the Nationals and Jackson could not say enough about his time at the school.
“The best part have been playing against top competition because the Panhandle [Conference] is like the top JUCO conference in the country,” Jackson told NBE on Sunday. “I’ve also loved playing with my teammates and coaching staff this year, one of the best.”
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Jackson has been a complete team player for the Raiders. Despite modest statistics with around 11 points and 5 rebounds a game, Jackson made 1st Team All-Panhandle Conference this season. His strengths on the floor will likely be welcomed by any number of college teams recruiting him.
Creighton and McDermott Get Tested by Drake
Doug McDermott hit two big three pointers in the middle of the second half and it looked like the Valley’s Player of the Year and his teammates were ready to pull away from Drake. The young Bulldogs had other plans though, cutting a 13-point lead with a little over 4 minutes remaining to 3 –63-60 – on a Rayvonte Rice bucket with 1:24 left on the clock. Creighton was able to salt things away by hitting 5-6 from the stripe in the final minute and winning 68-61.
McDermott was brilliant in the second half and finished with 26 points and 10 rebounds for the game. Greg Echenique contested multiple shots in the last 3 minutes, blocking one by Drake’s Ben Simons that was huge down inside a minute left. Drake looks to have a bright future heading into next season while Creighton rolls into this afternoon’s semifinals in St. Louis where they will play Evansville. The Missouri Valley Tournament is a great event and anyone with a sports package on their TV can find it up in the Fox Sports Missouri/Midwest channels. Today’s games are usually the best. Tomorrow’s final will be on CBS I’m sure where it’s expected Creighton and Wichita State will slug it out (the greatest thing about this event is the expected rarely happens).
Evansville beat Missouri State 72-64 in the late game as Kenny Harris had 20 and Colt Ryan 19 to lead Marty Simmons’ crew. Evansville now plays #25 Creighton in what, judging by their two earlier games, should be a battle. The Purple Aces beat the Bluejays in Evansville and lost the game in Omaha in overtime.
The other semifinal features Wichita State going against Illinois State. The Shockers pounded a tired Indiana State club 72-48 in the Quarters while the Redbirds outlasted Northern Iowa. #14 Wichita State is 27-4 and led by a bevy of veteran players. The Shocks have had three different winning streaks of 8 or more this year and have an NCAA best record of 19-3 on the road since last season. The defending NIT champs are looking to make a deep run here in a few weeks (and with players like 7-footer Garret Stutz, Toure Murry and Joe Ragland, that’s a distinct probability).
Southern Illinois did the inevitable when, facing multiple consecutive losing seasons (including this year’s school record 23 loss campaign) they fired head coach and former Saluki player Chris Lowery. Lowery was the hottest name in the coaching business just four short years ago. He turned down more than one big six league job as SIU stepped up and rewarded him with a fat contract. That contract still had 2 years left on it – the buyout is $1.5 million – and in all likelihood was the only thing that kept SIU from pulling the trigger on Lowery last year. Lowery enjoyed great success, but is the latest example of how quickly things can turn on a coach when they lose players to transfer and miss on recruits. Hindsight is 20/20, but I’m guessing that Michigan job Lowery once turned down is looking pretty good right now.
A-10 Action at Noon
Rick – “I’m not a big Gay guy” – Majerus and his Billikens are coming to town to play Duquesne at noon. St. Louis is having a great year at 23-6 (11-4 in the league). I look forward to watching them play the always game at home Dukes at noon today.
By Raphielle Johnson
By the end of the last college basketball season it was best to simply expect the unexpected. The same could be said for this weekend in Las Vegas, which has produced an unexpected champion in the Kansas City 76ers. The 76ers won the Las Vegas Fab 48 by beating Team Breakdown (Florida) in Monday night’s title game.
While the stands weren’t filled to brim as they were last summer (Oakland Soldiers tend to bring out the crowds), there were a few college programs represented in the coaches area with 2013 wing Ishmail Wainright the primary focus.
Ben Howland (UCLA) and Steve Lavin (St. John’s) were both there to watch Wainwright, who considers Earl Watson (who has connections to both as he played at UCLA under Lavin) to be an older brother and mentor. Other programs represented include Western Illinois, George Mason, Kansas, Missouri, UC Irvine, South Florida, Cal Poly, Nebraska, UM-KC and Creighton.
2011 ORLANDO AAU NOTEBOOK (PART 3): GARY HARRIS IMPRESSES; JERAMI GRANT UPDATE & AQUILLE CAR TALKS RECRUITING & MORE UPDATES
By Alex Schwartz
As things begin to head towards the climax in Las Vegas the action in Orlando continues to heat up. More and more of the nation’s attention will turn to the sunshine state in the recruiting world. NBE continues to be ahead of the game with continued coverage from the land of Mickey. On Sunday the 17U pool play got going with an impressive slate of games while the 16U Super Showcase playoff action got underway.
Here are some player evals and recruiting updates from Aquille Carr, Gary Harris, Kennedy Meeks, Jerami Grant, Marcus Hunt, Robert Carter and Sindarius Thornwell to highlight the action occurring in Orlando…
Aquille Carr listed offers from Syracuse, Memphis, Wake Forest, Seton Hall, St. John’s, Texas, LSU, Texas A&M, and Connecticut. His favorites at this point are Wake Forest, Syracuse and UConn.
By Alex Jesswein
While many across the country have turned their attention to the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League Championship at the Peach Jam in North Augusta (SC), Antonio Curro and his crew at NY2LASports.com have assembled another strong field for the 2011 UA Summer Jam. Some of the biggest names in the 2012 Class are in Wisconsin for the event, including Shabazz Muhammad, Isaiah Austin, Mitch McGary, Perry Ellis and more. Top AAU programs like Dream Vision, Texas Pro, SYF Players, DC Assault, Playground Elite, Team Loaded, and more are competing in the event.
NBE will have much more on the event as it moves to completion on the 15th. For now here are some recruiting notes that NBE has been able to compile in the first two days of action:
Duane Wilson, Class of 2013 point guard with the Playground Elite AAU program, listed Marquette (offer), Minnesota, Memphis, Washington, Virginia, Missouri, DePaul, Wisconsin, Illinois, Miami (FL), Florida State, and Florida. He has visited Kentucky, DePaul and Missouri unofficially recently.
As he heads into his next season, Wilson said he wants to work on getting stronger, playing better defense and hitting shots off of the dribble.
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.”