by Alex Schwartz
Two of the top uncommitted players in the nation made their commitments while in Chicago for the McDonald’s All-American Game and numerous other 2013 prospects also pledged in the past several days.
Elite frontcourt prospect Aaron Gordon of Archbishop Mitty (CA) announced his intentions to attend Arizona for his college ball, per multiple reports. A 6-foot-8 power forward, Gordon is one of the top ranked players in America in the class of 2013. He selected the Wildcats over Kentucky, Oregon and Washington. Gordon is the second McDonald’s All-American in Arizona’s recruiting class, joining 6-foot-7 small forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson of Chester (PA).
Keith Frazier of Kimball (TX), the best available shooting guard in the nation, committed to SMU, per his Twitter account. The 6-foot-5 class of 2013 prospect is the first ever McDonald’s All-American for the Mustangs, according the game broadcast. Frazier was also considering Texas A&M and Texas Tech, according to Scout.com’s Evan Daniels.
The top available class of 2013 guard in the nation, Rysheed Jordan of Vaux (PA), took his name off the board and pledged to St. John’s, per multiple reports. Jordan is a 6-foot-3 point guard who selected the Red Storm over Temple and UCLA.
Chris Peak of Panther-Lair.com had the news that Jamel Artis of Notre Dame Prep (MA) committed to Pittsburgh. Artis is a 6-foot-7 combo forward and a fifth-year class of 2013 recruit.
Dominique Hawkins announced his commitment to Kentucky at a press conference at his school, per multiple reports. The 6-foot point guard from Madison Central (KY) is the eighth member of UK’s 2013 recruiting class, the second of whom is an in-state prospect.
by Alex Schwartz
There has been a lot of news in the world of high school hoops in the past few weeks, including a few talented juniors making early commitments, an elite senior ending his recruitment and some high-profile players in setting announcement dates.
One of the best players in the nation, Julius Randle, declared his intentions to attend Kentucky. The 6-foot-9 power forward from Prestonwood Christian (TX) opted for the Wildcats over Florida, Kansas and Texas. Randle joins an absolutely loaded seven-man 2013 recruiting class for UK that many are calling the greatest group ever assembled.
Also, according to Jason Jordan of USA Today, Julius Randle has been added to the McDonald’s All-American game. He was initially ineligible since he missed more than half the season—he was injured—yet has been added anyway. Randle is one of six players in the game headed to Kentucky next year.
One-time Murray State commit Demarcus Croaker is now headed to Texas for his college ball, per Reggie Rankin. He also noted that the class of 2013 prospect selected Texas over Murray State this time around. Croaker is a 6-foot-3 shooting guard from Jones (FL).
Gavin Schilling of Findlay Prep (NV) became the first member of Michigan State’s 2013 recruiting class. The 6-foot-9 power forward tweeted his commitment to the Spartans. He selected MSU over Minnesota, UCLA and Villanova.
Rutgers landed a pledge from JuCo prospect Chris Griffin of Wabash Valley College (IL), according to Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com. Griffin is a 6-foot-7 small forward in the class of 2013.
by Alex Schwartz
Before getting into the recruiting news, we want to send our condolences to the family and friends of Josh Level. A standout basketball player from North Carolina in the junior class, Level sadly passed away last week, far too young. The guys over at Ball is Life put together a nice “Josh Level Tribute Mix,” which can be found Here.
On the trail, one of the biggest pieces of news involved a star dual-sport athlete. Derrick Griffin of Terry (TX) committed to Miami for football, in news that looks to have been broken by Peter Ariz of Canesooks to have been broken by Peter Ariz of CanesInSight.com. The class of 2013 prospect, who has signed a Letter of Intent, is expected to play basketball at Miami as well.
Griffin, who checks in at 6-foot-6, is a wide receiver/tight end on the gridiron and a power forward on the hardwood. He had been committed to Texas A&M for a long time, but did not sign with the Aggies due to reported academic issues.
Tyrek Coger of Word of God Christian Academy (NC) tweeted that he pledged to Middle Tennessee State. Coger is a 6-foot-8 center in the class of 2013 and he is a former Missouri commit.
by Alex Schwartz
Several high-major programs landed commitments in the past week, including a couple from the Big East. That includes a program from the Midwest coming into the New York metro area to land a top 25 recruit.
Jermaine Lawrence, a New York native who attends Pope John XXIII (NJ), popped to Cincinnati, per his Tumblr account. Lawrence, a 6-foot-9 power forward, is ranked No. 24 in the NBE Sports Class of 2013 Post-July Top 125.
Lawrence selected the Bearcats over St. John’s and UNLV. He is the fifth member of Cincinnati’s 2013 recruiting class and is a significant addition.
RJ Curington of Oak Hill Academy (VA) pledged to DePaul, according to Brian Snow of Scout.com. A 6-foot-5 shooting guard, Curington was among the better available players in the nation in the class of 2013 and is a nice late pickup for the Blue Demons.
Scout.com’s Josh Gershon had the news that Dion Wade of Findlay Prep (NV) came off the board to Auburn. A 6-foot-7 small forward, Wade is the second player from Findlay Prep in the class of 2013 to pick the Tigers. The other is Benas Griciunas, a 6-foot-10 power forward.
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
MIAMI – The 18th annual Dr. MLK “Stop the Violence” Basketball Classic took place at Miami Central (FL) High School over the past couple days. NBE Sports was in the gym for five of the games on Saturday to see some of the top teams and players from South Florida.
Wadley Mompremier of Miami Senior was the leading scorer in the five games NBE Sports saw, but that is not the only reason he garnered Top Performer honors. A 6-foot-9 power forward who has signed with Ohio University, Mompremier has made some impressive strides in his game since the summer. The class of 2013 prospect is still a bit raw, but the strides in his game are quite evident. He scored off some nice alley-oop plays and consistently used his height to his advantage. Mompremier has superb length to go along with a body that can still add some muscle. The future Bobcat rebounds the ball pretty well and can even grab some boards at the offensive end. Mompremier also displayed the ability to step out and knock down a shot from 3-point range with a pretty nice looking stroke. It was clear on Saturday that Mompremier has a chance to be a superb player down the road in the MAC and Ohio fans should be excited about this pickup.
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 Alex Schwartz
HACKENSACK, N.J. – Eight teams made their way to Hackensack (NJ) High School on Sunday for the New Year’s Jump-Off. The quartet of games featured only teams from the Garden State, but there was a great deal of talent on display, including a few players headed to high-major programs.
Reggie Cameron of Hudson Catholic is the easy choice of who turned in the day’s best performance. The 6-foot-8 small forward dropped 30 points and may well have had more if he shot more the fourth quarter had the game been close. Cameron, ranked No. 62 in the NBE Sports Class of 2013 Post-July Top 125, also grabbed 12 rebounds, distributed the ball well and made his presence felt on defense. A big-time shooter from long range, the future Georgetown Hoya really had his shot going in this game. He has such a smooth stroke and possesses the size to get it off over most defenders. Cameron also scored from midrange and at the rim. The senior even displayed the ability to play the point, which is something he has not really done before. He blocked shots, found open teammates for buckets and was the best low post player in the game, despite being a three man. Cameron led his team to a 70-53 victory over Pope John XXIII and put on in absolute show in his home city of Hackensack.
by Alex Schwartz
ROSELLE, N.J. – D’Angelo Russell stole the show at the Roselle Catholic (NJ) Hoops for Troops Basketball Classic last night.
The 6-foot-4, 185-pound shooting finished with 21 points, including 17 in the second quarter. It was during that period that he connected on five 3-pointers during about a five minute span.
The No. 12 ranked player in the NBE Sports Class of 2014 Post-July Top 75 helped lead Montverde Academy (FL) to a 77-51 victory over the host, Roselle Catholic.
“I feel like I try to step up and make big-time plays for my teammates and for myself and I just felt like it was the opportunity to go,” Russell said of his second quarter outburst.
Asked how often he gets in a zone like that, Russell replied, “I try to as quick as I can. The atmosphere was great, so adapting to the atmosphere was just what I try to do, and that’s what happened.”
The elite Class of 2014 guard talked in a bit more detail about what playing in front of a big-time crowd means.
by Alex Schwartz
There have not been many high-major commitments of late, but there has still been a fair amount of news in the high school hoops world lately. In addition, one of the nation’s top prospects is set to announce his choice today.
First off, Jabari Parker is set to announce his college choice today on ESPNU, as originally reported by Joe Henrickson of the Chicago Sun-Times. Parker is a 6-foot-8 small forward out of Simeon (IL) who is ranked No. 3 in the NBE Sports Class of 2013 Post-July Top 125. KSL.com’s Greg Wrubell quoted Jabari’s father, Sonny Parker, as saying, “I think it will probably be between Duke and Michigan State.”
Samford landed a commitment from Jordan Capps, per Scout.com’s Evan Daniels. Capps is a class of 2013 small forward prospect from Peachtree Ridge (GA) who has some solid size at 6-foot-6.
St. Peter’s dipped into the JuCo ranks for a 2013 commitment, according to Brad Winton of JuCoRecruiting.com. He reported that the Peacocks landed Tyler Gaskins, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Lawson State Community College (AL).
by Alex Schwartz
GLENSIDE, Pa. – Five teams from New York City, four from Philadelphia and one from New Jersey made their way to Arcadia University yesterday for the sixth annual VILLA Classic. Although most of the games ended with lopsided scores, there was still some nice talent on display.
There are several players who could stake claim to this honor, but we are going to go with Brandon Austin. The future Providence Friar was not amongst the players who dropped 20+ points, but he turned in the best all-around performance. The versatile senior from Imhotep Charter (PA) is capable of playing multiple positions, but, as he showed on Saturday, he is best suited at the point guard spot. Austin is capable of both scoring the ball himself—he finished with 18 points against Lincoln (NY)—and facilitating things for others. He runs the offense quite adeptly and is a superb defender. The 6-foot-6 Austin locked up and forced steals, but he was also able to block shots around the rim. His combination of size, skill and length allows him to impact the game in multiple ways. Additionally, the No. 47 ranked player in the NBE Sports Class of 2013 Top 125 has a nice feel for the game.
By Matt Whitfield
One of the more intriguing prospects at this past weekend’s National High School Hoops Festival at DeMatha High School was Oak Hill sophomore guard Terrence Phillips. Phillips is not yet a known commodity in the recruiting world, but expect that to change in the future as he is the half-brother of former Oak Hill standout and current Milwaukee Bucks guard Brandon Jennings.
“I’m a little different from Brandon,” Phillips told NBE over the weekend. “I’m not much of a scorer. I do the little things. I know how to take charges, get the rebounds, and just do the little things out there.”
Only a sophomore and playing on one of the best teams in the nation, Phillips played sparingly in Saturday night’s loss to Paul VI (VA). However, when Phillips did play you could see his confident demeanor on the court. Phillips, who measures in at 5-foot-10 and 165 pounds, made crisp passes and looked very poised on the court.
By Matt Whitfield
Rob Fulford’s Huntington Prep basketball machine has the biggest name in the high school and prep ranks with Class of 2013 superstar Andrew Wiggins anchoring his team. However, Fulford now has another star waiting in the wings in Montaque Gill-Caesar.
Only a sophomore, the 6-foot-6 Gill-Caesar already has the body of a college freshman and the Canadian first caught the eye of NBE over the summer on the AAU trail with CIA Bounce at the Adidas Invitational. NBE’s Brian Bosworth was impressed with the relative unknown at the time as Gill-Caesar had a major breakout in a tough loss to the loaded Compton Magic 15U team. The small forward is a supreme athlete but doesn’t just rely on athleticism to dominate offensively and showed a wide variety of offensive weapons over the summer as he hit pull-up jumpers using 1-2 dribbles in both directions and looked both confident and comfortable doing so. We even saw him hit a 15-foot fadeaway from the low post and then he hammered in a tip-in dunk on the next possession. He looks like the next big star to come out of the well known Canadian AAU program and Huntington Prep looks to be the beneficiary in the states of his talent. He has decent reflexes and good wingspan for a player his size. Gill-Caesar describes himself as a slasher on the offensive end.
by Alex Schwartz
Although not much happened in the high school hoops world in the past few days, there was one huge commitment that came down on Monday.
Karl Towns, Jr. of St. Joseph’s Metuchen (NJ) announced his commitment to Kentucky, as expected. According to Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com, Towns said that his final three were UK, Duke and Florida, with things really coming down to the Wildcats and Blue Devils.
The 6-foot-10 center played for Kentucky head coach John Calipari on the Dominican Republic National Team this summer. He is ranked as the No. 3 player in the NBE Sports Post-Summer Class of 2015 Top 25.
However, Towns will no longer be listed in the 2015 rankings. That is because in addition to committing, he also announced that he is moving to the class of 2014. The Garden State big man will remain highly ranked in the junior class.
We accidentally overlooked a big piece of news for Monday’s Recruiting Notebook. That would be Demarcus Croaker of Jones (FL) committing to the Murray State Racers. We first saw the news from Scout.com’s Evan Daniels.
The 6-foot-3 shooting guard is a major pickup for Steve Prohm and Co. Croaker is ranked as the No. 99 player in the NBE Sports Class of 2013 Post-July Top 125 and is one of the top players in the senior class not headed to a BCS conference school.
From the college ranks, Pitt’s John Johnson is transferring to Penn State, according to Richard Guillen, his former AAU coach with the Hunting Park Warriors. Johnson is a 6-foot-1 sophomore shooting guard from Philadelphia.
In other news, we have been looking over the athletic websites of all the BCS conference schools with 2013 commits to check for news releases on official signings. There are a few schools with verbal commits who have not released news on any signings. They are Boston College, Georgetown, Indiana, Seton Hall, South Carolina, and Texas Tech.
Of those, only two, Indiana and South Carolina, have more than one commit. Seton Hall’s lone commit, Aquille Carr, was not expected to sign in the early period.
In addition, there are some other schools who have released the news of some signings, but not all. Malcolm Allen (Stanford), Deng Deng (LSU), Derrick Griffin (Texas A&M), Xavier Rathan-Mayes (Florida State), Tyree and Tyrell Robinson (Oregon), and LJ Westbrook (Oregon State) are players whose schools have publicized signings of other commits, but not them. The Robinson twins and Griffin will probably sign with their schools’ football programs in February.
Note that just because no releases have been issued at some schools or that some names have not been mentioned does not automaticallt mean the players did not sign. There is also the possibility that there was just simply no release.
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by Alex Schwartz
Things have been very quiet on the trail over the past week, with few major commitments. However, there were a few newsworthy items from the high school hoops world lately and they are detailed below.
First off, the Oklahoma High School Sports Express reported that Stevie Clark of Douglass (OK) had signed his Letter of Intent to attend Oklahoma State. Clark is a 5-foot-10 point guard and he is ranked as the No. 101 player in the NBE Sports Class of 2013 Post-July Top 125. He is the second talented guard to pledge to the Cowboys recently, joining 6-foot-2 shooting guard Detrick Mostella of La Lumiere (IN).
Jeff Tarpley of AggieYell.com had the news that Tony Trocha inked with Texas A&M. Trocha is a 6-foot-10 center from Colombia who attends Saint Thomas (TX). The long post player has some definite upside and Scout.com’s Evan Daniels reported that he may enroll in College Station this season.
Class of 2013 stud Julius Randle will be out for three months with a fractured right foot, per Jason Jordan of USA Today. Randle, a 6-foot-9 power forward from Prestonwood Christian (TX), is ranked No. 5 in the NBE Sports 2013 Top 125.
By Sherwyn Cooper
Rashad Richardson led his Kiski Cougars to a huge upset win over one of the nations premier basketball prep programs, Brewster Academy (Game High 29 points) on Saturday night. It was evident in the 6’5 swingman’s demeanor there was something he was out to prove. According to his coaches, Richardson informed them that a local recruiting report in Indiana had him as there #1 prospect until former Indiana signee Ron Patterson (Syracuse-Commit ) decided to take a prep year at Brewster Academy, pushing him to the #2 spot. While they insist there is no personal hard feelings between Patterson and Richardson, Rashad took the match up as chance to prove his worth.
After the biggest surprise performance at the National Prep Showcase, Richardson called his high school coaches Tuesday night and informed them both he and his father would like to reopen his recruitment. Richardson, a virtual unknown outside the state of Indiana, had verbally committed to IUPUI and had plan to sign his Letter of Intent on Monday after the prep showcase. Since decommitting Duquesne, Pittsburgh, Utah, Manhattan and Rutgers have expressed interest in Richardson with IUPUI still in the mix.
RECRUITING NOTEBOOK (11/19/2012): ROBERSON, ANYA, HAMILTON, MEEKS, MOSTELLA & MORE OFF THE ’13 BOARD
by Alex Schwartz
Friday was a huge day in the world of high school hoops. In a matter of about an hour on Friday evening, four of the top 50 players in the NBE Sports Class of 2013 Post-July Top 125 made their decisions.
The biggest coup of the bunch was UTEP landing Isaac Hamilton of St. John Bosco (CA). The 6-foot-5 shooting guard and younger brother of the Denver Nuggets’ Jordan Hamilton, Isaac has a chance to be an absolute star for the Miners.
Hamilton is ranked No. 7 in the NBE Sports Class of 2013 Post-July Top 125 and he picked UTEP over schools such as UCLA and UNLV, amongst others. He announced his decision live on ESPNU.
Once Indiana withdrew from BeeJay Anya’s recruitment, it was nearly a foregone conclusion that the 6-foot-8 center would pick North Carolina State. However, that does not make the addition of the DeMatha (MD) star any less significant for the Wolfpack.
Now that the Class of 2013 is able to sign their Letters of Intents to officialy close their recruitment, the Class of 2014 will move more toward the focus of coaches, fans and scouts. The recruitment of the big men in any class is usually the slowest to come into focus, however one talented big man in the Class of 2014 has already gathered a strong following of interested college programs.
6-foot-10, 210-pound Andre Walker caught the eye of NBE reporters a few times last summer on the AAU trail as the Bullis School (MD) prospect was on the circuit with the always talented DC Assault program. Now back in the home environment of his high school, plenty of schools have made contact to let him know they will be following his development.
D’Angelo Russell has solidified his position as one of the lite prospects in the Class of 2014 at every stop on the summer and spring AAU trail and throughout a decorated high school and prep career. The current Montverde (FL) Academy standout completed the summer ranked #12 by NBE’s National Recruiting Analyst Brian Bosworth in the NBE Class of 2014 Post-July Top 75.
Russell has the complete skill package as a 6-foot-4+, 180-pound shooting guard. He can create off the bounce for himself and others. He is strong enough to get to the rim and finish through contact and he can hit the perimeter shot consistently out past the three-point arc. Russell is also not afraid to defend and will do so with effort consistently. While his goal is to win a national title with Montverde this season, he can’t help but look forward to his final year on the AAU circuit ahead where he will plans to either play with E1T1 out of Florida or All-Ohio Red closer to his home in Kentucky.
by Alex Schwartz
It is rare that the biggest news to come out of signing week involves a player who cannot sign a Letter of Intent for another two years, but one could argue that is the case thus far. That is partially due to the lack of major commitments and partially due to the fact that the news from the sophomore class is pretty big.
Here is a look at some of the bigger stories of the week, some from yesterday, the first day of the early signing period, and some from the days leading up to it.
We start it with the aforementioned sophomore who has grabbed the headlines. In news that looks to have been first reported by Joseph Thompson of SEC Basketball Recruiting, Karl Towns, Jr. has decided to announce his college decision on December 4th. A 6-foot-10 power forward/center out of St. Joseph’s Metuchen (NJ), Towns is one of the best prospects in the nation regardless of class. He is ranked No. 3 in the NBE Sports Class of 2015 Post-July Top 25.
Towns has most of the nation’s elite programs coming after him and basically has his selection of schools. There has long been some chatter about Kentucky when it comes to Towns and the Wildcats could be the favorite here.