NBE Basketball Report
Connecticut Recruiting

LIVE IN AC – DAY I REPORT

July 25, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

by Alex Schwartz

GALLOWAY, N.J. – The third and final Live Period of July is underway and NBE Sports is back on the road.

On Wednesday, we took in the action at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey for the Live In AC event.

The way Abdul-Malik Abu has played this summer despite fasting for Ramadan is extremely impressive. The 6-foot-7 power forward has shown no signs of exhaustion and played quite well. A class of 2014 recruit, Abu is a powerful player with a good build who moves well on the hardwood. The Kimball Union Academy (NH) prospect can throw down some major one-handed dunks, is fairly active on defense and can be vocal at times on the court. The Expressions Elite standout has really improved as a player over the past year, and even the past couple months.

Eric Anderson of The Haverford School (PA) is a player who simply knows how to get the job done. A 6-foot-6 small forward who runs with the Jersey Shore Warriors, Anderson has a pretty solid build and can shoot the ball some. He works in the post well and is capable of sliding to the four if needed. Anderson, a class of 2014 prospect, plays hard and also showed the ability to provide a bit of assistance at the point guard position.
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KHADEEN CARRINGTON REMAINS OPEN; PLANS AUGUST VISIT TO CINCINNATI

July 23, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

by Alex Schwartz

WASHINGTON – The 2013 Nike Global Challenge featured just one native New Yorker who actually goes to high school in the Empire State: Khadeen Carrington.

NBE Sports caught up with the class of 2014 prospect on the final day of the event to talk about his recruitment and his game.

Carrington listed scholarship offers from Connecticut, St. John’s, Wake Forest, and Seton Hall. He said Virginia is another showing interest in him, as well as others he could not recall.

At this point in time, there are no schools standing out to Carrington.

“No, no favorites,” he said. “I’m just weighing my options right now, [I will] see what’s best for me.”

UConn and St. John’s are the only two schools Carrington said he has visited so far. He is looking to take a visit to Cincinnati next month, noting, “It’s planned already, I just got to confirm it with the coach.”

Carrington went on to share just what it is that he would like to find in the place he will call home after high school.

“I’m looking for great coaches,” Carrington said, “great people to be around, somewhere I could develop my game.”

The 6-foot-2 shooting guard also has a certain style of play that he would like to be a part of at the next level.

“Yeah, I like to go up and down,” Carrington said. “I like to play in the open court. That’s how I get most of my buckets.”

One thing that will not play much of a part of Carrington’s college selection is where a school is located.

“If somewhere far is the best situation for me, I’ll go,” Carrington said. “It’s not really a factor for me.”

Carrington went on to share whether he plans on creating a shorter list of schools at some point before he goes ahead and makes his college decision.

“Yeah, I’m going to cut my list down, Carrington said. “I plan on committing before the school season, probably get it out of the way.”

The rising senior would like to sign his paperwork in the early period and talked about why that is the case.

“So I could stay focused,” Carrington explained, “not have to worry about visiting schools, anything like that.”

Asked if there are any coaches he has developed the best relationships with so far, Carrington responded, “No, all the coaches I talk to right now, they’re pretty cool.”

There are a few schools in particular that Carrington has noticed following him the most on the circuit this month.

“In July, Cincinnati, Seton Hall has been there a lot, Wake Forest,” Carrington said. “That’s three that’s been watching me a lot.”

Carrington also spent some time discussing the type of player he is on the hardwood.

“Getting to the rim,” Carrington said of his primary strength. “I like to get out in the open court, get fouls, go to the foul line. I like to go up and down.”

As for the other side of spectrum said, “The weakest is having a consistent jump shot. I got to work on that in August, getting ready for the season.”

Carrington also shared what he is doing to improve his jumper.

“I take shots every day, take shots on the gun, shots off the dribble,” Carrington said. “That’s what I do.”

Finally, Carrington discussed what it meant to him to wear the red, white and blue of the United States at the Nike Global Challenge.

“It means a lot, a lot of great players wore the USA colors and I’m just another one,” Carrington said. “It’s a great opportunity.”

NIKE GLOBAL CHALLENGE: USA WEST EDGES USA SOUTH FOR TITLE

July 22, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

by Alex Schwartz
WASHINGTON – The Nike Global Challenge came to a close on Saturday, with USA West winning 98-95 over USA South to take the crown.

NBE Sports was in the house to take in the action from three of the day’s four games. While there, we put together some observations of players in attendance, tracked what coaches were in the gym and talked to a few players for recruiting updates.

Due to his religious beliefs and practices, Abdul-Malik Abu is fasting from sunrise to sunset during the July Live Periods for Ramadan. Despite playing without eating or drinking, the 6-foot-8 power forward was productive and showed off a quality motor. A class of 2014 recruit from Kimball Union Academy (NH), Abu has a good build and is tough in the post. Abu, who was playing for Team Pan-Africa, also showed that he has some ability to step out and shoot the ball, even if that is not his forte.

Indiana-commit James Blackmon of Bishop Luers (IN) was easily one of the best shooters at the entire event. An elite marksman from beyond the arc, the 6-foot-2 shooting guard is lethal when left open. Blackmon, a class of 2014 prospect, can get hot in a hurry and is capable of putting on a show when he is in the groove, as he was on Saturday for Team USA Midwest.

Bonzie Colson of St. Andrew’s (RI) is an undersized power forward at 6-foot-5, but he can flat our produce. The class of 2014 recruit was pretty productive for Team USA East and displayed the ability to score down low. His thick build helps him make up for what he lacks in height and he can use his frame to his advantage.

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HOOP GROUP SUMMER CLASSIC EAST REPORT

July 18, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

by Alex Schwartz

KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa. – With one Live Period in the books, the second of the month got underway yesterday night. NBE Sports was in the house at the Competitive Edge Sports Complex for The Hoop Group Summer Classic East.

While there, we had the chance to see five games featuring teams from the Northeast and took down some notes on player performances as well as tracked what college coaches were in the gym.

Bryce Aiken checks in at just 5-foot-9, but the class of 2016 prospect is a player. Aiken, who runs with the Team Scan 16s, is pretty quick and can get to the cup off the dribble. He is a crafty player who is capable of shooting it from long range some. Aiken is reportedly transferring to The Patrick School (NJ) for his sophomore year.

Mike Auger of the Mass Rivals is someone who certainly looks the part of a player when he is on the hardwood. The 6-foot-6 forward has a great build and fairly long arms. Auger, a class of 2014 prospect, needs to work on polishing up his overall skill set.
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REEBOK BREAKOUT CLASSIC — FINAL REPORT

July 15, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

by Alex Schwartz

PHILADELPHIA – The 2013 Reebok Breakout Classic came to an end on Friday and NBE Sports was in attendance yet again.

Each team played three games and we were able to see nine of them in action. The day was capped off by a fast-paced, high-scoring all-star game at night.

Chris Clover is a class of 2015 shooting guard from St. Joseph’s Prep (PA) who possesses a quality frame. The 6-foot-4 rising junior has a pretty nice looking stroke and can connect from beyond the arc.

Jeremiah Jefferson of Kennedale (TX) is player who finds ways to produce could have made a strong case for being in the all-star game. A 6-foot-2 scoring combo guard, Jefferson is a quality shooter who is capable of getting his points from all three levels.

The main thing that elite 2015 small forward Derrick Jones needs to do is add a consistent jump shot to his arsenal. The 6-foot-5 prospect from Archbishop Carroll (PA) did knock down a couple of 3-pointers on Friday, though. However, his calling card is still clearly his elite athleticism. Jones is tough to keep out of the paint, has good body control, uses the baseline well, and is a big-time dunker.

Trayvond Massenburg, a 6-foot-8 power forward from local Vaux (PA), is a player who is capable of scoring in the paint and also has the ability to step out and shoot it some. The class of 2014 prospect has a frame that should be able to add some muscle.

Emmanuel Mudiay was co-MVP of the all-star game and deservedly so. The 6-foot-5 point guard from Prime Prep (TX) got to the rim at will and was basically impossible to stop off the bounce. The class of 2014 recruit has superb body control at the rim and is a major athlete overall.

Future Maryland Terrapin Jared Nickens of the Westtown School (PA) has really broadened his offensive game over the past year. A 6-foot-6 class of 2014 prospect who can play shooting guard or small forward, Nickens has really improved his ability to score off the bounce. He possesses a nice shooting stroke, as noted in the Day I recap, and has a pretty smooth game.
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DUKE, LOUISVILLE, FLORIDA, NORTH CAROLIN LATEST TO JOIN RECRUITMENT OF DEVIN ROBINSON

July 15, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

by Alex Schwartz

PHILADELPHIA – Devin Robinson of Christchurch (VA) is a player who really saw his stock skyrocket in the spring and now is loaded with high-major looks.

The class of 2014 prospect spoke about his recruitment and more while at the Reebok Breakout Classic.

Robinson listed scholarship offers from Indiana, Connecticut, Providence, Florida State, Rutgers, VCU, Virginia Tech, Notre Dame and Miami, noting that there are others as well.

In addition, the 6-foot-8 prospect said that there are a few schools expressing interest that have yet to offer him.

Duke just came on the scene,” Robinson began, “Louisville, Florida, and UNC are the newest.”

Robinson went on to talk about what those schools are waiting on before extending him a scholarship opportunity.

“They just got to see me more,” Robinson said. “I don’t think they have seen me in-person yet. So, they’re just looking to come out in the July period and see me play in-person.”

At this point, Robinson claims no favorites and said that all of the schools are coming at him equally hard.

Robinson has been on unofficial visits to Georgetown, Virginia Tech and VCU thus far and has no other trips planned.

The rising senior does not have a commitment timetable and also has not considered whether he would like to sign early or late.

As for what he is looking for in a school, Robinson said, “Great coaching staff, a playing style that fits me, if I’m going to actually play, great campus, fans, and all the above.”

Robinson went on to elaborate a bit on just what style of play he is trying to find in a college program.

“I like the run and gun, I like getting up and down the floor,” Robinson said.

The Old Dominion State wing noted that location will not be a factor for him in his collegiate decision.

Robinson also spent some time talking about his game, including what he feels he does best on the court.

“Strongest part is [that] I’m a great team player,” Robinson said. “I like to get my teammates involved, I’m a leader and I can shoot the ball a little bit.”

On the other side, Robinson said, “Weakest [part is] probably my strength. I got to play [with] more of a high motor [as well].”

Lastly, Robinson discussed what he is looking to accomplish this summer.

“My goal for the summer is just to finish off [at the] top of my class,” Robinson said.

WADE BALDWIN SEEING RECRUITING CONSISTENLY RISE WITH STRONG PLAY

July 12, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

by Alex Schwartz

PHILADELPHIA – Wade Baldwin of St. Joseph’s Metuchen (NJ) is one of the best players in the Garden State in the class of 2014.

A 6-foot-3 combo guard, Baldwin took the time to speak with NBE Sports about his recruitment while at the Reebok Breakout Classic.

Baldwin said that he holds offers from Virginia Tech, Rutgers, Seton Hall, and Minnesota.

The rising senior, who claims no favorites, listed USC, Stanford, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech, Seton Hall, Rutgers, and Georgia Tech as the programs coming at him the hardest. He also mentioned that UConn is involved in his recruitment.

Asked if there are one or two schools pursuing him the most vigorously, Baldwin replied, “No, it’s pretty much all together [even], so they said expect an offer from them and all that. So, we’ll see.”

Baldwin said that a school’s location is “not at all” a factor for him in his recruitment, but talked about what he is looking for in a college.

“Just a player and coach relationship,” Baldwin began, “good campus life and somewhere that’s going to set me up for the following years.”

Although his relationship with coaches is vital to him, he said there is “no one in particular” with whom he has developed the strongest bond.

Baldwin said he has been on unofficial visits to Rutgers, Seton Hall, Virginia Tech, and West Virginia, adding, “that’s all I remember right now.”

He has yet to take any official trips, but plans to change that in the near future.

“I’m doing all the officials in August,” Baldwin said, adding that he does not have any scheduled.

Baldwin did say that he knows where he would like to visit unofficial, but would not reveal the names.

“That’s a secret right now,” Baldwin said.

With the first July Live Period just getting underway, Baldwin also talked about what his goals for the summer are.

“Just making my teammates better,” Baldwin said, “obviously picking up more looks for myself and improving in everything in my game.”

Baldwin said of the strongest points of his game, “I think [they are] attacking the basket and distributing the ball.”

As for his chief weakness, he did not want that to be known, saying, “I don’t want to give that out.”

2013 NBPA TOP 100 HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL CAMP — FINAL RECRUITING NOTES

June 17, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

By Matt Whitfield, Mid-Atlantic Recruiting Analyst

The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA)’s 20th Anniversary of the NBPA Top 100 High School Basketball Camp kicked off Wednesday at the University of Virginia’s John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville and concluded over the weekend. Media was allowed to begin attending sessions on Thursday and NBE was back on the road and in attendence.

The NBPA Top 100 High School Basketball Camp was created by the NBPA in 1994 to assist elite high school student-athletes in the development of their basketball and life skills. Throughout the last 20 years, the Camp has grown into one of the most highly touted and renowned camps of its kind and has seen hundreds of its participants go on to successful NBA careers. You can follow the camp on Twitter @Top100Camp and be sure to follow @NBESports for all of our updates as well.

To close our recruiting updates, NBE caught up with Craig Victor, Satchel Pierce, Khadeem Lattin, Abdul-Malik Abu, Brandone Francis, Skal Labissiere, Chinanu Onuaku, Kevon Looney, Trevon Blueitt and Trayvon Reed, which you can see below…

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2013 NBPA TOP 100 HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL CAMP — RECRUITING NOTES (PART I)

June 13, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

By Matt Whitfield, Mid-Atlantic Recruiting Analyst

The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA)’s 20th Anniversary of the NBPA Top 100 High School Basketball Camp kicked off Wednesday at the University of Virginia’s John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville. Media was allowed to begin attending sessions on Thursday and NBE was back on the road and in attendence.

The NBPA Top 100 High School Basketball Camp was created by the NBPA in 1994 to assist elite high school student-athletes in the development of their basketball and life skills. Throughout the last 20 years, the Camp has grown into one of the most highly touted and renowned camps of its kind and has seen hundreds of its participants go on to successful NBA careers. You can follow the camp on Twitter @Top100Camp and be sure to follow @NBESports for all of our updates as well.

IN our first recruiting notebook we take a look at the latest from

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RECRUITING NOTEBOOK (1/25/2013): BERRY GIVES TAR HEELS HEAD START ON ’14 CLASS & MORE RECRUIT NEWS

January 25, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

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.

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RECRUITING NOTEBOOK (1/14/2013): ACTION HEATING UP ON RECRUITING TRAIL

January 14, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

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.

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NEW YEAR’S JUMP-OFF EVENT RECAP

January 7, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

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.

TOP PERFORMER

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.

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RECRUITING NOTEBOOK (12/20/2012): JABARI PARKER DECISION NEARING; DAKARI JOHNSON CUTS LIST TO THREE

December 20, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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).

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2012 VILLA CLASSIC RECAP

December 17, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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.

TOP PERFORMER

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.

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RECRUITING NOTEBOOK (10/22/2012): COMMITMENTS BEGIN TO SLOW

October 22, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

 

by Alex Schwartz

Commitments seem to have slowed down a bit over the past several days, but that does not mean we have been without any whatsoever.

In fact, while the total number may be smaller, a few superb seniors did take their names off the board since our last Recruiting Notebook. One Big 12 school landed a top-40 player, while a former Big 12 school also landed itself a top-40 player.

Jonathan Williams III was the top player to commit recently, and he is a huge pickup for the Missouri Tigers. A talented 6-foot-8 power forward, Williams is ranked No. 26 in the NBE Sports Class of 2013 Post-July Top 125. The Southwind (TN) star joins the long list of highly ranked 2013 prospects headed to SEC programs.

Baylor also picked up a major pledge, garnering a verbal commitment from Ishmail Wainright. The 6-foot-5 small forward was at one point briefly committed to Missouri, but then reopened his recruitment.

Wainright is a native of the Show Me State, but he transferred to Montrose Christian (MD) for his junior year and remains that for his final year of high school. He is ranked No. 32 in the NBE Sports 2013 Top 125. The news of his commitment was first reported by Alex Kline of TheRecruitScoop.com.

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RECRUITING NOTEBOOK (10/11/12) — COMMITMENT ROLL CONTINUES

October 11, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

*********Follow NBE Sports on Twitter: http://twitter.com/NBESports*****

by Alex Schwartz

Major commitments have continued to roll in over the past few days and there does not appear to be an end coming in the near future.

The biggest commitment to come down since Monday’s Recruiting Notebook was that of Karviar Shepherd. Not only is Shepherd a high-level prospect, but he has a chance to be somewhat a program changer at his future institution.

Shepherd, a 6-foot-9 center out of Prime Prep (TX), ended his recruitment by pledging to in-state TCU, according to ESPN.com’s Reggie Rankin. The Horned Frogs are entering their first year in a BCS conference and are also under a first year head coach. However, Trent Johnson now has himself a player to build around in the Big 12, as Shepherd is ranked No. 14 in the NBE Sports Class of 2013 Post-July Top 125.

Shepherd showed at that 2012 Adidas Invitational last July his ability to score with both hands, make great passes from the post and refined footwork that most college big men would be jealous of. Shepherd also protects the rim and rebounds both ends of the floor at an elite level. NBE’s National Recruiting Analyst also wrote that Shepherd has the potential to be a dominant low post scorer at the college level after watching him perform in Indianapolis to kick off the July evaluation periods.
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Mernagh: Set up for Failure? Ollie’s History Suggests Otherwise

September 23, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Kevin Ollie wanted a chance to coach his alma mater and now he’s gotten it…in the form of a one season contract.

Everyone has an opinion on the deal, and most fall somewhere within the range of he’s being set up to fail to the Husky roster isn’t nearly talented enough for him to succeed.

The problem with the first opinion, which seems to be the consensus, is that it completely fails to take the man into consideration. Kevin Ollie and his history suggest the opposite.

The second opinion is garbage.
But let’s start with the man in question, Kevin Ollie, and his history.

Ollie came out of Crenshaw High School in L.A., where he displayed a steely resolve to stay out of trouble off the court, but also a toughness on the court that made him an attractive recruit to then UConn assistant Howie Dickenman. Ollie was the unquestioned leader of three Husky squads before graduating. Most thought he would play overseas for a while, especially after not being drafted, before going into business or coaching. Ollie ignored the perception surrounding his hoops future and did what he’s always done. He went to work. First the CBA, and then incredibly, the NBA.

Below is the list of teams Ollie played for in his 13 year career.
97-98 Orlando
97-98 Dallas
98-99 Orlando
98-99 Sacramento
99-00 Philadelphia
00-01 Philadelphia
00-01 New Jersey
01-02 Indiana
01-02 Chicago
02-03 Seattle
02-03 Milwaukee
03-04 Cleveland
04-05 Philadelphia
05-06 Philadelphia
06-07 Philadelphia
07-08 Philadelphia
08-09 Minnesota
09-10 Oklahoma

That list represents a lot of 10 day contracts parlayed into full seasons and the value placed on Ollie’s kind of leadership inside NBA locker rooms. It’s a tale of Ollie receiving a lot of calls come spring or summer from GM’s offering employment, because they knew that Ollie’s ego was non-existent and that he’d do the job on the court when called upon. That’s being a highly respected pro. A team-first guy in a league that seems to acquire its fair share of me-first guys.

Ollie’s first year on the bench beside Jim Calhoun resulted in a national title. Talking with him in the bowels of the Garden after UConn beat Pitt on Thursday of that crazy week, I asked him if he thought that team – a team that finished ninth in the regular season – could win the Big East Tournament. He held my gaze for a second or two and responded, “I think we can win the whole thing!”

He was talking about the NCAA Tournament. And of course, they did win it all, reeling off wins on Friday and Saturday in NYC, followed by six more on their way to Jim Calhoun’s third title.

Eleven straight wins, and following the third of eleven, Ollie was already preaching that the impossible was possible.

Telling Kemba Walker he was the best player in the country. Telling Jeremy Lamb that he couldn’t be stopped. Telling Roscoe Smith that nobody could box him out. Telling Tyler Olander they needed big things from him. Telling Shabazz Napier that he was a key. Telling all of them that the workouts they’d gone through together were about to pay off. The list goes on but basically Ollie was preaching the gospel according to KO. A guy that turned one or two isolated and minute chances into a 13 year NBA career.

And about that dearth of talent?

Tyler Olander had offers from Florida, Notre Dame, Virginia, Wake and Rhode Island.

Ryan Boatright has proven he’s special and had Oklahoma, UNLV and WVU wanting him.

Napier’s played a key role on a championship team and seen what happened the following disappointing year.

DeAndre Daniels had lightweights like Duke, Kansas, Florida, and Kentucky after him and was a top-10 talent.

Phil Nolan had offers from a myriad of high majors despite a transient high school career.

Omar Calhoun had everyone offering except Kentucky and UNC.

The roster has three top 40 players, plus role players in Niels Giffey and RJ Evans.

Last year’s team had two lottery picks and went 9-13 after an 11-1 start. This team is thin upfront but so are most of the teams they’ll go to battle against. Ollie will put guys in position to score with a perimeter heavy lineup.

So what if Ollie wins the same amount of games as last year’s group or even a few less minus two lottery picks?

Who’s in a better position come April when his contract expires?

Manuel, a new AD whose signature program had success despite a coach under a 7-month contract who really couldn’t, in good faith, recruit over that time span (despite getting a miraculous in-home visit with Jabari Parker and family). All of a sudden he’s a guy who has to decide whether to extend the favorite son who everyone loves or roll the dice on someone wanting the job who’s better.

Or Kevin Ollie? A free agent coach who got a group of kids with no postseason prospects to ball out. Who now has high major head coaching experience, to go along with strong ties to the NBA, and roots on both coasts.

If Ollie has success, with his personality and experience, there will be strong interest in him.

So, you can go ahead and believe that Warde Manuel has set Kevin Ollie up to fail if you want. That’s your prerogative.
The belief here, until proven otherwise, is that this decision will end up costing UConn.

Hopefully for the Husky Nation, it will only cost them in the pocketbook when they have to dig deep to keep Kevin Ollie. Because the man’s history has proven it’s unwise to bet against him…and when you really think about it, that’s kind of what his boss has done.

CLASS OF 2013 POST-JULY TOP 125

August 14, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

*********Follow NBE Sports on Twitter: http://twitter.com/NBESports*****

By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst

With stops during the month of July at the Hoop Group Elite Camp, Adidas Invitational, Nike Peach Jam, Nike Invitational and Live in AC…NBE’s National Recruiting Analyst Brian Bosworth is ready to release his Class of 2013 National Top 125. The list has exanded from the Pre-July Period Top 75 and also includes a new #1 player in the class.

The Class of 2013 certainly flexed their muscles on the camp and AAU circuit all July. The class is widely regarded as one of the best in recent memory with a deep pool of talent, especially near the top.

Read on below to see the current rankings as we begin to prepare for the 2012-2013 prep and high school season which will be here before we know it!

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‘LIVE IN AC’ – FINAL REPORT

August 1, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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By Brian Bosworth, National Recruiting Analyst

The inaugural “Live in AC” event came to close by crowning champions at the 15U, 16U and 17U levels last Friday afternoon. The youngster division was taken by Team Final (PA) after a championship game victory over the NJ Playaz. Team Takeover DC swept the two older divisions defeating Expressions Elite (MA) for the 16U crown and Sports U (NJ) for the 17U. Stars from all these programs and others stood out on the road to the title and here is our final report from the Nl Playaz hosted event in Atlantic City.

Top Performance of the Day:

Josh Hart (Team Takeover 2013) – Hart’s physicality and aggression from the wing fuel everything that Takeover wants to do. His constant motor and “whatever it takes to win” attitude are a perfect fit for the hardnosed program. Offensively Hart puts pressure on the opposition with straight line drives at the rim. He finishes with both hands and welcomes contact once in the paint. On the defensive side of the ball he often takes the challenge of the other team’s top scorer and has the ability to be a shut down type guy. Hart also rebounds extremely well for his position often starting the break after a defensive board.
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ORLANDO AAU REPORT — SUNDAY

July 30, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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by Alex Schwartz

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Sunday was the final day of the last Live Evaluation Period of July. While the turnout was not as high, there were still a number of Division I coaches in the gym until they had to leave a 5:00 p.m. NBE Sports took in much of the action on Sunday and all but one of the games we watched was from non-Gold Pool teams, allowing us to catch some sleepers. Find out below who shined in their last chance of the summer and also see who leads for a trio of 2013 prospects.

TOP PERFORMER

Nigel Hayes stood out as the easy pick for the top performer spot from Sunday’s action. A 6’7 power forward from Whitmer (OH), Hayes turned in a really nice showing for All-Ohio Red. Hayes has had a great summer and he continued his strong play on Sunday, demonstrating a vastly improved offensive skill set and better motor. Hayes has a terrific frame and is a strong player. He is a quality scorer who can connect on midrange jumpers and is also very comfortable with his back to the basket. Hayes even showed that he has the ability to step out and knock down a shot from beyond the 3-point line. He is a solid overall athlete and it is clear that Hayes is on the upswing as a player and a prospect.
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