This is the third of four installments of the July roundtable series with Big East bloggers. I'm flipping the order slightly and continuing with recruiting. Today is the first day of the second July live evaluation period for coaches; so a good amount of rumor, speculation, and even some commits will be posted on blogs and that Twitter thing that the kids are doing these days.
So to get you prepared - or to let you know that the intel we have on who is being targeted is going to be outdated in a month - this post will cover the players we think/ know our schools to covet. And also to keep you in the know, some recruiting links:
- Dana O'Neil of ESPN with a survey of 20 coaches on what's wrong with college basketball recruiting
- The web page for the Las Vegas Fab 48 AAU event
- The web page for the Adidas Super 64 AAU event (also in Las Vegas)
Below, get to know the 2011 players already committed, and the raft of ballers the lower-tier schools are looking at to fill up their scholarships... and hopefully carry the schools to surprising heights.
Tomorrow will be the look at the Big East and whether it is "down," and what the idea of a "down" Big East would entail.
Q3: How is the recruiting for 2011 going? Who is your team looking at?
answers, after the jump.
Rumble in the Garden: Ah, 2011. St. John’s has 9 scholarships (at least) to give out for the 2011 season, and a fairly late start on the 2011 kids. The top players have started to commit (and decommit), the staff has had to evaluate on the fly and offer players they haven’t yet seen, and there are no 2011 commitments yet. The former coach had local point guard Davontay Grace verbally committed… but he and the school parted ways, at least for now.
In context: the returning players with experience in 2011 will be one wing who might be an impact player (Dwayne Polee), one off-guard who the jury is out on (Quincy Roberts), and one point guard who made very little impact last year (Malik Stith). So the team is looking at everyone and everything that can dribble a basketball and put it in the hoop.
The staff is serious about Arizona’s Nick Johnson, NY wing Maurice Harkless, Cali forwards Norvel Pelle, Amir Garrett, and guard Cezar Guerrero, NJ guard Myles Mack, Ohio’s JaKarr Sampson, Baltimore’s Durand Johnson, JUCO F God’s Gift Achiuwa, NY’s Tavon Sledge, guard Mike Taylor, Kelvin Amayo, and possibly Kadeem Jack if they can figure out a way around the NCAA’s new rule about former coaches on the lower end of a staff for a 2 year period. And they’re looking at some guys I don’t think they’ll get - Jahii Carson, Jabari Brown, Josiah Turner, Quinn Cook. A lot of names come up, and will keep coming up, as they try to find 5 or so immediate starters in one class, and some players to develop for later. They will likely/ hopefully pocket a scholarship or two for 2012, but we will see.
One would like to see a few more big men targeted, but the team may have to play a wing-oriented system for some time as they ramp up the recruiting. In addition, the 2012 class has a number of elite big men that the staff would like to target.
Cracked Sidewalks: At this point we're still waiting to see how things shake out for the 2011 class. MU is in on a bunch of top level guys perhaps a dozen in the Top 100 if not more... Rodney Hood, Branden Dawson, Nick Faust, Josiah Turner, Jahii Carson, Mike Shaw, BJ Young and more. There's no real discernible pattern with what we're going after other than talent....and perhaps none of them really being inside players.
It's going to be awhile before things are said and done for this class, several of these guys are waiting until spring to make their decisions, so we probably won't know anything for sure until this season is over. That said, with just three tenders available for next year’s incoming class we expect (hope?) MU will sign an athletic power forward who is an "out of area" rebounder, a deadeye shooter, and a bigger point guard.
Villanova Wildcats logo" align="left" />The Nova Blog: 2011 has to be considered a success so far for 'Nova. We landed sharp-shooting Achraf Yacoubou from Long Island very early on, and his good friend Tyrone Johnson, a big PG whose stock is rising considerably, just pledged to us a couple of weeks ago. I think right now our best bets to fill out the class are SG Myles Davis and big man Desmond Hubert. Hubert would be priority 1 in my eyes.
VUHoops: Right now 2011 is looking great. Coach Wright's top priority was to add a point guard who could take over if Maalik Wayns were to have a huge year and cash in. Tyrone Johnson appears to be that guard. We also have Markus Kennedy coming in in 2011 now to bolster the frontline and Achraf Yacoubou on the wing.
Beyond that, Wright is still going after guys like Desmond Hubert, a stud Center from New Jersey, Greg Lewis, another center prospect and Jermaine Sanders, a small forward from New York.
I have no idea if Jay Wright is still trying to recruit guys like Quinn Cook or Tony Wroten, but he has made an offer to Myles Davis, the sharp-shooting guard from Jersey City, so the 'Cats won't shy away from adding more talent to the backcourt. I guess when something is in your wheelhouse, you swing at it.
Georgetown Hoyas logo" align="left" />Hoya Prospectus: Recruiting for next year's freshmen is up in the air for the Hoyas, as it is for most schools right now. The difference is that for the Hoyas, the off-season has been a bit more volatile than most.
The good news on the recruiting front for the Hoyas is that they are listed with as many top players as I've seen since Thompson, III, first came to Georgetown, and maybe more.
The bad news is that the staff has recently lost two members. David Cox, an assistant coach whose background includes local AAU powerhouse DC Assault, went to Rutgers to be Associate Head Coach under Mike Rice. Matt Henry, the team's Director of Basketball Operations, also left.
The effect of Cox leaving is short-term, rather than long-term. While the Hoyas have already replaced him with an extremely experienced and able assistant in Robert Kirby of Mississippi State (known as a bulldog of a recruiter), Cox was the primary assistant on probably about half of the Hoyas' targets, including Tyrone Johnson (who committed to Villanova) and Rakeem Christmas.
How much affect Cox leaving will have/had on his recruits' decision will likely never be known, but the staff probably has some relationship-building to work on if Cox was the primary contact.
The indeterminate news is that Hoyas have no commits as of yet. They are likely looking to secure four commitments -- possibly two bigs, a wing and a guard. We'll know a lot more as AAU season comes to an end.
DePaul Blue Demons logo" align="right" width="150" height="100" />Chicago College Basketball: With a new coach on the scene and many scholarships to fill the Blue Demons are hot on the recruiting trail already. At the beginning of the summer DePaul got a commitment from Jamie Crockett, a small forward from Chicago. Crockett plays AAU basketball for the Mac Irvin Fire, which has a number of other top recruits in the 2011 class on it.
Thus, DePaul is mixing it up for a number of high-profile Chicago-area talents including Chasson Randle, Mike Shaw, Phillip Greene and Macari Brooks. Shaw would be the big get as he would instantly give DePaul a highly-rated presence in the middle, which the team is sorely lacking at the moment.
Blue Demons Nation: DePaul has one verbal commitment for 2011 thus far; 6’3 wing Jamie Crockett out of Crete/Monee in the Chicago suburbs. Crockett is considered one of Illinois’ best athletes on the court, and has shown marked improvement in his game. More importantly, he is a Mac Irvin Fire player, an AAU program that initially voiced some concerns about the DePaul hire of Oliver Purnell and subsequently, his staff.
Besides Crockett, DePaul is focusing heavily on Illinois, as well as in the DC area, where Purnell, along with assistant coach Brian Ellerbe have strong ties. Same names being linked to DePaul are Ryan Boatright, Mike Shaw, Phil Greene, Myles Mack, Durand Johnson, Derrick Randall, Jerome Seagears, Bishop Daniels, and Trey McDonald. DePaul is actively involved with multiple Big East caliber players, something that perhaps could not be said over the past few years, as the previous staff seemed interested in diamond in the rough type prospects.
Cincinnati Bearcats logo" align="right" />Bearcats Blog: UC already had 2 recruits for '11, in PG Ge'Lawn Guyn (yeah), and SG Khristian Smith, who is not the only Khristian in the class. Both are rated kinda well so far.
UC was in the mix for Marquis Teague, but they were a longshot after Kentucky and Louisville.
Pittsburgh Panthers logo" align="left" />Cardiac Hill: Pitt's 2011 recruiting is going reasonably well with two recruits, John Johnson and Jaylen Bond, providing verbal commitments. Both are ranked as three-star recruits by the major scouting services, Rivals and Scout. Johnson is an athletic guard out of Philadelphia who committed last Fall and his stock has been rising lately. Bond is a 6'7" forward also out of Pennsylvania who recently committed this spring. Neither is considered to be among the elite prospects yet, but as with any recruit, that could change with good seasons this Fall.
Pitt is still targeting several highly ranked recruits including some of the top centers in the country in Amir Williams, Mikael Hopkins, and Desmond Hubert. They've got stiff competition for each, however, with schools like Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, UCLA, Syracuse, Georgetown, and Texas reportedly in the mix for them as well.
GonzoBall: Coach Willard and his staff are working hard hitting the tough recruiting trail and not just in the United States. Clearly a vast expansive ocean will not prevent some good players from overseas from coming to Seton Hall.
The first 2011 commit is that of Aaron Cosby from Kentucky in the good Old USA and will be at the guard position. He is a good defender and able ball handler who will be a welcome to Coach Willard’s roster.
The players who Seton Hall are involved with are numerous and the coaching staff is doing a great job of keeping that hush-hush and playing things close to the vest. Next year will be a huge year in terms of recruiting when as many as 5 scholarship players may leave. If Coach Willard thought he had holes to fill this year, he will have gorges to fill next.