General News for September 2015

Visit season has hit full steam and as we enter the month of October, while the list might not be as immense compared the past few weeks due to a large chunk of the 2016 class coming off the board, there is still more than enough trips being planned these next few days that are something to keep an eye on. As we always do, Fastbreak Friday brings to you the most in-depth list of visits that will be taken along with highlight a visitor of the week and potential commitments that could pop in the coming days. However, instead of just a key visitor this week, we dive deep into what is percolating down in Raleigh at NC State.

A name that is beginning to pop up as a pertinent name throughout on the national landscape when it comes to recruiting is Abu Kigab. The 6-foot-6 wing from Canada, who recently transferred into the United States and is now the so-called ‘replacement’ for Josh Jackson at Prolific Prep, after the Michigan native transferred to Justin-Siena High School, has become a commodity recruit for a plethora of the best of programs nationally.

The first annual MakePlayz Breakout Classic went down on Saturday in Richmond, Virginia and brought in some of the best talent from within the state, along with those form the DMV and North Carolina. While there were a lot of known ballplayers like Aamir Simms and Ejike Obinna, a few committed recruits like Demonte Buckingham and Bruce Moore, and others unknowns that made headways like Ben Stanley and Kris Monroe, the day couldn’t have been much better in finding the best of the best out of the Mid-Atlantic. Highlighting the top upperclassmen performers include Devante Carter, Jeremy Sheppard, Jahlil Jenkins, Eddie Scott, and Aamir Simms.

The first annual PlayMakerz Breakout Classic went down on Saturday in Richmond, Virginia and brought in some of the best talent from within the state, along with those form the DMV and North Carolina. While there were a lot of known ballplayers like Aamir Simms and Ejike Obinna, a few committed recruits like Demonte Buckingham and Bruce Moore, and others unknowns that made headways like Ben Stanley and Kris Monroe, the day couldn’t have been much better in finding the best of the best out of the Mid-Atlantic. Highlighting those that broke out from the relative unknown were Josh Carlton, Kaleb Hunter, Ben Stanley, Isaiah Moseley, and Isaiah Todd.

No conference has taken quite the leap on the basketball court like the Southeastern Conference has over the past few years. With new, high-profile head coaches manning the ship for the league, along with the recent influx of talent, the conference hasn’t seen this much promise in decades. Kentucky is Kentucky, but Alabama, Auburn, Mississippi State, LSU, and the rest of the schools are starting to make things interesting on the hardwood.

In the coming days, we will look at the top incoming freshmen for each program with the SEC confines. We will not highlight the most touted 2015 class member, but the guy that will mean the most to the squad’s success and also have the opportunity to leave the largest fingerprint on the program at hand.

FLORIDA

Things are going to look different on the hardwood for Florida this season. For starters, the Mike White era will begin in Gainesville this year, as he replaces longtime head coach Billy Donovan, who made the jump to the NBA. The Gators also bring in three talented freshmen: KeVaughn Allen, Keith Stone, and Kevarrius Hayes.

While all three will see early time, I think Stone is the guy that could be a big impact guy for the Gators once conference play begins. At 6-foot-8, Stone is still scratching the surface of his game. He is skilled for his size and gives White and his staff the opportunity to be creative with the prototypical stretch 4 man. Stone’s versatility and ability to do multiple things on the court allow him to be an impact guy for the Gators. While it may not happen immediately, once Stone gets into the swing of things and acclimates himself to the college game, he could be an X-factor for White in his first year in the Swamp.

KENTUCKY

As usual, Kentucky will roll in several blue-chip prospects this year. In fact, John Calipari adds three five-star prospects and two four-stars, along with one of the top guards from the JUCO ranks. It’s always a little more difficult to pinpoint one player that will emerge from the rest of the stars, but in this case, one player has already made an international statement.

The Wildcats bring in Skal Labissiere, Isaiah Briscoe, Jamal Murray, Charles Matthews, andIsaac Humphries as freshmen this season. None of them have more hype than Murray, who starred during the summer with the Canadian national team during the Pan-American games. With several scorers exiting to the NBA, the door is open for the 6-foot-5 combo guard to come in and be a focal point for Calipari.

Murray showcased his full arsenal in front of the world with Team Canada. He hit shots, excelled at attacking the rim, and distributed the basketball to his teammates during the games. He averaged 16 points, three rebounds, and three assists, while shooting 40 percent from 3-point range – and that’s against professional players as an 18 year-old. Calipari gives his guards freedom to roam, and with the ball in his hands, Murray could be the next great Calipari guard to make the jump as a successful NBA player. Expect him to get touches and opportunities early in his career.

MISSOURI

Missouri had a disappointing 2014-15 campaign, as they finished the season 9-23 and 3-15 in the SEC under first-year head coach Kim Anderson. Luckily for the Tigers, they can only go up from there, and they bring in a proven winner in freshman point guard Terrence Phillips.

Phillips, the younger brother of Brandon Jennings, starred at Oak Hill Academy (VA) during his high school days. He was the catalyst for the premier prep school team, as he set the tone and controlled the offense. The 5-foot-10 setup man is expected to do the same for Missouri. He could see playing time from day 1, and the biggest impact he can bring to the team is his winning background and nature. Missouri lost some close games last season in crunch time. Despite his youth, Anderson and his staff will have big expectations for Phillips. He is the point guard of the future and will log big minutes early. If anyone makes a positive impact on this team, it will be Phillips.

Missouri also brings in KJ Walton, Cullen Vanleer, and Kevin Puryear

Another one of Georgia’s top players in the class of 2016, Douglas County guard Brandon Robinson has come off the board and decided to commit to North Carolina

 

Robinson is coming off of a great summer in which he was a big part of the Georgia Stars winning the Nike EYBL Peach Jam and then showing out with Team Loaded in Las Vegas, where he gained the eyes of a lot of coaches. 

 

But what are the Tar Heels getting in Robinson?

 

First and foremost, they are getting versatility. Robinson is a big guard, at 6-foot-5 and his size allows him to guard multiple positions on the perimeter. Offensively, he can play every position one through three. He is a very capable ball handler, but also is a tremendous passer and decision maker. Don’t be surprised if he gets spot minutes as a point guard over the course of games. 

 

The aspect of his game that has been well-publicized since July is his ability to shoot the basketball. He had a big time shooting week near the end of July in Las Vegas, including a game against Canada Elite where he hit seven triples on his way to 29 points. 

 

Robinson has the potential to be a multi-year starter for the Heels and will likely be a staple in their lineup over the next few years. He is a piece that Roy Williams can win with and will play hard every step of the way for North Carolina. This is a great get for the Tar Heels

 

 

Ole Miss went outside of its geographic reach on Monday and landed its first backcourt commit in the 2016 class with Breein Tyree. The 6-foot-2 guard from St. Joe’s High School in Metuchen, New Jersey, brings a load of talent and playmaking skills to Oxford and should be someone that can help out immediately due to his toughness and broad contributing abilities in the backcourt.

The first annual PlayMakerz Breakout Classic went down on Saturday in Richmond, Virginia and brought in some of the best talent from within the state, along with those form the DMV and North Carolina. While there were a lot of known ballplayers like Aamir Simms and Ejike Obinna, a few committed recruits like Demonte Buckingham and Bruce Moore, and others unknowns that made headways like Ben Stanley and Kris Monroe, the day couldn’t have been much better in finding the best of the best out of the Mid-Atlantic. Highlighting those that stood out the greatest were Bruce Moore, JP Moorman, Ejike Obinna, Noah Locke, and Kris Monroe.

It was another year for the Elite 100 camp in Atlanta, and, again, the camp was loaded with some very talented players from all around the state and across five different classes from 2016 to 2020. Here are a few quick hitters and top performers from the day of action:

·      The youngsters capitalized on the opportunity to be in front of high school competition for the first time. There were a few freshmen that played extremely well today including Kyle Sturdivant, Ashton Hagans, and Jaylen Mason.

·      Despite some good freshmen, don’t discount what their sophomore counterparts did today. Drue Drinnon (East Jackson), Justin Brown (Milton), Travis Anderson (Grayson), Shamari McLeod (Shiloh), and Isaiah Kelly (Pace Academy) all showed signs of progression from their good freshman campaigns.

·      Milton had a few guys that shined today. Alex O’Connell is primed for a breakout year, so it’s no surprise that he played well today. Kyrin Galloway showed that his game has grown, including stretching the range on his jump shot. Also, be on the lookout for Justin Brown, a very tough 2018 guard.

·      There were quite a few sleepers that stood out. Two imparticular that I relaly enjoyed watching were Javon Greene (2017, Henry County) and Colton Collins (2016, Johnson Ferry Christian).

·      The big names did what they continuously do. Darius Perry, Collin Sexton, Rayshaun Hammonds, Drue Drinnon, and Alex O’Connell all had very big reputations coming into the camp and all proved why.

Top Performers

·      Rayshaun Hammonds, 2017, Norcross: Hammonds is becoming a five tool player, and his game is continuing to develop very nicely. There were times today, where he seemed nearly impossible to stop. He scored it from every level while also handling and rebounding the ball very well.

·      Drue Drinnon, 2018, East Jackson: Right off the bat, it was clear that Drinnon is developing into a monster. In a drill, he came off of a ball screen and dunked all over a bigger defender. Mix that kind of athleticism with his skill set and you have a special player in the making.

·      Javon Greene, 2017, Henry County: Greene was probably the biggest surprise of the day. The lefty point guard has the ball on a string and showed that he can be among the state’s better point guards.

·      Justin Brown, 2018, Milton: Brown is a tough, bulldog of a point guard. He plays a physical brand of basketball and can flat out score the basketball. We do not yet have 2018 Georgia rankings, but I expect him to be one of the players on that list.

·      Alex O’Connell, 2017, Milton: Every time I see O’Connell, it seems like he has grown taller. He’s now standing about 6-foot-6 and is still the great athlete that he has been. He is great in the midrange, and can score the ball with the best of them.

·      Kyle Sturdivant, 2019, Norcross: Sturdivant did not look like a freshman at all. He had moments where he looked like a dominant point guard, at times even going right at Norcross teammate Rayshaun Hammonds. He is a gamer and should be an early contributor to what should be a good Norcross team.

·      Shamari McLeod, 2018, Shiloh: McLeod has everything that people like in a young prospect: he’s big, he’s long, and he’s a great athlete. However, today he showed that his skill set is something to be reckoned with. He had one of the best shooting performances of the day. Look for him to emerge as one of the better players in Georgia’s 2018 class.

No one has been hotter on the recruiting trail than the Rhode Island Rams. Dan Hurley and his staff have landed four recruits over the past four weeks and on Sunday, they solidified their class with a quality scorer of the ball in Jeff Dowtin.

The Team Loaded Virginia bunch went out to Las Vegas and won the Adidas Summer Championships this past summer. Sure, the chemistry on the squad was as good as it gets. However, the talent wasn’t lacking and on Sunday, a third commitment was made within the past 12 hours from a member of the team with Jeremy Sheppard. The 5-foot-11 combo guard made it known of his commitment date and settled upon Central Florida as his future home.

Old Dominion struck on the recruiting trail on Sunday morning where they landed a massive sleeper from nearby Williamsburg, Virginia. A 6-foot-5, playmaking guard with great length and size for his spot on the floor, Xavier Green opted to become the first member of the 2016 recruiting class for the Conference USA program.

Green ran with the highly talented Team Loaded Virginia bunch this past summer alongside players that are now committed to Kentucky, Virginia, Pittsburgh, and Wake Forest. Oftentimes overshadowed, whenever Green did get the chance to shine, the senior guard displayed massive long-term capabilities. While he does have to fill out further and put on the proper weight in order to handle physicality better at the next level, the Williamsburg Christian product should become a quality asset following his first year on campus.

Best with the ball in his hands, Green might be more in your mold of a 6-foot-5 lead guard who can make open jump shots when needed, but is at his best on creating for others on the attack to the basket.

Remaining within the area, Green spoke on the sell and why he committed to the Monarchs. “It was their love and passion for me and for their players in the program.”

“I felt comfortable being there and my teammates reminded me of myself. They have a vision and plan to make me successful.”

One of the better non-power conference programs this season led by star guard Trey Freeman, while Green didn’t have the best of summers on a personal standpoint, the future looks bright for in-state commit to turn into a high-end producer for ODU.

The road has been a bit of a crazy one for Javin DeLaurier. The 6-foot-8 big man from Charlottesville, Virginia, has gone from practically an unknown just a year ago at this time, and into the stratosphere of a priority recruitment from the best of programs nationally. It went from local non-power conferences programs like Old Dominion and Richmond, to regional power conference programs like Virginia Tech and Georgetown, to elite bluebloods nationally like Arizona and Duke, before DeLaurier settled on his future home today in committing to Coach K and his Blue Devils program.

No conference has taken quite the leap on the basketball court like the Southeastern Conference has over the past few years. With new, high-profile head coaches manning the ship for the league, along with the recent influx of talent, the conference hasn’t seen this much promise in decades. Kentucky is Kentucky, but Alabama, Auburn, Mississippi State, LSU, and the rest of the schools are starting to make things interesting on the hardwood.

In the coming days, we will look at the top incoming freshmen for each program with the SEC confines. We will not highlight the most touted 2015 class member, but the guy that will mean the most to the squad’s success and also have the opportunity to leave the largest fingerprint on the program at hand.

LSU

LSU head coach Johnny Jones has things rolling on the recruiting trail. With a team filled with talented prospects, it has been easy for the staff to lure other top guys to Baton Rouge.

We said that we wouldn’t necessarily highlight the top ranked player in the class, but, frankly, this is an easy one. Throughout his time during in the states, Ben Simmons has been nothing short of phenomenal. The 6-foot-8 forward cemented himself as one of the top prospects in the country and he is already on NBA teams’ radars.

How and where will Simmons impact the game? Everywhere. He has the ability to play inside and out; he scores the basketball; he rebounds with the best of them; he passes and makes plays for his teammates; he prides himself on the defensive end of the floor. Simply put, he does it all.

Simmons had an outstanding few games for the Tigers when they took a trip to Australia in August. He averaged 20 points, nine rebounds, and six assists in five games. Add Antonio Blakeney and Brandon Sampson to the equation and LSU will have a solid freshman class that will make some noise in the SEC, as well as on the national radar.

MISSISSIPPI STATE

New head coach Ben Howland did a great job of picking up the pieces on Rick Ray’s 2015 recruiting class, as well as adding on to it. Howland was able to retain Quinndary Weatherspoon and Joseph Strugg, and then he added Malik Newman and Aric Holman late in the process.

Like LSU, Mississippi State’s impact guy is an easy one. Malik Newman is a game-changer for a program like Mississippi State. The 6-foot-3 scoring combo guard will have the ball in his hands from Day 1 and will be the focal point for the Bulldog offense. Newman will put up points in a hurry, and he and senior guard Craig Sword have a chance to be one of the most productive backcourts in the country.

Newman will probably only be on campus for a year, as he is one of the most NBA-ready prospects the 2015 class has to offer. Bulldogs fans will have to enjoy things while they can with the entertaining guard running the show, because he definitely won’t be there long.

OLE MISS

Ole Miss was able to raid the Memphis area for a couple of talented prospects that will be big contributors for the Rebels this season. South Haven (MS) wing Terence Davis and Memphis (TN) Southwind wing Donte Fitzpatrick-Dorsey will have a chance to play right away for Andy Kennedy, and J.T. Escobar will be a nice shooter off the bench for the team.

While he won’t be on campus till December, Fitzpatrick-Dorsey will be the guy to watch. He is currently at Elev8 Academy (FL) for a semester to tie up some loose ends on the academic side of things before he officially suits up for the Rebels. Nevertheless, he will be a nice addition for Kennedy.

Fitzpatrick-Dorsey is a guy that will be able to come in and play on both ends of the floor. His length and defense will be a big plus for Ole Miss, along with his shooting ability. He will provide another scoring punch from a variety of places on the floor, but watch for him to fill things up from behind the arc.

Mid Major and Low Major talent is always difficult to evaluate. Opinions tend to differ more at those levels than at the highest levels, and a lot of the time a player’s success comes down to how they fit the program more than anything else. That being said, here are five important commitments to Mid Major and Low Major schools that have happened during this recruiting period.

1. Deshawn Corprew to UALR. Corpew, a Quality Education Academy (NC) product, surprised everyone when he committed to Arkansas Little Rock. He is a tough wing who plays a very physical brand of basketball. He is a two-way player who can score the ball getting to the rim on offense and can defend tenaciously on the other end. UALR is getting a player that could potentially be an all conference type of player and will be a piece that the Trojans can build around for the next couple of years.

2. Furman. I know that this is not one specific commit, but Furman has had a great recruiting period, gaining the commitments of 2016 Georgia guards Jordan Lyons and Quintez Cephus. These are two guards that can fill up the score sheet in a hurry and know how to put the ball in the basket. With high scoring guards on board, Furman will have a great foundation to continue to build upon. This is a program trending up in the SoCon.

3. Ben Robertson to Bucknell. This is a commitment that flew under the radar among southeast players in the recruiting period. Robertson (High Point Christian Academy (NC)) is a versatile wing that does a little bit of everything on a basketball floor and is a great athlete to boot. He fits very well with Bucknell with his abilities to play out on the wing and provide scoring in the halfcourt. This is a great get for Bucknell and is an important piece to their recruiting.

4. JJ Matthews to Towson. There weren’t a lot of players in the class of 2016 whose stock rose this summer more than JJ Matthews of Millwood (VA). It was a summer that saw a few high majors get involved with offers, but at the end of it all, Matthews chose to stay home and commit to Towson. Matthews is a big, strong power forward that can score in the post. However, where a lot of his value lies is in his toughness, strength, and ability to rebound. A player like this can fit with just about any team, so Towson is getting a player with big time value.

5. Quate McKinzie to Buffalo. McKinzie is a big, tough forward out of Harrells Christian Academy (NC). Much like Matthews, he is going to provide a lot of size toughness from the power forward spot. He is a very good athlete and has been known to throw down some monster dunks. A very attractive part about McKinzie is his versatility. He is a big man that has the ability to step out and shoot the perimeter jump shot and can also put the ball on the floor for one and two dribble drives to the bucket. He also runs the floor very well and can score above the rim in transition.

With the travel season officially behind us and the high school season in view, it is time for us to refine our Alabama rankings for the Class of 2017. This class has received a lot of buzz over the years and rightfully so. Here is our post-travel season rankings for Alabama’s popular class.

We are off and back at it again with Fastbreak Friday, bringing to you an entire list of visitors across America and at a campus near year. While we always do our best to tabulate the most in-depth official and unofficial visit list, we also take a glance at the visitor of the week, with this week it being the deadly duo of De’Jon Jarreau and Brison Gresham headed to UMass, a spotlight on any specific conference, this week it being the ACC, and potential commits, this week it being Javin DeLaurier to Duke, Clevon Brown to Texas, and a few others that caught our eye. Last week, we hit on Amir Coffey to Minnesota, Myles Powell to Seton Hall, and Mitchell Smith to Missouri, can we stay hot in this week’s edition?

It is Wednesday and that means Podcast time here at HoopSeen.com. Corey Evans and Justin Young return to the airwaves to talk catch up on the dozens of commitments that have happened since our last show, dive deep into the class of 2017 and tackle your questions on #AskHoopSeen. 

In the 2017 class, there aren’t many more versatile, high-ceiling forwards in the land than Kevin Knox. The 6-foot-8 forward out of the state of Florida was one of the quickest risers during the travel circuit this past summer and now stands within the top-10 of our 2017 class rankings. After a busy few months on the Nike circuit, Knox has been able to settle down a bit before seeing things ramp back up again in the coming weeks.

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