Monday, July 5, 2021

Colleges taking notice of Finley Bizjack's all-around game

 

Dan McDonald • Basketball Recruiting

Basketball Recruiting Analyst - RE-PRINT from Rivals.com

 emerged this travel season as one of the top prospects in the 2023 class in Texas and one of the nation's top guards in his class. A 6-foot-3 shooting guard, Bizjack has a dangerous perimeter stroke but can also play great defense and excels in the transition game.

High-major college coaches are starting to take notice of his abilities. Scholarship offers have come in from DePaul, SMUStanfordTCU, Saint Louis and George Washington. Texas TechUtah and Wisconsin have shown serious interest.

Since the dead period ended on June 1, Bizjack has visited George Washington, SMU and Wisconsin. Next up is a visit to Stanford on Aug. 11.

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MORE: The five most marketable prospects

2021 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2022 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2023 Rankings: Top 30

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SMU: “SMU has an incredible campus, incredible school and an incredible team. I love the head coach there. He’s really nice and it seems like he really understands my game.”

Stanford: “I think Stanford is amazing. I have a friend, 

, who is going there. I’ve only heard great things about it, and watching their games this season it seems like a good program.

TCU: “It’s close, right near home, about 30 minutes away. I know a lot of players that played there. 

 is one of the guys I’ve gotten to know really well, and he loved it there.”

Wisconsin: “I love Wisconsin. It’s a really good program that I could fit into. I watched a lot of their games this season and it seems like a system I could play in and fit into.”

RIVALS’ REACTION

Coming off a great weekend in the live period with his high school program, look for Bizjack’s recruitment to continue to take off as he goes back to playing with Southern Assault in July on the Adidas 3SSB circuit. Guards with his all-around game and lethal shooting stroke are always in high demand, especially when they come with a strong academic background. SMU, Stanford, Wisconsin and Saint Louis all seem to be in good shape early on, although Bizjack says he has no favorites and is still open to all schools.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Four-star Aidan Shaw weighing his options


Reprint from Rivals.com - Jamie Shaw

 Aidan Shaw  is the No. 50 prospect in the recent Rivals150 2022 rankings making the standout small forward the No. 9 player at his position, in his class.

“I am a player who is dominant on both sides of the ball. I can defend anyone no matter the position. Plus, on the offensive end I have the ability to score at three levels. A lot of people have said I play like 

.”

With this type of notoriety, Shaw has piqued the interest of numerous Power Five programs across the country.

“I currently have offers from VanderbiltTCUMissouriOklahoma StateKansas StateKansas, Wichita State, ArkansasTexasSouthern CalCreightonIowaNebraskaWake Forest and Iowa State. All of my offers stay in contact with me pretty evenly, but my last five offers were from Texas, Kansas, Arkansas, Iowa State and Wake Forest.”

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2021 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2022 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2023 Rankings: Top 30

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IN HIS OWN WORDS

Wake Forest: “They are in the ACC, which is a very good conference filled with competition. They are also turning it around; they have a good incoming class coming next season.”

Kansas: “I have enjoyed getting to know some of their coaches. What really sticks out to me about Kansas is the amount of NBA players that have produced and continue to put out.

Iowa State: “I haven’t been to Iowa State on any sort of visit yet, but I’ve gotten to see their play style, which I like and I been getting to know some of their staff.”

Arkansas: “Arkansas is a nice program and I really like their five-out offensive style of play. I have gotten to know their coaches well too.”

Creighton: “I really like the spacing and pace of the Creighton offense and recently their ability to get through the adversity that’s been going through over there.”

“All the schools are telling me they can help me develop my game to reach my goal, which is getting to the NBA.”

Friday, January 22, 2021

Toughness stands out for junior prospect Darren Buchanan Jr.

 


The District of Columbia State Athletic Association (DCSAA) has yet to start its high school basketball season, but that has not slowed things down for 

 His recruiting is still going, and he has spent a lot of time improving his game.

“It’s been kind of stressful to be honest, not being able to do something I love and compete for a championship is devastating," he said. "I have been staying true to myself and working on my craft every day. I have been hitting the weights more and just getting better as an overall basketball player.”

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IN HIS OWN WORDS 

VCU: “They are a great school, one of the top teams in the A-10, and they play a very fast tempo.”

Seton Hall: “They contact me often, and they’re really on me hard. I like their coaching staff a lot and have created great relationships with them.”

Xavier: “They are on me pretty hard. Coach (TravisSteele says he wants to build the class around me and he just loves my overall game and what I would bring to their program.”

Rutgers: “Very good program. I’m in contact with their coaches often. They show my family a lot of love and say I will be a difference-maker in their program.”

Rhode Island: “They praise me really high and say I will be able to make an impact right away with them as a freshman.”

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BUCHANAN IS IN NO RUSH 

As expected of a high-level junior, there are a couple of schools who are keeping a close eye on Buchanan but have yet to step forward with an offer for him.

West VirginiaGeorgetown and Virginia Tech are in contact. They are talking about their program, introducing me to it and saying they want to see me play more.”

Buchanan is in no rush to commit or to end his recruitment.

“As of right now I do not have a specific timeframe, but I am looking to commit some time after my senior year of high school,” he said.

Buchanan knows who he is as a player, and he knows that his versatility is the most intriguing aspect.

“I’m a versatile wing," he said. "I share the ball, I am a team first player. I can guard the one through five and can score and rebound. Honestly, I just think I can do it all. Whatever the coach needs me to do for the team, for the win.”

At the end of the day, all Buchanan cares about is winning.

“Most people say I play unselfish," he said. "But really, I just want to do whatever it takes to win basketball games.”

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RIVALS REACTION 

The first thing that pops off the page when you watch Buchanan is his toughness, his ability to guard up and down a lineup, his willingness to go rebound and his nonstop motor on both ends of the floor. Offensively, he is great with the ball in his hands as he touches the paint and makes a play. He is able to knock down a shot off the catch and can finish at the rim, through contact. On the bench, Buchanan is on his feet cheering for his teammates.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Four-star big man Franck Kepnang chooses Oregon

Rivals.com Reprint - Rob Cassidy, National Recruiting Analyst

Oregon landed its second commitment in as many days on Saturday, when four-star center Franck Kepnang chose the Ducks over Texas A&M, Alabama and a number of other high-major suitors. Kansas, Miami, Ohio State, Oregon, Pitt, and St. John's were also linked with the Westtown (Penn.) School star at various points over the last year. Below, Rivals.com has a look at what the Rivals150 prospect brings to the table as well as what his commitment means for the bigger picture.

WHAT THE DUCKS ARE GETTING: One of the few truly elite rim protectors in this class, Kepnang is a top-30 prospect for a reason. He’s an extremely mobile and athletic big that can easily score at the basket but makes his living on the defensive end. Kepnang is a top-flight shot blocker that will also contribute on the boards in the Pac 12. He certainly has the frame of an NBA prospect and could become even more of a weapon if he continues to become a more versatile scorer. This is a massive recruiting victory for Oregon, as adding an athletic big to the roster will give Dana Altman’s squad a boost in an area of need.

WHAT IT MEANS FOR THE PROGRAM: The Ducks closed incredibly well here, stealing Kepnang’s pledge away from a number of major programs down the stretch. It was likely an Oct. 1 zoom meeting with the Oregon staff that helped seal the deal. Dana Altman and company have managed to add even more impressive size to a class that already includes 6-foot-11 center Nathan Bittle. The recent addition of 6-foot-6 guard Jonathan Lawson will give the Ducks length on the perimeter to match what they have working on the inside. Oregon hasn’t done much successful recruiting in the Northeast in recent cycles, so if winning the battle for Kepnang helps open the door to the region and, more specifically, to the powerhouse PSA Cardinals program for which Kepnang plays, it’s a giant bonus.



Antetokounmpo "Fishy" 2020 MVP Award

By Leah Cordier - EHR Online Talent

As COVID-19 has impacted many lives, it does not seem to be impacting Giannis Antetokounmpo! He is ON FIRE, as he scores yet another back-to-back Most Valuable Player Award. The All-Everything power forward for the Milwaukee Bucks seems to have “bested” his last year stats. He has made small but still significant improvements in regards to point average, rebounds, and three-pointers leading him to gain the 2020 MVP award. 


Nonetheless, the MVP received his award just as the Milwaukee Bucks lost to the Miami Heat in the second round of the playoffs.  One could say that the Bucks vs. Heat game was not a total loss for Antetokounmpo. 

Now Giannis is one of the three current players who have obtained multiple MVP awards, joining legends Stephen Curry and Lebron James. Being placed in the same category as such NBA stars, will Antetokounmpo soon take over the league as we know it, or will his presence start an uproar?

Many NBA fans are upset at the MVP voting outcome. A lot of people think it was “rigged." Even Laker’s player Lebron James, who came in second in the voting, stated to ESPN that, “[It]Pissed me off. That's my true answer."  Should Antetopkunmpo even be put into the same category, let alone the same sentence, as James at this point?

Stats have shown that in both 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 seasons, Antetopkunmpo was undeniably dominant and pulled in big numbers for the Bucks.  However, in both seasons Antetopkunmpo did not do too well in the playoffs.  Giannis slacked off and some might even say he let his team down.

Antetopkunmpo’s 2020 MVP award is questionable given his postseason strugglesAs an unbiased fan, looking in for the outside perspective, I would have to agree that Antetopkunmpo receiving the MVP award yet again...something smells fishy.

 


Sunday, July 26, 2020

Three-star Chase Cormier fielding SEC interest



Rivals.com reprint
Dan Macdonald / Lakepoint Hoops

 has been one of the breakout performers of the travel season in the 2022 class. The 6-foot-3 shooting guard has one of the smoothest jump shots around and has excelled playing alongside   in the backcourt for Game Elite Big 5 this summer.

Florida recently became the first high-major program to offer joining Elon, Kennesaw State and Winthrop. He’s received interest from ArkansasAuburnFlorida StateGeorgia and Purdue recently as well. He’s been on campus at Georgia for an unofficial visit already.
2021 RankingsRivals150 | Position
2022 Rankings: Top 75

IN HIS OWN WORDS

Arkansas: “They have been saying they like the way I play. The head coach loves the way I play. I don’t really know a ton about them yet. They just started recruiting me.”
Auburn: “They told me I remind them of 
 a little bit and that I’m the best shooter they are recruiting so far. I know a lot about them. They have a great coaching staff and a great program all around.”
Florida: “I don’t know that much about them, but I know they are a great SEC program with a great coach. It’s a great all-around program. I talked to coach [Jordan] Mincy. He said he’s been watching the past three weekends and liked what he saw.”
Georgia: “I liked everything about Georgia. It was cool up there. Tom Crean was great. All the coaches were really nice. They have been watching me too and they liked what they saw.”

RIVALS REACTION
Florida was the first high-major offer, but likely won’t be the last for the Georgia native. A recent growth spurt putting him around 6-foot-3 combined with one of the best jump shots in the Southeast will make him a hot commodity. Cormier also has the ability to play some point guard too if needed. Look for Auburn and Georgia to stay involved in his one too and keep an eye on Florida State if they decide to enter into the mix.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

The effect on Cade Cunningham and more fallout from OSU's penalties

Corey Evans • Basketball Recruiting
Basketball Analyst
@coreyevans_10  -  Reprint from Rivals.com
The NCAA handed down harsh penalties to Oklahoma State on Friday as a result of the FBI investigation into college basketball recruiting, and the school strongly disagrees with the punishment. Probation, fines, recruiting restrictions and, most importantly, a postseason ban for the upcoming season were among the sanctions. The university plans to appeal.
What is to come for the future of the program, including its ballyhooed recruiting class led by top-rated senior 
? We look at this issue and more in the wake of the harsh penalties handed down.

OSTATEILLUSTRATEDOSU responds to sanctions

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Will the No. 1 player in the 2020 class still enroll at Oklahoma State even though the Cowboys cannot go to the NCAA tournament? Cunningham is obviously a program-changing talent. Coach Mike Boyton has already told CBS that OSU would not stand in the way if Cunningham asks for a release. What that would mean for his brother, current OSU assistant coach, Cannen Cunningham, is anyone’s guess.

At the time of Cunningham’s commitment, his recruitment was a battle between Kentucky and the Pokes. He chose loyalty toward his family and relationship with Boynton over UK. Kentucky has an available scholarship for the 2020 class.
Cunningham remains blindsided by the penalties, just as most do affiliated with the program, so a decision on his part is not expected soon. The G League made a run at him earlier in the year, but playing overseas would likely trump playing professionally domestically this fall if he passes on college basketball.

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What about the rest of OSU's 2020 class?

For as good as Cunningham is, there was more to OSU’s 2020 class than just the five-star guard. Cal Baptist graduate-transfer Ferron Flavors was set to enroll, as was four other freshmen including 
 and  . The former two were prior travel teammates of Cunningham’s while Alexander-Moncrieffe had been training with Cunningham in recent weeks in the Dallas-Fort Worth region in the lead-up to summer workouts.
One can only assume that the vultures are out attempting to pilfer any of the incoming freshmen that may be second-guessing their original college decisions. Each would immediately become top available prospects that would likely receive full eligibility in the fall if they decided to opt out of their letters of intent.

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Returning players may look elsewhere

Beyond just its 2020 class, what could happen with Oklahoma State’s current roster? The Pokes were set to return a load of talent across the floor. Will 
, the Boone brothers,   or  , decide to split Stillwater in hopes of playing beyond the final Big 12 Conference game and for a program that won’t have a dark shadow hanging over it?
Similar to the situation at Ole Miss for football in 2018 that saw a number of its top talent transfer and receive immediate eligibility due to NCAA infractions, it is well within reason that if the transfer route is one that some decide to take, that landing spots will not be difficult to find.

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Other programs on the lookout

Oklahoma State is the first school to receive penalties reeling from the bribery and corruption case first revealed in September of 2017. What could this mean for ArizonaAuburn and USC? Like Oklahoma State, each saw one of its assistant coaches arrested. Comparable restrictions could be soon levied against them. How each will go about putting out potential fires in the lead-up to the assessment of its own penalties is still to be determined.
Furthermore, what comes of the Notice of Allegations that has been received at places such as KansasLouisvilleNC State, and South Carolina? Could this be a new day for the NCAA in harshly penalizing all those that have transpired against its rulebook?