Sunday, August 31, 2014

California guard headed to the SEC
THE RIVALS150: 2015 | 2016
It has been quite a nine day stretch at Auburn. Sunday morning, Bruce Pearl and his staff added four-star combo guard New Williams when he committed on the tail end of his official visit.

Bryan Matthews/
New Williams is headed to Auburn.
A 6-foot-2 senior at Santa Monica (Calif.) High, Williams path to Auburn is an interesting one.
Because of a knee injury suffered late last summer, Williams missed his junior season and the summer circuit. However, he wasn't surprised by Pearl's faith in his game and he feels he will come back stronger than ever.
"No I did not find it surprising," Williams told when asked if he was surprised Pearl pursued him so hard while injured. "Only because coach has been hearing about how hard I have been working and how much better I will be when I get back. How much this injury has matured me.
"It's like I'm a Phoenix, been burned to the ashes but the rise is always better and more complete and I think coach Pearl knows how hard I'm going to work to get it done."
Not surprisingly, Pearl and his staff's faith that Williams would come back stronger than ever played a huge role in him picking the Tigers.
"His faith did play a lot in my decision because I was a highly touted player on the rise before I got hurt," said Williams. "All of those schools didn't believe in me and coach Pearl did, so that made an impact."
Prior to injuring his knee, Williams certainly looked like a prospect on the rise. During the summer of 2013 he showed great instinct attacking the basket, had a nice pull-up jumper and all of the tools to be a very good defender and transition performer. Though he was injured and was unable to rate him verse the rest of the class of 2015, the decision was made to leave him as a four-star prospect even though he isn't ranked and that is because of the potential he showed in the past.
Looking ahead, Williams is focused on playing the point.
"I'm going to be playing a lot of point," said Williams. "I plan on learning the system to a T so when I get to Auburn I can lead."
Williams is the fifth player to pick Auburn in the last nine days and the fourth four-star prospect in their 2015 recruiting class. He joins forwards Danjel Purifoy and Horace Spencer and big man Trayvon Reed (who may enroll in December of 2014) as four-star commitments and three-star juco shooting guard T.J. Dunans is also in the fold.
Simmons still atop class of 2015 ranks

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RANKINGS: Class of 2014 - 2015 - 2016
After a long summer spent traveling across the country following and evaluating the nation's top high school basketball players, it is time to update the Rivals150 for the class of 2015. Forward Ben Simmons -- an Australian import -- took over the top spot during the last rankings update heading into the summer, and he retains his grip on the No. 1 spot in a class that is top-heavy with talented big men.
Simmons headlines the top 10
For the second time in three years, a player who wasn't born and raised in the United States is on pace to finish as the top player in the Rivals150. Canadian Andrew Wiggins did it in the class of 2013, and current No. 1 Ben Simmons of Australia is on pace to do it again in 2015.

Ben Simmons retains the top spot in the class of 2015 Rivals150.
A 6-foot-8 combo forward who moved to the States halfway through his sophomore season, Simmons has done a nice job of establishing himself as the top player in the senior class. At summer events such as the LeBron James Skills Academy and the Nike Peach Jam, he put up big numbers, faced all challengers and showed off a very well-rounded game.
Committed to play his college ball at LSU, Simmons is very versatile. He has the strength to post up and score on the low block and the skill to step out and make jump shots out to the 3-point line. He is a fine passer, good ball handler and remarkably consistent. At the highest level of basketball, Simmons is currently a bit of a tweener because he lacks prototypical size and length for a power forward and isn't a ridiculous wing athlete. But he is highly skilled, works hard and has earned his status as the top player in his class.
Just behind Simmons is 6-foot-7 small forward Jaylen Brown from Marietta (Ga.) Wheeler. A physical athlete, Brown has been powering his way up the rankings the same way he powers his way into the lane to finish at the rim. He is explosive in transition, has become a pretty reliable jump shooter and has improved his ball handling enough that Simmons has to be feeling some heat. Programs such as Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kansas, Kentucky and UCLA, to name a few, are vying for his services.
Formerly ranked as the top player in 2015, 6-foot-4 shooting guard Malik Newman from Jackson (Miss.) Callaway is highly decorated. After winning MVP honors and leading USA Basketball to a U16 championship at the FIBA Americas tournament in the summer of 2013, Newman stepped his game up a level in the summer of 2014. The high scoring guard led USA Basketball to a U17 FIBA World Championship and earned MVP honors playing on a team loaded with five-star talent. He is a pure scorer who is considering the likes of Connecticut, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Texas A&M and many more.
Rounding out the top five are a pair of big men in Skal Labissiere of Memphis (Tenn.) Lausanne and Diamond Stone of Whitefish Bay (Wisc.) Dominican. At 6-foot-11, Labissiere checks in at No. 4 because of his feathery jump shooting, overall skill and mobility. Playing a starring role alongside Newman on USA Basketball's U17 World Champion team, Stone is a 6-foot-10 interior presence who has soft touch and can score with his back to the hoop or facing the rim.
Spots six, seven and eight in the top 10 are also held down by post players. At No. 6, Centereach (N.Y.) Our Savior New American's 6-foot-9 power forward Cheick Diallo is a native of Mali and probably the most energetic player in high school basketball. No. 7, 6-foot-9 power forward Ivan Rabb, is a lean and athletic post player from Oakland (Calif.) Bishop O'Dowd who runs the floor like a guard and is an ambidextrous finisher around the rim. Headed to Duke, No. 8 Chase Jeter is a growing and improving 6-foot-10 center coming off a big summer who has mastered the jump hook.

Isaiah Briscoe is the top point guard in the class of 2015.
The highest-ranked point guard in the class of 2015 is Isaiah Briscoe. A physically dominant bully with the ball in his hands, the Roselle (N.J.) Catholic product led his New Jersey Playaz summer team to a title at the prestigious Nike Peach Jam. Rounding out the top 10 is Jeter's high school teammate Stephen Zimmerman. A seven-footer with skill and touch, he is arguably as good a passer as there is in the class of 2015, regardless of position.
Notable movement within the rankings
This time around there is only one five-star prospect who was not ranked as a five-star during the last update in June as point guard Jalen Adams made a slight move up to No. 25 and joins the elite club. Committed to UConn, he is a fearless scorer with athleticism, range and a high risk/high reward style of play that is fun to watch.
Making the biggest climb within the rankings is Donovan Mitchell. The 6-foot-2 New Yorker who attends school at Wolfeboro (N.H.) Brewster Academy had a tremendous summer. He was outstanding at the Reebok Breakout Challenge and with his club team The City causing damage with his physical and athletic backcourt play. Committed to play his college basketball at Louisville, Mitchell rose 71 spots from No. 101 all the way up to No. 30. It should be noted, as well, that no program has more players in the Rivals150 than Brewster. Jason Smith's progam landed a whopping seven players -- five of them who are new transfers into the program -- in the rankings.
During late July, Houston (Texas) North Shore guard Kerwin Roach saw his stock soar as he gained exposure in front of college coaches and national scouts. An electric 6-foot-4 athlete who claimed a state triple jump championship to go along with a state basketball title as a junior, Roach is the highest ranked newcomer to the Rivals150 at No. 34. He is considering a final five of California, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Texas and Wichita State.
Out of the top 25 players in the class of 2015, only seven have made their college choices. Three are headed to Arizona: No. 11 Ray Smith, No. 12 Allonzo Trier and No. 21 Justin Simon form a group that will be atop the 2015 team rankings when they debut on Friday. In total, 80 ranked players remain undecided. Also holding commitments from two or more members of the 2015 Rivals150 are Auburn, Duke, Florida, Georgetown, Illinois, Louisville, Marquette, Minnesota, Ohio State, Penn State, Syracuse, San Diego State, Stanford, UCLA, USC and Washington.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Whitt commits to Arkansas

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THE RIVALS150: Class of 2014 | 2015 | 2016
For the better part of the last two summers, Mike Anderson and the Arkansas staff have made senior combo guard Jimmy Whitt a major priority. Tuesday evening, their efforts were rewarded.
During a ceremony at Columbia (Mo.) Hickman, Whitt committed to play his college basketball for the Razorbacks.

Jimmy Whitt has proven to be a strong scorer.
"I think the opportunity to play up and down and the opportunity to play right away was huge," Whitt's summer coach, L.J. Goolsby of KC Run GMC, told "That's some of the things he was looking for in making his decision."
Standing 6-foot-2 and currently checking in as a four-star at No. 52 in the 2015 Rivals150, Whitt is a skilled offensive player.
Whitt's bread-and-butter are his pull-up jump shooting and mid-range game. He is nearly automatic on one- and two-dribble pull-ups, but also has an assortment of runners, floaters and stop-and-go moves that are tough to defend when he is able to put the ball on the floor and get into a rhythm.
Over the last year, Whitt has extended the range on his jump shot and become much better at navigating the pick-and-roll. Though thin and in need of more muscle, Whitt has become a much more explosive athlete and is now capable of playing above the rim when he needs to.
"I would say he is going to be a combo-type guard," Goolsby said. "He can facilitate the offense and he can score, which is his natural strength. He is good with the jumper and can get to the rim."
Looking ahead to his career in Fayetteville, Whitt will need to get stronger and he will have to become more consistently aggressive. However, he has the skill and tools to become a valuable contributor as soon as he arrives in Fayetteville.
Whitt is Arkansas' first commitment from the class of 2015.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Starting Five: Newman leads Team USA

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RANKINGS: Class of 2014 - 2015 - 2016
Over last weekend, USA Basketball won another gold medal at the FIBA U17 World Championships level by outlasting Australia, 99-92. Leading the way for the USA in the title game was five-star senior shooting guard Malik Newman, who scored 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Newman was also named MVP of the tournament, and it shouldn't be a surprise to see him perform so well on a big stage.

Class of 2015 five-star Malik Newman led Team USA to the U17 World title.
Currently ranked No. 2 overall in the 2015 Rivals150, the 6-foot-4 guard from Jackson (Miss.) Callaway has long been one of the elite players in his class. So long has he been on top that perhaps people have taken him for granted, at least a little bit.
Everybody knows that Newman can put the ball in the hole with the best of them; he has proven that over and over again. However, it seems that he's at times been painted as either a somewhat selfish player or a gunner. Make no mistake, Newman loves to shoot the ball, and his shot selection is sometimes questionable. But we don't buy into the notion that he is at all selfish.
One simply needs to look at his MVP performance at the World Championships to understand. Newman led the USA with 14.9 points per game while making 47.7 percent of his field goals (36.4 percent from three). That's not a surprise. What is impressive is that he also spent much of his time playing out of position at the point guard spot and handed out the most assists on the team. When the USA stumbled out of the gates early against Australia, it was Newman who got vocal with his teammates and then unleashed a barrage of pull-up jumpers to get his team a lead they would never relinquish heading into the half.
There are certainly plenty of things left for Newman to improve upon as a prospect, but he has proven over and over that he deserves to be mentioned with 2015's elite players. Whether or not he can overtake Ben Simmons to reclaim the No. 1 spot remains to be seen, but at this juncture we find it impossible to rank him anywhere outside of the top three in the senior class.
Oregon picks up late addition
During the last few weeks of July, rumors swirled that four-star wing Dillon Brooks would attend school with his natural high school class and enroll college rather than attend a year of prep school at Wolfeboro (N.H.) Brewster Prep. Most of the rumors had Oregon pegged as his potential destination.
Those rumors came to fruition on Sunday night when Brooks announced that he would be attending Oregon as a member of the 2014 class. He plays a different position, but he more than makes up for the recent loss of big man Ray Kasongo to the admissions process.
Ranked No. 50 in the class of 2015 before deciding to skip his prep year, Brooks is a tough, hard-working, skilled, blue-collar wing who brings it on both ends of the floor. He has a strong body that allows him to finish through contact, is a sneaky athlete and has a great feel for when to shoot the jumper and when to drive. A member of the CIA Bounce summer program, Brooks is coming off of a great summer after treading water for a bit during his senior year at Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep, where he sacrificed his personal game for the team and often played as an undersized power forward.
Oregon's 2014 recruiting class was already ranked No. 15 nationally, but with Brooks in the fold they will likely move up a few spots.
Talent influx in Los Angeles
In Los Angeles, both Steve Alford and Andy Enfield are entering their second year on the job. At UCLA, Alford took over a basketball blueblood looking to return to glory, while at USC Enfield is hoping to build the program and bring the kind of "Dunk City" flash that he brought to his previous stop at Florida Gulf Coast.
Judging by what they are doing on the recruiting trail, both are well on their way to accomplishing their goals. Each had very successful first recruiting outings in 2014 with Alford landing the nation's No. 8 class and Enfield reeling in the No. 23 class. In 2015, they both look to be at it again.

Prince Ali is headed to UCLA.
Over the weekend, the Bruins hauled in the nation's No. 27 player when shooting guard Prince Ali gave a verbal commitment. An athletic and aggressive wing player, Ali joins athletic and tough combo guard Aaron Holiday (No. 43 in the Rivals150) to give UCLA a pair of highly regarded four-star prospects to start their class off with. On top of that, they are very much in the hunt and quite possibly lead for No. 3 overall Jaylen Brown.
Meanwhile, all Enfield and the Trojans have done to start off their 2015 class is land a pair of top-50 forwards in Chimezie Metu and Bennie Boatwright. At 6-foot-9, Metu is a very athletic and lengthy forward who can play above the rim but he's started to show a nice package of skills facing the hoop. Boatwright, on the other hand, is a rangy 6-foot-8 shooter with unlimited range who can shoot the jumper with the best of them.
Bottom line, Arizona has been dominating recruiting on the West Coast for a while now and the Wildcats don't appear to be losing steam (Sean Miller already has three five-stars onboard for 2015). But Alford and Enfield are proving to be up to the task as recruiters and will turn Los Angeles into a college hoops hotbed if they keep up their current pace.
Observations from Nike's Global Challenge did not attend the Nike Global Challenge in Chicago during the latter part of last week. However, all of the games were streamed live online, and we did take some time to watch. Here are three brief observations from what we saw.
We wrote at the end of July that Stephen Zimmerman was really finishing his summer on a high note. He looked quite strong again in Chicago. The five-star center has really embraced playing around the rim and it showed as he controlled the glass, scored on the interior and made great passes out of the block. Not surprisingly, he was then able to face up and do some damage. After a bit of a lull in his development, Zimmerman looks to be back on the road to improving each time he takes the floor.
Maybe one of the toughest players to gauge in the class of 2015 is big man Ted Kapita. At times, he looks like one of the most dominant players in the class and at others he is almost invisible. All of the tools to be a high-end big man are certainly there. He is strong, he has some touch and he is a very athletic 6-foot-9 power forward. When his motor is running full speed he is a load. The problem at this point, though, is that you never know which Kapita is going to show up. loved what Jalen Poyser did at Adidas Nations earlier this month. So much so that he made himself a lock for the post summer 2015 Rivals150. After watching him some at the Global Challenge, Poyser not only cemented his spot in the rankings but he will enter them in the four-star range. He isn't the strongest kid around, but he has good size and is very elusive with the ball. He can score, he can set guys up and he seems to be improving at a rapid rate. As of last week his recruitment hadn't really taken off, but it should be happening soon.
Rankings updates coming
The summer is over and kids are headed back to school. Naturally, everybody wants to know when the rankings will be updated. The answer to that question is soon, very soon.
On Tuesday, Aug. 26, the revamped class of 2015 Rivals150 will be revealed. We are in the process of moving players around and there will definitely be some major movement both up and down the list. On Friday, Aug. 29, we'll take those new Rivals150 rankings into account when we release our first edition of 2015 team rankings.
On Wednesday, Sept. 3, the class of 2016 rankings will be refreshed and expanded from a top 100 to a true Rivals150. Because of that, there will be lots of new names making their debuts in the rankings.
Finally, on Wednesday, Sept. 10 we will unveil our first look at the class of 2017. Expect the first look at 2017 to be much smaller in scale because there is still so much time left for that class to develop and because it hasn't been scouted to near the extent that 2015 and 2016 have.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Starting Five: Giles closer to 100 percent
RANKINGS: Class of 2014 - 2015 - 2016
Now that summer travel is over and our weekends aren't dominated by event coverage, it is time for the return of our weekly Starting Five. This week we discuss Harry Giles, Iowa's latest addition and Troy Brown's Duke offer, among other topics.

Harry Giles is getting closer to his pre-injury form.
Giles returning to form
The team that USA Basketball has sent over to Dubai for Fiba's U17 World Championships is loaded, ridiculously so. The roster features 10 current five-star prospects -- and Tyus Battle will soon be moved to that level -- with more than half of them being ranked in the top 10 of either the class of 2016 or 2017. So far, they have been rolling along without too much challenge.
The player whom has been watching most closely on Team USA is 6-foot-10 power forward Harry Giles. Currently ranked No. 3 in the class of 2016, Giles missed his entire junior season and much of the grassroots season due to a knee injury he suffered playing for USA Basketball last summer. In the events that Giles did play with his travel team, the CP3 All-Stars, he looked far less than 100 percent.
Now about 13 months removed from the injury, Giles is getting close and starting to show more and more flashes of what made him such an intriguing prospect at a young age. He has tremendous size, speed, length and a great feel for tracking the ball on rebounds. His explosion is also returning, and he can play 10-12 feet away from the hoop.
Giles' timing still appears a little off, and he is tentative at times when exploding to the basket, but it is easy to see why the likes of Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, N.C. State, Ohio State, Wake Forest and many more have made him a priority. Through three games for Team USA, he is averaging 11 points and 4.3 rebounds.
Australia vs. Canada a good scouting opportunity
Monday morning, FIBA broadcast the game between Australia and Canada at the 17U World Championships through its website. From a scouting perspective it was a very important game to see. Canada has four players -- Jamal Murray, Howard Washington, Brandon Cyrus and Edward Ekiyor -- who currently rank in the 2016 top 100, while Australia features highly regarded big man Isaac Humphries.
Australia fell 85-74 to the Canadian squad, but Humphries was the big story of the game, going off for 41 points (16-23 FG, 9-11 FT), 19 rebounds and five blocked shots. Standing 6-foot-10 or 6-foot-11, the 16-year-old has great hands, good touch and looks to be very skilled. He did the bulk of his damage around the hoop, where he is a fairly bouncy finisher, but he can also put the ball on the floor a bit. Perhaps his most impressive move of the day came when he caught the ball on the run from about 25 feet out, then spun full speed to his left shoulder while barreling through the lane to finish with a two-handed dunk over a pair of defenders. A move like that simply can't be taught.

Jamal Murray led Canada over Australia on Monday.
Humphries is expected to make his way over to the United States to attend La Porte (Ind.) La Lumiere where he will be classified as a class of 2016 prospect. With that in mind, he is somebody that is going to make an impact on the rankings. will continue to watch him during the FIBA U17 championships to determine if we have enough information to rank him before seeing him in person, but it is easy to peg him as at least a four-star prospect (and probably at the high end of that range) and he already has interest from programs such as Arizona, Duke, Kansas and New Mexico.
Leading the way for the Canadian squad was Murray who finished with 25 points. A confident guard, Murray is a high-level scorer who can shoot with range or navigate his way to the hoop and finish. Murray isn't an extreme athlete, but the No. 18 player in 2016 is stronger than he looks, skilled near the rim and has a nose for finishing.
What is also nice about Murray is the flexibility he offers a coach in the backcourt. A point guard by trade, he is a huge threat in the pick and roll because he is a good shooter to go along with his ability to drive. Also, because he has good size, if a coach wants to load up on ball handlers Murray can slide over to the two and allow for an offense to be more versatile because of the extra ball handler.
Ranked No. 50 in the class of 2016, Washington was impressive as well. A steady 6-foot-2 combo guard who has been playing his high school ball in Buffalo (N.Y.), Washington will head to powerful Montverde (Fla.) Academy for his junior season. Washington hit some late jumpers, played under control and did an outstanding job of extending pressure defensively while finishing with 18 points and five rebounds.
Iowa adds Wagner
Sunday afternoon, Iowa added a third member to its 2015 recruiting class when combo forward Ahmad Wagner decided to end his recruitment. In our opinion, he is the best pickup to date for the Hawkeyes from the rising senior class.
Athletic, tough and willing to do the dirty work, Wagner is a rough and tumble 6-foot-7, 215-pound rising senior from Huber Heights (Ohio) Wayne capable of playing much stronger than his size might suggest. During the grassroots season, he played primarily on the interior for his club team All-Ohio Red and impressed with his willingness to fight for rebounds and score tough buckets on the interior.
Wagner has a basketball frame that should allow him to add more weight without losing athleticism or quickness. He should be a threat to drive from the high post and the development of his jump shooting and ball handling could eventually enable him to play more as a small forward on offense. But, as it is really likes him as a high-energy matchup problem who is most comfortable as a four offensively but is capable of defending the wing.

Troy Brown added a Duke offer to his list.
Duke offer for Brown
When the initial rankings for the class of 2017 are released in the next month or so, there isn't going to be a guard ranked higher than Troy Brown. A 6-foot-6 point guard, the product of Las Vegas (Nev.) Centennial oozes with big-time potential and skill.
Over the weekend, Brown was in North Carolina to participate in Chris Paul's guard camp. Before making his way home, though, he stopped off in Durham to visit with the Duke coaching staff. Per Anthony Brown, who coaches Brown in the Las Vegas Prospects summer program, Brown spent about two hours on campus and left with an offer from the Blue Devils.
The Blue Devil offer isn't the first or last big offer that Brown will receive. Already on board with offers to Brown are Arizona, Arizona State, Kansas (where his older sister plays), UCLA, UNLV and USC. A phenom who just turned 15 at the end of July, Brown isn't anywhere near coming to a decision on what school he will attend, but his recruitment is already setting up to be one of the most intense in the class of 2017.
Good weekend for Providence
Chalk up the second weekend of August as a good one for Ed Cooley and the Providence Friars. Sunday night they picked up 2017 swingman Javon Taylor, and they followed it up on Monday morning by landing 2015 Rivals150 big man Alex Owens.
A rugged 6-foot-8, 250 pounder, Owens is a product of Orlando (Fla.) Oak Ridge who currently ranks No. 108 nationally. He is very strong rebounder, finishes through contact and always plays tough around the rim. There is no doubt that he has a body built for delivering and taking punishment around the rim at the Big East level. A three-star prospect, Owens is the second member of the Friars 2015 recruiting class and joins three-star small forward Ryan Fazekas.
Owens -- who tweeted his commitment announcement -- chose the Friars after announcing a final three that included Missouri and UCF.
While Owens is a pretty well known prospect in recruiting circles, Taylor is still a bit of a mystery. A 6-foot-3 shooting guard from Chestnut Hill (Mass.) Beaver Country Day, Taylor is regarded as an athletic wing with big upside but has not had the opportunity to scout him at this point. However, it is notable to point out that both of Taylor's older brothers have signed to play Division-I hoops, so basketball clearly runs in his family.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Temple great Guy Rodgers elected to basketball Hall

Guy Rogers (left). (AP photo)
Guy Rogers (left). (AP photo)
Guy Rodgers, the Temple guard who led the Owls to Final Four appearances in 1956 and 1958 before becoming a four-time all-star in the NBA, has been elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee.
Rodgers was one of five former players, coaches and administrators, including retired NBA commissioner David Stern, who were announced Friday as new Hall of Famers after being elected by various committees of the Hall.

He is the first player who competed during the Big Five era to enter the Hall of Fame.
Tom Gola of La Salle and Villanova's Paul Arizin played college ball before the creation of the Big Five.
Rodgers joins former Temple coaches Harry Litwack and John Chaney and former St. Joseph's coach Jack Ramsay as Big Five figures in the Hall. Rodgers, who played his high school ball at Northeast, was a three-time Big Five most valuable player. A great passer as well as scorer, he was a unanimous all-American selection in 1958 as the Owls finished third in the nation for the second time in three seasons.  He finished his Temple career with 1,767 points, a record at the time, and averaged 19.6 points.   Rodgers then went on to a 12-year career in the NBA, making the all-star team in 1963, 1964, 1966 and 1967. He totaled 10,415 points (11.7 points per game) and 6,917 assists (7.7 per game), leading the NBA in the latter category in 1963 and 1967. He was a 1958 territorial draft pick of the Philadelphia Warriors, playing in Philadelphia and in San Francisco after the franchise moved. He also spent time with Chicago and Cincinnati before closing his career after two seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks. Rodgers was a charter member of the Philadelphia Big Five Hall of Fame. He died Feb. 19, 2001.The Immaculata University teams that won three consecutive AIAW national championships between 1972 and 1974 were named as a finalist to be considered for election to the Hall of Fame. Their coach, Cathy Rush, already is enshrined in the Hall.

Arizona State moves quickly to land rising senior

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RANKINGS: Class of 2014 - 2015 - 2016
If you want to see a perfect example of someone who believed that hard work and talent would shine through, look no further than the newest Arizona State Sun Devil Dominic Green.

Dominic Green turned a great summer into a Pac 12 scholarship.
Heading into July, Green was a relatively little known 6-foot-6 wing from Renton (Wash.) Hazen High. At the Adidas Super 64, the three-star prospect put himself not only into contention for the 2015 Rivals150 but in line for high-major scholarship offers.

After a getting to know you period, Green decided an offer from Herb Sendek and the Sun Devils was simply too good to pass up.

"I really like coach Stan (Johnson) and coach Sendek," Green told "I like what they are about with their program and I like the way they play and that weighed in a lot on my decision.

"They are about hard work and from what I researched on their program I liked everything and my dad learned a lot about the school and liked it and so did my whole family."

A lean athlete with a long wingspan, Green emerged as a high level jump shooter late in the summer. He sees his strengths fitting right in with ASU's style of play.

"They want me to play the two and the three," said Green. "They shoot a lot of threes and do some driving and that's what I'm best at."

More than anything, the way things unfolded for Green is proof that hard work gets rewarded as he fought for and earned time with his summer squad the Avery Bradley Northwest Panthers. That time led to him landing at Arizona State.

"I didn't think it would happen like this," said Green. "At first I wasn't playing as much as I thought I should. Then I got the chance and made good on the opportunity that I had. I thought I would be playing low to mid major and didn't think I would be playing in the Pac 12 before July.

"I went out and earned it by playing hard and doing what I do."
Adidas Nations: What we learned
RANKINGS: Class of 2014 - 2015 - 2016
LONG BEACH, Calif. -- The 2014 edition of Adidas Nations came to completion with a pair of games televised on ESPNU Monday night. With tired kids all over the floor, home viewers probably didn't get the best look at the type of talent that was on hand at Nations. was on hand all week, and today we take a final look back at what we learned at the event.

Lonzo Ball is part of a loaded 2016 point guard class.
Point guard made difference for 2016 teams
Both of the USA 2016 squads (Team Lillard and Team Wall) made the championship game, while one of USA's 2015 teams (Team Howard) played in the consolation game and the other (Team Rose) didn't even make it to the television games. Despite being populated with younger players, Team Lillard and Team Wall had the advantage because of their superior point guard play.
The event's winning team, Team Lillard, almost had an embarrassment of riches at the point guard position. Featuring five-stars Dennis Smith, De'Aaron Fox and Lonzo Ball -- who rank No. 5, No. 13 and No. 16 respectively in the class of 2016 -- Team Lillard had three of the top six 2016 point guards in a class that looks loaded with floor generals (at least at the top).
Each of them brings a different style. Smith is a hard charger. At about 6-foot-2, he is a big-time athlete, has a strong frame and is all about getting into the lane and making things happen around the rim. Smith was outstanding all event long and showed why he is the top-ranked point guard in his class. A thin southpaw, Fox is also a natural scorer and is in the process of learning the point guard position. His biggest weapon is a tremendous first step. Ball isn't quite the athlete that Smith or Fox is, but his feel for the game is tremendous. Ball is a gifted passer who sees the floor as well as any point guard the West has produced in quite some time.
Though Team Wall took a pretty bad beating from Team Lillard in the finals, losing 106-78, its two high-end point guards shined throughout the week. Five-star Kobi Simmons, who ranks No. 15, and four-star Payton Pritchard (No. 34) were both outstanding in stretches. Simmons has very good size at 6-foot-4 and is another speedy athlete who is at his best scoring off the dribble and then making plays for teammates when defenses collapse. The best deep jump shooter of the bunch, Pritchard is also a point guard who really puts defenders on edge because of his ability to play as either a primary scorer or distributor from the point.
Poyser is a legitimate high-major option had gotten to see plenty of rising senior Jalen Poyser while he played with Canada-based CIA Bounce in Nike's EYBL. Playing for Team Canada at Nations, though, the 6-foot-3 point guard took his game to an entirely new level and showed that he should be a legitimate option for high-major programs in search of a 2015 point guard.
A long and slender ball handler, Poyser demonstrated a great feel for getting deep into the lane and making things happen. If he couldn't score at the rim, he found a way to kick at the last second to an open teammate or he get himself to the foul line. He supplemented his off-the-dribble game with just enough deep jump shooting to keep defenders honest.
Perhaps it was getting a chance to play more of a featured role, or perhaps it was just recent development of his game, but Poyser showed a lot of ability that we simply hadn't seen from him in prior viewings. If what he showed at Nations is what to expect down the road, then Poyser's recruitment should heat up quite a bit, and he is somebody to keep an eye out for in the next Rivals150 update for the class of 2015.

Chase Jeter should be a good fit a Duke.
Jeter will be a good fit at Duke
Monday night, Chase Jeter made official what had long been suspected when he announced that he would play his college ball at Duke. The No. 8 player in the class of 2015, Jeter has steadily improved since making his way onto the scene as a skinny freshman at Las Vegas Bishop Gorman, and he should be a great fit at Duke.
Though he has potential to ultimately play as a power forward at the highest level, Jeter is the ideal center for the Duke system. Chief in that is his mobility. Despite being every bit of 6-foot-10, Jeter can really move his feet and cover a lot of ground in a hurry. He will be able to keep up with Duke's offense and can be utilized to set ball screens and still make his way back into the paint to be a rebounder or scorer.
As time has gone by, Jeter has also become much more accomplished as a rim protector and rebounder. His emergence as a guy who can erase mistakes made by gambling (or lazy) perimeter defenders should be a huge boost, and his ability to clean the pass-and-launch outlets up the floor will allow Duke to run. It isn't a perfect comparison, but the more we see him play, we see Jeter perhaps developing into a Joakim Noah-type of big man.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Jones, Poyser stand out at Adidas

GARDEN GROVE, Calif. -- Rising senior small forward Derrick Jones continued to finish the summer strong while Canadian point guard Jalen Poyser was making some major noise at Adidas Nations this weekend.
Jones taking things easy
The No. 33 player in the class of 2015, small forward Derrick Jones, has a very laid back approach to his recruitment.

Derrick Jones will start looking at schools soon.
The 6-foot-6 small forward from Radnor (Pa.) Archbishop Carroll said he has been letting his father and coaches handle the majority of his recruitment.
"I trust them," Jones said. "I'm going to start setting some visits up here soon and when I get on the visits I will ask more questions."
According to Jones, he would like to knock out a couple of visits during the month of August -- he just isn't sure where yet. Schools under consideration include Kentucky, Syracuse, Villanova, Indiana, Connecticut and SMU.
Capping off a strong summer, Jones was very good during a Saturday night with 18 points while being efficient from the floor. He attacked the rim and showcased his high flying athleticism, hit a three and was active as a rebounder and passer during a terrific all-around performance.
Poyser making most of opportunity
Jalen Poyser was an eagerly anticipated prospect prior to Adidas Nation, and he did not disappoint. Through two days, the 6-foot-3 point guard from Canada has been impressive while proving without a shadow of a doubt that he is a high-major-level floor general.
Currently an unranked three-star, Poyser is looking very much like a guy capable of making a run into the next edition of the Rivals150 for the class of 2015. Though it has been a long summer, Poyser says he is finding the energy to give a max effort while in Garden Grove.
"I think it starts with our actual team and playing defense," said Poyser when asked how he still has energy while many others don't. "Once we have our defense set, we get momentum and energy and it picks all of us up and it is good for me."
Though he is on the lean side, Poyser has good size overall and a nice feel for the game. He is adept at penetrating defenses via the dribble, can score in the lane and makes very good decisions.
He is certainly glad for the opportunity to show more people what he can do.
"I think it is a great opportunity for me," Poyser said. "Being able to be recognized by scouts even knowing there aren't college coaches here is a good thing pushing forward."
According to Poyser, he will get more serious about his recruiting and deciding on visits after he finishes up with Nations and the Nike Global Challenge in a few weeks. He has heard from Oklahoma, Michigan, Michigan State, Wake Forest, California, George Mason and Idaho among others and doesn't have any favorites.
News and notes

Brandon Ingram is visiting UCLA this week.
After Nations is over, five-star forward Brandon Ingram will stick around and take an unofficial visit to UCLA. Next weekend he'll visit Duke and he is also planning a visit to Kansas in October. Pushing 6-foot-9, he is a very interesting prospect in that his game is that of a true wing and you just don't see many wings that size in college. Once he adds strength, though, Ingram has legitimate tools to play at the highest level of basketball and he could get there quickly. Currently ranked No. 25 in 2015, he is one of many highly rated players who is pushing for a bump in the rankings. He is definitely deserving of it and there will have to be some tough decisions made at the very high end of the rankings.
Some people say class of 2015 four-star Bennie Boatwright is a stretch four. Others like him as a combo or small forward. Whichever position you want to label him, Boatwright's game is jump shot heavy and he has very good size at nearly 6-foot-8. He is looking stronger than ever physically and mentioned Arizona State, Oregon, Connecticut and Gonzaga as some of the schools most active in his recruitment and under consideration for official visits.
Four-star big man Tony Bradley had a very nice morning game on Saturday. The 6-foot-9 big man from Florida was strong on the glass and did a good job of converting in traffic. He is very much playing up to his ranking of No. 55 in the class of 2016.
Team Wall 2016 steamrolled the Latin America squad in a Saturday morning game. The play of 2016 four-stars Rawle Alkins and Maverick Rowan had a lot to do with it as they scored 22 and 21 respectively.
Built like a strong safety, Alkins is a beastly wing who loves to attack off the dribble. On a few occasions, he would rip a rebound at the defensive end and drive all the way to the other end for buckets. His jump shot remains a work in progress, but he shoots it well enough that defenders at least have to respect him from deep, and that's a good start.
Headed to Pittsburgh, Rowan usually relies on his three-point shooting to soften defenses. With his deep jumper not falling, Rowan did a nice job of using his 6-foot-6 frame to get into the lane and be a factor on the offensive glass. He is a good athlete, has a very good feel for being in the right place at the right time and is an instinctive scorer.
Kobi Simmons has picked right up in Garden Grove where he left off at basically every other stop he's made this summer. The 6-foot-4 point guard who is a five-star prospect in the class of 2016 is an electric offensive player who can create for himself off the dribble and has loads of confidence in his game. Despite playing pretty much every big name event he could, Simmons still has fresh legs with plenty of pop in them. He doesn't have dates set just yet, but said that he is looking to schedule unofficial visits to Kentucky, Kansas and Missouri this fall.
The only class of 2017 player in attendance, 6-foot-8 combo forward Billy Preston, has handled himself very nicely. He is a rangy forward who stretches defenses with his ability to shoot from deep, he can score in the lane and he has a great frame to build on. As we start looking towards a first crack at ranking the class of 2017, it is hard to envision him not making an initial top 25 and he stands to be in the mix for early five-star status.
A pair of committed prospects both had solid Saturday night outings. Connecticut-bound point guard Jalen Adams and Stanford-bound small forward Cameron Walker were both efficient.
Over the past couple of months, Adams has gotten much stronger. The addition of a power game to go along with his already tremendous first step, skilled ball-handling and ability to make tough shots makes him a load. He is a master of the pull-up jumper and plays with unwavering confidence. On the other hand, Walker is a good sized wing at about 6-foot-7 who has also added strength. He has picked his spots through two days of play and knocked down open looks when given the opportunity. He could always be a little more aggressive, but his all around play at Nations has been strong.