Sunday, September 28, 2014

Isaac shines at The Workout
RANKINGS: Class of 2014 - 2015 - 2016
SARASOTA, Fla. -- The brainchild of Nike Team Florida program director Tom Topping, The Workout is now in year nine of giving some of the Sunshine State's a stage to shine. Five-star junior big man Udoka Azubuike was on hand with the likes of four-star Marquette bound guard Haanif Cheatham and senior Rivals150 combo forward Keith Stone. But on the day's first event it was junior Rivals150 small forward Jonathan Isaac who had a breakout performance. Isaac on the rise 2016 The upside is that Jonathan Isaac was included in the post summer Rivals150 for the class of 2016. The downside is that at No. 144 nationally, the 6-foot-8 small forward from Hollywood (Fla.) International School of Broward entered the rankings too low - that is, if the way he played on Saturday is an indication of what to expect from him down the road.
Jonathan Isaac had a breakout performance on Saturday.
A legitimate wing with outstanding size, Isaac is a highly skilled and fluid three man who puts the ball on the floor, buries jumpers and looks to have big upside. He is still relatively slight of build, but his length and ability to finish with floaters or either hand near the rim make him just as much of a threat off the drive as he is with the jump shot. This fall, Isaac has started to add scholarship offers as schools find out about him. "I have three offers right now," Isaac told Rivals.com. "Arkansas State, UCF and Mississippi State are the schools that have offered." However, word is starting to leak out about Isaac's ability and he has recent interest from programs like Florida State, Alabama, Texas, East Carolina, Kansas State and South Carolina among others. If Isaac continues to perform at a high level, he is headed for four-star status and several more offers. In an age where some prospects get nervous about offers during their junior seasons, he knows that it is just a matter of time before he has a brighter spotlight shining on him. "People are really just starting to find out about me," said Isaac. "I'm being recruited as a two and a three and feel good about that." Major attention for Azubuike The highest ranked player at The Workout on Saturday, No. 14 in the class of 2016 Udoka Azubuike, was also the biggest player in attendance. His listed height of 6-foot-11 is probably a bit generous, but his long arms, powerful playing style and intensity allow him to play like somebody that size. Consider this: Azubuike just turned 15 years old two weeks ago, which means he is two years young for a high school junior. Yet he has the build of a player that is at least two years old for his class and he plays with the physicality of a college veteran. A true power player around the rim, Azubuike embraces that his strength is playing near the rim and trying to dunk everything possible. He has outstanding hands and after missing the end of the summer doing to shin and ankle problems, he showed surprising endurance and energy throughout the course of a long day of basketball. According to Azubuike, he has offers from Wake Forest, Florida State, Georgetown and Maryland. He said that both Kentucky and Kansas have been in to see him lately and he feels that they are close to offering scholarships. Others mentioned by Azubuike include LSU, Virginia Tech, Iowa, North Carolina and Duke. Stone favors Florida The No. 127 player in the class of 2015, Keith Stone is a guy that high major programs are going to continue to take a long look at. Billed as a combo forward, the 6-foot-7 product of Deerfield Beach (Fla.) Zion Lutheran looked more like a true small forward on Saturday.
Stone is excited about the Florida Gators.
A good shooter who has a balanced game, Stone can drive for towering dunks off of one foot or pull-up from mid range. He likes turnaround jumpers off of either jumper and because of his size can play as a stretch four man. Earlier in the fall Stone took a visit to Florida that had been reported as an official visit. However, it turns out that the visit was unofficial and he and the Gators are still working to set up an official visit date. Taking things a step further, Stone said that he favors the Gators but they are in a scholarship crunch so he is keeping his options open and will wait until the spring to make a decision. In the meantime, he said that South Carolina, West Virginia and Alabama had ramped up their interest. "It's been good," said Stone of his recruitment. "I've been having a lot of fun getting to know these coaches." Young for the class of 2015, Stone won't turn 18 until after he arrives on a college campus. He embraces his late bloomer status. "I'm a late bloomer," said Stone. "I've just really started getting noticed and I'm improving fast." More Saturday notes from The Workout Ranked No. 75 in the class of 2016, 6-foot-4 shooting guard Trent Forrest is an intelligent player who understands his strength, which is his ability to be a physical driver and his bouncy athleticism. He rebounds exceptionally well for a wing player, finishes above the rim in transition and has added a nice looking floater to go along with his powerful drives. Forrest recognizes that his jumper needs work and he also knows that some are skeptical because he plays small school ball at Chipley (Fla.) High. As far as Rivals.com is concerned, there shouldn't be much skepticism about his game - he is a legitimate high major prospect. Forrest lists offers from Wichita State, Florida State, Miami, Tennessee and UCF while others like Stanford and Texas A&M have been in to check on him.
2016 guard Trent Forrest is a high-major prospect.
Committed to Marquette, four-star wing Haanif Cheatham got off to a little bit of a slow start on Saturday. By the end of the day, though, the utility guard was showing why he ranks No. 68 in the class of 2015. A southpaw, Cheatham has been very dependent on that left hand in the past. However, on more than a handful of drives he was able to stay with and finish right handed on plays that he would have undoubtedly turned back to his dominant hand even four months ago. By the end of the day he started to knock down some shots. Combine that with his above average passing and defense and you have a very solid guard. Committed to Central Florida, three-star shooting guard Chance McSpadden has built his reputation as a scorer and shooter. On Saturday, his outside shot betrayed him a bit so the long and quick 6-foot-4 shooting guard attacked off the dribble instead. Still lean, McSpadden showed some surprising toughness and finished through contact better than anybody might expect him to. The sooner he finds more balance between his jump shooting and driving, the sooner he can help out the Knights. Headed to Florida, power forward Kevarrius Hayes is starting to add some very much needed bulk to his skinny frame. The three-star, who ranks No. 138 in the class of 2015, is all about playing hard, quickness and an ability to run and make plays at the rim. He is a very good rebounder, plays committed defense and tries to dunk everything he can. How quickly he can add SEC level strength and add to his overall package of skill will play a huge part in whether he is more of a role or featured player during his tenure in Gainesville. Contributing analyst Russ Wood identified class of 2016 guard Leandro Allende as a nice prospect. A well built wing player, Allende sports a balanced game and solid athleticism. He is an outstanding passer in transition, can shed contact to finish at the rim and shoots well enough from deep to keep defenders on their toes. At a minimum, he appears to be a good mid major prospect and he will get plenty of looks this winter. Another player who impressed for the second weekend in a row was shooting guard Amaru Bryant. He is a speedy transition player with athleticism who plays with a high motor and does the little things when he can't score or his jump shot fails him. He has to get a bit stronger and tighten his handle a bit, but his motor and effort will earn the junior guard college admirers.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Four-star guard picks Notre Dame
Rivals.com Recruiting Staff

Earlier this week, four-star shooting guard Rex Pflueger told Rivals.com that he was getting close to making a decision. Turns out he was even closer than he let on.


Rex Pflueger picked the Irish Thursday night.
Thursday night, the 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei pulled off a bit of a surprise when he announced via his twitter account that he has committed to Notre Dame.

The pick wasn't a surprise in that he picked the Irish, but it did come sooner than expected. There had also been some speculation that the Notre Dame staff would wait until hearing on a decision from Jalen Coleman before moving on another shooting guard target.

What is clear is that the Irish had a strong in home visit earlier this week on the heels of a great official visit.

"It was Michigan weekend and that was a great game," Pflueger told Rivals.com earlier this week about his Notre Dame visit. "I got to sit in the student section. They had great weather. The campus was overall beautiful. You know when you step on Notre Dame's campus, it's a place full of history."

An athletic off guard who currently ranks No. 97 in the class of 2015. He handles the ball very well, can finish above the rim and is an effective slasher off the dribble. His jumper looks good to beyond the three point line, but he has been an inconsistent shooter from deep thus far. Pflueger is also an outstanding perimeter defender and will get a chance to be the main man on offense this season at Mater Dei now that All-American Stanley Johnson has moved on to Arizona.

Pflueger is the third member of Notre Dame's 2015 recruiting class. He joins three-star small forward Matt Ryan who is recovering from injury and three-star combo forward Elijah Burns.
Silva commits
Rivals Staff, 09/20/14
 
Adding some size to the 2015 recruiting class has been a priority for Frank Martin and his Gamecock hoops staff, and good news was received today on that front.
Silva is a Gamecock
Roselle (N.J.) Roselle Catholic power forward Chris Silva announced a verbal commitment to South Carolina during a ceremony this afternoon. The 6-foot-8, 205-pounder chose the Gamecocks over finalists Rhode Island and Seton Hall. Silva, originally from Gabon, Africa, visited Seton Hall a couple weeks ago followed by a trip to Rhode Island. This past weekend, the high-energy post prospect spent two days at South Carolina. "It was nice to be there," Silva told Gamecock Central following the trip. "Everything was excellent." Among the highlights of the weekend for Silva was attending his first major college football game. The contest, a 38-35 win on the gridiron over UGA, didn't disappoint. "The football game was very impressive," he stated. "The fans were passionate." Roselle Catholic head coach Dave Boff, says Silva has a promising future at the next level. "Chris is a dominant athlete whose best basketball is ahead of him," Boff said. "He's continuing to develop offensively."

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Arizona, UConn add big men

It is one thing to be considered the leader for a high end prospect, it is another to seal the deal. Both Arizona and Connecticut sealed the deal with big men they had been considered leaders for as Chance Comanche and Steve Enoch each committed over the weekend.
Chance Comanche is headed to Arizona.
The No. 31 player in the country, Comanche had been considered a heavy lean to Arizona for some time. However, the 6-foot-10 power forward out of Beverly Hills (Calif.) High had set up visits to other schools and said he would complete the visit process. That plan changed on Saturday night when the slender face-up four man decided that he had seen enough during his official visit to Tucson and committed before leaving for home. Extremely talented but also inconsistent, Comanche has loads of upside and should still be considered a legitimate McDonald's All-American candidate. He can run the floor, scores with touch using either hand near the hoop and he can step all the way out to three point land. His game is reminiscent of former Wildcats star Channing Frye and like Frye he needs to add strength and show more commitment to playing a power game around the rim. By adding Comanche, Sean Miller and his staff have strengthened their 2015 recruiting class that was already the best class in the country. He joins five-star prospects Ray Smith -- an athletic wing -- and guards Allonzo Trier and Justin Simon to form a group that won't be easy to overtake. Over on the other side of the country, the defending national champions were busy locking up one of their prime targets in Enoch.
Steve Enoch came from off the radar to fly up the rankings.
A 6-foot-9 power forward who burst onto the scene during the summer, Enoch is an in state kid who always looked like a heavy lean to Kevin Ollie and the Huskies. In fact, it was a bit of a surprise that it even took him until his official visit to make things final in the Huskies favor. Regardless, the native of Norwalk who is spending his senior season at Oakdale (Conn.) St. Thomas More is a very important pickup. With five-star guard Jalen Adams already in the fold the Huskies had prioritized a versatile big man and that's exactly what they got in Enoch who currently ranks No. 59 in the Rivals150 for the class of 2015. A bit of a late bloomer who is really just learning about who and what he can be with his game, Enoch is a big framed four man with good athleticism and a great body to build on in the weight room. Capable of playing a power game down low, Enoch runs well, has long arms and what really sets him apart is his smooth shooting stroke. Because he is relatively new to high level basketball there are some nuances to low post play that Enoch has to master and his motor can run a bit hot and cold at times. However, with him and Adams in the fold Ollie and his staff have gotten off to a great start with their 2015 recruiting class.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Friday Night Lights for FSU basketball

It isn't that surprising to hear about Florida State targets making news on a Friday night in the Fall. At least not in football. But the Friday night lights were shining on the Seminoles basketball program this time around as they landed a pair of big time wings in Dwayne Bacon and Malik Beasley.


Dwayne Bacon ended his recruitment Friday night.
A 6-foot-6 wing at Mouth of Wilson (Va.) Oak Hill and a native Floridian who ranks No. 22 in the class of 2015, Bacon and No. 43 Beasley a 6-foot-4 shooting guard from Alpharetta (Ga.) St. Francis are both in Tallahassee on official visits.

While it isn't unusual to see a commitment on the tail end of a visit, landing not one but two high level commits so early during the course of a visit doesn't happen that often. It's a feeling that Leonard Hamilton and his staff are sure to savor as they spend the rest of the weekend talking about what Bacon and Beasley can do for them.

A transition slasher and high end finisher, Bacon is a big and strong small forward. Over the past couple of years he has become a very good ball handler and can be a playmaker in the half court. He rebounds well, can play defense and is a dangerous enough jump shooter to keep defenders very honest. So far, his strength and explosion are pretty natural so it is scary to think about what he will look like after some time in FSU's weight room.

More of a shooting guard than Bacon, Beasley is another explosive athlete. A late-bloomer who went from unranked during the middle of his junior to the upper end of four-star territory, Beasley is a wing scorer who loves to drive the ball. If he can't finish with strong slams, he has a pretty good pull-up jumper and his offensive game shows more wrinkles each time out. His shot from deep can be a bit flat, but this is a player who has been on a steep and steady incline over the last year.

In Bacon and Beasley, FSU landed a pair of wings that will be as explosive athletically as any pair that any other program could go out and find. Given that FSU already held a commitment from four-star small forward Terance Mann, they are more than set on the wing for the next few years.