Sunday, December 27, 2015

City of Palms: Wiley's motor doesn't stop
Austin Wiley finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds against Montverde Academy.
FORT MEYERS, Fla. -- The second day of the City of Palms Classic featured several teams playing their first game in the event including a match up of top ranked Montverde Academy (Fla.) and Spain Park (Ala.).

Five-star power forward Austin Wiley played the entire game with his motor on high. The Auburn-bound big man reminds you of a young Alonzo Mourning with his broad shoulders, big body, good hands and his ability to run the floor. Wiley passes well out of the post and showed terrific footwork. Montverde used their depth to constantly have a fresh defender on Wiley but he still finished with 20 points, 11 rebounds, three blocks.

Spain Park shooting guard Jamal Johnson started the game slowly but as the first half wore on you could see him starting to figure it out. Johnson has good range on his jumper, plays under control and was excellent on screen and roll. His good body control allowed him to take the bump in the lane and still finish. Johnson could have easily scored 30 points but his free throw shooting let him down in the second half.

The strength in this season's Montverde Academy team is their front court anchored by senior Bruno Fernando and sophomore Silvio De Sousa. On this day the duo combined for 22 points, six rebounds, three blocks and two steals.

Fernando doesn't just have a good motor, Fernando has a great motor. He will catch a body at one end of the court then sprint back to help in transition defense. Fernando gave great effort defending Wiley. Whether he was defending Wiley inside or had to switch off on a perimeter big man, Fernando showed that he understands how to defend.

DeSousa is tough, athletic and plays with terrific energy at both ends of the court. He makes the correct pass out of the double team and his footwork is good. In the country for just 11 months and already a five-star prospect, as DeSousa develops his low post moves and counter moves he will be almost unstoppable in the paint.

I was impressed with...

Whenever you hear the name Bam Adebayo, the term 'dominant big man' typically comes up. The second day of the City of Palms was no different. Adebayo had a very efficient 23 points, nine rebounds, three assists and two steals. He seemed to feed off of the contact when the ball goes up and was equally effective rebounding at both ends of the floor.

North Carolina-bound Tony Bradley continued his elite level play with 33 points and 13 rebounds but got very little help from his teammates. Bradley knows how to get deep low-post position and hold it. When the double team comes he knows how to react. Bradley can handle the ball and is a good passer. He also must be defended honestly when he steps away from the basket.

Jayson Tatum made half of his shot attempts, both inside and outside the arc. Tatum was also successful at getting to the free throw line where he made 11-of-15 attempts. With a complete scoring repertoire the Duke-bound Tatum was a match up nightmare for Bartow (Fla.) defenders and was able to get his from anywhere on the court. He finished with 36 points for Chaminade (Mo.) and made it look easy.
Other thoughts...

Sarasota Riverview has a backcourt with high major potential in juniors A.J. Caldwell and Brion Whitley.

Caldwell is one of the best jump shooters in the state of Florida and that skill was on display as he shot he shot 41-percent beyond the arc. He was also opportunistic on defense with three steals. Caldwell will need to improve his mid-range game. As teams learn he is less effective there, they will run him off the line.

Whitley is athletic and physical enough to score in the paint or in traffic. At 6-foot-4, 170-pounds he attacked the cup and got to the free throw line where he made all seven attempts. Whitley also has the poise to step to the line late in the game and knock down free throws as he did with 37 seconds to play to put his team in position to win.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Wiseman, Bone impress in Nashville
James Wiseman scored 15 points, hauled in six rebounds and blocked two shots on Friday.
NASHVILLE -- Nashville's Ensworth High School looks like it will be a popular stop for high major college coaches over the next few years. Senior point guard Jordan Bone has already been locked up by Tennessee but freshman power forward James Wiseman looks like he's got the ability to make Ensworth a destination spot.

Wiseman holds promise

At this point, 6-foot-9 freshman power forward James Wiseman of Nashville (Tenn.) Ensworth is only two games into his high school career. However, Wiseman showed on Friday night why his name has been floating around basketball circles in the South as a potential high-level player.

A slim southpaw with a 200-pound frame to build on, Wiseman was quite impressive as he delivered a 15-point, six-rebound and two-block effort that showed off a high skill level.

On his first touch of the night, Wiseman made a high catch that he quickly laid in off the glass with soft touch. He followed that up with an even better catch on the run in transition where he quickly gathered the ball, elevated and dunked while being fouled. So excited about the play was Wiseman that he ran back down to the other end to play defense before realizing that he'd been awarded a free throw attempt.

By the time the night was over he had added some jump hooks and converted on 12-foot jump shots while showing off a level of skill that surpassed his experience level.

Donald Wynn has coached Wiseman in his Enplay program since the freshman was a third grader and he's seen consistent skill development.

"His biggest assets are his athletic ability and size," said Wynn. "He's really comfortable with his body at his size. He runs he floor well and he has good from 12 to 15 feet. He can block shots most of the time and keep the ball in play."

On Friday night, hometown Vanderbilt was watching and Wiseman has been to campus. The Commodores haven't offered just yet, but one should be coming soon. Tennessee has offered and Texas has been in touch.

Many more programs will be getting involved soon and the spotlight will likely start to shine brightly on Wiseman but the plan is to keep him grounded.

"He's a very humble kid that's focused," said Wynn. "He has a great support system in place so he just needs to stay in the gym and focus on his academics and I believe the sky is the limit."
Bone part of sneaky good Vols class

If you look at Tennessee's five-man 2016 recruiting class of three-star prospects on paper, it doesn't jump out at you. Only North Carolina small forward Jalen Johnson currently ranks in the Rivals150. But, make no mistake about it Rick Barnes and his staff have signed an excellent foundation class that will provide lots of experience and leadership.

Three-star point guard Jordan Bone is the third member of the Vols' class that has seen live in the past few weeks -- forwards John Fulkerson and Grant Williams were the others -- and he has a very good chance of working his way into the Rivals150 when it's all said and done.

In previous viewings, Bone had looked to be a bit more of an undersized 6-foot-1 guard who was trying to play the point. After watching him again, he's clearly a point guard and he's looking like one that is much better than thought.

Bone showed a tremendous first step, speed with the ball and high level passing ability. He can score with the jumper and he plays hard on the defensive end as well. Looking at where he is and who will be on the roster at Tennessee it's easy to envision him being at least a two to three year starter.

Were Bone still open in the recruiting process there would be a huge battle to land his services. Instead, Barnes and his staff did a great job of identifying and locking in on him even and making sure that they landed their point guard of the future.
Jordan Bone has a very good chance of working his way into the Rivals150.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Thanksgiving Hoopfest: Fox shows out
Five-star De'Aaron Fox racked up 31 points, 12 rebounds and six assists in a win Saturday.
DUNCANVILLE, Texas -- The second and final day of the seventh annual Thanksgiving Hoopfest gave the fans what they wanted. Senior combo guard Andrew Jones continued his ascension and junior guard Trae Young went off. But, it was five-star point guard De'Aaron Fox who reminded everybody that he's still the best senior in Texas.

I was impressed with...

Thanks to his play at the Thanksgiving Hoopfest, I think we need to start talking about unsigned combo guard Andrew Jones from Irving (Texas) MacArthur as a legitimate candidate for both the McDonald's All-American game and a move to five-star status.

Currently a four-star prospect ranked No. 38 in the 2016 Rivals150, the 6-foot-4 senior followed up his 37-point Friday effort by standing toe to toe with an elite prospect and delivering 29 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals in a losing effort. Texas' Shaka Smart and Baylor's Scott Drew were on hand to see him play.

Now about that elite prospect that Jones went toe to toe with. De'Aaron Fox backed up his lofty No. 5 national ranking in the class of 2016 by delivering a command performance for Katy (Texas) Cypress Lake. Fox matched Jones blow for blow and led his team to a hard fought win while racking up 31 points, 12 rebounds and six assists.

A relentless driver of the ball, Fox wasn't completely dialed in from deep (just 3-of-13 from distance) but his performance was otherwise flawless. What really sets him apart, though, is his blinding speed. Speed that he showed off to end the third quarter. Fox grabbed a rebound and raced from one end to the other in just under four seconds to beat the buzzer. What was most impressive is that he never looked rushed or concerned that he wouldn't make it to the bucket in time.

Needless to say, the Kentucky signee validated his top five status and he is a stone cold lock for the McDonald's game.
Here's the scary thing, as good as both Fox and Jones were, they didn't have the performance of the day. That belonged to a potential 2017 McDonald's All-American Trae Young who hung 44 points, seven assists and five rebounds on Richland (Texas) High in Norman (Okla.) North's 95-71 win.

Just a day after going for 33, Young was even more locked in. There had apparently been some pre game trash talk and suggestion that he was overrated at No. 26 nationally but Young effectively ended any of that talk. He bombed deep threes, used his advanced ball skills to get into the lane and mixed in a little bit of everything else. He has been on the fringe of five-star status for a while now and the résumé he has built since his freshman year is matched by few in the junior class and could be pushing him to that next level.
I was surprised by...

On the first day of the Hoopfest, Oklahoma State signee Cameron McGriff was very quiet as his Grand Prairie (Texas) South squad took a loss. They suffered another tough loss on Saturday, but it wasn't any fault of McGriff. The Rivals150 combo forward has added some muscle to his wiry 6-foot-7 frame and he was very good in most areas. He competed on the glass, ran the floor, made some alert passes and contributed on both ends of the floor while scoring 26 points (11-of-19 FG), grabbing seven rebounds and handing out six assists.

McGriff's teammate, USC bound power forward Harrison Henderson, also had his moments after a quiet Friday. 6-foot-9 with deft touch, Henderson hit some jumpers and showed some life around the basket but also drifted a little too much and didn't assert himself as a rim protector in a 13-point and six-rebound outing.Other thoughts...

With Shaka Smart and Scott Drew on hand to watch him, four-star junior R.J. Nembhard turned it on late but couldn't quite lead Keller (Texas) Central to a win over Plano (Texas) West. A well built shooting guard who loves to attack the basket, Nembhard scored 18 of his game-high 22 points in the second half. His jumper still has a little catching up to do but he is a solid ball handler and already has a college ready body.

Currently ranked No. 85 in 2017, Richland's C.J. Roberts finished with 31 points, two assists and two rebounds of his own. Athletic and quick, Roberts is a right hand dominant driver who tries to attack the basket as often as possible thanks to an explosive first step.

Also putting together a pair of strong outings for Norman North was unsigned senior guard Marcus Dickinson. After getting 20 points four rebounds and three assists on Friday, the 6-foot-2 senior came back with 18, 10 and five on Saturday. He's tough, he has some athleticism and he's able to get a lot of things done and can absolutely play Div. I basketball.

Unfortunately, 2017's No. 59 player Galen Alexander is waiting to be ruled eligible in the state of Louisiana after a transfer. So, Lafayette (La.) Christian was without him and touted 2018 guard Greg Williams had a pretty quiet day. But, twin seniors Kalob Ledoux and Jacob Ledoux were plenty impressive. Ticketed for McNeese State, they appear to be a pretty big recruiting steal. Both have good size at around 6-foot-4, both are very athletic and they can each shoot it a little from deep.

If it feels like TCU signee Josh Parrish has played in the Hoopfest forever it's because he pretty much has. The Rivals150 wing made his fourth appearance with Arlington (Texas) Seguin and was solid in a tough double overtime loss. Physically, he's ready to play in the Big 12 right away and he's a tough finisher and athlete around the rim. He's a good value pickup for the Horned Frogs but could really become something if his jumper catches up to his slashing.

R.J. Nembhard scored 18 points in the second half Saturday.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

National Prep Showcase: Brown dominates
Bruce Brown could be
NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- The 2015 edition of the National Prep Showcase kicked off on the campus of Albertus Magnus College on Friday and Miami bound guard Bruce Brown showed why Hurricane fans were celebrating at the end of the first signing period.

I was impressed with...

With a dominant 29 point (12-20 FG), nine rebound and four assist effort on Friday Bruce Brown of Saxton's River (Vt.) Vermont Academy proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he belongs as a top 50 prospect in the class of 2016.

Brown -- who signed with Miami on Wednesday -- played a spirited game while leading his team to victory. Always known for his toughness, Brown is a strong and aggressive two guard who has taken his athleticism from good to well above average. He attacked the rim for vicious jams, dished off some nice passes on dribble drives and rebounded like a power forward.

Miami fans should be very excited that they were able to lock him up in the early signing period and I continue to feel that Brown is a potential All-ACC level defensive player.

I was surprised by...

Originally a member of the class of 2016, 6-foot-3 point guard Kellan Grady of Northfield (Mass.) Mount Hermon has moved to the class of 2017 and the change will be beneficial to both his game and recruitment. I've always felt that he had a good level of skill and shooting ability, but worried about his lack of physicality and assertiveness. By giving himself an extra year before college he can get stronger and become more comfortable directing traffic. He looked quite comfortable on Friday delivering 18 points four assists and two rebounds.

Grady has already been on several college campuses and said that he's taken a particular liking to Davidson. Villanova and Butler have shown recent interest but haven't yet pulled the string on an offer. Other offers for the potential Rivals150 prospect include Xavier, Richmond, Rhode Island and most of the Ivy League.
In the summer, Canadian point guard Marcus Ottey impressed with his toughness and high end athleticism. He did so again on Friday for Geneva (Ohio) Spire Institute. A tough off the dribble scorer, Ottey got to the rim over and over again while racking up 22 points and six rebounds. He is more scorer than playmaker but the three-star prospect is one of the better remaining floor generals. He took Fall visits to Valparaiso and Illinois-Chicago and mentioned New Mexico State, Toledo, Detroit, UTEP, VCU and Nevada as others currently involved.

Other notes...

He didn't check into the game until 15 minutes left in the second half, but 2017 five-star Hamidou Diallo made the most of his time scoring 13 points in just 14 minutes of action. Hopefully the 6-foot-4 shooting guard plays more on Saturday because we know he's an elite athlete but need to see how his jumper is coming along.

Perhaps UNLV stole one in combo guard Christian Vital. A sharp shooter from deep with sneaky athleticism, Vital went for 25 points and eight rebounds while making five of his seven three-point attempts.

Rivals150 power forward Tyrique Jones looks like a good fit for Xavier. They've always liked having a bouncy, rugged insider who attacks the glass and tries to dunk everything. That's pretty much his game and he appears happy to do so.

The story for Kai Toews is an interesting one. The 2017 point guard at Bridgton Academy just came to the United States from Japan and has not heard from a single Div. I school. That should be changing soon for the 6-footer. His father played pro ball in several countries and is now a professional coach in Japan and it's easy to see he has learned well. Heady, explosive when he needs it and in total control Toews looks to be at least a very good mid major prospect.

I like shooting guard Roosevelt Smart of Bel Aire (Kan.) Sunrise Christian as a good upper mid major spring target. He's improved his ball handling and decision making enough to play some point but he's most effective off the ball as a scorer with some athleticism.

Finally, you can't like basketball and not enjoy three-star point guard Ian Sistare of Northfield Mt. Hermon. Sistare is a balls-to-the-wall competitor who makes jumpers, crashes the glass and leads his team vocally. He was good for 18 points, five rebounds and three assists while only missing one shot.

Kai Toews has yet to hear from a Div. I program, but that should change soon.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Phenom Hoops Showcase: Big day for Bulldogs

DeShawn Corprew
LEWISVILLE, N.C. - The first day of the Phenom Hoops Showcase on the campus of Forsyth Country Day was a good one. A pair of Mississippi State four-star signees looked good and four-star wing DeShawn Corprew announced that he's back on the open market.
I was impressed by…
I had been planning to write about how Winston-Salem (N.C.) Quality Education small forward Deshawn Corprew was the biggest steal of the early recruiting period. Instead, I'm here to talk about how the four-star small forward who ranks No. 112 overall in 2016 has opened up his recruitment and won't be signing with Arkansas Little-Rock. Corprew is a powerful 6-foot-5 wing who is a beast attacking the rim. He was good for 26 and 10 in a win. Prior to his commitment others such as Kansas State, Florida State, Texas and more had been involved. He'll be one of the most heavily recruited senior wings in the country this year. One of the biggest early storylines of the signing period has been Mississippi State. Friday, two of its four-star signees, Mario Kegler and Eli Wright, absolutely turned it out. Ranked No. 29 overall, Kegler was the man for Mouth of Wilson (Va.) Oak Hill as the burly 6-foot-7 forward made six threes and finished with 25 points and five rebounds. His performance was expected (though the three-point shooting was a bonus). On the other hand, Wright's 28-point, six-rebound, three-assist, four-steal effort for 22 Feet Academy was one where he looked to outplay his own lofty status of No. 94 in the class of 2016. A southpaw with athleticism and a terrific first step, Wright made a living attacking the rim and he was also dangerous shooting from beyond the three-point line. The least celebrated of the Bulldogs' sixth-ranked recruiting class, Wright looked like a steal on Friday.
I was surprised by…
In just the second day of the game, class of 2017 point guard Michael Okauru proved to be one of the day's better performers. An athletic driver with good 6-foot-3 size, Okauru looked good in the open floor and made some confident pull-up jumpers. He mixed in a few threes and had a great night with 26 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals. Okauru said that his only offer is from Rutgers but he has visited Virginia[tm] and [tm]Xavier, and holds interest from East Carolina, Richmond and Wake Forest among others. Two-thirds of Tennessee's 2016 recruiting class took the floor during the day as three-star power forwards Grant Williams and John Fulkerson both played. They each suffered losses, but showed out for their teams. The 6-foot-6 Williams is an intense competitor around the rim who has sneaky athleticism and great hands. He had 26 points and nine rebounds for Charlotte (N.C.) Providence Country Day in its loss to Oak Hill and ended the day by signing his letter of intent with Tennessee. A 6-foot-7 lefty for Arden (N.C.) Christ School, Fulkers prefers to catch on the perimeter, turn and drive to the basket. He is very athletic off of one foot, has a good-looking shot and he will compete. He needs to get stronger but both he and Williams have intangibles, athleticism and look like guys that could develop into valuable upperclassmen.
Other thoughts …
Mountain Mission wing Harold Baruti is going to make some noise this winter. A 6-foot-5 three-star small forward, Baruti is a high level athlete who slashes to the rim, has a workable jumper and plays with an extreme motor. He listed offers from SMU and UNC-Wilmington to go with interest from Florida, Georgia and Western Kentucky. He finished with 14 points and eight rebounds. Baruti's 6-foot-9 teammate Maciej Bender has been hailed as a possible three-star steal for West Virginia but he didn't have his best outing on Friday. Bender has legit Big 12 size and isn't shy on the offensive end but was just 4-for-14 from the field in a nine-point and seven-rebound effort. A sophomore to watch in the state of North Carolina is 6-foot-4 three-star shooting guard Nate Hinton from Northside Christian in Charlotte. Hinton has good wing size, is physical, has a great motor and wields a good-looking jumper. Wofford was the first to offer and he took a visit to Virginia during the summer. Hinton also mentioned College of Charleston and Appalachian State. Class of 2017 Rivals150 forward Nicolas Claxton struggled badly from the field on Friday. But, the 6-foot-8 lefty is a work in progress and it's his length, quickness and long-term potential that we need to keep an eye on. Claxton listed offers from Arizona, Georgia (where his father Charles played), Wake Forest, Baylor, Maryland, Clemson, South Carolina, USC and Florida State to go with interest from N.C. State, Texas, Tennessee and Georgetown Three-star shooting guard Marquis Godwin of the Christ School is one to watch in 2017. The native of Virginia has offers from Rice, Old Dominion, Richmond, Hofstra, Furman, Maryland Eastern Shore, Norfolk State, Howard and Hampton to go along with interest from Creighton, Virginia Tech, Temple and Clemson. Through one game of his senior season, moving Sacha Killeya-Jones to five-star status during the post-summer rankings update looks to have been the appropriate call. The thin and athletic senior lacks physicality at this time and needs to not rely quite so much on his jumper, but his shot is so pretty and he is a natural rebounder who seems to be in the right place at the right time. At around 6-foot-10 his size, skill and athleticism all translate to a high level. Finally, Alabama-bound combo forward Braxton Key was efficient and productive for Oak Hill in its win. He beat defenders to the rim in transition, made plays off the bounce and played with physicality. The four-star forward finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds while making 8-of-10 field goals.
Harold Baruti courtesy Phenom Hoops Showcase

Friday, November 6, 2015

No. 2 Giles commits to Duke

THE RIVALS150: 2016 | 2017
What a week it was for five-star power forward Harry Giles. The nation's No. 2 player suffered a likely season ending knee injury on Tuesday during his first game with Mouth of Wilson (Va.) Oak Hill. But, it wasn't all tough news for Giles, who committed to Duke on ESPN's Sportscenter on Friday afternoon.

BREAKING DOWN GILES: The attributes that have turned Giles into one of the most elite prospects in a 2016 class that is full of them are easy to see the minute he steps on the floor. He has ideal size at 6-foot-10, he has long arms and he is a very good athlete who runs the floor like a much smaller player.

As much as Giles checks all of the boxes on the checklist of physical attributes, it is his skill that separates him from the pack. He handles the ball proficiently for a big man and is always a threat to grab a rebound and race coast to coast with it for a basket. He has good hands, good touch and is comfortable scoring with either hand near the rim or with short jump hooks. More recently, Giles has extended his shooting range to where he's very reliable to 17 feet and on top of that he's an outstanding passer out of the low post.

The knee injury is the second of Giles' high school career and there are going to be obvious questions about when he will be back at full strength and how quickly he will be able to make an impact. But, there aren't any questions about Giles tools or ability.

IN HIS OWN WORDS: "Next school year I will be attending Duke University," Giles said during the broadcast. "I feel like Duke was the place for me. Every time I go to Duke it feels like home. Every time I talk to coach K it is a special feeling. Ever time we talk, it is always the same feeling, it feels great."

RIVALS' REACTION: Duke had been considered the leader on Giles for quite some time, so it's no surprise to see him pick the Blue Devils. However, Mike Krzyzewski and his staff still had to seal the deal and they are undoubtedly excited. By adding Giles to the mix, the Blue Devils will move from No. 2 to No. 1 in the 2016 team rankings when they are updated on Signing Day next week. Giles joins the No. 3, No. 10 and No. 41 ranked players in 2016 in small forward Jayson Tatum, combo guard Frank Jackson and power forward Javin DeLaurier.

WHAT'S NEXT?: The Blue Devils are still very much in play for at least one more five-star player in the class of 2016. Center Marques Bolden is still in their sites and they'll look to try and finish things out by landing him.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Bolden breaks down Kansas visit
Kansas played host to several key targets this past weekend, including five-star center Marques Bolden, the No. 16 ranked player in the 2016 class.

Marques Bolden said KU's new dorms are as nice as any he's seen
Marques Bolden, the 6-foot-10, 250-pound center from DeSoto (TX) High School arrived for his official visit to Kansas on Thursday. On Monday night, Bolden, the No. 16 ranked player in the 2016 class, caught up with Jayhawk Slant to talk about his time in Lawrence.

"Actually, my official visit to Kansas was great," said Bolden. "I would say that the visit went much better than I expected going into the visit. I had a great time at Kansas and the visit couldn't have gone any better for me. I arrived on Thursday and hung out with the other players, the coaching staff and the other recruits.

"I didn't spend time with just one player on the team, but hung out with the entire team during my visit," he added. "Harry Giles and I hung out a lot and I was able to spend a lot of time with Coach Bill Self and the other coaches on the staff."

Bolden, who is considering scholarship offers from Alabama, Baylor, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, TCU and Wake Forest, is clearly not a stranger to the University of Kansas men's basketball program. Not many programs, if any at all, have invested as much time recruiting the five-star center as Kansas.

Furthermore, Bolden was on hand for last year's version of Late Night in the Phog and his feelings about the University of Kansas remain the same as always.

"I wouldn't have made the trip to Kansas if I wasn't serious about going to Kansas," said Bolden. "I've always had a lot of interest in Kansas and that hasn't changed. Coach Self has made it clear that he wants me at Kansas and during my visit, we talked about how Kansas would use me in and we talked about what role I would play if I decide to attend Kansas.

"I was able to attend a practice, so I got a good look at how Kansas does things on the court," he added. "Being able to attend practice was good for me. Just being able to see how Coach Self works with his players and to see how they use their big men, it was good for me."

Bolden, who also told Jayhawk Slant that the new dorms at Kansas are as nice as any he's seen, has officially visited Kentucky (9/2), Duke (9/18) and Kansas. He's scheduled to officially visit Oklahoma the weekend of October 23, and there's been some talk that a return visit to Duke and Kentucky could take place this weekend.

However, according to Bolden, no decision has been made yet regarding any future visits.

"I'm not sure if I'm going to visit Duke and Kentucky this weekend or not," said Bolden. "I really don't know what I'm going to do next. I've got some important decisions to make, so I need to sit back and think about what I'm going to do next."

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Spartans building statement class

THE RIVALS150: 2016 | 2017
Thanks to Miles Bridges, Michigan State is putting together what could be the most touted recruiting class the Big Ten has seen since Ohio State landed Greg Oden, Mike Conley and Daequan Cook in 2006.

A 6-foot-6 forward who ranks No. 11 in the 2016 Rivals150, Bridges attends Huntington (W.V.) Prep but returned to his hometown of Flint, Mich. to announce that he would come home again for college by picking Tom Izzo and the Spartans.

Miles Bridges is an impact recruit.
Let's first look at who Bridges is and what he means to the program going forward. Then we'll touch on where this class could rank nationally in 2016 and in Spartan history.

One of the most physically tough players in high school basketball, Bridges plays a style that is comparable to the way Ron Artest (aka Metta World Peace) played at the same age. He pounds the glass, powers to the rim for dunks, plays above average defense and an be a playmaker off the dribble. Bridges has continued to work on his jump shot and has room to expand his game with his shooting.

Because of his versatility, Bridges can play and fit in any kind of style. Grind it out test of manhood, track meet, or well executed halfcourt game he is comfortable and productive.

Add him to the class that the Spartans have already put together and you have a potentially special group. 6-foot-6 wing Joshua Langford is a five-star prospect who ranks No. 18 nationally. Point guard Cassius Winston is a Michigan grown point guard who ranks No. 28 nationally while power forward Nick Ward is a big with soft hands and touch who ranks No. 45 overall.

The haul will give Michigan State the country's top 2016 group to this point when team rankings get updated on Tuesday.

Also, the Spartans figure to be a major player in the race for No. 1 Josh Jackson so there's still room to get even better.

The 2016 group has to live up to a lofty reputation and produce like great Spartans teams of the past so it will be some time until we can truly evaluate it. But, it has a chance to be one of the best classes in school history and is as good a class as the Big Ten has seen in quite some time.

Izzo has always been lauded for the teams he has put on the floor and his success, but his 2016 recruiting efforts are a clear reminder that he can also recruit with the best of them.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Saturday commitment frenzy
Saturday proved to be one of the most active recruiting days of the year as five members of the Rivals150 made their choices. The day started with four-star Curtis Jones kicking things off early and never slowed down.
Curtis Jones is a dangerous shooter.
Jones picks Indiana Earlier in the week, we wrote that it was somewhat surprising that four-star shooting guard Curtis Jones had yet to pick either Indiana or Georgetown. Turns out we didn't need to wait much longer as Jones picked the Hoosiers on Saturday. A 6-foot-4 shooter with range and the ability to attack off the dribble, Jones is a guy who will show up in Bloomington ready to get buckets. He's explosive offensively and while he will need to add strength he was sold on Indiana's player development. "I have a good relationship with the coaching staff and the players," Jones told Jeff Rabjohns of "They do a great job at developing players. "It's a good fit for my game, and they have a family environment." Ranked No. 64 in the 2016 Rivals150, Jones is the Hoosiers' second commitment, joining wing Grant Gelon. Jenkins picks VCU New head coach Will Wade was looking to make a statement in his first full year on the recruiting trail at VCU and he did so by reeling in four-star small forward De'Riante Jenkins. A 6-foot-5 native of South Carolina who ranks No. 61 in the Rivals150 and attends Chatham (Va.) Hargrave Military, Jenkins is a slashing and attacking wing who will likely be able to play both the small forward and shooting guard positions for the Rams. Jenkins summer coach Curt Wheeler told that it was Wade who made the difference.
As expected, Damien Jefferson committed to New Mexico.
"De'Riante had a lot of good options," said Wheeler. "It was all Will Wade and his work to make him feel comfortable that did the job." Jenkins is the first member of VCU's 2016 recruiting class. Jefferson goes with New Mexico East Chicago (Ind.) Central small forward Damien Jefferson had been considered a pretty heavy lean to New Mexico for the past few months. Because of that put him on commitment watch for the weekend and he delivered. While on his visit to see Noodles Neal's program, the 6-foot-5 wing, who ranks No. 124 in the Rivals150, went ahead and made the call. "It was the coaches, the team and the atmosphere here," Jefferson told "I love everything out here and I believe that I'm the missing piece to their team." Jefferson is the Lobos first recruit in 2016. Georgia Tech adds frontline talent There are few players in the class of 2016 who rebound the ball better than Romello White. A 6-foot-9 power forward with high end athleticism, White pursues the ball relentlessly off the glass and plays with intensity around the rim. All of those traits are going to be very much welcomed at Georgia Tech.
Romello White is a big time rebounder.
The Suwanee (Ga.) Peachtree Ridge product was one of the biggest risers of the summer and he has the tools to be an impact player. While his rebounding and effort have drawn the most attention, White has consistently improved his offense and he's become a threat with the jump hook and shooting the ball out to 12 feet. A four-star prospect who ranks No. 71 nationally, White joins three-star wing Christian Matthews as early pledges to Tech. Powell picks Pirates Last but not least, Seton Hall scored a big recruiting win when Myles Powell confirmed to Rivals that he committed during his official visit. A native of New Jersey who is attending South Kent (Conn.) Prep for his senior season, Powell is a pure scorer. Compact and strong, Powell is one of the most fearless gunners in the class of 2016. He has deep range on his jumper, is very clever off the bounce and plays with an aggression on the offensive end of the floor that makes him the Microwave scorer of his class. Even when his shot isn't falling, Powell will keep hoisting shots and more often than not he shoots his way out of slumps. A four-star prospect who ranks No. 100 overall, Powell is the first member of Seton Hall's 2016 recruiting class.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Weekend visits of high major players
With school back in session, seniors across the country are taking official visits, which means commitment season is about to kick off. This weekend isn't the busiest visit weekend that we'll see in the next few months but it is an important one headlined by five-star Frank Jackson's visit to Duke.
Will there be action with Jackson?
Frank Jackson is visiting Duke.
The highest ranked official visitor this weekend is No. 10 in 2016 Frank Jackson, who is heading across the country to visit Duke. The 6-foot-3 point guard from Highland (Utah) Lone Peak also includes BYU (where he was once committed, Stanford and Utah in his final four programs, but the feel for a while has been that the Blue Devils hold an edge over the competition. The visit to Durham should tell us an awful lot about just how serious Jackson is about Duke and a commitment could be imminent. If he does commit to Duke, he will give the Blue Devils an impressive start to 2016's class, considering they have already landed the nation's No. 3 player Jayson Tatum. Building off of a National Championship in 2015 and the No. 1 and No. 2 recruiting classes in 2014 and 2015, it's hard to find a hotter program than Duke. BYU, Stanford and Utah aren't giving up hope here, but they have to be crossing their fingers that Jackson makes it home without giving a commitment.
Big Ten teams host important duos
Illinois and Indiana will each host a pair of Rivals150 visitors. Four-star prospects Xavier Simpson and Xavier Sneed will visit with the Illini while five-star Miles Bridges and four-star Curtis Jones check out the Hoosiers. In Champaign, John Groce and staff have been searching for a high end point guard to run their offense since they arrived on campus and they are hoping Simpson fits the bill because of his playmaking. The No. 88 player from Lima (Ohio) Senior has already seen Iowa State and has a visit scheduled to Miami for next weekend. He recently added a Wisconsin offer. Ranked No. 102 in 2016, Sneed has the Illini in his top five along with Creighton, Xavier, Kansas State and Wichita State. An athletic 6-foot-5 wing from Florissant (Mo.) Hazelwood Central, Sneed is likely to make at least a few of his official visits. However, the Illini have put themselves into good position and appear to be in a tight race with Kansas State and Xavier. Indiana coach Tom Crean and his staff are hoping to make a big impression. Taking the first of his five scheduled official visits -- Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State and North Carolina also have dates set -- Bridges is an athletic and tough five-star swingman who would be an immediate difference-maker for the Hoosiers. Ranked No. 60 and a teammate of Bridges at Huntington (W.V.) Prep, Jones is a 6-foot-4 shooting guard who has also set visits with Georgetown and Oklahoma State for the next two weekends. Word for the past few months has been that the Hoosiers have put themselves into really good position with Jones and having former teammate Thomas Bryant on campus could help them out. It isn't a lock that Jones will make a decision during or shortly after his visit, but he's a major priority and it wouldn't be a shock if he ended it for the Hoosiers sooner than later.
Other key weekend visits
Kentucky is targeting Kobi Simmons.
Pittsburgh will host point guard Cassius Winston as he takes his second visit. The No. 28 ranked player in 2016, he's already been to Stanford and has September visits set for Harvard, Michigan State and Michigan. The general consensus is that Detroit (Mich.) Jesuit product will be tough to pull out of his home state, but the Panthers have some ties to Winston's summer program The Famiy, where current assistant coach Marlon Williamson coached before moving to the college ranks. There was a time that it looked like five-star guard Kobi Simmons was a virtual lock to commit to Kentucky. There is still a chance that he could pop, but most likely he'll also at least take the visits he has scheduled to UNLV and Ohio State over the next two weekends. Four-star big man James Banks takes his first official visit this weekend when he visits Texas. So far, the No. 79 player has only scheduled an additional visit to Vanderbilt (9/11), so there is some room for the Longhorns to establish a stronghold on him with a great visit. San Diego State has two nice visitors in four-star shooting guard Jonah Mathews and three-star four man Jalen McDaniels . Soon to be a member of the Rivals150, McDaniels is a long and skilled faceup four man whose best basketball is ahead of him. He confirmed to Rivals that SDSU is his only set visit to date and it wouldn't be a surprise to see him commit during or soon after his visit. Mathews is one of the West Coast's premier shooters. Also on high alert for a potential commitment this weekend is point guard Shamorie Ponds. He's officially down to Creighton (where he visited earlier this month), St. John's, Providence and Minnesota but the New Yorker who ranks No. 44 in the class of 2016 has been considered a heavy lean to Chris Mullin and the Red Storm. Power forward Solomon Young, a former Rivals150 prospect who is a slightly undersized but tough and very athletic, will head to Iowa State this weekend. Wake Forest will host four-star combo guard Koby McEwen on his first official visit. Tough off the dribble and versatile, McEwen has flown somewhat under the radar despite being ranked No. 106 nationally, but Baylor and Utah State look like they are also players in this one. Finally, Wichita State will host a three-star combo guard with big upside in Jeff Dowtin. The Washington D.C. area product also has visits set with Rhode Island and George Mason.