Saturday, February 21, 2015

Maker on track for 2015
For much of the winter, there has been endless speculation about whether 2016's No. 1 ranked player Thon Maker would move to the class of 2015. Most signs were pointing in that direction and on Wednesday morning, Maker let the world know that he is indeed on track to graduate with the class of 2015.
Thon Maker is on track to graduate with the class of 2015.
After initially intending to announce last week whether he would remain in the class of 2016 or move to 2015, the seven-foot center at Orangeville Prep in Canada tweeted on Wednesday morning that he is on track to graduate this year. Essentially, Maker has announced that he is moving to the class of 2015 and from here on out he will be considered a class of 2015 prospect by Rivals.com. Formerly the No. 1 player in 2016 -- where he will be replaced by swingman Josh Jackson in the top spot -- Maker will enter the class of 2015 rankings at No. 5. One of the most heavily sought-after players in the country, Maker's move to 2015 could obviously have a huge impact on recruiting plans for some heavy hitters. Among the most prominently mentioned programs with Maker have been Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri and UCLA and those along with many others will have to now see how or if he fits into their plans for the current senior class. The other thing a move to the class of 2015 does is open up the possibility of spending a year overseas playing professionally or in prep school to prepare for the 2016 NBA Draft. So far, Maker has stated publicly that his plan is to enroll in college, but the possibility of him going the pro route has always been something that has been discussed behind the scenes. Currently, Maker has not announced any plans for visits or listed any favorites.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Louisville goes off the radar
Thursday night, relatively unknown senior combo guard Ryan McMahon was the recipient of his first Div. I offer. By Friday morning, he had accepted Rick Pitino and Louisville's offer.


Rick Pitino landed Ryan McMahon on Friday.
A 5-foot-11 senior at Sarasota (Fla.) Cardinal Mooney, McMahon had been generating recruiting interest from just as many Div. II and Div. III programs as he was Div. I.

However, Pitino was tipped off that McMahon could really shoot the ball from deep and made the trip down to see him play. Soon after, McMahon was invited to Louisville for an official visit when they hosted North Carolina and Louisville went back out to watch him again after his visit.

After further evaluation, the Louisville staff decided that McMahon's shooting was strong enough to overcome any concerns about lack of size or questions about what position he will play and guard on the next level.

The offer was made to McMahon Thursday night and not surprisingly it was accepted almost immediately with Friday morning's commitment.

"He has a great vision for me and thinks I'll be a great fit," said McMahon. "I'm excited to play for him and am looking forward to being a Cardinal"

Currently unrated by Rivals.com, McMahon is the Cardinals fourth commitment from the class of 2015. He joins four-star prospects Donovan Mitchell, Deng Adel and Raymond Spalding who all rank in the national top 50 in the class of 2015.
Hogs call on Kapita
Headed into an important weekend, Arkansas and Mike Anderson got big news as they prepared to play at Ole Miss. Four-star big man Ted Kapita went from primary target to committed.


Ted Kapita is headed to Arkansas.
A 6-foot-8 power forward at Huntington (W.V.) Prep, Kapita ranks No. 37 in the class of 2015 and has the talent to help out early.

During the summer, Kapita made an impression with his ability to play a power game around the rim, run the floor and clean the glass. Kapita also showed that he can score with touch and he looked like a prospect ready to break out.

Kapita was highly coveted by Anderson and his staff and his ability to play in an up and down tempo should make him a natural fit in Fayetteville.

This season, Kapita has been sitting out with injury so it isn't ideal that he will have to shake off a year of rust as a freshman. But, assuming he is fully healthy, he has the tools to be a very good SEC player sooner than later.

Kapita is Arkansas' second commitment from the class of 2015. He joins four-star combo guard Jimmy Whitt who signed in the early period.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

JaQuan Lyle to join Buckeyes

By Jeff Borzello | ESPN.com
Fresh off its big win over Maryland on Thursday night, Ohio State landed a commitment from talented guard JaQuan Lyle, sources told ESPN.com.
Lyle was on Ohio State's campus Wednesday and Thursday.
The 6-foot-5 Indiana native was expected to enroll at Oregon in September after committing to the Ducks last March, but he did not qualify. As a result, Lyle is doing a postgraduate year at IMG Academy (Florida) and will enroll at Ohio State next season.
The Buckeyes are the third commitment for Lyle. He pledged to Louisville the summer before his senior year, only to decommit three months later.
Lyle was ranked No. 42 in the ESPN 100 for the 2014 class. He has the ability to play both guard positions, and can create matchup problems for most opponents due to his size and strength. Lyle can get into the lane and finish through contact, and is capable of creating for others. He scored 35 points in front of multiple college coaches at the National Prep Showcase earlier this season.
Since being denied admission at Oregon, Lyle also had visited LSU and Missouri -- and was considering going back to Eugene for another visit.
With freshman star D'Angelo Russell playing like a top-five draft pick, Ohio State suddenly needed another backcourt player for the 2015-16 season. The Buckeyes already were bringing in four-star guards A.J. Harris and Austin Grandstaff, but Lyle will help Thad Matta's program absorb the graduation of Shannon Scott and the likely loss of Russell.
Ohio State had the No. 10-ranked recruiting class in the country prior to Lyle's commitment.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

McDonald's rosters finalized
Wednesday night, the rosters for the 2015 McDonald's All-American Game to be held the United Center in Chicago on April 1 were announced. Headlined by 2015's No. 1 player Ben Simmons the selections are sure to be debated until game night but the rosters for the 38th edition of the game appear to be relatively surprise free.

East team

Dwayne Bacon, 6-foot-6 SF, Mouth of Wilson (Va.) Oak Hill Florida State (No. 22)
Antonio Blakeney, 6-foot-4 SG, Orlando (Fla.) Oak Ridge, LSU (No. 13)
Isaiah Briscoe, 6-foot-3 PG, Roselle (N.J.) Catholic, Kentucky No. 9)
Jaylen Brown, 6-foot-7 SF, Marietta (Ga.) Wheeler, Undecided (No. 2)
Thomas Bryant, 6-foot-10 C, Huntington (W.V.) Prep, Undecided (No. 36)
Cheick Diallo, 6-foot-9 PF, Centereach (N.Y.) Our Savior, Undecided (No. 6)
Henry Ellenson, 6-foot-9 PF, Rice Lake (Wisc.) High, Marquette (No. 17)
Jawun Evans, 6-foot PG, Dallas (Texas) Kimball, Oklahoma State (No. 27)
Luke Kennard, 6-foot-5 SG, Franklin (Ohio) High, Duke (No. 24)
Dedric Lawson, 6-foot-8 PF, Memphis (Tenn.) Hamilton, Memphis (No. 26)
Ben Simmons, 6-foot-9 PF, Montverde (Fla.) Academy, LSU (No. 1)
Diamond Stone, 6-foot-10 C, Whitefish Bay (Wisc.) Dominican, Undecided (No. 5)

West team

Carlton Bragg, 6-foot-9 PF, Cleveland (Ohio) Villa Angela-St. Joseph, Kansas (No. 14)
Jalen Brunson, 6-foot-1 PG, Lincolnshire (Ill.) Stevenson, Villanova (No. 15)
Deyonta Davis, 6-foot-9 PF, Muskegon (Mich.) High, Michigan State (No. 23)
P.J. Dozier, 6-foot-6 PG, Columbia (S.C.) Spring Valley, South Carolina (No. 34)
Brandon Ingram, 6-foot-8 SF, Kinston (N.C.) High, Undecided (No. 18)
Chase Jeter, 6-foot-10 C, Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman, Duke (No. 8)
Malik Newman, 6-foot-4 G, Jackson (Miss.) Callaway, Undecided (No. 3)
Ivan Rabb, 6-foot-10 PF, Oakland (Calif.) Bishop O'Dowd, Undecided (No. 7)
Malachi Richardson, 6-foot-5 SG, Trenton (N.J.) Catholic, Syracuse (No. 30)
Caleb Swanigan, 6-foot-8 C, Ft. Wayne (Ind.) Homestead, Undecided (No. 16)
Allonzo Trier, 6-foot-4 SG, Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep, Arizona (No. 12)
Stephen Zimmerman, 6-foot-11 C, Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman, Undecided (No. 10)

Intriguing matchups

While the general public only gets to see the ESPN televised game, the best part of the McDonald's All-American festivities are the three closed practices and day before the game scrimmage. Other than the scrimmage -- which is a near full dress rehearsal with clock and officials -- teams don't face each other until the actual game so some of the matchups we are looking forward to could happen between teammates.


Zimmerman facing off against teammate Chase Jeter could be very interesting on the West squad.
One of the better rivalries between two players has been that of undecided small forwards Jaylen Brown and Brandon Ingram. The No. 2 (Brown) and No. 18 (Ingram) have had several outstanding man to man battles on the high school, grassroots and summer camp circuits and it is always fun to watch the athletic brawler Brown match up against the lanky skill guy in Ingram.

Longtime teammates at Bishop Gorman, the setup of the West squad should make it so that Stephen Zimmerman and Chase Jeter have no choice but to go head to head during practice sessions. We've never really had a chance to see the two big men square off so that could be very interesting.

Another intriguing low post battle could be between the East's Diamond Stone and the West's Caleb Swanigan. Though he's slightly short for the center position, Swanigan thrives in the post because of his strength, long arms and high level of skill. Most of all, few bigs can match his strength but in Stone he will be going against somebody who plays a very similar game. The only difference is that Stone is two inches taller.

When it comes to wing scorers, there are all kinds of matchups we are looking forward to. The East's Dwayne Bacon and Antonio Blakeney and the West's Allonzo Trier and Malachi Richardson should provide for any number of fun to watch matchups between high scorers who are unafraid to let the shots fly.

Final roster notes

The highest ranked players to not make the game are No. 3 Skal Labissiere, No. 11 Ray Smith, No. 19 Tyler Dorsey, No. 20 Elijah Thomas, No. 21 Justin Simon and No. 25 Jalen Adams. Of that group, Labissiere (didn't play for his high school), Smith (knee injury, missed season) and Adams (fifth-year prep schooler) were ineligible to be voted into the game. While there will certainly be spirited debates about who did or didn't make it, there are no truly unusual or controversial -- according to where they are ranked -- selections for this year's game.

Two of this year's McDonald's All-American's have interesting family ties. Jalen Brunson's father Rick played in the 1991 game while P.J. Dozier's uncle Terry played in the 1985 game.

This year's McDonald's All-American Game features nine undecided players, compared to just two last year.

LSU and Duke are the only programs with multiple (two) players selected to the game.