Friday, January 25, 2019

Class of 2020's Andre Curbelo developing into leader

Corey Evans •  @coreyevans_10  [REPRINT]

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Finding playmaking point guards who are smart about the game and are all about putting others before themselves is not easy to find in today’s world of high-scoring offenses.
That makes  Andre Curbelo  a valuable commodity.
A member of the Rivals150, the native of Puerto Rico discussed his evolution into the leadership role for his Long Island Lutheran team, the schools in pursuit and a timeline for his college decision.
“I think that I bring a lot of leadership," he said. "As a freshman, I couldn’t do much, but this year my coaches think this is my year and my team, so I just bring a lot of leadership and I try to encourage my players to play very hard, run the floor and crash the boards, just everything. I bring a lot of passion for the game, too, and I create for my teammates.”
FloridaGeorgetownGeorge WashingtonSt. John’s and Stony Brook are just a few that have kept Curbelo high on their board, he told

Florida: “They think that it could be the place for me, for sure. It is close to home, Puerto Rico, hot weather, and the style of play that they play, they think that I could fit there since they play a lot with ball screens.”

Georgetown: “They play pretty good with point guards and stuff. I saw their game against St. John’s and it was a good game. Point guards played good and I like the system, so we will see what happens.”
St. John’s: “I haven’t spoken with Chris Mullin yet, but I have with the other coaches. They come to some of my games and they just think that now that 
 is leaving after this year, maybe next year I could be the guy.”


Curbelo has only visited St. John’s thus far, an unofficial visit, as his focus remains elsewhere.
“There (are) a couple of colleges and a bunch that are saying that I could be the guy at their place, but I am not necessarily worrying about that too much right now,” he said. “I am just focusing on school and my grades and basketball, just pushing very hard.”
While he hasn’t thought too much about his recruitment, that could all be changing soon.
“Probably, after the season,” he said. “Then it is AAU, and that is when you start thinking about where you want to go. This will be my last year of that so in July, whatever I have, I will start cutting my list down and then the goal – I have to talk to my coaches – is to see what is best, verbally commit in the fall and sign after.”

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Five programs set to benefit from coaching change at UCLA

USC signee Isaiah Mobley
Nick Lucero/
Steve Alford was dismissed by UCLA on Monday following four straight losses and a disappointing 7-6 start to his sixth season in Westwood. A midseason firing will undoubtedly disrupt recruiting for the Bruins. Which programs stand to benefit from the coaching uncertainty at UCLA?


This one isn’t too difficult to come up. Besides being rivals and sharing the same city, the Trojans stock is soaring while the Bruins’ tanks. Upon Alford’s first few years on campus, UCLA was the dominant brand in LA, securing the best within its locale. A 180 has come about in recent years which coincided with USC's hiring of Eric Mobley, the father of five-stars 
and  , two years ago. However, it can all not be traced just to him as the Bruins’ disconnect with the powerful Compton Magic travel program has furthered their downturn. Coming up short in their pursuit of the best local talents is one thing, but not even making the final list for a prospect, that is an entirely different dynamic. 

The Trojans still have not reaped the rewards on the playing floor compared to what they have done on the recruiting front (ironically the Trojans have the same 7-6 record as the Bruins), but they have replaced UCLA as the sexy brand within its city.


Sean Miller has been a dominant force on the west coast upon his hiring, where he made it a point to land the best from within his state and those that are near it. Could the proper hiring at UCLA displaces the Wildcats from their west coast supremacy?
While Arizona’s top-ranked recruiting class this fall comes on the backs of three in-state talents in 
 and  , the Wildcats have not struggled to find their footing in California. Whether it was  , or  , or currently with  , the Wildcats have had no shortage of success in a terrain that the Bruins should be somewhat controlling. Miller has been seconds away from the Final Four, something that Alford was unable to even sniff.


While Oregon has become a dominant bunch in securing the best from Canada, it has also created the proper in-roads near the UCLA campus. The enrollment of 
 was just another big one for Oregon, just as   was a few years back. Dana Altman’s success in Eugene would have been more than acceptable if it were to be happening at UCLA as he has elevated the Ducks’ brand nationally while reaching the Final Four three years ago. 

Oregon also just enrolled two five-star prospects and will do the same another next fall. They’re also a favorite for top-five guard 
, a product out of New York, where the Ducks are recruiting better and more successfully nationally than UCLA in recent years. It is about protecting your own turf, but the fact that Oregon can land three five-stars from out of its state compared to UCLA doing so with just one says something about the dynamics of things in LA.


While the immediate connections between Indiana and UCLA do not jump off of the page, the hiring of Alford and his strong connections to the Midwest enabled for the Bruins to dip their toes into the Hoosier State. They went as far as landing the commitment of five-star junior 
 two years ago and also just enrolled   this fall. They were also in the top-three for   and currently sit as a finalist for top-30 wing 

UCLA wasn't winning all of its priority recruitments of Indiana natives, though it was an extra school Indiana had to deal with. Archie Miller has cleaned up the state since his hiring but the change in Westwood, unless there is a clear connection to the state, would mean one less national brand that they have to fend off.


While the Jayhawks have not gone to battle a whole lot with UCLA in recent years, they are currently fighting one with 
, a top-30 guard that has each in his final three. The Bruins were thought to be the favorite a few days ago, so Alford's dismissal can only help Kansas

 is another five-star prospect that UCLA and Kansas are heavily pursuing, and Kansas can only benefit from UCLA's coaching change.