Who’s Got Next? Illegal Benefits, Kentucky Spotlight, Shabazz Muhammad and More…

Posted by Josh Paunil on May 27th, 2011

Who’s Got Next? is a bi-weekly column by Josh Paunil, the RTC recruiting guru. We encourage you to check out his website dedicated solely to college basketball recruiting, National Recruiting Spotlight, for more detailed recruiting information. Twice a week he will bring you an overview of what’s going on in the complex world of recruiting, from who is signing where among the seniors to who the hot prospects are in the lower levels of the sport. If you have any suggestions as to areas we’re missing, please let us know at rushthecourt@yahoo.com.


Well, if you haven’t learned yet after the Kevin Ware situation or the Tony Wroten, Jr., drama, the world of college basketball recruiting is nothing without another scandal to fill headlines. It’s also nothing without a big-time commitment happening soon after a de-commitment and the recruiting world certainly can’t live without more news about top five prospects and the rippling affect of other commitments. If you haven’t been able to tell yet, a lot happened in just the past few days in the recruiting world… and we haven’t even started previewing one of the most significant AAU events that will happen all summer.

What They’re Saying

Rodney Purvis tweeted about Ryan Harrow's transfer.

  • Junior Rodney Purvis (#6) on Ryan Harrow’s transfer to Kentucky: “Harrow’s decision doesn’t change my outlook on UK at all. Unless coach tells me otherwise!”
  • Junior Kyle Anderson (#22) on Harrow transferring to the Wildcats: “Ryan Harrow not going to St. John’s keeps them on my list.”
  • Mauricio Ducuara, the head of a basketball foundation in Bogotá, on Hanner Mosquera-Perea (#23) receiving illegal benefits: “People with whom I have spoken said he has received lots of gifts [and] things. If you knew how Hanner grew up the people don’t even have shoes. Hanner came home at Christmas with iPods, iPhones, [Bose] headphones digital cameras. Things that for a kid are impossible.”
  • Baylor assistant coach Mark Morefield : “I guarantee u if he (Perea) does [commit to another school] he will be in Colombia for the spring and summer and next year. Don’t forget it.”
  • Junior Justin Anderson (#45) on why he committed to Virginia: “The Cavaliers were always my second choice behind Maryland. Also, my family lives in Virginia. After the departure of Coach [Gary] Williams and Coach [Robert] Ehsan, it just feels like the right fit.”
  • Junior Archie Goodwin (#19) on other top prospects’ effect on his recruitment: “My friends that are top players are: Rasheed Sulaimon; Shabazz Muhammad; Isaiah AustinRicardo Ledo… [and] Rodney Purvis. When it comes to colleges, we’ll talk about what the coaches told us and see if anything was said different by each other. We’ll compare them that way, but I don’t think it’ll make us decide then and there what we’re gonna do with that school.”
  • Omar Calhoun Sr., junior Omar Calhoun Jr.’s father, on Jim Calhoun potentially retiring: “We believe in UConn and it’s still going to be UConn. We still feel like Coach Calhoun is still going to have a major part still in the development in the program even if he’s not the head coach.”
  • Junior Ricardo Ledo (#9) on the current state of his recruitment: “I don’t have a list, it’s not down to four, I am wide open.”
  • Sophomore Isaiah Lewis on Kentucky and his list: “I really like Kentucky a lot. I think I can play at UK under Coach [John] Calipari and the rest of the coaching staff. I think they can do a great job of coaching me up and getting me to the next level; but I also like other schools, like UConn, Arizona, Kansas, West Virginia, Florida and Florida State right now.”

What Shabazz Muhammad is Saying

Shabazz Muhammad spoke out on many of his schools.

Class of 2012 small forward Shabazz Muhammad (#3) said a lot of noteworthy things recently so we decided to give him his own little section in our Who’s Got Next? column. Also check out a couple of notes about his recruitment below.

  • On how schools are recruiting him: “Schools are recruiting me as a shooting guard so I’m working on handling the ball. Schools like Kentucky, Duke, Arizona, they have their shooting guards handle the ball a lot. And the most important thing is my perimeter shooting. The athleticism is already there.”
  • On his visit to UCLA: “It was a great experience, I’ve been to California and I love the weather. Coach [Ben] Howland is a great guy; I talked to him for a couple of hours. I got to see how it is to be a Bruin.”
  • On Kentucky’s location: “I can be very focused there, since it’s not a city. It’s a good place for a person who is serious about basketball. There are no distractions.”
  • On UNLV’s location: “It’s a local school, and they have really good match-ups every year; It’s only 10 minutes away.”
  • On Kansas: “Coach [Bill] Self is a nice guy. I took a visit up there a couple weeks ago.”
  • On Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski: “Coach K, I talked to him a lot. He’s very intellectual, he know what he’s doing. The guy is just smart. It’s a great place to be at.”
  • On Arizona: “I’ve been talking to them a lot, they have a great coach and a great team. And their system is running, getting up and down.”
  • On what he’s looking for in a program: “The school’s tradition, I’m looking for the school that has the best opportunity for me to win a national championship.”
  • On a potential timeline for his recruitment: “I’m taking the process slowly. I probably will take all five of my visits. I want to make sure I make the right choice.”

Other Notes

  • He says he is focusing on seven schools: Kentucky, Duke, UCLA, UNLV, Arizona, Kansas and Texas.
  • He he has no favorites and denies UCLA is the front-runner.
  • He plans on taking a trip to Texas sometime in June; at that point, Muhammad will have taken unofficial visits to all seven schools.

What You Missed

The ties between AAU teams and universities has long been suspicious.

Hanner Mosquera-Perea Allegedly Received Illegal Benefits. Power forward Hanner Mosquera-Perea (#23) is caught in the middle of another recruiting scandal but this time his NCAA eligibility may be at stake. ESPN.com reported that Perea violated the “preferential treatment” guidelines by accepting round-trip airline tickets to his native Colombia from A-HOPE, a non-profit organization dedicated to “providing deserving student-athletes a seamless process of obtaining a student visa, transportation to the United States, making sure they are acclimated to their new environment and providing them with an opportunity to receive an outstanding education,” according to it’s website. A-HOPE President and Indiana Elite head coach Mark Adams acknowledges giving Perea certain electronic gadgets and paying for Perea’s flights back to Colombia. Mauricio Ducuara, the head of a basketball foundation in Bogotá, also said that Perea returned to Colombia this past Christmas with iPods, iPhones, [Bose] headphones, and digital cameras, all items that are very luxurious considering that, according to Ducuara, kids where Perea grew up don’t even have shoes. In addition, Ducuara claims that he has spoken to people who have said that Perea receives lots of gifts. Perea is also involved in an ongoing NCAA investigation after Baylor assistant coach Mark Morefield sent dozens of text messages to Perea’s AAU and high school coaches in July while they were coaching events, also against NCAA rules. Morefield has had previous texting violations and has been suspended by Baylor for it. He also texted Perea’s high school coach, Alan Huss, and implied that if Perea didn’t commit to Baylor, he would be deported back to Colombia (as noted above).

Top 50 Prospect, Ex-Maryland Recruit, Commits to Virginia. Class of 2012 small forward Justin Anderson (#45) committed to Virginia this week giving the Cavaliers their best recruit in several years (to see why, check out the “What They’re Saying” section above). After Maryland head coach Gary Williams retired, Anderson remained undecided on whether he would stay with the Terrapins because he wanted to see if assistant coach Robert Ehsan would be retained under new head coach Mark Turgeon. However, once Turgeon let Ehsan go, Anderson decided to commit to his native Virginia, who had always been his second choice behind Maryland. UNC was the third school that Anderson considered before originally choosing the Terps. Anderson is a freak athlete who gets to the rim at will and is unstoppable in the lane. He can get to the bucket whenever he wants and finishes strongly around the rim. He is also great in transition since he runs the floor extremely well and has good range on his three-point shot. However, Anderson likes to take too many three-pointers at times and his overall jump shot is flatter than you would like to see at this stage of his development. However, I fully expect him to improve on these two weaknesses and to eventually reach the top 25 in the rankings. He will be joining small forward Evan Nolte and center Mike Tobey in Virginia’s 2012 recruiting class, forming a great class so far.

St. John’s Recruit Possibly Ineligible? Andy Katz reported yesterday that St. John’s started a dialogue with the NCAA in an attempt to clarify whether Class of 2011 small forward Maurice Harkless (#50) will be eligible next season. This issue is that St. John’s director of basketball operations Moe Hicks served in an administrative capacity for Harkless’ AAU program, the New York Gauchos, and although Harkless played most of his AAU games for the NY Panthers, he did suit up for the Gauchos in a couple of tournaments. The NCAA rule in question is the following: “In mens’ basketball, during a two-year period before a prospective student-athlete’s anticipated enrollment and a two-year period after the prospective student-athlete’s actual enrollment, an institution shall not employ (or enter into a contract for future employment with) an individual associated with the prospective student-athlete in any athletics department non-coaching staff position. If an institution hires an IAWP [individual associated with a prospect] for a non-coaching staff position within two years on either side of enrollment, involved S/A will be permanently ineligible for competition at offending institution.” However, St. John’s argues that Hicks never coached Harkless and that Hicks’ role for the Gauchos was planning, organizing and scheduling events rather than hands-on coaching of the players. This new and evolving rule affects St. John’s with another potential player as well since Hicks directly coached Arizona transfer, Lamont “Momo” Jones. Because of this rule, Jones wouldn’t be able to enroll at St. John’s until next summer, although he would possibly have been forced to sit out a year anyway if he made the transfer. Harkless is one member of the nine-person Red Storm recruiting class that brings in Steve Lavin‘s crew at #3 in our Class of 2011 team rankings.

Team Spotlight

In this new segment, we will take a look at different school’s incoming recruiting classes.

John Calipari has the best recruiting class in the country... again.

In the second edition of our new “Team Spotlight” section, we’ll take a look at the incoming recruiting class for the Kentucky Wildcats, one which gives John Calipari the best class in the country for his third straight year at Kentucky. The Wildcats will need to replace Brandon Knight and DeAndre Liggins but this class will simply allow Calipari to reload at those two spots and will give Kentucky the second best team in the country next year because of the versatility this group of prospects brings.

Prospects Rank Position (Rank) Quick Analysis
Anthony Davis #1 PF (#1) The former guard is a force down low since he is a tremendous shot blocker and rebounder  and is very good at guarding the perimeter against smaller players. He is simply a very tough  match-up due to his versatility and has the ability to create shots for his teammates.
Michael Gilchrist #3 SF (#1) Gilchrist is one the top players in the class not because of his talent or physical abilities but because of his leadership abilities and work ethic. He never takes a possession off and is an impact player in every aspect of the game.  Gilchrist defends and rebounds the ball very well and his competitive  drive makes him a consistent force on both ends of the court.
Marquis Teague #6 PG (#1) Teague is the best point guard in the class and is the most dangerous player in transition and open-court. He is extremely quick and his first step gets him by almost every opposing defender he faces. His high basketball-IQ is what makes him elite and his ability to create shots for himself and his teammates as well as his ability to change speeds allows him to take over games and be the big-time player he is.
Kyle Wiltjer #25 PF (#6) Wiltjer is one of the best shooting big men in the class. He can knock down the three and hit mid-range jumpers where he is deadly on the high post. He is not very athletic or quick but he is a smart big-man who is a good rebounder as well. Wilter also passes well out of the low post and thrives in pick and roll situations and in transition.


The Wildcats have the best class in the country with three of the top six recruits in power forward Anthony Davis (#1), small forward Michael Gilchrist (#3) and point guard Marquis Teague (#6) heading to Kentucky next fall. Not only did they get three players who are the best at their respective positions, but they got great balance since Teague is a floor general, Gilchrist plays on the wing and Davis plays down low. Even with point guard Brandon Knight and small forward DeAndre Liggins leaving to go to the NBA, the Wildcats will still have a great team since they are reloading at almost every position. This recruiting class also legitimately rivals the great John Wall, Eric Bledsoe, DeMarcus Cousins and Daniel Orton class from a couple of years ago. Another important piece of this unbelievable class is power forward Kyle Wiltjer (#25) who is among the best shooting big men in the country and plays well on the perimeter. He will add another unique skill set to Kentucky next year and the Wildcats will be a top two team in the country thanks to John Calipari’s outstanding recruiting class.

Video of the Week

Tired of reading about this Kentucky recruiting class? Well take a look at the future of college basketball below:

A Look Ahead

The final Nike EYBL session, featuring 40 of the top AAU teams, is this weekend.

Final Nike EYBL Session Features Battle of the Bigs, Best Class of 2012 Guards. The third and final session of the Nike EYBL is this weekend in Los Angeles, California, and features 40 of the top AAU teams in the country. There will be a lot at stake this weekend as only the top 24 teams make the EYBL Finals at the Nike Peach Jam in North Augusta, South Carolina, from July 12-15. This event also features elite talent since two top five Class of 2012 prospects, power forwards DaJuan Coleman (#4) and Brandon Ashley (#5), will be participating as well as the two best guards in the junior class, shooting guards Rodney Purvis (#7) and Ricardo Ledo (#9). One of the best match-ups this weekend will be BABC (MA) versus Mac Irvin Fire (IL), starring two of the top Class of 2013 big men in center Nerlens Noel and power forward Jabari Parker battling against each other. Both big men are vital to their teams as Noel leads the EYBL in blocked shots (35) and Parker has helped his team to be a top five ranking in rebounding (averaging 37.9 per game). Another thing to look out for is whether Team Takeover (DC), which is undefeated in the EYBL (10-0) and the rest of the summer circuit (7-0) thus far, can keep its streak alive and head into the Peach Jam with an unblemished record. They have a relatively easy schedule this weekend and will likely keep their march going but will have to beat Spiece Indy Heat (IN) who has Class of 2012 top 50 starters D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera (#32) and center A.J. Hammons (#48).

Josh Paunil (38 Posts)

Josh Paunil is a college basketball recruiting analyst who founded National Recruiting Spotlight and writes a weekly column for Rush The Court titled, Who's Got Next?

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