Who’s Got Next? More Eligibility Issues, Prospects Discuss Midnight Madness, Big Men Make Big CommitmentsPosted by Josh Paunil on October 19th, 2011
Who’s Got Next? is a 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. Once 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 at the lower levels of the sport. If you have any suggestions as to areas we’re missing or different things you’d like to see, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lead Story: Trio of Class of 2011 Prospects Experiencing Eligibility Issues
Kansas Duo Out For 2011-12 Season, Louisville’s Blackshear In Danger. Kansas freshmen small forward Ben McLemore and power forward Jamari Traylor were ruled ineligible by the NCAA, head coach Bill Self announced Friday. The pair of forwards were declared partial qualifiers meaning they can’t take part in any team activities until the beginning of the second semester and can’t participate in any games in the upcoming basketball season. This comes as a shocker since the Jayhawks’ coaching staff thought the duo would indubitably qualify although this isn’t the first time Kansas has had trouble with freshman qualifying. Just last month, the NCAA deemed freshman power forward Braeden Anderson a partial qualifier who can’t accept a scholarship for the 2011-12 school year. Louisville freshman shooting guard Wayne Blackshear is also undergoing eligibility issues. Although Cardinal head coach Rick Pitino remains optimistic regarding Blackshear’s chances of being cleared, this isn’t the first time a Louisville freshman faced eligibility issues either. Last month, shooting guard Kevin Ware (yes, that Kevin Ware) was ruled ineligible for the year although he could play games in the spring semester if his SAT scores increase (which he’ll be re-taking next week).
What They’re Saying [About Midnight Madness]
We’ve had a lot of coverage here at RTC on Midnight Madness from the best events to the best dunks and the best stories via Twitter, but now we get to take a look at what the best prospects in the country had to say about the celebrations to kick off the college basketball year.
- Senior star Shabazz Muhammad on Big Blue Madness: “The visit was better than I expected. It was great to see a live practice and see how they run the floor and run the dribble drive. It makes sense to me and it’s a style I like.”
- Senior standout Rasheed Sulaimon (Duke) on Countdown to Craziness: “[My Midnight Madness experience was the best because] of the fans. The atmosphere in Cameron was just so crazy. Their theme was first class and they did everything first class.”
- Junior Nerlens Noel on Syracuse’s Midnight Madness: “It was good, my favorite part was when Meek Mill and Carmelo [Anthony] came out.”
- Junior Chris Walker on Late Night in the Phog: “It was phenomenal. My favorite part was when the players walked through and the fans went crazy and cheered so loud.”
- Junior Brannen Greene on Late Night in the Phog: “Kansas was crazy! The visit was a really good experience and the best part was sitting down with [head] coach [Bill] Self.”
- Junior Troy Williams on Georgetown’s Midnight Madness: “I enjoyed it a lot; it was really fun. I would say the best part was the fans and the support they have from them. The other best part was the girls (laughing).”
- Junior Ishmail Wainright on Howard’s Midnight Madness: “Late Night was amazing! It was live and the whole thing was nice. It’s not a big school but they know how to keep their fans and students having fun!”
- Junior Xavier Rathan-Mayes on Connecticut’s First Night: “The visit was great! [I] had an amazing time. The highlight was probably watching practice today and getting to know and shoot with Kemba Walker.”
- Junior Nate Britt on Late Night with Roy: “The main reason I know that I had the best Midnight Madness experience was because I got to see [head] coach Roy Williams dance. That was so funny. I’ve got to say, Coach Williams is a really good dancer too. I would give him an eight, but that’s because he was dancing to hip-hop music. I think if he was dancing to his own music he’d get a ten for sure. We’ve got to find a way to get him on ‘Dancing with the Stars.’”
What They’re Saying
- Ron Holmes, Shabazz Muhammad‘s father, on what his son wants: “He likes Archie [Goodwin]. He wants to play with the best players. That’s his thing; he wants a team with the best players. And if you look at Kentucky, they have very good players, and they bring in very good players every year.”
- Senior stud Robert Carter on his Georgia visit and what they’re telling him: “It was up there. It was in the 8, 9 or 10 range. Well, I couldn’t really tell because that was my first official visit. There might be one better but then again, there might not be. I don’t know yet. Georgia was pretty good. Georgia said they have me on their recruiting board as their No. 1 guy, and that really meant a lot to me.”
- John Carroll, senior Kaleb Tarczewski‘s AAU coach, evaluating how well Kansas has recruited the seven-footer: “[Assistant coach] Joe Dooley’s done an unbelievable job recruiting Kaleb for the last two years and if they get him Joe’s really the main guy who’s been responsible for all of the grunt work, all the leg work.”
- Senior Anthony Bennett on his time-table and his appreciation for UNLV fans: “All these fans are just showing me so much love and support. All I know is I won’t be making my decision until late spring. That, I’m going to stick to.”
- Kansas head coach Bill Self on freshmen Ben McLemore and Jamari Traylor being ruled as partial qualifiers: “We’re not happy with it at all. I’m not. I don’t think it’s right. When we recruited these kids, we thought they were full qualifiers without question. [...] These are really good young men. We feel they’ve proven themselves to be full qualified status. They (NCAA officials) see different. So we fought. We fought hard. We didn’t win.”
- Junior Derek Willis on whether he’s still considering Purdue after he de-committed and his thoughts after seeing them practice: “Purdue definitely still is in my picture. I’m glad we came up here. It’s good to be back. They work real hard, and they get after it. I like their intensity. That’s what I’m looking for.”
- Louisville head coach Rick Pitino on whether he thinks Wayne Blackshear will be cleared by the NCAA clearinghouse: “Yes. They’re being a lot tougher this year than they have been in the past. But Wayne’s situation is, I think, pretty good. We are optimistic.”
What We Learned
Prospects Shine In USA Basketball Practices. Over the weekend, the USA Basketball’s 17-and-under team held mini-camp for potential members where Class of 2013 stars small forwards Aaron Gordon and Jabari Parker staked their claim as the best players on the court. We’ve always known that Gordon is a versatile, athletic freak who excels in transition and finishes with authority. However, what caught your eye was his improvement in his ball-handling and jump shot skills. He’s a danger whenever he touches the ball in the paint or whenever he’s slashing to the bucket but now he has added another element to his game that makes him even more of a threat. Parker also displayed why he’s the best junior in the country as he effortlessly scored in a plethora of ways. He currently lists Duke, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan State and Washington whereas Gordon is considering Arizona, Stanford and Washington the strongest.
Leaders Emerging For Junior Star Chris Walker. A recent report said that Class of 2013 power forward Chris Walker currently has three schools standing out: Florida, Kansas and Kentucky, but RTC got the chance to talk a little more with Walker who gave us some more details regarding his recruitment. He said his two schools are Florida and Kentucky and no other school is that close to the Gators and Wildcats. One of RTC’s sources very close to the situation told us previously that Kentucky was Walker’s leader but Walker said last night the Kentucky and Florida are neck-and-neck. The junior star has already visited Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia and now Kansas and said he hopes to visit Baylor, Connecticut, Kentucky, Memphis, Ohio State and Texas some time in the future. He previously planned to commit November 15 but has since backed off that date.
What You Missed
Big Men Make Big Commitments. Class of 2012 centers A.J. Hammons and Prince Ibeh both committed recently giving Purdue and Texas a couple of the biggest (literally) commitments to date. Hammons, a seven-footer, has surprising athleticism and runs the floor well for someone his size. He has great hands and is a good finisher who can score prolifically in the post. Hammons’ size allows him to finish through contact as well and allows him to be a good rebounder too. The Boilermakers also have commitments in the Class of 2012 from point guard Ronnie Johnson, shooting guard Raphael Davis and power forward Jay Simpson. For the Longhorns, Ibeh is their fourth Class of 2012 commit as well joining point guard Javan Felix and centers Cameron Ridley and Connor Lammert. Ibeh is a long, defensive-minded big man who blocks shots and rebounds on a consistent basis. His instincts and timing gives him a strong presence in the paint as does his ability to come from the weak side to block shots.
Smith-Rivera Chooses Local Hoyas. Georgetown head coach John Thompson, III, picked up a big, tough floor general when Class of 2012 point guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera choose the Hoyas this week giving them their second senior commit in addition to power forward Brandon Bolden. Smith-Rivera does a terrific job of getting to the bucket and opening up scoring opportunities for his teammates. He is a good passer and has great court vision and is willing to play inside and rebound on both ends of the court. However, Smith-Rivera’s best quality may be how high his basketball IQ is. He was previously committed to Xavier but backed off that commitment last December. A bunch of other elite Class of 2012 prospects are considering Georgetown as well, including small forwards Devonta Pollard and T.J. Warren and power forwards Amile Jefferson and Tony Parker.
Video of the Week
For all you who complain about the innate East Coast bias in the world of college basketball recruiting, this video is for you.