Who’s Got Next? Huge Halloween Commitments, More In the Works…Posted by Josh Paunil on November 2nd, 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: Arizona Secures Top 2012 Recruiting Class
Tarczewski Takes To Tucson. This is something I’m not used to, this is something you aren’t used to, this is something no one on the recruiting circuit is used to. For the first time in four years, a head coach has assembled a downright dirty collection of talent into one recruiting class and his name isn’t John Calipari. Arizona head coach Sean Miller has beautifully crafted his 2012 recruiting class so it will resemble North Carolina’s group of big men this year when center Kaleb Tarczewski committed to Arizona pm Monday. Not only do the Wildcats have commitments from three of the top nine recruits in the senior class [according to ESPN] in addition to a top shooting guard in Gabe York, but they have two of the top three power forwards between Brandon Ashley and Grant Jerrett and the second best center in Tarczewski. This front court talent is scary considering the versatility and skill level of the players. If Miller doesn’t want to sit one of his star recruits, he could possibly slide Ashley to small forward since he’s a combo forward who likes playing on the wing as well. All of these big guys can move and get up and down the court and can be game-changers in so many ways. Here’s another thing to think about, the Wildcats got two of the top guards in the Class of 2011 with point guard Josiah Turner (#13) and shooting guard Nick Johnson (#28) and both players will definitely be staying longer than one year. I’m not going to go around and start predicting 2013 NCAA tournament Final Four teams, but I wouldn’t bet against Arizona.
What They’re Saying
- Senior standout Dominic Artis on committing to Oregon: “I really thought it was the best fit style-of-play wise after watching practice and I liked the athletes that are already in the program. [Class of 2011 shooting guard] Jabari [Brown] and I have been together since fourth or fifth grade. Him being there sure didn’t hurt. It gave me a nice comfort level and someone I could relate to.”
- Senior sensation Kaleb Tarczewski on choosing Arizona: “It just felt right at Arizona. I fell in love with everything – from the current players to the staff to [Class of 2012 commits power forward] Brandon Ashley, [power forward] Grant Jarrett and [shooting guard] Gabe York. My parents really supported me in my decision to go to Arizona.”
- Senior stud Willie Cauley on going with Kentucky: “I felt going to Kentucky, I’ll be playing against the best in the nation. I’ll get better and have a chance to go early. That was a big thing.”
- Senior star Brice Johnson on committing to North Carolina: “It was an all-around fit and it had everything that meets my standards and it’s a little closer to home. It has great coaching, a good system and [is] great school-wise.”
- Senior standout Rosco Allen on deciding on the Cardinal: “Their academics are incomparable, and it’s a Pac-12 team. It just felt like a great fit on and off the court.”
- Junior Ishmail Wainright on where he and Class of 2013 stars Kasey Hill and Julius Randle would go if they teamed up: “I’d have to say Kentucky is the number one school, I think Baylor — me and Julius like Baylor — but I don’t know if Kasey does, all I know is Kentucky is the main school.”
- Gary Harris, Sr., on his son senior shooting guard Gary Harris, Jr., being close to a decision: “The finality is near. Obviously, at this point and time it’s a lot of dotting the ‘Is’ and crossing the ‘Ts’. He wants to make sure he knows everything, asks all the right questions. He’s trying to wind it down.”
What Mitch McGary Is Saying
Class of 2012 power forward talked a lot about his final three schools today in his ESPNHS player blog and in particular the pros and cons of each of his final three schools.
- Pros of Florida: “I really like the coaching staff there. [Head coach] Billy Donovan and [assistant coach] John Pelphrey have done a great job recruiting me, and I know that I’d be successful there just looking at their track record of putting big men in the NBA. Guys like Joakim Noah, David Lee, Al Horford. I think playing in that system would be great for me because Coach Donovan is known to let his big men get the ball on a rebound and take it coast-to-coast. I know that I would really thrive in that offense.”
- Cons of Florida: “One con is that I didn’t get a feeling of comfort there. I know that I would be comfortable there over time, but that’s something that I’ve been thinking about.”
- Pros of Michigan: “What I really like about Michigan is its coaching staff, especially [assistant coach] Bacari Alexander. He’s probably one of the most underrated coaches in the country. He really knows what he’s doing with the big men. I just like that I can trust the coaches there, and I actually like that they’re not on the biggest stage yet. That gives me the opportunity to go there and make a huge impact from day one”
- Cons of Michigan: “A con for Michigan is that the Big Ten has a reputation for being a slow-paced conference with slow big men who don’t really get out and run the floor at all. That’s not the way that I want to play, so I’ve definitely got to take that into consideration. I know that if I went there it would help change the perceptions a lot.”
- Pros of Duke: “I just loved everything about Duke when I went on my visit. They’re coached by the legendary Mike Krzyzewski, who I’ve developed a great relationship with and have a great deal of respect for. He’s about to be the winningest coach in college history, and no one else can say that. I really liked the whole staff there and I really bonded with the players during my visit, too. Those guys are my boys. I really like their style of play, too. It’s an NBA offense, so that’s definitely attractive.”
- Cons of Duke: “The con for Duke would be the perception that all their big men do is set screens and rebound and that they don’t get a lot of touches. However, I know that if I went there I’d change that up because they mapped out how they want to use me and involve me in the offense, which is appealing.”
What We Learned
Trio Talks Teaming Up, Which School Is Most Likely. Class of 2013 small forward Ishmail Wainright revealed an interesting possibility about the recruitment of he and fellow Class of 2013 stars point guard Kasey Hill and power forward Julius Randle. Wainright says there’s a possibility of the trio teaming up in college and that if they do so, the most likely destination would be Kentucky with Baylor also in the hunt. Although package deals are talked about much more than they are actually done, this would be an incredible group of talent to commit to one place. Another very interesting thing is that Wainright went on to name where he thought each guy would end up committing if they didn’t attend the same school. According to Wainright, Kentucky would land Randle, Florida would land Hill and St. John’s and UCLA would have to fight for him. Although the latter possibility is more likely than the former, it’s nonetheless intriguing. Regarding who Wainright says is the favorite for each prospect, he obviously knows who the leaders for his services are better than anyone else, but what he said about the other two guys makes sense as well.
Cauley Pops For Kentucky, Artis To Oregon. Even with Class of 2012 shooting guard Archie Goodwin‘s commitment to Kentucky recently, Big Blue Nation was still wondering who else head coach John Calipari would reel in hopes of a fourth straight number one recruiting class. Well, Calipari got the second piece to the puzzle as center Willie Cauley selected the Wildcats Monday. Cauley is a long and athletic big man who is a game-changer on the defensive end. He is an excellent shot-blocker and good rebounder who runs the floor well too. Cauley is a perfect fit for Calipari’s style of play. Other Class of 2012 Wildcat targets include shooting guard Gary Harris, small forwards Shabazz Muhammad, Alex Poythress and Devonta Pollard and power forward Anthony Bennett. Class of 2012 point guard Dominic Artis also made a Halloween commitment to Oregon less than a month after de-committing from UCLA. Artis decided to stay in the Pac-12 by joining former AAU teammate Class of 2011 shooting guard Jabari Brown as well as fellow Northern Californian small forward Terrence Daniel in the Class of 2012. Head coach Dana Altman has been doing a terrific job lately securing his second top 50 prospect in two years.
What You Missed
Warren, McGary To Commit Today, Tomorrow. Class of 2012 teammates small forward T.J. Warren and power forward Mitch McGary are slated to announce their commitments Wednesday and Thursday. McGary, the consensus second best player in the country, is planning on committing live on ESPN at 5pm today and is down to Duke, Florida and Michigan. Although the Blue Devils and Wolverines are widely considered the top two, the buildup to his decision has been minimized with the increased speculation that he is a Michigan lean [which McGary denied in his player blog]. On the other hand, we know for a fact that Warren is down to Georgetown and North Carolina State and he looks to be likely to choose the Wolfpack. If the duo makes these expected decisions, McGary would give Michigan head coach John Beilein three Class of 2012 commitments in addition to small forwards Glenn Robinson and Nik Stauskus and Warren would give Wolfpack head coach Mark Gottfried one of the best classes in the country with point guard Tyler Lewis and shooting guard Rodney Purvis already giving verbals.
Parker, Poythress Close to Deciding? A report Monday by Adam Zagoria indicates that Class of 2012 standouts small forward Alex Poythress and power forward Tony Parker are close to making their decisions. The pair’s Georgia Stars AAU coach, Norm Parker, stated that each top prospect has a favorite school right now among their top fours. Parker is considering Duke, Ohio State, UCLA and Memphis and Poythress likes Florida, Kentucky, Memphis and Vanderbilt. The 6’10″, 285-pound big man visited Durham this past weekend which he seemed to really enjoy whereas the 6’7, 210 pound wing took his last visit to Memphis two weekends ago. It sounds like both guys are reasonably close to a decision so a commitment by the end of November would be likely. If I had to hypothesize now, I would put Poythress at Kentucky and Parker at Duke, however, we’ll see how each of their recruitments play out.
Video of the Week
Ladies and gentleman, meet the best player in the Class of 2013, small forward Jabari Parker.