Who’s Got Next? Gary Goes Green, Mitchigan for McGary and More…Posted by Josh Paunil on November 10th, 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: McGary to Michigan, Program-Changing Recruit For Beilein
Elite Recruit Gives Wolverines A Top-Five Class. When Class of 2012 power forward Mitch McGary (#2) committed to Michigan last Thursday, he did more than just announce where he’s going to college, his decision sent the rest of the Big Ten a message that they need to look out for the Wolverines. McGary and Class of 2012 small forwards Glenn Robinson and Nik Stauskas will look to give Michigan its first conference championship since the 1980s — yes, it’s been that long — and McGary is the perfect player to build a team around. McGary is a high-energy, consistent big man who has an endless motor that makes him one of the best prospects in the country. He is an excellent rebounder and productive shotblocker who can impact the game in a variety of ways on both ends of the court. He can score inside and out and has an impressive mid-range game that will take his defenders out of the paint. McGary is strong, creates scoring opportunities for his teammates and has good footwork as well. The Wolverines also have gotten off to a quality start with the Class of 2013 by signing point guard Derrick Walton, shooting guard Zak Irvin, small forward Austin Hatch and power forward Mark Donnal.
What They’re Saying
- Junior Julius Randle on almost committing to Oklahoma two years ago and great advice he received: “I was ready to commit, I had a ball and I loved everything about the campus. Coach Capel and I were close and I loved what he was doing. I had so much fun that I was ready to be a Sooner. Then I got the best advice that I could ever get. My mom and coach told me to not to get caught up in the emotions of the visit.”
- Senior stud Gary Harris on committing to choosing Michigan State: “All the schools had the same thing but it came down to the school I was most comfortable with. The family atmosphere [at Michigan State] was like no other. The way they treat each other and act and get along — it’s a great feeling. He [head coach Tom Izzo] comes at me like a father figure. The respect that he has from everyone, his players, the people outside the program; he’s a great guy and a guy that you would want to be around.”
- Senior star Mitch McGary on selecting the Wolverines: “I felt most comfortable being there and I trusted the coaches over the other coaching staffs. I feel like I can make an impact my freshman year.”
- Senior standout Tony Parker on deciding to sign late: “[I’m] really focusing in on my season. We got a big year this year. This is my last season so I want to focus in and have fun.”
- Senior sensation T.J. Warren on walking with the Wolfpack: “I feel like they are on the come up. I just want to go in there and help bring the excitement back to Raleigh, North Carolina.”
- Senior Ricardo Gathers on de-committing from St. John’s and his timetable: “I plan to devote time to analyzing all prospective scenarios and seriously considering how my decision will affect not only my basketball dreams and my education, but also considering how my decision will affect my family and those around me. I will be including St. John’s in my options and have by no means ruled that choice out. I would like to spend my last year of high school focused on team goals and then making a decision about college in the spring.”
- Senior stud Shabazz Muhammad on Kentucky head coach John Calipari: “Coach Cal’s personality is great. He pushes his players in practice. That’s the thing I’m looking for. I’m trying to get better and get to the next level.”
What We Learned
Harris Selects Sparty. With Class of 2012 shooting guard Gary Harris‘ commitment to Michigan State yesterday, head coach Tom Izzo is bringing in a top-five recruiting class. Harris joins small forward Denzel Valentine, power forward Kenny Kaminski and center Matt Costello and is one of the best guards in the senior class. He is a tough, hard-nosed defensive-stopper who is improving. Harris uses his athleticism and length to stay in front of his opponent, does a terrific job of keeping his guy from driving to the basket and is great around the basket. He can consistently get in the lane and has shown the ability to knock down the perimeter shot, although that is an area he should improve upon. He has good body control and touch around the bucket and can develop his mid-range game more which would make his well-rounded game even better. It will be fun to watch Izzo and Michigan head coach John Beilein‘s recruiting classes battle it out in the future when these eight players step on the court with stars like Harris and McGary leading each side.
Shaq Stays Home, Chooses Memphis. With one simple tweet, “#memphisbound,” Class of 2012 power forward William “Shaquille” Goodwin sent Tiger nation into a frenzy of what could be the first of a few big-time commitments this year for head coach Josh Pastner. Goodwin is an athletic and physical big man who runs the floor and passes well. He is the first in what could potentially be multiple high-level prospects committing to Memphis. The Tigers are also finalists for Class of 2012 small forwards Shabazz Muhammad and Alex Poythress (see more on this below) and power forwards Tony Parker and Jarnell Stokes. Goodwin joins small forward Damien Wilson among seniors who have committed to Memphis and both are Georgia products who are quality pick-ups for Pastner. Goodwin is a two-sport star in high school who has been very clear in the fact that he wants to play both basketball and football in college.
What You Missed
St. John’s Loses One, Adds One. Just 12 hours apart, St. John’s fans got good and bad news regarding their Class of 2012 recruiting class. Class of 2012 power forward Ricardo Gathers de-committed from the Red Storm Tuesday just the night before it was reported that Class of 2011 power forward Norvel Pelle, who was ruled ineligible for the 2011-12 basketball season, will re-classify to the Class of 2012 and join shooting guard Darrick Ward as head coach Steve Lavin‘s only senior commitments. Despite his de-commitment, Gathers tweeted yesterday that St. John’s is his top choice right now and other options for the Red Storm for the Class of 2012 is getting Class of 2011 small forward Jakarr Sampson, another St. John’s freshman who was ruled ineligible for the year, to re-commit. Don’t forget the third and final St. John’s freshman ruled ineligible, small forward Amir Garrett, could join the Red Storm as late as the 2012-13 season if he’s not able to join the team in December. Other seniors consider St. John’s includes point guard Da’Shawn Suber and power forward Chris Obekpa.
Poythress Poised to Decide. Class of 2012 power forward Alex Poythress is set to announce his decision today at 2:30 pm and is deciding between Florida, Kentucky, Memphis and Vanderbilt, although it seems as though the Wildcats, Tigers and Commodores are the most likely options right now. He last visited Memphis three weekends ago and Kentucky, Memphis and Vanderbilt are all very real options that wouldn’t be a surprise if Poythress chose them. Poythress is such a sought-after prospect because of his length and athleticism and ability to run the floor. He consistently gets to the rim at will and is outstanding in slashing to the basket. He is a terrific finisher around the bucket and is a good rebounder on the defensive end. Poythress is a good shot-blocker but needs to keep improving his perimeter shot.
Video of the Week
Class of 2013 shooting guard Chris Thomas is one of the best junior guards in the country.