Who’s Got Next? Poythress Picks, Carter Commits and More…Posted by Josh Paunil on November 17th, 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 email@example.com.
Lead Story: Poythress Picks Kentucky, UK Still Able To Nab Number One Recruiting Class
Big Blue Nation Has Reason To Rejoice. Don’t lie Kentucky fans, you were worried about not getting the number one recruiting class for the fourth straight year. You tweeted about it, you posted on message boards about it, you wrote on Facebook about it. But when Class of 2012 small forward Alex Poythress decided to join Big Blue Nation last Thursday, head coach John Calipari kept his 2012 class in the running to be rated as the top collection of talent in the country. The 6’7″, 220-pound wing joins shooting guard Archie Goodwin and center Willie Cauley as Coach Cal’s commitments so far with top senior targets small forward Shabazz Muhammad and power forwards Anthony Bennett and Jarnell Stokes still out there. Poythress had a terrific summer and showed the ability to consistently get to the bucket, finish in traffic and an improved perimeter shot. At times, he’s simply unstoppable when he attacks the rim and he’s able to impact the game in a number of ways whether it’s defense, rebounding or running the floor. He fits in well with Calipari’s system and will thrive with Goodwin and Cauley running the floor with him. At this point, the Wildcats have the second-best recruiting class in the country only behind Arizona’s ridiculous haul of talent but with another commitment or two they could reign supreme for the fourth straight year.
What They’re Saying:
- Senior standout Robert Upshaw‘s mother, Ceylon Sherman, on her son choosing Kansas State: “It was a close run, he had a lot of great schools, but when it came down to it, him and all of us family just all had Kansas State. For Robert, it was about how much he liked the guys out there. He had chemistry with them.”
- Senior star Alex Poythress on committing to Kentucky: “I just felt I could get better as a player at Kentucky, and I was comfortable there. Their player development is impressive, and I’ll be able to practice against the best players in the country. I wanted competition.”
- Senior sensation Robert Carter on selecting the Yellow Jackets: “I have a big family — six sisters and one brother — and my entire family is in the state of Georgia. My heart just felt Georgia Tech was right for me. They were at almost every one of my games this summer, it showed me I was important to the program.”
- Senior stud Amile Jefferson‘s high school coach, Jason Polykoff, on Jefferson’s Stanford visit: “He enjoyed himself. He was able to catch the Stanford—Oregon football game which he said was a lot of fun.”
- Junior Nerlens Noel on who’s recruiting him the hardest and what he’s looking for: “The schools that have stuck around are Syracuse, Providence, UConn, Florida and Georgetown. A good program with honest, reliable coaching staff that can develop their players and also good academics.”
- Junior Isaiah Lewis on his list and favorite schools: “My list contains of — in this order — Memphis, Kansas, Louisville, Georgia Tech, Florida, Florida State and UNC.”
- Wesley Junior, Class of 2011 shooting guard Kevin Ware‘s step-father, on Ware being cleared to play for Louisville in December: “It’s been a long road. He’s finally got it done, he’s happy and ready to get there.”
Carter Chooses Yellow Jackets. Class of 2012 power forward Robert Carter choose to stay close to home when he committed to Georgia Tech last week, joining shooting guard Chris Bolden and small forward Marcus Hunt. The commitment from the 6’8, 260-pound big man gives Georgia Tech a top-20 recruiting class because of the fact that he’s one of the best interior scorers in the country. He’s intelligent, has good footwork and can run the floor and score in transition. Carter is an excellent rebounder too and is versatile enough to defend both bulky big men and athletic combo-forwards. Head coach Brian Gregory is also going after shooting guards Shaq Roland and Andrew White and power forwards Tevin Glass, Charles Mitchell and Christopher Obekpa in the Class of 2012. This was an impressive grab by Gregory and a much-needed one if he hopes to challenge the likes of conference opponents Duke and North Carolina.
Upshaw Announces for Kansas State. Class of 2012 center Robert Upshaw committed to Kansas State Monday, giving head coach Frank Martin his second senior commitment in November. Laimonas Chatkevicius also chose the Wildcats but small forward Jamar Samuels is the only senior on scholarship so the Wildcats are going to have to find room to get both prospective freshmen on the team. Upshaw is a huge big man that has great size at 6’11, 250 pounds, and long arms. He takes up a lot of room in the lane and is an effective shotblocker. Upshaw also has great hands and is an excellent rebounder. As he loses weight and gets into better shape, he’ll only improve and once he develops a better interior scoring skill set he will be a threat on both ends of the court at all times.
What You Missed
Ware Ruled Eligible for Spring Semester. Class of 2011 shooting guard Kevin Ware was ruled eligible and is able to join Louisville in mid-December, which is some much-needed good news after junior guard Mike Marra was lost for the season to an ACL injury. The Cardinals also lost freshman shooting guard Wayne Blackshear for the season after he tore his labrum during practice. It’s been a long journey for Ware after his commitments, de-commitments and recruiting scandals and it’s nice to finally hear some good news about him. In case you forgot or missed one of the biggest recruiting stories of the summer, Ware is the guy who signed with Tennessee, then was released after head coach Bruce Pearl was fired, then committed to Central Florida and then de-committed from UCF after they went under investigation which led Athletic Director Keith Tribble to resign and head coach Donnie Jones‘ three-game suspension. And after initially being ruled ineligible this season, he’ll finally get to do what he simply wanted to do all along: play college basketball.
Pelle Continues Trend, De-Commits From St. John’s. Class of 2011 power forward Norvel Pelle de-committed from St. John’s yesterday after Class of 2012 power forward Ricardo Gathers de-committed last week and Class of 2011 small forward Jakarr Sampson de-committed earlier. Both Pelle and Sampson were ruled ineligible for the 2011-12 college basketball season and will reclassify to the Class of 2012. This is an unfortunate trend that is developing for head coach Steve Lavin but each player says they are still considering the Red Storm. The third Class of 2011 player ruled ineligible for St. John’s this year, small forward Amir Garrett, remains committed to the Red Storm and hopes to join Lavin in December. Shooting guard Darrick Wood is the lone Class of 2012 commitment right now but St. John’s is also in the running for power forward Christopher Obekpa, who will sign in the spring.
Video of the Week
Forget about 903, what about 1,000? Meet the man who could help Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski reach the next milestone, Class of 2012 shooting guard Rasheed Sulaimon (Duke).