Who’s Got Next? Stokes Denied Appeal, Pronouncing Muhammad’s Name is an Issue…Posted by Josh Paunil on November 23rd, 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: Jarnell Stokes Still Ineligible For His Senior Season
Top-20 Recruit Left Searching For Other Options. The TSSAA Board of Control, the body of people responsible for deciding whether Class of 2012 power forward Jarnell Stokes can play basketball his senior season, announced Monday that they denied his appeal to the August ruling that said he cannot play in the 2011-12 season. Stokes was initially ruled ineligible by Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association executive director Bernard Childress after transferring from Central High School (TN) to Southwind High School (TN). Stokes has lived in the same address for the past nine years in the Southwind district but was able to attend Central on an academic exemption as a freshman. However, Stokes’ academic record over the last three years doesn’t meet any of the ten TSSAA guidelines that would have allowed him to transfer and become eligible at Southwind this season. Despite the setback, Stokes and his family still have several other options. One option, something that Stokes’ father says is a possibility, is that Stokes can graduate early and enroll in college in January (keep in mind though that he is still uncommitted). Another option he has is to return back to Central, but his father says that almost certainly won’t happen. Stokes is a good enough player though that, even if he doesn’t player basketball this year, the likes of Arkansas, Memphis and Kentucky will still recruit him and his recruitment should be unaffected.
What They’re Saying
- Senior standout Ricardo Ledo on who Providence is going after: “We’re trying to get [Class of 2012 power forward] Chris Obekpa, we’re trying to get [Class of 2013 center] Nerlens Noel, we’re going hard at him. We’re trying to get [Class of 2012 small forward] JaKarr Sampson.”
- Senior star Shabazz Muhammad on if people mispronouncing his name affects his recruitment: “I absolutely can’t stand when people in general pronounce my name wrong, but when coaches do it, it’s really surprising honestly. Throughout my recruitment it’s happened a lot, but a school that just keeps on doing it, they’re pretty much off the list. I mean how bad can a school want you if there calling you something you don’t answer to? You’ve got to get stuff like a name right.”
- Junior Julius Randle on his relationship with Kentucky’s coaches and his thoughts on the program: “I have a great relationship with [assistant] coach Orlando [Antigua]. He always talks about how well I would fit in at Kentucky, and he just tries to get me to go there. Kentucky is a great program, so it’s never bad to think of myself playing there. They are definitely a program in the running right now, but I’m still wide open.”
- Junior Chris Thomas on his list of school: “I’m only interested in a couple of schools right now, Kentucky, Xavier and really Florida a little bit. That’s it now.”
- Junior Derek Willis on college games he wants to visit: “I will probably go watch the Kentucky-North Carolina game, and then the Louisville-Kentucky game, too. I can’t wait for them! They both should be exciting!”
- Sophomore stud Isaiah Whitehead on his visit schedule: “I’ve taken one visit so far and that was to Rutgers. After the season, I plan on taking visits to Kentucky, Syracuse, Florida, Arizona, UConn, North Carolina and Pittsburgh.”
- Willie Stokes, senior Jarnell Stokes‘ father, on his son potentially enrolling in college early: “He’s an honor student; he’s been taking honors classes all this time. We haven’t seriously discussed him to college mid-year but that is a possibility. We will discuss those things.”
What We Learned
The Legend of the Crime Stopper. GQ wrote a good feature on Class of 2013 point guard Aquille Carr last week that documented the growth of his legend in the Baltimore area. Whether it was his 39 points and 19 assists as a freshman against then-senior Josh Selby or “the dunk heard ’round Baltimore” that same year when he slammed one home over Class of 2011 shooting guard Nick Faust (#38 — Maryland, who was nearly a foot taller than him at the time), Carr has been a legend in Maryland for several years. Regardless of when he got his nickname, there’s a consensus of why he got the nickname. In one of the most crime-ridden places in the country, some of the most notorious drug dealers and criminals stop what they’re doing for two hours just to go see Carr play basketball (and I’m being completely serious). Carr, who almost always has a smile on his face, is one of the most entertaining players I’ve ever seen play between his down right ridiculous ball-handling skills and his knack for making electrifying plays. If you haven’t already seen his highlight tape like 2.5 million other people have, it’s a must-see.
What’s Going On With Chris Thomas? Class of 2013 shooting guard Chris Thomas said this weekend that he’s considering three schools — Florida, Kentucky and Xavier — and really by the sound of things just Kentucky and Xavier. However, Thomas’ South Kent Prep High School Kelvin Jefferson said Monday that he’s still wide open. According to the same report that quoted Jefferson, Thomas is still considering a number of schools that includes Arizona and Connecticut. Despite Jefferson’s best efforts, it’s pretty apparent that Thomas is only considering a select number of schools now and that it will come down to the Musketeers and Wildcats for Thomas’ services. The 6’4″, 175-pound two guard is a big-time scorer who can put the ball in the bucket from all three levels. He’s aggressive and always in attack mode to get to the basket. He’s a good athlete who can handle the ball and finish around the rim with either hands. Thomas will be a very dangerous weapon on offense at whatever college he chooses to attend.
What You Missed
People Often Mispronounce Shabazz Muhammad’s Name, And He Doesn’t Like It. I guess coaches didn’t learn from the whole ‘T.J. Harrison’ story, after all. Class of 2012 small forward Shabazz Muhammad said recently that people often mispronounce his name (it’s Shuh-BOZZ, not Shuh-BAZZ), and that when coaches do it, it both surprises him and makes him want to take that school of his list. Kansas and Kentucky are the only two offenders still on the best senior in the country’s list that also contains Arizona, Duke, Texas A&M, UCLA and UNLV. However, give Jayhawks head coach Bill Self and the Kentucky assistant credit, they quickly realized they mispronounced his name and haven’t made the same mistake since. If you recall, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski and the Blue Devils made a similar error when they were recruiting Class of 2011 shooting guard P.J. Hairston‘s and they couldn’t spell his name correctly in recruiting letters, spelling it ‘T.J. Harrison’. Hairston ended up committing to the Blue Devils’ Tobacco Road rivals North Carolina. Coaches, when you recruit somebody and you can’t even spell or say their name correctly, you’re basically telling them you couldn’t care less about them and that they should find another school to attend.
Syracuse Fans Get A Scare, Update On Sophomore Star. The Orange faithful were shocked by a New York Post report Sunday that said Class of 2014 shooting guard Isaiah Whitehead was no longer considering the hometown Orange. However, Whitehead’s Lincoln High School (NY) coach, Dwayne Morton, calmed Syracuse fans just hours later when he said the 6’4″, 195-pound two guard was still considering Syracuse. Morton also said Whitehead is a huge fan of former Syracuse star Carmelo Anthony. In a different report Monday, Whitehead said he’s heard from more than a dozen schools recently but that he’s looking to take a visit to Kentucky, Syracuse, Florida, Arizona, Connecticut, North Carolina and Pittsburgh. Whitehead is a combo-guard who can handle the ball, facilitate other scorers and put the ball in the bucket himself when he wants to. He also has good court vision and is very productive in the mid-range game.
Video of the Week
We missed this a couple weeks ago, but former NBA player Kenny “The Jet” Smith sat down with Class of 2012 point guard Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell (Indiana) and gave the top-20 point guard a lot of very helpful tips on how to improve as a point guard.