Who’s Got Next? Jarnell Stokes Volunteers, Torian Graham Confused And More…Posted by Josh Paunil on December 29th, 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 Commits To Tennessee, Will Enroll In January
Top-25 Senior Picks Volunteers Despite Late Kentucky Push. It’s been a long road for Class of 2012 power forward Jarnell Stokes but the recruiting process for him is finally over. The 6’8″, 250-pound big man committed to Tennessee last Thursday after transferring to Oak Hill Academy (VA) over this summer, then changing his mind and transferring to Southwind Central High School (TN) where he was ruled ineligible to play his senior season of basketball. He will be joining the Vols in January and looks to help them in every phase of the game. Stokes is the type of player who can help Tennessee on both ends of the floor, especially in rebounding — an area that Cuonzo Martin’s team could really use some help in. He picked UT over Memphis and a late push by Kentucky head coach John Calipari. Opposite of what many people many think, the difficult part of the transition for Stokes won’t be the physical aspect, it will be the mental part given the fact that he’ll have to face a sharp learning curve. His impact will be limited this year but he will still be a contributor and he’ll get an early head start on making the jump from high school to college compared to everyone else in the Class of 2012. He was never going to be a four-year player anyway so the Vols are simply getting an extra semester out of the Tennessee native.
What They’re Saying
- Senior Ricardo Ledo (Providence) on recruiting junior star Nerlens Noel and others: “If I could choose any player to commit to Providence, it would be [Class of 2012 power forward] Chris Obekpa and I’m also trying to help out with [Class of 2013 center] Nerlens Noel. I’m trying to get [Class of 2012 small forward] Jakarr Sampson on board and a couple more I haven’t named. I just tell them about the Providence atmosphere and to try to start something new, don’t try to be like everybody else and go to a school just because of the school’s name. I just tell them to be your own man, set your own trend.”
- Senior Jarnell Stokes on committing to Tennessee over Memphis: “Honestly, the decision was so back-and-forth. [Memphis] coach [Josh] Pastner called me on the first day he got the job. It’s going to be hard to leave the city that I love best but it’s time to grow up and be a man.”
- Senior Tyler Lewis on Amile Jefferson possibly joining him at N.C. State: “If I could choose any player to commit to North Carolina State, it would be [Class of 2012 power forward] Amile Jefferson because he is very active. He can score and play on both sides of the ball really well. Also, we need a really good big guy. I think we have a great shot with him, especially since our other recruits are so good. Everybody wants to play with the best or beat the best and he has a chance to do both.”
- Senior Jordan Adams on UCLA’s chances with elite senior Tony Parker: “If I could choose any player to commit to UCLA, it would be [Class of 2012 power forward] Tony Parker. He’d just bring another inside force to the game, he would dominate inside. He has so much potential to get better and he’s a hard-worker. He makes you want to play hard just like he does and he’s a great scorer and passer. He’s also a good person to be around and he could keep the team up if we were playing poorly.”
- Junior stud Julius Randle on North Carolina: “They do good with bigs and using players’ versatility like [sophomore small forward] Harrison Barnes. They get out in transition — I love to run — they have high pressure defense and you can tell their style is fun. North Carolina blue is a beautiful color.”
- Junior standout Brannen Greene on recruiting junior Tyler Ennis: ““If I could choose any player to commit to Kansas, it would be [class of 2013 point guard] Tyler Ennis. I love him as a point guard. He has tremendous vision and we have played together at [the] Pangos [All-American Camp] and the [Nike] Elite 100. He would be a great fit at KU and would bring a level of composure and leadership. I think I have a decent chance at getting him to join me. I talk to him often and I will continue to talk to him.”
- Junior BeeJay Anya on what he’s looking for in a school: “[I want a school who] likes using their big men a lot, schools that are known for using their big men a lot in the paint or are willing to use their big men in the paint.”
What You Missed
Graham Re-commits to N.C. State… Then De-Commits Again. Class of 2012 shooting guard Torian Graham committed to North Carolina State last Thursday after de-committing from the Wolfpack in August. Then, just hours later, he de-committed from head coach Mark Gottfried and company for the second time in just four months. Graham has been quiet in terms of explaining why he walked away from the Wolfpack again but there has been speculation ranging from he potentially may not qualify to everyone in his family isn’t fully behind his decision. Although N.C. State did suffer a blow by losing Graham, they still have one of the top 2012 classes in the country between point guard Tyler Lewis, shooting guard Rodney Purvis and small forward T.J. Warren. They also have a good shot at Class of 2012 power forward Amile Jefferson. Graham is such a highly touted prospect because of his scoring ability and superb athleticism. He’s also a great finisher around the basket and has terrific body control around the bucket whenever he consistently penetrates the lane.
Lewis Doesn’t Commit To Kansas. After Class of 2013 point guard Isaiah Lewis said last week in his player blog that there was a 65-70% chance that he would commit to the Jayhawks Monday and later to RTC that there was a 90% likilihood of it happening, he decided against verballing to Kansas. Lewis told RTC exclusively that he didn’t commit because his dad wants him to visit Lawrence before announcing for them but he also said he plans on doing so in January. He is still a heavy Kansas lean with Memphis and Louisville close behind. The Tigers led for the New York native just a month ago so his recruitment is not over by any sense of the word. However, it does look likely that Lewis will commit to the Jayhawks soon after he visits there, if not during his visit. He would join Class of 2013 shooting guards Brannen Greene and Conner Frankamp and is a scorer who has improved his passing skills since transitioning to the point guard position. Lewis is able to get in the lane where he loves to utilize his great floater and effective pull-up jumper.
What We Learned
Best High School Players In the Country On ESPNU Friday. You’ll get to see some of the highest rated recruits in the country Friday on television as the Les Schwab Invitational championship and consolation games will be broadcast on ESPNU. The tournament is ongoing and the teams who will advance to the televised games won’t be determined until after tomorrow’s set of games but the heavy favorite to win the tournament is Oak Hill Academy (VA). The Warriors feature a plethora of Class of 2012 top-75 recruits including point guards Tyler Lewis (NC State) and D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera (Georgetown), small forwards Jordan Adams (UCLA) and Damien Wilson (Memphis) and center A.J. Hammons (Purdue). The favorite on the other side of the bracket to meet Oak Hill in the Championship game Friday at 11:30pm is Riverside Academy (LA) who features Class of 2012 power forward Ricardo Gathers. The semifinal game is at 4:30pm Friday and both Oak Hill and Riverside are ranked in ESPN’s Powerade Fab 50 with the Warriors coming in at #2 and the Rebels at #32.
Top Prospects Dish On Who They’re Recruiting. Committed high school stars ranging from Class of 2012 shooting guard Ricardo Ledo (Providence) to Class of 2013 shooting guard Brannen Greene (Kansas) talked to National Recruiting Spotlight this week about who they’re recruiting to join them at their respective schools and how good of a shot they actually have at landing them. The only uncommitted prospects that were picked by the panel of seven recruits to be their top target multiple times was Class of 2012 power forwards Amile Jefferson and Tony Parker. Both Class of 2012 point guard Tyler Lewis (North Carolina State) and Class of 2012 center Daniel Ochefu (Villanova) said if they could have anyone commit to their school it would be Jefferson and Parker was picked under the same circumstances by Class of 2012 small forwards Jordan Adams (UCLA) and Jordan Price (Auburn). Lewis says he thinks the Wolfpack have a great shot with Jefferson and Greene thinks Kansas has a decent chance with Class of 2013 point guard Tyler Ennis.
Video of the Week
Highlights from the City of Palms Tournament featuring stars like Class of 2012 small forward Shabazz Muhammad and Class of 2013 center Nerlens Noel.