Who’s Got Next? Derek Willis’ Decision, Troy Williams’ Finalists and Stars Square OffPosted by Josh Paunil on January 19th, 2012
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 are missing or different things you would like to see, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lead Story: Standout Junior Expected To Pick Kentucky
Wildcats In Good Shape For Willis. Kentucky may have to wait a while to get commitments from their top junior targets such as small forward Troy Williams and power forward Julius Randle, but they are likely to get some good news soon when Class of 2013 power forward Derek Willis is expected to pick the Wildcats. The 6’9″, 210-pound big man is making his announcement tomorrow at 4 PM at Bullitt East High School (Kentucky) and is choosing between Indiana, Kentucky, Louisville, and Purdue. The Kentucky-native previously committed to Purdue last April then later backed off his decision in August to explore all of his options. He would be head coach John Calipari‘s first Class of 2013 commitment and is a good athlete who can score all over the floor. He’s very skilled and can shoot and slash to the basket.
What They’re Saying
- Senior star Anthony Bennett on why he recently cut his list to Florida, Kentucky, Oregon, UNLV, and Washington: “I picked those five schools because I think it’s the best fit for me [and] I feel like if I go to any one of those schools I could work for a starting spot.”
- Senior standout Amile Jefferson‘s high school coach, Malcolm Musgrove, on when Jefferson will commit: “At the end of the week we’ll have a conversation and I think he could wrap this up in the next few weeks. I’m thinking by the end of January he will know.”
- Senior Demetris Morant on UNLV and senior Shabazz Muhammad: “I think Shabazz is really considering going [there] because he feels that they’re a great team and everyone else sees that, too, and they’re ranked in the nation. At first he wasn’t thinking about going there because he thought they wouldn’t be that good and he wouldn’t be looked at by [NBA] scouts. So he was mostly considering Kentucky, but now UNLV is in the top three.”
- Junior Troy Williams on his favorite schools: “I don’t have a favorite yet, but the number one spot is between North Carolina and Kentucky. They play my style and have great coaching staffs.”
- Junior Julius Randle on his ideal coach: “A coach that will push me, he’s not going to always tell me what I want to hear, but what I need to hear. Someone that will make me the best player I can be.”
What You Missed
Top Junior Wing Favoring Kentucky, North Carolina. Class of 2013 small forward Troy Williams isn’t officially down to two schools, but that is what it is starting to look like. The 6’7″, 200-pound wing talked recently about his top two schools — Kentucky and North Carolina — and his last visit that he is going to take on February 1 at Georgetown. The other two schools he is considering are Villanova and Virginia Tech, but the Tar Heels looks like the likeliest destination even though he does seem to be split over his top two choices. North Carolina head coach Roy Williams has the Virginia native’s favorite coaching staff because of how comfortable he feels with them. Williams will be an impact player wherever he chooses to go and would fit in well at both Lexington and Washington, D.C. He would excel in Kentucky head coach John Calipari‘s fast-pace offense and would give North Carolina the excellent slasher they need. Williams will wait until after the basketball season to announce and could wait until the summer if he is still torn.
Former St. John’s Commit Has Four Favorites. A couple months after de-committing from St. John’s, Class of 2012 power forward Ricardo Gathers has some new schools at the top of his list: Baylor, Florida, North Carolina, and St. John’s. Although big-name schools like Duke and Kentucky have been named as other suitors for Gathers, he says neither school has shown much interest. The 6’7″, 240-pound big man is versatile and a tremendous rebounder. He has excellent strength and is quick enough to take defenders off the dribble. Gathers has soft hands and is a good finisher around the basket. The Louisiana-native plans on making a decision after the basketball season and wants to visit Baylor, Duke, Florida, and North Carolina State before committing again.
What We Learned
Two Elite Seniors Face Off On ESPNU Saturday. Arguably the best team in the country will take on the top senior in the country at 5pm Saturday on ESPNU as Findlay Prep (Nevada) takes on Bishop Gorman High School (Nevada). The best high school in-state rivalry in the country features a plethora of elite Class of 2012 prospects from Bishop Gorman’s small forward Shabazz Muhammad to Findlay Prep’s power forwards Brandon Ashley (Arizona) and Anthony Bennett. Findlay also features Class of 2012 standouts point guard Dominic Artis (Oregon) and small forward Winston Shepard. This weekend’s big game spotlights two top-20 teams ranked in Five-Star Basketball’s Top 25 and promises to be a great game as a follow-up to last year’s three overtime thriller that ended on a buzzer-beater. The big match-up to watch is the Muhammad-Shepard battle on the wing. Both played well in last week’s Hoophall Classic where Muhammad dropped 37 points Monday and Shepard defended Class of 2013 power forward Jabari Parker tough.
Ennis Wants To Visit Three, Discusses Recruitment. Class of 2013 point guard Tyler Ennis said last week that he is interested in visiting Arizona, Kansas, and Louisville and that Arizona, Kansas, and Memphis are three schools that match what he is looking for in a program. The 6’3″, 180-pound floor general also stated that Arizona and Seton Hall are his two favorite coaching staffs. The Canada-native is a highly sought-after prospect because of his scoring ability and high basketball IQ. He also displays good court vision and a nice mid-range game that makes him a threat as both a scorer and facilitator. One factor is Ennis’ recruitment is Class of 2013 shooting guard — and friend — Brannen Greene who committed to Kansas last month and is recruiting Ennis hard. Although players recruit other players all the time to join them, Greene appears to be doing a good job since Ennis says he wants to visit the Jayhawks because of Greene and that the prospect of going to school with his friend intrigues him. Ennis plans on being committed by this time next year.
Video of the Week
Here are some of the top plays from the Hoophall Classic, which includes Class of 2012 stars small forward Shabazz Muhammad and power forward Brandon Ashley who you can see on ESPNU Saturday.