Who’s Got Next? Noel Re-Classifies to 2012, Jefferson Close To Deciding And More…Posted by Josh Paunil on February 2nd, 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: Nerlens Noel Re-classifies To Class of 2012
Elite Junior Will Graduate A Year Early. There’s been ongoing speculation for a long time that center Nerlens Noel might re-classify from the Class of 2013 to the Class of 2012, but he didn’t gave much of an indication that he was going to. However, late Wednesday night the best shot-blocker in the prep ranks in the country confirmed that he was indeed going to graduate a year early and move to the Class of 2012. What does that mean? Well, other than getting to see him in college a year early, it means that he will have to decide which school he’s going to commit to in the next couple of months. Syracuse and Kentucky have long been the favorites for Noel and while a couple sources have told RTC that they think he will pick the Orange, it’s going to be a close race between the two. Other than John Calipari and Jim Boeheim‘s squads, Noel is considering multiple other schools and has already visited Providence and Connecticut while he plans on visiting Syracuse (February 11), Kentucky, Florida, Georgetown and North Carolina soon. He doesn’t have a timetable for committing but keep in mind that the regular signing period is April 13-May 18. We will be interviewing Noel some time in the next several days so if you’re interested in his recruitment, make sure you check back next week to see what he has to say about the schools on his list.
What They’re Saying
- Senior star Rodney Purvis on why he’s happy he made the Jordan Brand Classic: “Being from the same city and with John [Wall] being like my big brother, I wanted to do all the things he did. I didn’t tell a lot of people, but I really, really wanted to play in the Jordan Brand Classic. Like a whole lot.”
- Senior stud Tony Parker on the effect that Alex Poythress‘ commitment to Kentucky has on him: “He (Poythress) also tries to recruit me to Kentucky of course and I have played with him a lot, so our chemistry is unbelievable which gives them a good shot.”
- Nerlens Noel on why he re-classified: “I just thought over the season that I thought I was getting a higher level of competition and was working on my game. I reclassified because I was hurt but I feel like I’m ready to play at the next level.”
- Malcolm Musgrove, Amile Jefferson’s father, on when his son will commit: “He’s trying to finish up these last few high school games and then he’s going to make a decision.”
What You Missed
Jefferson Deciding This Month. Class of 2012 power forward Amile Jefferson has decided to wait until after his basketball season is over to commit, but it could be over as early as Tuesday. According to his father, he’s still considering Duke, North Carolina State, Kentucky, Villanova, Connecticut and Ohio State although it’s been said that the Blue Devils and Wolfpack are the leaders for Jefferson. The 6’7″, 190-pound forward is one of the top 20 players among seniors and would be a good fit at Duke and a tremendous addition to N.C. State’s already stellar class that includes point guard Tyler Lewis, shooting guard Rodney Purvis and small forward T.J. Warren. Class of 2012 shooting guard Torian Graham has been an on-again, off-again commitment for the Wolfpack as well. As for the Blue Devils, their only senior commitment is shooting guard Rasheed Sulaimon. Jefferson is a highly sought-after prospect because of his length, versatility and athleticism. The Philadelphia-native is also a consistent player who can rebound and shot-block as well as finish around the basket well.
Jordan Brand Classic Rosters Announced. Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin. What do they all have in common? All of these NBA all-stars played in the Jordan Brand Classic and the next crop of future NBA greats who will be playing together were announced Thursday as the rosters for this year’s JBC were released. The best players in the Class of 2012 are participating and include point guard Kyle Anderson (UCLA), shooting guard Gary Harris (Michigan State), small forward Shabazz Muhammad, power forward Brandon Ashley (Arizona) and center Isaiah Austin (Baylor). One name that you may be surprised not to see is center Nerlens Noel, who just re-classified to the Class of 2012. That’s because he switched classes after the selection process ended but you can bet that he’ll be included in the McDonald’s game (whose rosters will be announced Thursday). A few names that I’m glad made the JBC are point guard Kris Dunn (Providence) and shooting guards Rodney Purvis (North Carolina State) and Ricardo Ledo (Providence). Dunn is the best point guard in the country who doesn’t get talked about enough and Purvis and Ledo have both seen their stock dropped a lot further than what I agree with. The game takes place Saturday, April 14, at 7 PM live on ESPN after the JBC International Game and JBC Regional Game.
What We Learned
McDonald’s Announces Its Top-35 Participants Of All-Time, ESPNHS Ranks Them. In celebration of the 35th anniversary of the McDonald’s All-American Game this year, McDonald’s unveiled their list of the 35 best players of all-time to participate in the event. NBA greats are all over the list ranging from past stars like Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Michael Jordan and Clark Kellogg (whom RTC interviewed recently) to current all-stars such as Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Kevin Durant. The 35 players were selected by the McDonald’s All-American Games selection committee, led by Hall of Fame coach and committee chairman Morgan Wootten and were chosen based on the selection criteria of their high school, college and NBA career, their performance in the McDonald’s game itself and their post-retirement accomplishments. However, ESPNHS went a step further and ranked the list of 35 with Kevin Garnett topping it. Their rankings were based solely on high school accomplishments as James, Alonzo Mourning, Johnson and Kellogg round out the top five. The McDonald’s event this year takes place March 28 at 9:30 PM on ESPN and the selection of the teams will be announced Thursday at 5 PM on ESPNU.
Nike Announces Summer Schedule. The Nike summer basketball circuit was announced recently and details when the biggest events of the summer will take place. The schedule includes all the Nike EYBL sessions, all the Skills Academies (LeBron James, Kevin Durant, etc.), the Nike Hoop Summit and the aforementioned Jordan Brand Classic. The most notable difference between this year’s schedule and last year’s is the movement of the LeBron James Skills Academy from his hometown of Akron, Ohio, to Las Vegas, Nevada, because of his involvement with the U.S. Olympic basketball team that practices while his academy is held. My favorite change is the addition of another session to the Nike EYBL, the best event that goes on during the summer. The Nike EYBL is a summer basketball league that invites 40 of the best AAU teams in the country to participate in four sessions across the country from Oakland, California to Hampton, Virginia. The best of the best play more than a dozen games against each other and the league culminates in the Peach Jam in South Carolina which is televised. It will be very exciting when they announce all the teams playing in the EYBL this year.
Video of the Week
This highlight tape of Class of 2012 center Nerlens Noel is almost a year old now, but here’s a little taste of how good of a shot-blocker he is.