Who’s Got Next? Gathers Commits, McDonald’s All-Americans Announced And More…Posted by Josh Paunil on February 10th, 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: Ricardo Gathers Chooses Baylor — Big Get For Bears
Top-50 Power Forward Gives Scott Drew A Top-Five Recruiting Class. Three months after backing off his commitment to St. John’s, Class of 2012 power forward Ricardo Gathers committed to Baylor, joining point guard L.J. Rose and centers Isaiah Austin and Chad Rykhoek. The Louisiana native is a terrific fit for Baylor because he’s a double-double machine who can get it done on both ends of the court. He was second in scoring during the Nike EYBL last summer, averaging over 20 points a game while leading the EYBL in rebounding with about 12 a contest. He also recorded 20.7 PPG, 16.2 RPG, 3.9 BPG and 2.3 APG as a junior en route to winning the 2011 Louisiana Gatorade Player of the Year award. An interesting story that has unfolded recently is that Gathers de-committed from St. John’s in the first place to give LSU a chance to land him. According to the player, Tigers’ head coach Trent Johnson didn’t recruit him very hard which turned him off to the program. With the new addition of Gathers, Baylor has a top-five recruiting class featuring two of the best big men in the country (between Gathers and Austin).
What They’re Saying
- Senior Ricardo Gathers on committing to Baylor: “The coaching staff made me feel like I was a main priority, and with the signing class they have coming in, we have a really good chance of being a potential national champion. That was one of the biggest things for me.”
- Senior Anthony Bennett on when he’s going to commit: “I feel like I’ve taken a step forward in my recruiting process. I plan on making my decision in April after going on my visits.”
- Senior Shabazz Muhammad on UCLA: “Losing is a bad thing to do, but UCLA is a good program. I like Ben Howland and Coach (Phil) Mathews but they’re still there and I’m still looking at them really hard.”
- Senior Jerami Grant (Syracuse) on how he’s recruiting junior BeeJay Anya: “I’ve just been telling me everything I learned throughout the recruiting process. I told him it’s a big school, if he came in he could probably make a big impact and that I think he’d have a great time here.”
- Notre Dame Prep coach Ryan Hurd, Sam Cassell, Jr.’s high school coach, on Cassell’s improvement: ”Everyone’s calling on him now; he’s played himself into being the best available guard. He’s blowing up.”
What You Missed
McDonald’s All-Americans Announced. Class of 2012 stars point guard Kyle Anderson (UCLA), shooting guard Rodney Purvis (North Carolina State), small forward Alex Poythress (Kentucky), power forward Amile Jefferson and center DaJuan Coleman (Syracuse) are all going to be playing on the same team March 28 at 9:30 PM on ESPN, and I suggest you watch. The McDonald’s All-Americans were announced Thursday on ESPNU and the most notable person not on the list was recently re-classified center Nerlens Noel, who was deemed ineligible to participate in the event. Other big-name guys who weren’t named to the event due to not being eligible include shooting guard Ricardo Ledo (Providence) and center Kaleb Tarczewski (Kansas). However, the selection committee didn’t do a bad job at all in including guys like points guards Tyler Lewis (North Carolina State) and Kris Dunn (Providence) who aren’t as well-known as some of their counterparts although they are certainly deserving. To give you some history of the event, every team who has won a National Championship (except Maryland in 2002) has had a McDonald’s All-American on the roster. The three programs with the most selections all-time are North Carolina (63), Duke (50) and Kentucky (33). North Carolina State had the most this year with Lewis, Purvis and small forward T.J. Warren.
Top-Five Junior Announces Specific Timetable. Class of 2013 small forward Troy Williams tweeted Monday that he plans on committing after the end of his high school season and before the AAU summer circuit starts. Williams also recently trimmed his list down to Georgetown, Kentucky, North Carolina and Villanova. The 6’7, 200-pound wing told RTC just a couple weeks ago that the Wildcats and Tar Heels make up his top two with no claiming the top spot. 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. Kentucky’s only commit in the Class of 2013 remains power forward Derek Willis whereas North Carolina has already reeled in a couple of top-25 juniors between point guard Nate Britt and Isaiah Hicks.
What We Learned
Two Top-30 High School Teams Face Off Friday On ESPN2. There aren’t many conferences in high school basketball that boast two national powers, but the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) does just that featuring #14 Gonzaga College High School (Washington, D.C.) and #29 DeMatha Catholic High School (Maryland). Both teams have multiple top-50 prospects including Class of 2013 studs point guard Nate Britt (North Carolina) and power forward Kris Jenkins for Gonzaga and Class of 2012 standouts point guard James Robinson (Pittsburgh) and small forward Jerami Grant (Syracuse) and center BeeJay Anya for DeMatha. These two programs will face off Friday at 7:30 PM on ESPN2 in a re-match after Gonzaga won the initial meeting, 76-74, January 21. In the first match-up, Jenkins and Robinson were the stars tallying 27 and 25 points, respectively, with the game being decided on a pair of made free throws by Class of 2014 small forward Jordan Abdur-Ra’oof with 1.2 seconds left. Friday’s contest looks to be just as competitive with DeMatha receiving home court advantage and revenge on their minds after their narrow loss three weeks ago.
Sam Cassell, Jr. Making His Own Name. It’s tough to make a name for yourself when you have an NBA all-star as a dad, especially when you’re named after him. Well, that’s exactly what Class of 2012 shooting guard Sam Cassell, Jr. is doing after he received an offer from Connecticut University recently. Cassell has really improved his game and has been a better scoring threat shown by his recent 40-point outburst. He went from a low to mid-major prospect to now receiving interest from Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, USF, UCF, Washington, Maryland and Seton Hall. He’s a guy who can both score and facilitate and score in a variety of ways. He has good length and a high basketball-IQ, too. Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon recently brought his whole staff to watch the two-guard play.
Video of the Week
Here are the top ten plays of the month of January, according to Ballislife. When class of 2012 shooting guard Shaquille Johnson doesn’t even crack your top two, you know it’s a good list of plays.