Who’s Got Next? NCAA Investigates Noel, Bennett Down To Two And More…Posted by Josh Paunil on May 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: NCAA Investigating Top Big Man Nerlens Noel
Big Blue Nation Has Little To Worry About. According to a New York Times article yesterday, the NCAA sent two members of its enforcement staff to Massachusetts this week to inquire about Class of 2012 star center Nerlens Noel. The members went to Everett High School Tuesday, where Noel spent his first two years of high school before transferring to the Tilton School, to meet with school officials about Noel. According to Everett High School principal Louis Baldi, the meeting lasted an hour and 15 minutes and centered on “concerns we had as adults” for Noel. In case you missed Pete Thamel‘s earlier article on Noel in March, he wrote about all of the influences surrounding Noel, which may or may not have brought on this “inquiry.” Here’s the thing, even though Kentucky haters will latch on to this story as just another scandal linked to head coach John Calipari, this whole story really isn’t that big of a deal. It’s nothing new that the NCAA is investigating a top recruit with many people trying to influence his every decision and honestly, if it wasn’t Kentucky, the New York Times probably wouldn’t have even reported about it. Drawing on all of the information that has been published, neither Noel nor Kentucky has done anything wrong and I doubt anything will result from this. Kentucky fans should just be happy about their National Championship and look forward to making flat top t-shirts next year in honor of the top big man in the Class of 2012.
What They’re Saying
Junior star Troy Williams on a timetable, adding schools to his list and his favorite coaching staff: “We’ll probably let two more schools back in, just to see what else is out there… it will probably be Georgetown and Florida. That’s the deciding factor, which head coach I like more. It (my favorite coaching staff) would be the Kentucky coaches because before the dead period I stayed in touch with [Kentucky assistant] coach Orlando [Antigua] the most.”
Junior stud Allerik Freeman on his final five schools: “My final five is Kansas, Ohio State, Duke, Villanova and UCLA,” Freeman said. “They’ve been recruiting me the hardest, all of them are good programs, I can see myself fitting in at all of those schools and those are the five schools that I can see myself playing at for all four years.”
Junior Ishmail Wainright on who he wants to visit: “I want to put my list together by the end of the summer. I want to visit Syracuse, Duke, Kansas, Florida, Texas, Baylor, N.C. State, UCLA, Marquette, Tulsa and Oklahoma State!”
Junior Nigel Williams-Goss on his two leaders and Washington visit: “Washington and Harvard are in the lead at this point. My [Washington] visit was really good! The campus was really nice. [What impressed me the most was] just how beautiful the campus was! It was arguably the best campus I have been on.”
Junior E.C. Matthews on who is standing out to him: “Arizona, Indiana, Xavier, Virginia, Rhode Island and Oregon stand out. I just like their history, style of play and how their coaches let them play their game.”
Junior standout Matt Jones on who he’s recruiting to Duke: “I’ve been recruiting [class of 2013 prospects power forward] Julius [Randle], [small forward] Ishmail [Wainright], [shooting guard] Allerik [Freeman] a little bit and [point guard] Anthony Barber. I’m not banging hard on them I’m just whispering in their ears about Duke. I know Julius like Dukes a lot — they all like Duke a lot.”
What You Missed
Bennett Cuts Kentucky, Florida, Down To Two. If I told you that a top ten recruit, like Class of 2012 power forward Anthony Bennett for example, was down to Kentucky, Florida, Oregon and UNLV and he cut two schools of that list, who do you think would be left? Well if you named either Kentucky or Florida, you would be wrong. The 2012 McDonald’s All-American shocked the recruiting world last week after cutting both the Gators and Wildcats off his list, leaving the Ducks and Runnin’ Rebels. Kentucky and Florida were thought to be the two favorites in Bennett’s recruitment but after dropping both schools, the presumed favorite is UNLV (although I don’t know if UNLV fans should be happy or sad about that considering who the previous two favorites were). Although Bennett is a Canada native, he has spent a significant amount of time around UNLV after attending prep powerhouse Findlay Prep for the last two years, located just miles away from UNLV’s campus. The Runnin’ Rebels already have a good recruiting class coming in between 2011 McDonald’s All-American transfer (and fellow Canadian) Khem Birch and top-50 Class of 2012 point guard Katin Reinhardt, among others. One thing that’s important to Bennett is making an immediate impact and he’d certainly be able to do that at both programs. My conjecture is that he ends up at UNLV but then again, my previous two guesses didn’t work out so well.
Williams To Expand List, Likes Kentucky’s Coaches the Most. After Class of 2013 small forward Troy Williams was set to announce his decision early last week of where he wanted to go to college and then backed out, people were wondering what the 6′ 7″, 200-pound freakishly athletic wing’s new timetable was. Well, Williams surprised the recruiting world by saying he plans on adding to two schools to his list — likely Florida and Georgetown according to him — and that he won’t commit until after the AAU season finishes up. However, one of the more interesting things he said wasn’t about his timetable or adding schools to his list, it was the fact that he said the only thing that he’s really considering in his recruitment is which coaching staff he likes most and that Kentucky edges out North Carolina in that category. The Tar Heels were previously thought to be the favorite for the Virginia native, and even though he still seems to me like he likes North Carolina a whole lot, Kentucky edges them out in what Williams says is the only thing that matters in his recruitment. Although there’s a lot of uncertainty in Williams’ recruitment, the one thing I am confident in saying is that Florida and Georgetown fans shouldn’t get their hopes up because there’s about a zero percent chance Williams lands anywhere besides Kentucky or North Carolina.
What We Learned
Two Lead For Findlay Prep Point Guard. Class of 2013 point guard Nigel Williams-Goss doesn’t know how close he is to committing or when he wants to announce his college decision, but he does have two schools standing out to him right now. Harvard and Washington lead for the Findlay Prep floor general and although those two college choices may suggest he isn’t a top recruit, he’s also being suited by programs like Missouri and UCLA. Although the Oregon native does seem to be truly interested in academics (hence Harvard), it also represents what has become a recent trend in the recruiting world. In case you missed it, Harvard landed a top-75 Class of 2013 prospect two months ago when power forward Zena Edosomwan chose the Crimson. Assistant coach Yani Hufnagel has been doing a spectacular job recruiting for Harvard and is a significant reason all of these high-major talents are seriously considering Harvard. The young Crimson assistant is a very good recruiter and if Harvard lands another top talent like Williams-Goss, Hufnagel is the first person you should look towards.
Mary Kline Classic A Huge Success. 17-year-old recruiting guru and The Recruit Scoop creator Alex Kline has many impressive things on his resume ranging from being profiled by Sports Illustrated to being featured on The Today Show and most recently being written about in the New York Times. However, the most impressive thing that Kline has done to date is something that he did just four days ago — organize the second annual Mary Kline Classic (highlights below). Kline organized the charity basketball event that featured a three-point contest, a skills competition, an underclassmen game and an upperclassmen game in honor of his mother who passed away from a brain tumor when he was ten. Luring top talent of all ages from all across the country to participate, Kline raised over $20,000 for cancer research in an event that featured some of the best players in the country including Class of 2013 standouts like point guard Jaren Sina and power forward Rondae Jefferson and Class of 2014 star small forward Wayne Selden. What Kline did is truly remarkable and it’s something that every basketball fan can come together to celebrate and support. It’s very impressive looking at all the talent he has showcased at his event in just the first two years and looking down the line, it’s something that could develop into one of the biggest all-star events in the country in just the next few years.
Video of the Week
Here’s a look at some of the best plays from Saturday’s Mary Kline Classic Featuring Class of 2013 power forward Rondae Jefferson and Class of 2014 small forward Wayne Selden, among others.