Who’s Got Next? Amile Jefferson Decides on Duke, Anthony Bennett Runs With the Rebels…Posted by Josh Paunil on May 17th, 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: Amile Jefferson, Top Unsigned Prospect Left, Commits To Duke
Blue Devils Add A Second McDonald’s All-American. It has been a long time coming, but Class of 2012 power forward Amile Jefferson finally committed Tuesday when he chose Duke over Kentucky, Ohio State, NC State and Villanova. The Philadelphia native joins fellow McDonald’s All-American shooting guard Rasheed Sulaimon as the only two commits for Blue Devil head coach Mike Krzyzewski in the Class of 2012. The 6’9″, 197-pound big man has had a long, drawn-out recruitment and has had more timetables than Class of 2012 power forward Tony Parker had speakers at his hour-long commitment ceremony when he chose UCLA. However, you can’t completely blame the two-time Pennsylvania Gatorade Player of the Year since Duke chased after him throughout his sophomore year then cooled down to recruit other big men and then decided on turning their attention back to Jefferson after missing out on higher-ranked targets during the early signing period. Now that he’s finally a Blue Devil, Jefferson is a huge get for two reasons. Not only is he a quality player who can give Duke solid minutes next year and then become a major contributor after that, but he was the best option to try to fill their need of a big man. Jefferson is a versatile forward who has a great combination of athleticism, length and quickness but he can also rebound well. He will definitely have to add strength once he gets to Durham but he’s a very good pick-up for Coach K this late in the process.
What They’re Saying
- Senior star Anthony Bennett on choosing UNLV: “I felt a great relationship with the coaches. I went to a lot of games at UNLV and it felt like a second home. The fans at UNLV came to a lot of my games. They’re very passionate about their Rebels and they’ve been very supportive to me.”
- Senior stud Amile Jefferson on committing to Duke: “Duke is a once in a lifetime opportunity and something you don’t pass up on. Once [head] coach [Mike] Krzyzewski started recruiting me, I did not talk to an assistant coach. That definitely shows the coach wants you and every conversation I had with him seemed genuine. I felt like I can become a better person and player at Duke University.”
- Junior standout Jimmie Taylor on picking in-state Alabama: “I like the coaching staff a lot. Their style of play is good, they’re close to home and I feel that I can win both on and off the court at Alabama. I just felt that I needed to go ahead and get my recruitment over.”
- Junior Aaron Gordon on his top five schools and favorite program: “My top five are Washington, Oregon, Kentucky, Arizona and Kansas. I would say my favorite at this point is probably Washington just because I have a good relationship with the coaches.”
- Junior Zach LaVine on who his leader is: “I don’t have a top five, but UCLA is my favorite at this point.”
- Junior Reggie Cameron on what has been going on in his recruitment lately: “I recently picked up an offer from West Virginia and I’ve heard from schools like Oklahoma, Harvard and North Carolina. But hopefully I can play well and earn some more offers.”
What You Missed
Anthony Bennett Chooses Nearby UNLV. Class of 2012 power forward Anthony Bennett shocked no one when he committed to the local Runnin’ Rebels last Saturday over the Oregon Ducks. Bennett may be the best recruit UNLV has ever signed out of high school and is a physically imposing forward who has a great combination of size, strength, athleticism and explosiveness. He is a monster in transition, an excellent rebounder, and versatile. The Findlay Prep big man is able to step outside and play on both ends of the court and he’s a very good finisher where he excels above the rim. He has the ability to hit perimeter and mid-range jumpers although he can certainly improve his consistency and range. He can also improve his interior scoring moves to become an all-around better threat on offense. The Canadian joins Class of 2011 McDonald’s All-American transfer Khem Birch as well as Class of 2012 point guard Katin Reinhardt, a top-50 recruit, in head coach Dave Rice’s incoming class in addition to point guard DaQuan Cook and power forward Demetris Morant.
Elite Junior Center Commits To In-state Alabama. The Crimson Tide picked up an unexpected commitment last Friday from Class of 2013 center Jimmie Taylor, the top in-state talent and a top-three center nationally, when he announced his selection of the Crimson Tide. The school itself wasn’t a surprise at all but the timing was. Taylor had only visited three schools before committing and had expressed a clear intent to visit several more schools before deciding. Alabama head coach Anthony Grant has gotten off to a terrific start in the Class of 2013 by picking up a shot-blocking machine who runs the floor and has a great motor. Taylor grew up an Alabama fan and it’s clear that having the opportunity to play for his hometown school in college was something he couldn’t pass up. The Crimson Tide are also chasing after a number of other prospects in the Class of 2013 including point guard Jaren Sina, small forward Greg McClinton and power forward Tyler Roberson.
What We Learned
Class of 2013 Star Aaron Gordon Has A Top Five and Leader. Class of 2013 power forward Aaron Gordon revealed recently that he has a top five of Washington, Oregon, Kentucky, Arizona, and Kansas, with the Huskies in the lead. Gordon is top-five talent who is very versatile and can be considered to be a better version of former Oakland Soldier (CA) teammate, Class of 2012 power forward Brandon Ashley (Arizona). Gordon has seemed to be a Washington lean from the beginning because of his relationship with head coach Lorenzo Romar but he says he won’t commit until after his basketball season next year. I’d be surprised if he didn’t end up a Husky because of how long and how great of a relationship he has with Romar but we’ll see where things go with him. He will impact whatever college he ends of choosing right away and will be an immediate starter.
UCLA Leads For Junior Standout Zach LaVine. If UCLA fans weren’t satisfied enough with the recruiting class they’re bringing in this year in the Class of 2012, then they’ll be happy to hear that they’re off to a good start in the Class of 2013 as point guard Zach LaVine told RTC late Tuesday night that the Bruins also lead for him. He doesn’t really have a list or a top five yet but it’s clear to him that UCLA leads for his services. Baylor, Memphis, Missouri and Texas have also been in recent contact with the Washington native and LaVine recently told us that UCLA, as well as Kentucky and Louisville, fits what he’s looking for in a school. We highly doubt he’ll end up with an offer from the Wildcats but the Cardinals are definitely in the mix for him. LaVine also told National Recruiting Spotlight earlier last month that he has several family ties to UCLA and that both his dad and his uncle are Bruin fans. He currently has no timetable for when he wants to commit.
Video of the Week
Here’s a video recap of this past weekend’s third Nike EYBL session featuring the best players in the country including Class of 2013 star small forward Jabari Parker and Class of 2014 studs small forward Andrew Wiggins and center Jahlil Okafor.