Who’s Got Next? Kentucky Adds Two More Studs; Selden Decides For Kansas…Posted by CLykins on October 17th, 2012
Who’s Got Next? is a weekly column by Chad Lykins, the RTC recruiting guru. 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. We also encourage you to check out his contributions dedicated solely to Duke Basketball at Duke Hoop Blog. You can also follow Chad at his Twitter account @CLykinsBlog for up-to-date breaking news from the high school and college hoops scene. 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.
Young and Lee Join Historic Kentucky Class
If your familiar with the phrase “the rich get richer”, that describes Kentucky basketball recruiting. After landing a pair of top-five prospects from the class of 2013, twin brothers Aaron and Andrew Harrison, the Kentucky Wildcats received verbal commitments from two more highly ranked 2013 prospects, in the form of James Young last Thursday and Marcus Lee on Wednesday afternoon. Young is a 6’6″ shooting guard out of Rochester High School (Michigan) and is the No. 5 ranked prospect in the ESPN 100. Lee, a 6’9″ power forward out of Deer Valley High School (California), is the No. 28 ranked recruit. Along with Kentucky, Young listed Kansas, Michigan State and Syracuse in his final four while Lee had just listed California as his only other possible destination. Young and Lee will now join the Harrison twins and unranked prospect Derek Willis as a part of Kentucky’s 2013 recruiting class.
“Kentucky has always been my dream school,” said Young, who revealed his choice by holding up a “Kentucky Bound” blue T-shirt. “I’m not just looking for the NBA. I’m looking for an education and a national championship and that’s about it.” Young emerged as a prime recruiting target for the Wildcats in the spring and had listed Kentucky as the team to beat for his services since the summer. Young has made two consecutive visits to Lexington, once for Kentucky’s alumni weekend and the other this past weekend for “Big Blue Madness.”
Kentucky will now possess the most lethal perimeter trio in all of college basketball for the 2013-14 season with the addition of Young to complement the Harrison twins. In the left-handed Young, the Wildcats are getting one of the best pure scoring guards in the country. An aggressive scorer who can stroke it from deep or utilize his mid-range game, Young is exceptional at scoring off the catch and has a plethora of moves to get to the rim. On the defensive end, he uses his athleticism and length well to disrupt the opposition. The one aspect of his game that needs the most work is his ball-handling. In transition, he can fill lanes but with improved ball security, he could be even more deadlier running the fast break and making plays for either himself or his teammates.
Young’s stock soared during the spring and summer recruiting periods while participating with The Family AAU. His best individual performances came at the 2012 Nike EYBL, shooting The Family to a 12-8 regular season record, Young was third in scoring with 18.5 points per game while averaging a team-high 7.3 rebounds per contest. His play during the regular season translated to the Nike EYBL Finals at the Peach Jam where he increased his scoring average to 21.5 PPG while shooting 46% from three-point range. Young also displayed his ability to get to the free throw line as he ranked first in free throw attempts, converting 76% of those tries. He also participated at the 2012 Nike Global Challenge and was arguably the best player of the weekend. Young averaged 18.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game en route to leading USA Midwest to the NGC Championship while earning MVP honors. In the championship game against Canada, Young scored 29 points and pulled down 10 rebounds in a 100-86 victory.
As a junior at Troy High School, he averaged 25.1 points, 10.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game and was named to The Detroit News Dream Team. At the conclusion of the summer recruiting period in August, Young officially transferred to Rochester for his senior season.
“For the next four years, I’ll be attending the University of Kentucky,” Lee said after announcing for the Wildcats. Lee made his official visit to Lexington during “Big Blue Madness” along with Young, the Harrison twins and Willis, who all had previously committed prior to visiting. Uncommitted over the weekend, Lee left Lexington overly impressed during his time on campus. That was made evident by a tweet that Lee sent out to the masses of a photo including himself along with the four commitments with the caption, “That’s just scary.” Speculation ran rampant that Lee would look to make his final decision shortly thereafter, as was the case on Wednesday afternoon.
When discussing Lee, he is a dynamic shot-blocker and an oustanding rebounder with a 7’1.5” wingspan. He’s a long and athletic power forward with a great motor who can also play at the center position. Offensively, he is extremely raw. He has yet to develop a consistent mid-range jump shot and needs work on his footwork and post game. He is also very thin for his position at just over 205 lbs, so additional bulk on his 6’9″ frame will pay dividends long term. Regardless, due to his great upside Lee is a terrific project player for the future with the Wildcats.
As the spring and summer AAU recruiting periods progressed, Lee made a rapid rise up the 2013 class rankings participating with California Supreme AAU. Like fellow commitment Young, Lee also played at the 2012 Nike EYBL and the 2012 Nike Global Challenge. At the latter, Lee played some of the best basketball of his young career, exhibiting that great shot-blocking ability throughout as he led the camp with 3.0 blocks per game to go along with 12.5 points and 8.8 rebounds per outing.
Lee ended his junior campaign at Deer Valley with astonishing numbers. Nearly averaging a triple-double for the season, Lee averaged 13.9 points, 13.9 rebounds and 9.1 blocks per game for the 22-9 Wolverines, who won the Bay Valley Athletic League and finished as the runner-up in the North Coast Section Les Schwaub Division I Championship game.
Both Young and Lee will plan to make their decisions official as they sign their national letters of intent during the early signing period, November 14-21. Already with five commitments from the class of 2013, could Kentucky add a sixth? If so, it will either be Julius Randle, Aaron Gordon or Andrew Wiggins, pending a reclassification from the 2014 class. Randle is the No. 3 ranked prospect in the ESPN 100 while Gordon checks in at No. 6. Wiggins is the No. 1 overall ranked prospect in the ESPN 60 and is without question the best high school basketball player in the country. All three players have Kentucky on their short lists.
Self Reels in Selden
All it took was only one official visit from Wayne Selden for the player to decide where he wanted to attend college. That school: Kansas University. After attending Kansas’ Midnight Madness festivities over last weekend, 6’5″ small forward Selden knew immediately following the extravaganza that Kansas is where he needs to be, as evidenced by pledging his commitment on Saturday at the conclusion of his visit. Selden chose the Jayhawks over Florida, Ohio State, Missouri, Syracuse and UCLA.
“I felt it (KU) was the right fit for me as a person and player,” Selden said after making his decision official on Monday morning. “I knew coming into the visit Kansas was my leader, and, after meeting the players and coaches, I knew it was the right place for me. It’s like a family there.” A student at The Tilton School (New Hampshire), Selden had been relatively quiet on the recruiting front for months since reclassifying back to the class of 2013. His commitment on Monday surely sent shockwaves across the recruiting world as Kansas head coach Bill Self has compiled quite an impressive recruiting class for 2013. Selden, the No. 14 ranked player in the ESPN 100, will join fellow ESPN 100 recruits Conner Frankamp (No. 37), Brannen Greene (No. 41) and two-star recruit Frank Mason. Selden’s verbal commitment will mark the first time since 2010 that Kansas has landed a top 20 prospect (Josh Selby).
Selden is a physically imposing small forward who does most of his damage around the rim. He utilizes his great strength to finish in traffic and has a knack for always going for a highlight-reel slam down low. He also improved his shooting touch considerably over the summer, making him a more difficult player to defend going forward. He can play multiple positions on the floor, including the point guard position, as he bettered his ball-handling during the summer. He is also a good passer and can make plays for others. On the defensive end, Selden uses his athleticism well on the ball and can disrupt the opposition, but he is not a great rebounder. He knows how to use his physical tools on the offensive end in scoring and getting to the rim, but he tends to forget that he can overpower players at his position for a number of rebounds. He is a great athlete and has an ever greater wingspan at almost 7’0″, so his rebounding should improve considerably during his senior season. Headed for the Big 12, it is crucial that that part of his game is a non-issue before his freshman season at Kansas.
“He has a unique combination of strength, speed and skill. He is a triple threat,” said Tilton head coach Marcus O’Neil. “He can shoot, drive and pass the ball. He’s played point guard to power forward for us. He is a dangerous guy wherever he is on the floor.” During his junior season at Tilton, Selden averaged 16 points, five assists and three rebounds per game.
Martin Twins Join Wolfpack
Not only did the Kentucky Wildcats land a highly skilled set of twins, but now you can add North Carolina State to that list. This past Wednesday, twin brothers Caleb and Cody Martin of Davie County (North Carolina) made their verbal pledge to head coach Mark Gottfried and the Wolfpack. It is the Wolfpack’s first pair of commitments from the 2014 class. The North Carolina natives chose NC State over Tennessee, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest.
“It just felt different. I felt more comfortable at N.C. State. I liked the coaches there, and we feel comfortable with the players there,” said Caleb, a 6’7″ small forward. “When we saw them practice and we watched them, it felt like we fit in,” said Cody, also listed as a 6’7″ small forward . “Their offense, the way they run stuff and how the (power forward) can even get out on the perimeter and they run … that’s how we like to play.”
Caleb and Cody are respectively ranked as the No. 34 and 35 ranked prospects in the ESPN 60. They are extremely difficult to tell apart as they are nearly identical. Cody is listed 15 lbs. heavier than Caleb, but both players can play shooting guard and their natural small forward position on the floor and are more comfortable in transition. They are very skilled scorers, good athletes and defensively very sound. Caleb is more perimeter-oriented as a player, while Cody is more effective in the paint and mid-range.
After securing commitments from the Martin twins, the resurgence that coach Gottfried has fostered in the NC State program has definitely made a statement with recruits. The Wolfpack’s last seven commitments have been top-100 players. It really grabbed the brother’s attention during their recruitment. “When you look at the classes coming in, they have some of the best players in the country,” Caleb said. “They have seven in the top 100 that they’ve signed, and the classes they have coming in, you can tell they will be one of the best teams.”
As sophomores, the twins helped lead Davie County High to a 23-7 record and to their first NCHSAA 4-A Western Regional Tournament final in school history. Caleb missed some time during his sophomore campaign due to a sprained ankle he suffered in December but bounced back to average 18.2 points per game. Cody became more of a scoring threat and posted great numbers all around by averaging 14.4 points, 8.6 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game.
Notable Midnight Madness Visits
On Friday evening college basketball officially began as a collection of schools from around the country hosted their own versions of “Midnight Madness.” Some of the biggest names in college basketball showcased for their fans a preview of their rosters for the upcoming season. Midnight Madness has also become quite the recruiting tool in the college hoops landscape. Talented recruits nationwide gather at schools of their choosing to partake in the night’s festivities. If you gather enough recruiting targets to your school, chances are great that lasting impressions will be made.
- We start in Lexington, Kentucky as the defending national champion Kentucky Wildcats raised their eighth championship banner of the program’s illustrious history. When it comes to putting on a show, nobody does it better than Kentucky. All five of UK’s verbal commitments from the class of 2013 were in attendance as Aaron Harrison, Andrew Harrison, Marcus Lee, James Young and Derek Willis made the trip. Lee was uncommitted while visiting Kentucky over the weekend, but the overall experience of his visit had him more than ready to end his recruitment Wednesday afternoon. Also in attendance were top-20 junior prospects Trey Lyles, Cliff Alexander and JaQuan Lyle. The Wildcats also hosted the No. 1 overall prospect in the class of 2015, Karl Towns, Jr. Most fans will remember the Towns and Kentucky connection from the summer as head coach John Calipari coached the young player on the Dominican Republic National Team.
- From the defending national champion to the defending national runner-up, the Kansas Jayhawks kicked their season off with a great collection of talent sitting courtside. Among those names were two of Kansas’ four commitments from the class of 2013, Conner Frankamp and Wayne Selden. Joining those two was arguably the best pure athlete in all of high school basketball, Aaron Gordon, and rapidly rising big man Joel Embiid. Gordon is the No. 6 ranked player in the ESPN 100 who many claim as a “Blake Griffin clone”. Embiid has been discussed as a possible Kansas lean since his rise over the past few months. Elbert Robinson, a 6’9″ junior center out of Texas, was also in attendance. He is ranked just inside the ESPN 60.
- Outside of Kentucky, it is North Carolina State that has made the biggest splash in the world of recruiting as of late and their guest list was also impressive this past weekend. Five-star prospect and verbal commitment Anthony “Cat” Barber was on hand for the Wolfpack. The No. 12 ranked player in the ESPN 100 made his pledge for NC State last month which proved to be a huge recruiting coup for head coach Mark Gottfried. Joining Barber from the 2013 class was 6’9″ center Dominic Woodson, the No. 79 ranked player. From the 2014 class, Caleb and Cody Martin were also in attendance. The twin brothers had decided on the Wolfpack earlier in the week. Quite possibly the biggest name though was 6’6″ small forward Theo Pinson, the No. 8 ranked player in the ESPN 60. Pinson, who holds offers from the likes of Duke, Louisville, North Carolina and the Wolfpack, is a dynamic small forward with a very bright future.
- Staying in ACC country, the North Carolina Tar Heels kicked its season off as well. On hand for the festivities were 2013 commits Isaiah Hicks and Nate Britt. Hicks is a 6’8″ power forward who is the total package. He has great length and athleticism and is very active around the rim. Britt, a point guard out of Oak Hill Academy struggled during the summer and fell mightily in the rankings. He has a tendency to get ahead of himself in transition and make the wrong plays but does have good knowledge of the game. He facilitates the ball well and can score from the mid-range. Also in attendance were fellow 2013 prospects Troy Williams and Kennedy Meeks, and both players have been thought of as UNC leans for a while now. After visiting Chapel Hill this past weekend, it’ll be interesting to see if their recruitments come to a close in the near future. Finally, 2014 prospect Justin Jackson was on hand. Jackson is a 6’6″ wing who is expected to keep growing and fill out nicely. He has a scorer’s first mentality and does most of his damage off the catch.
- Down in Waco, Texas, the Baylor Bears hosted a very talented group of players from the 2013, 2014 and 2015 classes. From 2013, small forward Ishmail Wainright and point guard Stevie Clark were on hand. Wainright is the No. 26 ranked player in the ESPN 100 while Clark comes in as the No. 60 ranked player. The Bears currently have zero commitments from the 2013 class, but Wainright and Clark could certainly change all of that. In the class of 2014, two top-10 Texas native prospects made the trip in point guard Emmanuel Mudiay and small forward Justise Winslow. Mudiay is the No. 5 ranked player while Winslow checks in at No. 10 in the ESPN 60. When speaking of Mudiay, he has terrific size at the point guard position at 6’4″ and can hurt you in a variety of ways. Rounding out the guest list from the 2015 class was another pair of Texans in top-20 prospects, power forward Elijah Thomas and shooting guard King McClure. Thomas checks in at No. 7 in the ESPN 25 and is a load for anybody down low. He can score with either hand, has an ever growing post game and uses his big frame very well. McClure is the No. 17 ranked player in the ESPN 25 and is a physical wing that loves to score in transition and around the rim.
Recruiting News & Notes
- Jabari Parker Delays Decision. The 2013 No. 1 prospect in the ESPN 100, Jabari Parker, has now re-arranged his original plan of making a decision during the early signing period which is November 14-21. His father, Sonny Parker, confirmed with ESPNChicago.com that Parker plans to visit his top five schools as scheduled before making his final decision which could come as soon as December. Parker is set to visit Michigan State this weekend, Duke (October 26-28), Florida (November 2-4), Stanford (November 9-11) and BYU (November 16-20).
- FSU Picks Up Two Top 100 Players. Florida State captured two commitments from the class of 2013 in Xavier Rathan-Mayes (No. 24 in ESPN 100) and Jarquez Smith (No. 78). Smith visited Florida State over the weekend for their Midnight Madness festivities.
- Terps Move Past Harrison Twins. Maryland and head coach Mark Gottfried finally got their point guard in that of 6’4″ Roddy Peters (No. 43 in ESPN 100). Peters was on hand at Maryland this past weekend and followed that up by ending his recruitment on Tuesday morning.
- LB’s First Recruit at SMU. Southern Methodist and first year head coach Larry Brown received a bit of good news as Brown was able to secure his first commitment since taking the head coaching position by adding 6’4″ shooting guard Sterling Brown. Brown, out of Proviso East (Illinois), visited SMU this past weekend and is the younger brother of NBA veteran Shannon Brown.
- Orange Crushing. The Syracuse Orange picked up two commitments within 24 hours as they will add 6’6″ small forward BJ Johnson and 6’9″ power forward Chinonso Obokoh from the class of 2013. Both players visited Syracuse over the weekend. They will join 6’2″ point guard Tyler Ennis (No. 42 ESPN 100) who pledged his commitment to the Orange two months ago.
- Kendrick Picks Another School. UNLV picked up a former McDonald’s All-American over the weekend in that of shooting guard Jelan Kendrick. Most remember Kendrick as a former Memphis commitment in 2010 before leaving the school prior to playing his first game as a Tiger. He then joined Ole Miss before being suspended and kicked off the team. Kendrick tripped to UNLV over the weekend and will now join power forward Christian Wood (No. 61 in ESPN 100) as the two commitments in UNLV’s 2013 class.
- Villanova Adds Another. Villanova added their second commitment from the 2013 class as they captured the services of 6’4″ small forward Josh Hart. Hart will join power forward Kris Jenkins (No. 71 in ESPN 100). Certainly a formidable duo for years to come for head coach Jay Wright.
YouTube Videos of the Week
Recent Kentucky commitments James Young and Marcus Lee in action…