Who’s Got Next? Top Centers to ACC, Isaac Hamilton Picks UTEP, Syracuse Adds Tyler Roberson…Posted by CLykins on November 20th, 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 discussing the recruitments of the top uncommitted players in the country. 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 email@example.com.
Note: ESPN Recruiting used for all player rankings
Kennedy Meeks Chooses UNC Over Georgetown
Two schools consistently stood out above the rest for West Charlotte High (North Carolina) center Kennedy Meeks. Appropriately, both schools have had a long and successful history in landing and producing top big men. With his recruitment winding down, Georgetown and North Carolina were in a neck-and-neck battle that left most national recruiting pundits undecided. On Friday, Meeks made it official as he will remain in his home state and play for the Tar Heels and head coach Roy Williams.
“I talk to Roy Williams almost every other day. He understands the recruiting process and gives me good advice about college and about being a great player,” Meeks said of his decision. “Coach Williams said he liked my tenacity, my desire to play the game, my rebounding and outless passing.” Ranked as the No. 20 overall prospect and No. 2 center in the class of 2013, the 6’9″, 275-lb. big man is expected to contribute right away during his freshman season. Due to his size, Meeks is a true center that impacts the game significantly down low. With an extremely wide frame, he has a soft touch around the rim and is able to rebound at an extremely high rate by carving out space. One of his better traits is his passing. Whether it’s his superior outlet passing skills or if it’s out of the low-post, he exhibits excellent vision for a big man. There is no question regarding his talent and skill, but his conditioning has been a constant issue in the past. With North Carolina’s up-tempo style of play, it is extremely necessary for him to arrive at Chapel Hill in the best playing shape of his young life.Meeks joins a North Carolina recruiting class that includes power forward and fellow North Carolina native Isaiah Hicks and Oak Hill Academy (Virginia) point guard Nate Britt. With the expected early departure to the NBA from James Michael McAdoo after his sophomore season, Meeks will slide into a loaded frontcourt along with Hicks to join current freshmen Joel James and Brice Johnson. The three-man class is now ranked inside the top five in the ESPN class rankings after sitting outside the top-10 for a number of months, and is also now the highest rated class from the ACC.
BeeJay Anya Commits to North Carolina State
After the Indiana Hoosiers eliminated themselves from contention with center BeeJay Anya, there was only one school remaining on his list. In a suspense-free decision last Friday, Anya committed to the North Carolina State Wolfpack. The Wolfpack specifically helped their case during his official visit at the end of October. Among the atmosphere in Raleigh and the relationships established with head coach Mark Gottfried, Anya immediately knew where he wanted to play at the collegiate level.
“They just treated me like family and I loved it every time I went down there,” said Anya shortly after making his pledge. “I told my parents after that visit that this was the place for me. Then I figured tonight, with everybody here, would be the best time to tell everybody my decision.” Out of DeMatha Catholic High School (Washington D.C.), the 6’9″, 275-lb. big man will most likely fill a void in the frontcourt for the Wolfpack following this season. Richard Howell is in his senior season and junior C.J. Leslie will most likely depart for the NBA. With a remarkable 7’9″ wingspan and 9’3″ reach, Anya impacts the game most effectively on the defensive end. He is a terrific rebounder and will alter various shots within his area. Offensively, he is raw. He still needs to develop a more efficient post game, but that will come with time. For now, Anya scores mostly off of offensive rebounds or by finding openings to the rim on dribble penetration from his teammates.
Anya, the No. 32 overall prospect and No. 3 center, is the third commitment for the Wolfpack’s 2013 recruiting class. He joins fellow ESPN 100 recruits, point guard Anthony Barber and power forward Kyle Washington. All three players have officially signed their national letters of intent. North Carolina State is also in the running for highly touted power forward Julius Randle, the No. 4 overall prospect. As a junior at DeMatha, Anya averaged 13.3 points, 10.5 rebounds and a school-record 6.8 blocks for the Stags en route to a 30-5 overall record and the 2012 Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament championship.
UTEP Lands Isaac Hamilton
On a day which saw a number of top uncommitted prospects from the class of 2013 announce their college destinations, none came as more surprising then the decision of combo guard Isaac Hamilton. With a final five, Hamilton opted for UTEP over Baylor, San Diego State, UCLA and UNLV on Friday. Ranked as the No. 25 player in the 2013 class, he became the highest-rated recruit to commit to the UTEP program in recent memory. Ultimately, the deciding factor in this recruitment was the family relationship between Hamilton and UTEP head coach Tim Floyd, as well as Floyd’s success developing future pros.
“A lot of people don’t know this, but Tim Floyd has been a close friend to the family,” Hamilton said. “I just felt that I should go with somebody that I trust, and feel that I know. Coach Floyd is like family and he’s done an outstanding job developing guards. It was the best fit for me.” Coach Floyd was the driving force in landing Hamilton’s uncle, Kevin, back in the 80s for UTEP as an assistant coach. While the head coach at USC, Floyd also pursued Isaac’s older brother and Denver Nuggets small forward, Jordan Hamilton, but was beaten by the Texas Longhorns. However just a few years removed from that recruitment, Floyd was able to continue establishing a strong presence in the Hamilton household with his most significant recruiting haul while the head coach at UTEP.
Hamilton, a 6’5″ shooting guard out of St. John Bosco High School (California), is arguably one of the best scoring guards in the class. An excellent high-volume scorer, he just knows how to put the ball in the basket by either scoring off the bounce or from long range. He is terrific from the mid-range as well and has a knack for making tough shots. With a great feel for the game, he sets himself up in the right position to be dangerous for his team. Hamilton’s addition to the UTEP basketball team is huge for both parties, as he will become the focal point of the offense right out of the gate for the Miners as they look to become a staple not only in the Conference USA but on the national scene. Furthermore, UTEP landing Hamilton could help the program even more on the recruiting scene in their pursuit with his younger brother, Daniel, from the class of 2014. Daniel Hamilton is ranked as the No. 23 prospect in the class of 2014 and is a 6’6″ shooting guard. A potential package deal between the two brothers seem to be going in the right direction for the Miners and Coach Floyd.
In his junior season playing for St. John Bosco, he averaged 24.3 points, 9.6 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 2.2 steals per game, earning first team All-State, All-League and All-Region accolades while leading the Braves to a 25-8 overall record. He recently enjoyed an outstanding summer where he was named to the 2012 Under Armour Elite 24 roster, totalling 19 points, four assists, four steals and three rebounds in the premier all-star event.
Jim Boeheim Reels In Tyler Roberson
Syracuse had already compiled a solid 2013 recruiting class entering Friday. Landing combo forward Tyler Roberson would only make it better, which is what the Orange did. Seen as the favorite for months, Syracuse was able to successfully haul in a commitment from Roberson over Kansas and Villanova. The No. 27 ranked player in the class of 2013, Roberson felt that Syracuse’s impending move to the ACC next season, along with playing for one of the best coaches in the game, was too good of an opportunity to pass up regardin his on-court development.
“They’re going into the ACC next year which is really a good conference,” Roberson said shortly after announcing for Syracuse on ESPNU. “And Coach (Jim) Boeheim is one of the best coaches in college basketball and they’re just a really good college team.” At 6’7″ out of Roselle Catholic High School (New Jersey), Roberson is a terrific prospect that will flourish in the Syracuse system. He plays with a great motor, excelling in getting up-and-down the floor in transition. His all-around game is coming full circle as he is improving his outside shot to go along with his ability to post up smaller defenders. His best asset is his ability to rebound the basketball at an extremely high rate. He is often referred to as the best rebounder at the high school level in the state of New Jersey. Defensively he’ll fit right in with the patented 2-3 Syracuse zone with his length and athleticism, a staple of Jim Boeheim-coached forwards.
He will become the fifth commitment for the Orange, joining ESPN100 point guard Tyler Ennis, post-grad shooting guard Ron Patterson, small forward BJ Johnson and center Chinonso Obokoh. Syracuse also holds a commitment from junior power forward Chris McCullough, the No. 16 ranked recruit.
Other Notable Commitments
- University High (Illinois) power forward Keita Bates-Diop, the No. 27 ranked prospect in the class of 2014, ended his college recruitment on Sunday when he picked the Ohio State Buckeyes over rival Big 10 schools Illinois, Purdue, Michigan and Michigan State. Seen as an underdog, Ohio State and head coach Thad Matta made up ground quickly during the summer after Bates-Diop had a very successful AAU season. He is the first commitment for the Buckeyes from the 2014 class. He averaged 13.6 points and 4.6 rebounds per game as a sophomore for University High.
- Providence landed its top recruiting target in 6’6″ small forward, Brandon Austin, on Monday. Out of Imhotep Charter High School (Pennsylvania), Austin decommitted from Penn State back in the summer. Shortly following that, Providence made up great ground for the point forward. With a great handle and feel for the game, Austin is perfectly capable of running the point or playing either wing positions. The Friars are most looking forward in having Austin team up with a pair of highly-touted freshmen from their 2012 recruiting class, Kris Dunn and Ricky Ledo.
- Detrick Mostella, the No. 83 ranked recruit in the class of 2013, committed and signed with Oklahoma State. The 6’2″ shooting guard out of La Lumiere School (Indiana) is among the best scorers in the country. Thought to be a spring commitment, Mostella felt that OSU is where he needs to be. He picked the Cowboys over the likes of Florida, Georgetown, Kansas and Pittsburgh, among others. He hasn’t yet visited the Stillwater campus, but plans to do so this winter.
YouTube Video of the Day
UTEP bound Isaac Hamilton shined during the summer: