Seven Sweet Scoops: Andrew Wiggins Visits Florida State, Jabari Parker Returns From Injury…Posted by CLykins on December 7th, 2012
Seven Sweet Scoops is the newest and hottest column by Chad Lykins, the RTC recruiting analyst. Every Friday he will discuss the seven top stories from the week in the wide world of recruiting, involving offers, which prospect visited where, recent updates regarding school lists, and more chatter from the recruiting scene. You can also check out more of his work at RTC with his weekly column “Who’s Got Next?”, as well as his work 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.
Note: ESPN Recruiting used for all player rankings.
1. Wiggins Got Game?
Down in Tallahassee, Florida the nation’s No. 1 overall ranked senior, Andrew Wiggins, took his first official visit to Florida State this week. The 6’8″ Canadian small forward out of Huntington Prep (West Virginia) is highly regarded as the best high school basketball player in the country and rightfully so. However, the visit is now being highly publicized for the off-court attention he received more than just basketball. Before watching the Seminoles’ intrastate match-up between No. 6 Florida, in which they were routed 72-47, the big story that has gone viral since Wednesday came from one small tweet from @NosillaDraw, a Florida State co-ed, who was one of Wiggins various “tour guides” on Tuesday. “If my girls and I didn’t convince you to come to FSU last night I don’t know what would,” tweeted the young female, attached with a photo of Wiggins and three other FSU co-eds. The tweet, which was picked up originally by Matt Jones of Kentucky Sports Radio, caused quite the recruiting stir in Lexington and in Tallahassee moments after being sent to the masses. Wiggins, who is also considering Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina and Ohio State, was then spotted behind the FSU bench along with his parents and FSU alums, Marita Payne and Mitchell Wiggins, for the game. Fans and cheerleaders alike also made their case for why he should become a Seminole, with chants, signs taking shots at Kentucky, and white T-shirts that spelled out “We Want Wiggins!” across the chest. While Florida State has a lot of work to do on the court this season, landing Wiggins would give the Seminoles their most coveted recruit during head coach Leonard Hamilton’s tenure. One thing is for certain — the Seminoles faithful reassured Wiggins that he is their No. 1 priority; however, time will tell in the spring if Wiggins agrees and makes Florida State his No. 1 choice.
2. Jabari Parker Returns To Court
He’s back. The nation’s No. 2 overall ranked senior, Jabari Parker, made his on-court return on Saturday night for Simeon Career Academy (Illinois) at the Chicago Elite Classic after nursing a fracture in his right foot suffered in the summer while participating with the U-17 Team USA squad. Parker was not expected to play for Wolverines as of the night before, but felt well enough to suit up and return to the court with his teammates in their season opener. Limited to just 10 minutes of action, Parker finished the game with six points, four rebounds and two assists as Simeon got a win in which they led wire-to-wire. Parker, who is deciding between BYU, Duke, Florida, Michigan State and Stanford, showed some signs of rust, but viewed it as just another hurdle in the recovery process. “I felt good,” the 6’8″ small foward said. “Of course I had some bumps and bruises coming in, but as the game progressed I was a little sore. But I’m learning how to get my wind back and trying to get back in shape.” He has taken four of his five official visits and will prepare to trip to Stanford before making his highly anticipated decision either in January or February. Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo was on hand at the Chicago Elite Classic as the Spartans, along with Duke, have been mentioned as the co-favorites to land his services.
3. Keith Frazier Favoring Five
There remains just eight uncommitted players in the ESPN 100 including 6’5” shooting guard Keith Frazier. Out of Kimball High School (Texas), Frazier is the No. 22 ranked prospect in the class of 2013 and is currently considering Arizona, LSU, SMU, Texas and Texas A&M. Frazier is coming off of a visit at SMU at the end of November, his first official visit, and it’s being mentioned that they are picking up steam with this recruitment. Along with the Aggies, both schools have been projected as co-leaders; however, the Mustangs are headed in the right direction in landing the Dallas product. No additional visits have been scheduled currently but those will come during his senior season, although he has taken unofficial visits to most of the schools he lists. The athletic jump shooter is being patient with his decision and plans to make it official in the spring.
4. Rysheed Jordan Nearing Decision
Coming off of a recent visit to UCLA, Rysheed Jordan is closing in on his college decision. Also listing Temple and St. John’s, the 6’3” point guard out of Vaux Roberts High School (Pennsylvania) will make an immediate impact at whichever school he decides on attending. Jordan, the No. 66 ranked player in the class of 2013, is expected to make an announcement in coming days and most think it will be extremely difficult for St. John’s or UCLA to pull him away from his hometown school. Temple head coach Fran Dunphy has pursued Jordan relentlessly throughout his recruitment and has his Owls in prime position in the late stages. St. John’s head coach Steve Lavin and UCLA head coach Ben Howland have had a phenomenal past few years on the recruiting trail and landing Jordan would add to that string of success. However, Temple could land its biggest recruit in recent memory and possess that special type of point guard to build a team around for the next three or four years.
5. Two Standing Out For Cliff Alexander
Curie High School (Illinois) center Cliff Alexander is among the top juniors in the country. Known for his unique mix of power and finesse, he is rapidly evolving his offensive game and specifically his low post arsenal. With limitless potential, he is a highly-sought after recruit. Currently considering a who’s who of Division I powerhouses, two schools are ahead of the curve than the rest: Kentucky and Michigan State. In an interview with CSNChicago.com, Alexander stated that the Wildcats and Spartans are the two schools he likes the most, although he would like to consider others. With more than enough time remaining in his recruitment, more offers should roll in. Until then, Alexander has a brand new season ahead of him at Curie, a team that looks to improve off of a 26-3 record a year ago. With a much offensively improved Alexander who hopes to top his sophomore averages of 14 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks per game, the Condors should seriously threaten three-time defending state champions Simeon Career Academy as the top team in Illinois in 2013.
6. Marshall County Hoopfest Standouts
This past weekend the Reed Conder Gymnasium in Benton, Kentucky, hosted one of the premier regular season events in the country, the Marshall County Hoopfest. Known to bring in the elite of the elite, this year’s event exceeded expectations. Three of the top five overall ranked seniors were on hand including Andrew Wiggins and twin brothers Aaron and Andrew Harrison, a pair of Kentucky signees. Wiggins, the No. 1 overall ranked player in the country, displayed his talents during the two day event for Huntington Prep (West Virginia) as he piled up 29 points and 17 rebounds in a first-day victory. He proceeded to follow that performance with 25 points and nine rebounds on day two in another routine win for Huntington. The Harrison twins were also outstanding in front of the Kentucky contingent. Aaron shined during a day one win for Fort Bend Travis (Texas) with 28 points, while Andrew stole the show in day two with a near triple-double with 25 points, 12 rebounds and five assists. Other standouts from the weekend were South Carolina signee Sindarius Thornwell and Marquette signee JaJuan Johnson who both scored game highs in points with 31 on day two. Junior center Cliff Alexander displayed a much improved game as he tallied 26 points and 13 rebounds while shooting 12-of-14 from the field in a loss for Curie High School (Illinois) to Oak Hill Academy (Virginia). Not to be outdone by his fellow classmate Alexander, junior point guard and Louisville commit Quentin Snider had one of the most impressive performances of the weekend in a win for Ballard High School (Kentucky) with 28 points, six rebounds, six assists and two steals.
7. Chicago Elite Classic Recap
The inaugural Chicago Elite Classic matched up the best teams from Chicago against the best from around the country this past Saturday and some of the best players in the country solidified their national ranking. None was more impressive than junior center Jahlil Okafor, the No. 2 overall ranked player in the class of 2014. Out of Whitney Young High School (Illinois), the 6’11” prospect showed his full arsenal in the first game of the season as he racked up 34 points to go along with nine rebounds. Going against highly ranked senior center and North Carolina State-bound BeeJay Anya of DeMatha Catholic (Maryland), Okafor showed his hometown why he is unquestionably the best big man in the country. To the surprise of many, Jabari Parker made his on-court return for Simeon Career Academy (Illinois) for their first game of the season. Limited to just 10 minutes of action, the No. 2 overall ranked senior scored six points, grabbed four rebounds and handed out two assists in a season-opening win. Out since the summer due to a fracture in his right foot, Parker’s play was rusty, though he is still in the recovery process. Personal stats fail in comparison as he is more concerned about helping guide Simeon to their fourth straight state title. Three of the best performances of the event came from a trio of BYU commits from Lone Peak (Utah), seniors Nick Emery and Eric Mika and junior TJ Haws. Known as a long-range threat, Emery was the facilitator in their 40-point win over Proviso East (Illinois). Mika set the tone for the game in the low post as he finished with a double-double, 18 points and 16 rebounds. Haws, a 6’2” shooting guard, was extremely efficient from the field as he scored a team-high 24 points on just 10 shots.