Seven Sweet Scoops: Okafor and Jones Visit Duke, Cliff Alexander Off to Illinois, and More…Posted by Sean Moran on October 25th, 2013
Seven Sweet Scoops is a weekly column by Sean Moran, the RTC recruiting guru. Once a week he will bring you seven notes from the high-stakes world of college basketball recruiting. We also encourage you to check out his contributions at The Intentional Foul, dedicated to recruiting coverage and analysis. You can also follow Sean at his Twitter account @Seanmohoops for up-to-date 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.
1. The Package Deal: Okafor and Jones Visit Duke
The much anticipated weekend has arrived for Coach K and Duke. The top-ranked center and point guard in the class of 2014 are taking their official visits to Durham, North Carolina, today. Package deals in college basketball are often talked about but rarely come to fruition, especially one involving such star power. Jahlil Okafor, a 6’11” center out of Chicago, is the top ranked player in the country, and his buddy Tyus Jones, a 6’1” point guard out of Apple Valley, Minnesota, is the fourth-ranked player in the country. Both seniors have indicated that they will attend college together and have whittled their list of potential suitors down to three. Last week Kansas played host to the duo, but this week Duke gets to take its crack at selling the duo on moving east. With Okafor’s size and strength he is almost unguardable in the low post and would provide Duke with its best low post presence since the Carlos Boozer days. Jones would provide Duke with its best point guard since Jason Williams and he has long been discussed as the overall best point guard in high school basketball dating back to his sophomore year. Along with these two players, five-star small forward Justise Winslow (#9 overall, #3 SF) from the class of 2014 will also make the trip. His recruitment was discussed last week. All in all, it’s a huge weekend in Durham.
2. Cliff Alexander Makes His Last Official Visit
Cliff Alexander, a five-star power forward from Chicago, is staying in-state this weekend and making the two-hour drive south down to Champaign for his last official visit to Illinois. Alexander is a 6’8” manchild who is currently the No. 5 prospect in the class of 2014 and eerily reminiscent of L.A. Clipper DeAndre Jordan. Over the past few weeks Alexander and his family have taken in the sights and sounds of Midnight Madness at Memphis and Kansas. A decision is expected in November with Illinois, DePaul, Arizona, Kansas, Memphis, and Michigan State all receiving interest. Expect John Groce and the Illinois coaching staff to pull out all the stops this weekend for Alexander. While the Illini already have a strong recruiting class in 2014 with four-star power forward LeRon Black (#46 overall, #9 PF) and four-star point guard Quentin Snider (#31 overall, #7 PG) committed, Alexander would be the crown jewel. He can run the floor, block shots and dunks everything around the basket. His offensive skills outside the paint are rapidly improving and he put himself in the conversation for the number one player in the country. Not only would Groce get a player with future NBA talent, he would also lay claim to Illinois becoming a major player for all that Chicago talent.
3. Devin Robinson Sets Announcement Date
Four-star forward Devin Robinson will announce his college destination on Wednesday, October 30, choosing from Indiana, Florida, Oklahoma State and Notre Dame. Robinson stands at 6’8” and is listed as a power forward although he prefers to play on the wing and will be considered a small forward on the college level. A native of Richmond, Virginia, Robinson is currently ranked No. 24 overall in the class of 2014. Last spring, Robinson’s main suitors were VCU and Virginia Tech. After blowing up on the AAU circuit, though, Robinson became a hot commodity. One of the four schools listed above is going to get a lanky wing with a vast amount of potential. Robinson has a smooth release on his jumper with deep range and is still coming into his own in terms of his strength. With some college-level training, he could turn into one of the gems of the 2014 recruiting class.
4. Harry Giles: Making the Midnight Madness Rounds
Last week Harry Giles spent his Friday night in Lexington taking in John Calipari’s “Big Blue Madness” and tonight Giles will take in “Late Night with Roy” in Chapel Hill. Right now Giles is only a sophomore and out of action due to an ACL tear, but it’s no surprise that all the big name coaches want him on their campus. Giles is a 6’8” five-star power forward who is currently ranked as the top player in the class of 2016. He hails from High Point, North Carolina, and has been deemed “one of the special talents of his generation” by respected recruiting guru Dave Telep. In just his first year of high school basketball, Giles showed his skills down low as well as the perimeter. He was one of the top players on the U-16 USA National Team before suffering a torn ACL, MCL, and meniscus. Despite the injury, schools such as Kentucky, Duke, UNC, and N.C. State view him as a priority recruit. As a North Carolina native, an intense in-state recruiting battle will erupt in the Research Triangle while Calipari and Kentucky also put the full court press on Giles.
5. Isaiah Briscoe Checking Out St. John’s
One of the top scorers in high school basketball is headed up to St. John’s this weekend to enjoy the “2013 Red Storm Superstar Tip-Off.” Isaiah Briscoe is a 6’1” four-star guard in the class of 2015 that hails from Roselle, New Jersey. He is currently ranked as the No. 6 shooting guard in the country and No. 25 player overall. During the spring Briscoe averaged 21.1 points in AAU play, which was good for third overall on the Nike circuit which included the majority of the top players in the classes of 2014 and 2015. The Red Storm currently have some young guards on their team in freshman Rysheed Jordan and sophomores Phil Greene and D’Angelo Harrison but could use a combo guard with Briscoe’s ability to score. He is also looking at local schools Rutgers and Seton Hall, along with Arizona.
6. Doral Moore Visits Georgetown
Georgetown is known for its rather lengthy list of NBA big men. Back in the day of the elder John Thompson, the Hoyas produced Patrick Ewing, Dikembe Mutumbo, and Alonzo Mourning. Lately, his son JTIII has produced Roy Hibbert and Greg Monroe. Could junior Doral Moore be next? Moore is a 7’0” center from Locust Grove, Georgia, and is just starting to scratch the surface of his potential. Over the summer Moore had a strong AAU season and went from being unranked to the No. 7 center in the class of 2015 and No. 26 overall. His play also earned him an invite to the USA Developmental Camp. While he struggled against the top players in the country at this camp, he is still attracting attention from numerous high major programs. The latest school to visit was Georgetown when assistant coach Tavaras Hardy stopped by to view one of Moore’s practices. With the recent NCAA decision to provide center Josh Smith with two more years of eligibility, Georgetown will be in need of a center for the 2015-16 season. Moore looks like the perfect candidate to continue the tradition.
7. Bol Bol – Manute’s Son
Manute Bol’s son is a long way from college, but the youngster is already making a name for himself. Bol Bol is currently in the class of 2018 (8th grade), but already stands at almost 6’7”. This past weekend, Bol Bol played at the Midwest Showcase which featured the top underclassmen in the Midwest. ESPN’s John Stovall named Bol Bol as the best prospect in camp despite the fact that he hasn’t even entered high school yet. Just like his father, Bol Bol has range from the three-point line and is skinny as a rail. Bol Bol – a name to remember way down the road.