Seven Sweet Scoops: Chicago Elite Classic, Kentucky Interested in Vaughn, and More…Posted by Sean Moran on December 6th, 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 email@example.com.
1. National Tournaments: Chicago Elite Classic
In its second year of existence, the Chicago Elite Classic features seven games on Saturday. With the top teams from Chicago going against top teams from across the country, the Illinois-Chicago will feature a plethora of must see match-ups. The first one involves a point guard battle between Kentucky commitment Tyler Ulis of Marian Catholic (IL) and USC commitment Jordan McLaughlin (#38 overall – 2014) of Etiwanda (CA). The night session features the Lawson twins from Memphis going up against the four-time defending Illinois state champion in Chicago Simeon High School. Four-star forward K.J. Lawson (#27 overall – 2015) has committed to Memphis and his younger brother Dedric is ranked as the No. 5 player in the class of 2016. After this game, Kansas commitment Cliff Alexander will look to use his brute strength and force to overpower two of the top junior big men country in Stephen Zimmerman (#3 overall) and Chase Jeter (#19 overall), both of whom play for Bishop Gorman (NV). The nightcap features the top player in the country in center Jahlil Okafor going against a guard-laden St. John Bosco (CA) squad that features five-star Connecticut commitment Daniel Hamilton (#18 overall) and one of the top scoring guards in the class of 2015 in Tyler Dorsey (#7 overall).
2. Kentucky Showing Interest in Vaughn?
In a previous interview with ESPNU, John Calipari indicated that he wanted to add two more players to his No. 2 ranked 2014 recruiting class. It appears as though one of those players might be five-star shooting guard Rashad Vaughn (#13 overall, #2 SG), who was profiled in the latest edition of Who’s Got Next? On Tuesday, assistant coach Orlando Antigua stopped by Findlay Prep (NV) to watch one of Vaughn’s practices. Kentucky offered Vaughn a scholarship last year; however it did not seem as though there was much interest between the two parties until recently. Kentucky signed four-star shooting guard Devin Booker (#31 overall, #5 SG) and also just missed on five-star wing Kelly Oubre (#6 overall, #1 SF) and four-star shooting guard James Blackmon Jr. (#33 overall, #6 SG). The interest in Vaughn makes sense for two reasons: 1) he is the top-ranked shooting guard on the board, and 2) he has expressed his desire to spend just one year in college. Right now the Wildcats have four players in their recruiting class in point guard Tyler Ulis (#29 overall, #6 PG), shooting guard Devin Booker, power forward Trey Lyles (#8 overall, #1 PF), and center Karl Towns Jr. (#11 overall, #4 C). Vaughn took official visits to Iowa State and UNLV and also has an official visit set up to UNC in February.
3. National Tournaments: Marshall County Hoopfest
In Benton, KY, several of the top teams in the country will face off soon. Prime Prep, which features five-star point guard Emmanuel Mudiay (#3 overall – 2014), will face off against White Station (TN), which features Florida-bound point guard Chris Chiozza (#44 overall) and Illinois-bound big man LeRon Black (#47 overall). Oak Hill Academy and Huntington Prep will also compete in the tournament that is expected to draw coaches such as John Calipari and Rick Pitino. The other top players in the tournament will feature Louisville commitment, Quentin Snider (#32 overall – 2014), Kentucky commitments Devin Booker (#31 overall – 2014) and Trey Lyles (#8 overall – 2014), five-star power forward Thomas Bryant (#13 – 2015), and many more.
4. National Tournaments: Great Western Shootout
Four-star guard T.J. Haws (#57 overall – 2014) and Lone Peak (UT) High School look to defend their championship titles at the Great Western Shootout this weekend in Utah. Last year, Lone Peak, a public school from the state of Utah, went 26-1 en route to earning the MaxPreps award for “Team of the Year.” The Knights graduated two BYU commitments in center Eric Mika (#38 overall -2013) and guard Nick Emery (#78 overall – 2013), but return Haws and a talented supporting cast. Like his former teammates, Haws has committed to BYU and averaged 17.1 points per game last year (he is also the brother of BYU guard Tyler Haws, who is averaging 23.6 PPG for the Cougars). Along with Lone Peak, the Shootout will feature future Maryland guard Romelo Trimble (#35 overall – 2014) from Bishop O’ Connell (VA) High School and future Colorado point guard Dominique Collier (#98 overall – 2014). Other players of note are four-star sophomores De’Ron Davis (#16 overall) and Austin Conway from Overland (CO) High School.
5. Malachi Richardson Cuts List
One day after Thanksgiving, Malachi Richardson, one of the top small forwards in the class of 2015 cut his list down to six potential schools:
My list cut to 6 NO ORDER : Villanova , Rutgers , Arizona , Indiana , Syracuse and Uconn
— Malachi Richardson (@TheLifeOfMali23) November 29, 2013
Richardson is a five-star wing who is currently rated as the No. 17 ranked prospect in his class and No. 3 small forward. The New Jersey native is 6’5.5” with a 6’10.5” inch wing span. Over the spring and summer he played in an older age group for the U-17 Team Final AAU program which competed in the Nike EYBL AAU circuit. Going up against the top seniors in the country, Richardson averaged 14.9 points per game while shooting 34 percent from the three point line. Indiana had Richardson on campus for its Hoosier Hysteria in October and also made him a priority over the summer.
6. JaQuan Lyle Off To Strong Start
Five-star point guard JaQuan Lyle is off to a strong start in his senior season at Huntington Prep (WV). In his first year at the basketball powerhouse, the 6’5” Lyle recently put up 41 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists in a game. Right now, Lyle is the top uncommitted point guard in the class of 2014 and is ranked as the No. 22 player in the country. He previously de-committed from Louisville in September and re-opened his recruitment. The Indiana native has interest in the hometown Hoosiers to go with West Virginia, Memphis, and Kansas and will be competing in the Marshall County Hoopfest.
7. Braxton Blackwell Takes in Game of the Year
Despite being only a sophomore, four-star small forward Braxton Blackwell has taken his share of unofficial visits; however, it will be hard to top the experience from this past weekend. The No. 28 prospect in the class of 2016 took an unofficial visit to Auburn and was front and center for Auburn’s miraculous victory over Alabama in the Iron Bowl.
Best football I've ever been to in my life!! Defiantly going next year at Alabama plus the visit was great #WDE
— braxton blackwell (@btwice_11) December 1, 2013
Blackwell currently attends Christ Presbyterian Academy (TN) and has taken unofficial visits to Indiana, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Memphis, and Louisville. The athletic wing has three more years of varsity basketball to play and many more college visits to take although it’s safe to say that nothing will compare to this past weekend in Auburn.