Seven Sweet Scoops: Malachi Richardson to Syracuse, Diamond Stone’s High Profile Visitors, and More…Posted by Sean Moran on December 13th, 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. Malachi Richardson Announces for Syracuse
With 97 of the top 100 prospects in the class of 2014 already committed to colleges, the majority of ongoing recruiting speculation has turned to this year’s junior class. Two five-star prospects from the class of 2015 are currently committed in forwards Ben Simmons (#8 overall, LSU) and Mickey Mitchell (#16 overall, Ohio State). Today Malachi Richardson became the third five-star recruit to make his announcement as he chose to stay on the East Coast and play at Syracuse. The 6’6” Richardson is rated as the No. 17 prospect in the class of 2015 and the No. 3 small forward. He made his college selection this afternoon from Trenton Catholic (NJ) High School and chose the Orange from a list of six schools that also included Arizona, Connecticut, Indiana, Rutgers, and Villanova. He most recently took an unofficial visit to Syracuse and watched its victory over Indiana in the ACC/Big Ten challenge. With that commitment, Richardson joins four-star forward Tyler Lydon (#94 overall – 2015) in Jim Boeheim’s 2015 recruiting class. Richardson is a lethal scorer with a sweet stroke from the outside and will cause a lot of problems in the Syracuse 2-3 zone defense with his 6’10.5” wing span.
2. Top Center in 2015 Receives Hall of Fame Visitors
Two Hall of Fame coaches made their way out to Milwaukee over the past week to check in on 6’10” Diamond Stone, the top center in the class of 2015, and the No. 2 prospect overall. Last Friday, Mike Krzyzewski and Jeff Capel started their Midwestern recruiting trip by watching Stone and his Dominican (WI) High School team defeat St. Thomas More in a game where Stone finished with 23 points. Four days later, Roy Williams and assistant coach Steve Robinson made a quick trip to Wisconsin and watched Stone’s 24-point performance in a blowout win against Prairie (WI) High. Both rivals have made Stone their number one big man target in the class of 2015; however, it might be hard to get the five-star center out of his home state. Marquette’s Buzz Williams and Wisconsin’s ‘Bo Ryan have also recruited Stone hard during his early high school tenure. Marquette sits right in his back yard and had Stone on campus for its version of Midnight Madness this fall. He was also high school teammates with freshman point guard Duane Wilson. UNC currently has Wisconsin native J.P. Tokoto in its starting lineup, but the last time both UNC and Duke went after a Wisconsin kid they both lost out to Bo Ryan in the recruitment of freshman guard Bronson Koenig. Expect Stone to receive a lot more visits from Coach K and Roy while Buzz and Bo Ryan try to keep the talented big man in Wisconsin.
3. Chicago Elite Classic Recap
In the second edition of the Chicago Elite Classic, the three stars in Chicago made their presence felt but it was a California school that stole the show. Playing in front of his future college coach, the top ranked player in the country, Jahlil Okafor, scored 23 points on 10-of-13 shooting and added 10 rebounds. The big man was unstoppable in the paint and also showed some moves off the dribble. When he stopped receiving touches at the end of the game, that allowed St. John Bosco (CA) to slowly come back. Bosco features two five-star players in 2014 small forward Daniel Hamilton (#18 overall – 2014) and 2015 shooting guard Tyler Dorsey (#7 overall – 2015). With four seconds left in regulation, Hamilton dribbled toward the three-point stripe and launched a fade-away jumper which swished through the net as the California kids celebrated in front of Hamilton’s future coach at UConn, Kevin Ollie. Along with Okafor, the other Chicago stars were five-star power forward Cliff Alexander (#5 overall) and four-star point guard Tyler Ulis (#29 overall – 2014) who both had strong individual performances. Alexander went for 22 points, 20 rebounds, and five blocks as he dominated Bishop Gorman (NV) and its five-star big man duo of Stephen Zimmerman (#3 overall – 2015) and Chase Jeter (#19 overall – 2015). Ulis scored 30 points in a loss to Etiwanda (CA) High School, and despite the outcome the diminutive point guard penetrated at will and attacked the basket every chance he could. Also, the four-time defending Illinois state champion, Chicago Simeon, had its first prime-time look in the post-Jabari Parker era. After a slow start, the Wolverines won 76-60 behind 13 points from Illinois commitment D.J. Williams (#35 – 2015).
4. Vance Jackson Emerges
One of the stories buried in the news after the game-winning shot by Daniel Hamilton was the play of his sophomore teammate Vance Jackson. In the win over Whitney Young, the 6’6” sophomore tied Hamilton with a team-high of 19 points which included five three-pointers, one of which gave St. John Bosco a two-point lead with under a minute to play. The #10 ranked small forward in his class recently transferred to Bosco after a freshman year where he garnered interest from a majority of Pac-12 schools. Jackson told Brian Snow of Scout.com that he had offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Connecticut, and Washington, along with interest from Kansas, UCLA, USC, and others.
5. Marshall County Hoops Recap
Playing in front of a pro-Kentucky crowd in addition to the Wildcats’ head coach, two future Wildcats in five-star power forward Trey Lyles (#8 overall – 2014) and four-star shooting guard Devin Booker (#31 – overall) stole the show. In two big wins, Lyles averaged 26 points and 16.5 rebounds per game as his Arsenal Tech (IN) team defeated Huntington Prep (WV) 54-51 and also Ballard (KY) High School 87-84. To go along with Lyles, Booker scored 40 points in a loss with 20 of those coming from the free throw line. The Mississippi native got to the line 24 times which wasn’t enough as his Moss Point team fell to Ballard. Future Louisville point guard Quentin Snider (#32 overall – 2014) led Ballard and put up a nice stat line with 18 points, nine assists, and zero turnovers. In other action, the top point guard in the country showcased his NBA potential. Emmanel Mudiay led Prime Prep (TX) to a 67-50 win and has chosen to play for Larry Brown and SMU over Kentucky.
6. Michigan State Lands Promising Power Forward
6’9” forward Deyonta Davis from Muskegon, Michigan, committed to Michigan State on Wednesday, giving Tom Izzo his first commitment in the class of 2015. A rather unknown player outside of the state, the unranked Davis chose the Spartans over Iowa State, Memphis, Northern Illinois, and Stony Brook. Just a two-hour drive from East Lansing, Davis attended Michigan State’s home game against North Carolina and despite the loss enjoyed the atmosphere. His high school coach told MLive.com that “the sky is the limit for Davis” and that “with the tools that he has at 6’9″, can shoot the three-ball, can run like a deer.” He averaged 5.5 points and 10 rebounds a game during his sophomore year, but the sinewy big man could see his stock start to explode as his junior year is just beginning.
7. Future Duke Recruits Square Off
In a made for TV match-up this week, ESPNU pitted two future Duke Blue Devils best friends against each other. Jahlil Okafor’s Whitney Young team was coming off its buzzer-beater loss when it went to Minnesota to face five-star point guard Tyus Jones and Apple Valley. Featuring a plethora of D-I players, Whitney Young rolled to a 80-70 victory by ending Apple Valley’s 35-game winning streak. Okafor dominated down low and scored 25 points while four-star forward Paul White chipped in with 17 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists. Jones, rated as the No. 4 prospect in the class of 2014 struggled in the first half but caught fire late as he tried to lead his team back scoring 25 of his 29 points in the second half. This game was the second high school game featured by ESPNU after five-star center Myles Turner (#2 overall – 2014) and five-star wing Justin Jackson (#9 overall – 2014) faced off last week.