Seven Sweet Scoops: Heron Selects Pittsburgh, Antonio Blakeney’s Rise, and Raymond Felton’s NephewPosted by Sean Moran on January 3rd, 2014
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. Pittsburgh Nabs Top 20 Sophomore
In a surprise announcement, four-star small forward Mustapha Heron recently announced his commitment to Pittsburgh. The 6’4” wing is rated as the No. 20 prospect in the class of 2016 and the No. 5 small forward. The powerful and athletic slasher had a strong showing this past fall at the USA Developmental Camp in Colorado Springs, and is currently at Sacred Heart (CT) High School after recently transferring from Wilbraham & Monson (MA). According to an interview with Scout.com, Heron’s father played with Pittsburgh’s assistant coach Barry Rohressen overseas, which established a comfort level with the program they had just visited for an unofficial visit. While Heron is the highest-ranked player in the 2016 class to make a commitment, he is actually Jamie Dixon’s second recruit after three-star guard Maverick Rowan chose Pittsburgh last June.
2. Blakeney Looking To Move Up the Rankings
The top scorer at the City of Palms Tournament in Florida before the Christmas break was a junior four-star shooting guard named Antonio Blakeney. The 6’3” Florida guard averaged 29.3 points per game, including a 30-point game against Tyler Dorsey, the No. 2 ranked shooting guard in the 2015 class. Blakeney is currently rated as the No. 68 ranked player in the junior class and the No. 18 shooting guard overall, but he should see a bump in the near future. “I’m just trying to get some more recognition and move up higher in the rankings,” Blakeney said. Right now a host of schools have offered or shown interest in the guard, including Louisville, Florida, Florida State, UNC, Missouri, Notre Dame, Xavier, and a handful of other schools located in the southeast. After his junior season Blakeney plans to start taking visits while narrowing down his list, but for now he is just focused on improving his game.
3. Josh Reaves Starting to Get Noticed
Playing for the top team in the Washington, D.C., area, three-star shooting guard Josh Reaves is sometimes the forgotten starter. Paul VI (VA) High School features a plethora of future Division I players, including Georgetown commitment Marcus Derrickson, but Reaves might have been the most impressive player for the squad over the holidays. During a four-game stretch, Reaves averaged 14 points per game that included a 12-point performance in a championship game loss against Montverde (FL) Academy. The 6’5” guard currently has scholarship offers from Penn State, Temple, VCU and Villanova, along with strong interest from Georgetown, Virginia Tech, and Maryland. In the past month, Reaves has taken two unofficial visits to watch the Hoyas take on Colgate and Florida International. As a sophomore, Reaves played fewer than three minutes per game, but as a junior he is making a name for himself on the East Coast.
4. Another Felton?
Raymond Felton had quite a three-year career in Chapel Hill which included the 2005 national championship and a high selection in the NBA Draft. Now it’s his nephew, Jalek Felton, who is turning heads in South Carolina. The 6’4” guard is just a freshman, but he is already considered one of the best players in the 2017 class. He recently averaged 24.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 4.3 assists in the Chick Fil-A Classic, and according to ZagsBlog, Felton has received interest from UNC, Kansas, Kentucky, South Carolina, Wichita State, and Northwestern with UNC and Kansas and particular showing strong interest. It’s only a few months into Felton’s first year of high school, but already he has put the Felton name back on the map in South Carolina.
5. Wisconsin Big Man Making His Mark
Henry Ellenson, a four-star power forward from Rice Lake, Wisconsin, has a lengthy list of colleges paying close attention to him. The No. 53 prospect in the class of 2015 recently faced off against Diamond Stone, the top big man in the junior class, and more than held his own. Playing in front of Bo Ryan and Buzz Williams, Ellenson’s team got the win while he scored 16 points. He currently has offers from Creighton, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Iowa, Iowa State, Michigan State, Indiana, and Purdue, along with Oregon and Georgetown. The big man has the size and strength to play down low (6’9” and 240 pounds), but he also enjoys life on the perimeter with exceptional ball-handling skills and a decent three-point shot. Expect the Ellenson recruitment to continue to heat up during the winter.
6. Cancer Research Classic
In a two-day event, some of the top teams and players will gather in Wheeling, West Virginia, for the seventh annual Cancer Research Classic. Two games will be televised on the ESPN networks with the first game featuring three of the top post men in the junior class in Stephen Zimmerman (#3 overall), Chase Jeter (#19 overall), and Carlton Bragg (#9 overall), and the second game featuring the top player in the country in Jahlil Okafor (#1 – 2014) against the top point guard in the country in Emmanuel Mudiay (#3 – 2014). Other top players in this classic include Ben Simmons (#8 – 2015), Jaylen Brown (10 – 2015) and Daniel Giddens (#34 – 2015).
7. 2014 Timberwolves Shootout
While there are many talented prospects in the state of Minnesota, they are often overlooked during the high school seasons due to various travel restrictions placed on the schools in that state. With the top players and schools staying put in Minnesota, the annual Timberwolves Shootout allows some of these teams and players a chance to test themselves against out-of-state schools. This year the one day tournament takes place Saturday, January 4. Last year Rashad Vaughn and Tyus Jones were the featured match-up and while the individual match-ups can’t quite compare this year, there will still be some solid games. Xavier commitment and four-star shooting guard J.P. Macura (#89 overall – 2014) plays in the first game of the day while four-star power forward and Stanford commitment Reid Travis plays in the afternoon. The last game of the day features Tyus Jones (#4 overall – 2014) and his Apple Valley squad against Blue Valley Northwest, which is the top team in Kansas and is led by three-star point guard Iowa State commitment Clayton Custer.