Seven Sweet Scoops: Rashad Vaughn Decides Saturday, Grandstaff Re-Opens Recruitment, and More…Posted by Sean Moran (@seanmohoops) on February 7th, 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. Rashad Vaughn Ready To Decide
Five-star shooting guard Rashad Vaughn was supposed to be getting ready for his official visit to North Carolina on February 15, but instead decided that he was ready to end the recruiting process. On Tuesday, the 6’5” Vaughn tweeted that he would be making his college decision on Saturday.
Currently ranked as the No. 2 shooting guard in the country and No. 13 overall, Vaughn will decide between UNLV, Iowa State, UNC and Kentucky. The only two schools that received official visits were Iowa State and UNLV, with those visits taking place on November 8 and November 25, respectively. Vaughn took an unofficial visit to Chapel Hill last year with his mentor Pete Kaffey, but he never made it to Lexington. Vaughn currently plays for Findlay Prep (NV) after transferring from his hometown school in Minnesota. Whichever school gets Vaughn will land one of the top scorers and a guard that will contribute from Day 1.
- Iowa State: Fred Hoiberg has recruited Vaughn longer than any other school and he is known for his isolation sets which fits Vaughn’s skill set well. The Cyclones currently rank No. 12 in KenPom’s tempo rankings and Vaughn has stated he wants to get up and down the court. The Cyclones also offer immediate playing time with the departures of seniors DeAndre Kane and Melvin Ejim.
- UNLV: The Rebels became a major player in Vaughn’s recruitment and are the local option now that he is at Findlay Prep. Dave Rice’s squad is currently struggling with a 16-8 record, but it is able to sell Anthony Bennett’s selection as the top pick in the 2013 NBA draft. They don’t exactly get up and down the floor, averaging 67.2 possessions per game, but they do have the No. 16 ranked recruiting class featuring five-star small forward Dwayne Morgan (#20 overall, #7 SF) and four-star center Goodluck Okonoboh (#39 overall, #5 center).,
- North Carolina: Roy Williams and UNC were riding high last spring and a pending Vaughn commitment seemed like a sure thing. Vaughn extended his recruitment, though, and now the Heels are crowded on the wing with incoming recruits Theo Pinson (#27 overall) and Justin Jackson (#9 overall). UNC desperately wants a shooting guard and Vaughn has received three visits from the Tar Heels over the past several months. UNC is known for its faster pace but Vaughn cancelled one official visit in the fall along with the one next week.
- Kentucky: The Wildcats got into the race very late, but Calipari watched Vaughn’s game in the HoopHall Classic in January. Vaughn never visited Lexington, but he fancies himself as a one-and-done player which is what Kentucky specializes in. It’s uncertain which current Wildcats’ guards will go pro after this season and they also add four-star shooting guard Devin Booker (#31 – 2014) next year.
2. Austin Grandstaff De-Commits From Oklahoma State
Four-star junior shooting guard Austin Grandstaff de-committed from Oklahoma State on Thursday night with his father stating, “There are a lot of schools out there that I think he has a chance to play at. We probably jumped the gun too early.” Grandstaff is currently ranked as the No. 48 prospect and No. 11 shooting guard in the class of 2015. The 6’5” Texan committed to the Cowboys last June after a summer visit. The shooting guard is known for his outside stroke and has been filling it up at Rockwall (TX) High this year, averaging around 26 points a game. He spent last year playing one age group up for Team Texas Elite on the Nike AAU circuit and should have plenty of college coaches inquiring about the sharpshooter.
3. Don’t Forget About Malik!
For the top junior in the country, the news surrounding five-star combo guard Malik Newman has been relatively quiet this year. The top scoring guard in the AAU circuit and the No. 1 ranked player in the class of 2015 has not been getting the buzz like that of a player such as Ivan Rabb, who recently surpassed Newman in ESPN.com’s newest rankings of the top 2015 prospects. The main reason for the lack of buzz is due to the fact that Newman’s Calloway (MS) High School team can not travel out of the state of Mississippi for games this year due to an incident in the 5A state championship last year. Even without the travel, Newman still has all of the top schools clamoring for his services. While his dad went to Mississippi State, Randy Rosetta of The Times Picayune writes in this article that LSU is a dark horse in Newman’s recruitment. The article cites Newman’s friendship with current junior Johnny O’Bryant as one of the main factors along with the strong recruiting of head coach Johnny Jones, who has already locked up power forward Ben Simmons, the No. 8 ranked junior in the country.
4. Unknown Illinois Shooting Guard Getting Attention
Three-star shooting guard Peyton Allen went virtually unnoticed during the summer AAU season, but now with some college coaches looking far and wide for capable shooters, his recruitment is beginning to pick up. A 6’4” guard from Chatham (IL), Allen took an official visit to St. Joseph’s in the summer, but after a strong senior showing he now has visits scheduled to Texas A&M, Tennessee, Butler and Vanderbilt. Also, Roy Williams plans to attend his high school game on February 14. During a holiday tournament, Allen went up against five-star Ohio State recruit Keita Bates-Diop and scored 21 points.
5. Justin Simon Making Waves on the West Coast With His Play
6’5” four-star junior guard Justin Simon has put together an impressive junior year for his Temecula Valley (CA) team. He is currently ranked as the No. 55 prospect in the class of 2015 and No. 10 point guard, which will soon change. Recruiting analyst Evan Daniels of Scout.com noted recently: “We are debating on making a big move with him in our next 2015 rankings. Early returns this season indicate that the ranking is too low.” The combo guard has a 6’11” wing-span and fills the stat sheet in almost every category. Last year his only scholarship came from UC Irvine, but now he is a primary target of Pac-12 schools including UCLA, Arizona, USC, Washington, and Oregon, along with Kansas. Simon previously made an unofficial visit to Westwood to check out the UCLA campus and is headed to Tucson in early March.
6. JaQuan Lyle Takes Visit to Oregon
Once committed to Louisville, five-star point guard JaQuan Lyle is taking his time before making another commitment. Last weekend he took a visit to Oregon and watched in the Ducks’ home win over USC. Lyle has attracted attention from various colleges in all parts of the country with West Virginia, Oklahoma State, Memphis and Kansas all expressing interest in the No. 22 ranked player in the country. A native of Indiana, Lyle is currently spending his senior season at Huntington Prep (WV) and does not have a timetable for his commitment.
7. Josh Cunningham Picks Up Indiana Offer
During the summer, three-star small forward Josh Cunningham was overshadowed playing with two of the top five players in high school in Jahlil Okafor and Cliff Alexander. Now that he is back leading Morgan Park (IL) to a possible second consecutive state championship, schools such as Indiana are taking notice. On Thursday the Hoosiers offered the 6’6” wing a scholarship. The senior has one official visit left after previously taking official visits to Creighton, Iowa State, Oklahoma, and Bradley. The Hoosiers currently have the No. 22 rated recruiting class which features two four-star shooting guards in James Blackmon Jr. (#33 overall, #6 SG) and Robert Johnson (#55 overall, #9 SG).