Seven Sweet Scoops: Rabb Moves Up To #1, Rashad Vaughn Goes With UNLV, and More…Posted by Sean Moran on February 14th, 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. New #1 In The Junior Class
On Tuesday, Scout.com released their updated Top 100 rankings for the class of 2015. In a similar fashion to ESPN, five-star junior forward Ivan Rabb jumped up to the #1 spot formerly held by guard Malik Newman. The 6’9” Rabb has put together an impressive junior campaign for Bishop O’Dowd (CA) High as they get ready for a state title run in California which currently stands at 18-4 and. Rabb has always been an impressive athlete while drawing comparisons to Chris Bosh for his ability to finish down low and step outside for a 15 foot jump shot. After an up and down summer with the Oakland Soldiers AAU program, it seems Rabb has turned the corner. Josh Gershon of Scout.com noted, “This season, Rabb has taken his game to the next level. His motor, skill level, rebounding and production are all at an all time high. He’s proven himself game and game out, making his selection as Scout.com’s top prospect in 2015 an easy choice.” Schools from all over the country are knocking on Rabb’s door and in an interview from late January his high school coach noted that Arizona, North Carolina, and California have showed him the most attention. Given Sean Miller’s success the past few years with kids from the Oakland Soldiers AAU program, the Wildcats would have to be the presumed leader at this point in time.
2. Rashad Vaughn Headed to UNLV
Five-star junior shooting guard Rashad Vaughn is headed to UNLV. On Tuesday night, the 6’5” Vaughn announced his college choice on CBS SportsNet and chose the Rebels over Iowa State, UNC, and Kentucky. The No. 13 ranked player in the country was one of the last five-star players to make a commitment and now he will join five-star small forward Dwayne Morgan (#20 overall) and four-star center Goodluck Okonoboh (#39 overall) in Las Vegas next year. ESPN.com currently has UNLV with the No. 6 ranked recruiting class in the country. This past summer Vaughn was looking to transfer from his hometown high school in Minnesota to a national prep powerhouse for better competition and landed in Henderson, NV with Findlay Prep. The close proximity helped the Rebels get involved late in the Vaughn recruitment and UNLV’s assistant coach Todd Simon is the former head coach of Findlay Prep. Vaughn will give the Rebels a scorer from the get-go next year and the Rebels will be expected to improve on this year’s disappointing campaign (so far). “I can see that they are missing a shooter or a scorer,” Vaughn said. “I just feel like they don’t have any shooters to spread the floor. I know we’ve got a couple shooters coming in. With me and my scoring ability, I feel we can pick up the pace. With Goodluck and with Dwayne, I feel we can do something special.”
3. Myles Turner Update
With Rashad Vaughn off the board, only two prospects in the Top 100 remain uncommitted in five-star center Myles Turner and five-star point guard JaQuan Lyle. While Vaughn got his commitment out of the way, don’t expect Turner to make a decision any time soon. The #2 ranked Turner is concentrating on his senior season and getting ready for the high school all-star games to evaluate potential teammates according to ZagsBlog. The McDonald’s All-American game is set for April 2 and the Nike Hoop Summit is set for April 12 and in these practices and games, Turner will have a chance to interact with players committed to Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, and Ohio State. He is also strongly considering Oklahoma State and the in-state Longhorns. Per the article, Turner’s father said “his son will use the games to determine how much camaraderie and chemistry there is with the other players.” Turner exploded this past summer going from unranked to one of the top players in the country. As his commitment drags out, expect they hype to increase considerably until an announcement.
4. Deadspin Causes Stir With Kevin Durant Comparison
Earlier this week, Deadspin produced the headline “7 foot 1 High School Sophomore Plays Basketball Like Kevin Durant.” The headline led to a three minute highlight video of showing Thon Maker, a five-star big man blocking shots, dunking, and draining outside shots. This led to a lot of hype from those who don’t follow high school recruiting that closely and a strong rebuke from those who do. Maker is currently the No. 3 ranked player in the class of 2016 and has a bright future ahead of him, but Kevin Durant is probably not a fair comparison. This past summer, Maker averaged nine points and seven rebounds in AAU play against kids mostly two years older but only shot 4-of-23 from the three point line. Maker first made his mark in the spring of 2012 as an 8th grader playing against upcoming seniors in the class of 2013. Given Maker’s size and coordination, he will most likely make a college coach very happy in the future, but for now let’s hold off on those Durant comparisons.
5. SMU Looking To Make A Splash in 2015
Larry Brown has SMU off to a hot start with a 19-5 overall record and an 8-3 conference record in the American Athletic Conference. The Mustangs took advantage of a home night game last Saturday against Cincinnati by inviting a plethora of top-ranked local prospects to the game. A list of visitors included five-star center Elijah Thomas (#12 overall, #6 C – 2015), four-star shooting guards Austin Grandstaff (#47 overall, #12 SG – 2015) and Matt McQuaid (#69 overall – 2015), four-star junior point guard Jawun Evans (#38 overall, #4 PG – 2015), three-star shooting guard Tyler Williams, and freshman Chris Giles. While SMU has been recruiting all of the Texas natives hard over the past two years, the 5’10” Evans just moved to the area. Originally from South Carolina, the lightning quick guard is now in the Dallas area for his junior year and is averaging almost 20 points and 10 assists a game. During the summer Evans had the entire Clemson coaching staff watching his games, but now that he is in Texas he also noted offers from schools such as Illinois, DePaul, Cincinnati, and Memphis. With SMU recruit Emmanual Mudiay (#3 overall, #1 PG – 2014) most likely a one and done prospect, the Mustangs will need another point guard in the class of 2015.
6. Matt McQuaid Picking Up Offers
As noted above, junior shooting guard Matt McQuaid took an unofficial visit to SMU on Saturday night and has the offers piling up. The 6’5” shooting guard is a three-point marksman and is averaging 16 points per game and five rebounds for Duncanville (TX) High. Along with strong interest from SMU, McQuaid also has offers from Gonzaga, Creighton, Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama, and Baylor with recent interest from Michigan. The interest in the junior should continue to pick up over the spring and summer as McQuaid plays AAU for his father on one of the top Nike teams in Team Texas Elite.
7. Under Armour and Grassroots Basketball
Nike and Adidas have always been the primary players when it comes to grassroots basketball. From the days of Sonny Vaccaro and George Raveling to the current era, these two shoe companies have always waged war against each other. Over the past few years Under Armour has been trying to increase their presence in this world and recently just announced their new scheduling format for the summer called “Under Armour Association.” Taking after Nike’s EYBL concept that was developed in 2010, all of the top sponsored teams will compete at tournaments throughout the spring with the end goal of winning an Under Armour championship in July. During the first and only live recruiting session in late April, Under Armour will host an event in Pittsburgh for east coast teams and Kansas for west coast teams. All teams will meet at a tournament in Houston one month later and the top teams will then advance to a championship tournament in July. This championship will go head to head with the Peach Jam, which serves as Nike’s defacto championship. Nike currently has a firm grasp on the top spot in the grassroots game, but Under Armour is making a strong play to put their name at the top of the food chain as well.