Seven Sweet Scoops: July Recruiting PrimerPosted by Sean Moran on July 10th, 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. July Recruiting Primer
It’s that time again for college coaches to get out on the road. Over the next three weeks, coaches will criss-cross the country in search of elite high school recruits in the 2015, 2016, and 2017 classes. Last year college coaches had two weekends in April to view high school prospects in a competitive setting, while this year they only had one such week in April. With less time for viewing prospects, coaches will be in a virtual scramble mode throughout the month.
2. July Live Period #1 (July 9 – July 13)
The first live period kicked off on Wednesday. The main draw for the first viewing window is the LeBron James Skills Academy in Las Vegas. This Nike event features 80 of the top players in the country, including numerous five-star recruits. The who’s who of college coaches will all set foot in Vegas this week in addition to a plethora of NBA scouts. With so much talent there, some of the top recruits in the country will have a chance to try to establish themselves as the No. 1 recruit in the country. Players vying for this top spot include Ben Simmons (No. 2), Ivan Rabb (No. 3), Cheick Diallo (No. 5), and Malik Newman (No. 6).
Another top destination this week is Chicago for the Adidas Unrivaled camp which features a plethora of top players from the Adidas circuit. Several of the top players expected in Chicago include small forward Jaylen Brown (No. 4), point guard Dennis Smith (No. 6 – 2016), and forward Thon Maker (No. 4 – 2016). The camp consists of daily drill sessions with All-Star games occurring on Sunday.
Las Vegas and Chicago are the prime destinations for college coaches this week, but there are also a variety of other events throughout the country. The NY2LA Next Level Invitational takes place outside of Milwaukee and features some of the top talent in the Midwest as well. On the East Coast, the Reebok Breakout Classic is in action in Philadelphia and the Ty Lawson and Victor Oladipo Skills Academy are live in Maryland. With events taking place all over the country through the weekend, you can be sure that all of the head coaches and assistants will be earning their frequent flyer miles.
3. July Live Period #2 (July 16-20)
The hot spot for college coaches moves from Las Vegas and Chicago down to North Augusta, South Carolina, and Atlanta next week. The premier tournament of the entire month takes place during this period which is Nike’s prestigious Peach Jam Tournament. Twenty-four of the top Nike AAU teams will head down south to determine a champion after four EYBL regular season sessions in April and May. Last year a team led by North Carolina signee Joel Berry and Ohio State signee D’Angelo Russell led their Florida-based AAU team to the championship.
While Nike has the premier tournament during this period, Under Armour is sure to garner a lot of attention by having its first UA Showcase championship in Atlanta. Just a two hour drive from North Augusta, you can be sure that numerous coaches will be making the drive on I-20 to catch parts of both tournaments.
4. July Live Period #3 (July 23-27)
Welcome back to Sin City for the last week of July. Entering the third live recruiting period, the legs will be getting heavy for the players and the coaches will be getting tired. This time around, instead of only one camp going on in Vegas, there will be several, including the Adidas Super 64. Games are held in gyms throughout the desert, so it isn’t the easiest setup to navigate but you can expect to find coaches from almost every Division I school in America there. Two other locations will also generate a lot of action during this period, in Louisville and Colorado Springs. After years of holding the AAU Nationals in Orlando, the tournament has made the move to Kentucky. Various teams that participated in the Peach Jam will play there with a host of games shown on the ESPN network. While coaches will be flying back and forth from Vegas and Louisville, you can expect all of the high major coaches to be en route to Colorado Springs on Friday, July 25. What’s going on then? The USA Olympic team will have its U-17 tryout event, featuring 40-plus participants who are considered the top players in the 2015 and 2016 classes. Names such as Malik Newman, Jayson Tatum (No.1 – 2016), Ivan Rabb, Harry Giles (No.3 – 2016), and more will participate in morning and evening sessions that will help the US Olympic Committee eventually trim down the roster. The 12 members selected will play for Team USA in Dubai beginning August 7.
5. Ohio State and Syracuse Are On Cruise Control
Both the Buckeyes and Orangemen are sitting pretty when it comes to recruiting for the class of 2015. Each team has four commitments already, so Thad Matta and Jim Boeheim will be busy making sure their future players don’t get poached while they also set their sights on players in the class of 2016 or beyond. So far the Buckeyes have signed two players from the state of Texas in four-star shooting guard Austin Grandstaff (No. 30 overall) and four-star small forward Mickey Mitchell (No. 86 overall). They also recently landed big man Daniel Giddens (No. 64 overall) on the Fourth of July and Ohio native A.J. Harris (No. 76 overall). As for Syracuse, the Orange have four players locked up from the East Coast. Five-star wing Malachi Richardson (No. 24 overall) leads the way, in addition to four-star forwards Moustapha Diagne (No. 46 overall) and Tyler Lydon (No. 75 overall). To round out their class is another wing in Franklin Howard (No. 72 overall), who is recovering from a junior season knee injury.
6. Stock Risers
It’s a guarantee that the national recruiting rankings will look a lot different in one month than they do right now. Some players that could see a rise in their rankings are five-stars Chase Jeter, Ray Smith, and Dwayne Bacon Jr. in addition to Bennie Boatwright and Quinndary Weatherspoon. Jeter (No. 9 – 2015) is a 6’10” power forward who has been on the upward trajectory for the past year. He is set to choose his college in August with Duke and Arizona among the front-runners. Smith (No. 22 – 2015) and Bacon Jr. (No. 28 – 2015) are two of the top wings in the class and should increase their already lofty status. Boatwright (No. 54 – 2015) is a 6’8” sniper from California. The versatile forward is in high demand on the West Coast but could start to draw attention elsewhere as well. Last but not least is Weatherspoon (No. 98 – 2015), a 6’5” shooting guard from Mississippi. He drew the attention of head coaches during the first live recruiting session in Sacramento and will get another chance to impress during the Peach Jam.
7. Who Does Kentucky Target?
Ever since John Calipari arrived at Kentucky, the Wildcats have dominated the recruiting trail each and every year. So far Big Blue Nation has one recruit committed in four-star shooting guard Charles Matthews (No. 49) from Chicago, so who else will join him? Some of the Wildcats’ top targets currently include five-star power forward Carlton Bragg (No. 11 – 2015) and five-star center Stephen Zimmerman (No. 8 – 2015) . Kentucky is also in the running for the possible package deal of Diamond Stone (No. 1 – 2015) and Malik Newman (No. 6 – 2015), not to mention top wings Jaylen Brown (No. 4 – 2015), Ray Smith, and Dwayne Bacon Jr. It’s quite possible that none of Kentucky’s current freshmen are one-and-done material, but that in all likelihood won’t slow down the Wildcats’ recruiting train this summer.