Sweet Seven Scoops: Midnight Madness Begins, Rabb & Skal Trimming Lists & More…

Posted by Sean Moran on October 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 Fouldedicated 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 rushthecourt@yahoo.com.

Note: Scout.com used for all player rankings.

1. Midnight Madness: Kansas

It’s October and that means teams are tipping off the season with their editions of Midnight Madness. Last week UNC got things started with “Late Night with Roy” and tonight Kansas takes center stage with “Late Night at the Phog.” The Jayhawks are bringing in a plethora of top-notch talent for both official and unofficial visits. Last year KU hosted Kelly Oubre and Cliff Alexander, both of whom eventually selected Bill Self’s program. Some of the top five-star seniors who will be in attendance are small forward Jaylen Brown, considered the No. 1 player in the country, 7’0″ center Stephen Zimmerman (No. 14 – 2014), fresh off a scintillating performance at the USA Developmental Camp, small forward Brandon Ingram (No. 26 – overall), and power forward Carlton Bragg (No. 11 – 2014). A few of the other visitors include the No. 1 junior recruit in Jayson Tatum and the No. 2 sophomore recruit in Troy Brown. Which players will make their pledge to Kansas as a result of this weekend’s festivities?

2. Ivan Rabb Looking to Trim List

Five-star 6’10” power forward Ivan Rabb is getting ready to trim his list. He is scheduled to have his last in-home visit at an unscheduled date with Roy Williams before making a decision on the schools he plans to officially visits. The Bay Area native has programs from all over the country in pursuit of his services, including schools close to home in California, UCLA, and Arizona, in addition to Kansas, Kentucky, Duke, UNC, and Georgetown. Due to his connection with the Oakland Soldiers AAU program, it was long thought that Arizona was the school to beat for Rabb’s services. Sean Miller has used that pipeline over the years to establish Arizona as the premier school on the West Coast, with players such as Nick Johnson, Brandon Ashley, Aaron Gordon, and Stanley Johnson arriving in Tucson over the last few years. While Arizona has been recruiting Rabb the longest, it might be a school located in his own backyard that is getting the most buzz. As soon as Cuonzo Martin got the head coaching job at California, he took a visit to Rabb’s high school to establish a relationship — he has since been recruiting Rabb hard, and the Bears could be the surprise school in a list of blue-blood basketball programs.

3. Kentucky’s Scouting Combine

This weekend, while schools such as Kansas and Missouri are having their Midnight Madness, Kentucky will instead host a two-day scouting combine where 90 NBA scouts are scheduled to watch John Calipari’s nine McDonald’s All-Americans go through drills and tests. ESPNU is set to televise this event, where freshman center Karl Anthony Towns will be the main attraction. Some consider Calipari’s latest marketing idea as brilliant, while others see it as another shameless plug, but either way, Kentucky is set to host its Big Blue Madness even next Friday, which is expected to rival Kansas in terms of sheer talent visiting campus. One thing is for sure, Calipari will be able to tell all of the recruits and their families about his first ever basketball scouting combine and the exposure that Kentucky provides to all those NBA teams.

4. Skal Labissiere Visiting Baylor, Set To Decide In November

There wasn’t anyone who had a better July than 6’9” power forward Skal Labissiere. The Haitian native jumped numerous five-star big men in the class of 2014 to land at the No. 3 overall spot. A long and lanky player, Labissiere has the ability to score from all areas of the floor. Just like his game heated up in the summer, so did his recruitment. While Memphis has always been the perceived leader, Skal recently took official visits to UNC, Georgetown, Kentucky and Tennessee. After visiting Baylor this weekend, he will be set to choose from among the aforementioned schools.

5. Unsung Canadian: Corey Johnson

Junior shooting guard Corey Johnson has not even played a game yet for Vermont Academy, but college interest is already starting to rise. In August, Johnson played for Team Canada in the Nike Global Challenge and was one of the top shooters in the tournament, hitting 38.5 percent from three. At the time, Johnson noted he had interest from schools such as Virginia Tech, Harvard, UMass, and Creighton. Now with colleges taking in open gyms at high schools, the number of schools interested in Johnson has increased. Evan Daniels of Scout.com noted Butler, Davidson, Xavier and Rhode Island have started to express interest, and it was also noted that Indiana and Minnesota inquired about Johnson as well. Despite being just a junior, Johnson possesses ideal height at 6’4″ and strength for a college shooting guard, and has textbook form on his outside jump shot. Once the games begin for Johnson, the attention on him will only rise.

6. Young Talent Gathering In Colorado Springs

USA Basketball’s next batch of young talent assembled last week for the first time in Colorado Springs, Colorado. USA won the U-17 FIBA World Championships in Dubai over the summer and now things are starting to kick off for the younger high school stars in the 2017 (sophomores) and 2018 (freshmen) classes. Overall, 37 players from these two classes experienced their first Developmental Camp which featured four practices in a two-day span. Some of the players that stood out include 6’5” sophomore point guard Troy Brown (No. 2 – 2017), who already has NBA Scouts raving from his play at the LeBron James Skills Camp, Jalek Felton (Raymond Felton’s nephew), and 6’7″ sweet shooting Michael Porter from Missouri. A few freshmen looked impressive as well, including Marvin Bagley III and E.J. Montgomery Jr. These players won’t enter college until at least Fall 2017 but you can expect the recruiting battles to heat up over the next three years for the majority of these attendees.

7. City of Palms Field Set

After a lengthy wait, the field at the City of Palms Holiday tournament was finally set this week. Held in sunny Fort Myers, Florida, the high school tournament is always one of the best in the country. This year will be no different with a plethora of five-star talent set to face off. Some of the big names include the top two ranked players in the country in small forward Jaylen Brown and Ben Simmons, the No. 2 ranked player in the class of 2016 in Harry Giles, and the No. 1 player in the sophomore class in DeAndre Ayton. Other big names include five-star shooting guards Antonio Blakeney and Malik Monk. In between non-conference games you can expect a host of coaching staffs to make the trek to sunny Florida in late December.

Sean Moran (79 Posts)

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