Seven Sweet Scoops: Ferguson Decommits, Thon Maker Visits Kansas & More…

Posted by Sean Moran on March 7th, 2016


Seven Sweet Scoops is a weekly column by Sean Moran, the RTC recruiting guru. Once a week throughout the season 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

Note: used for all player rankings.

1. Five-Star Senior Decommits From Alabama

Small forward Terrance Ferguson had been the biggest commitment in Avery Johnson’s short tenure at Alabama, but the No. 13 player in the senior class decided to re-open his recruitment last week. Questions circulated in November regarding the strength of Ferguson’s commitment when he failed to sign a National Letter of Intent with the Crimson Tide on signing day. At the time his mother referenced a possible signing ceremony as the reason for the delay, but that never came to fruition. Schools like Kansas and Baylor were heavily involved in Ferguson’s recruitment and both will certainly try to get back into the picture. One school that was not involved was St. John’s, but members of the Red Storm coaching staff watched the 6’7″ high-flyer play last week. The five-star wing has a game ready-made for the NBA. With a picture perfect jump shot and explosive leaping ability, Ferguson’s strengths are hitting deep jumpers and finishing at the rim with highlight reel dunks. Ferguson has also been a mainstay in USA Basketball circles, winning gold medals on the U-16, U-17, and U-19 teams the last several years. Ferguson currently plays for Advanced Prep International (API) in Dallas, which has a similar make-up to the old Prime Prep teams.

2. Kevin Knox Watched Duke-North Carolina Saturday

Just one year ago, Kevin Knox was a lightly regarded sophomore at Tampa (FL) Catholic; now a junior, the 6’7” forward has risen up the rankings so fast that he is in the midst of a big-time recruiting battle between two of college basketball’s biggest blue-bloods. Knox made a weekend trip to North Carolina a few weeks ago where he split time between the Duke and UNC campuses, and he was back in the area on Saturday to catch the rivalry game in Durham. Knox, an athletic power forward with nice touch out to the three-point line, ranks as the No. 6 prospect in his class. Coach K is selling him on being the school’s next Brandon Ingram, but Kansas — the latest school to offer Knox –and Kentucky are also showing interest. Knox’s father played football at Florida State, so the Seminoles are a dark horse school in this recruitment.

3. Thon Maker Begins Official Visits

It seems like the Thon Maker recruiting saga has gone on forever. It was way back in the spring of 2012 when Maker’s name first surfaced after he performed admirably in a senior-laden Nike AAU event. Four years later, here we are. Maker, a 7’0″ five-star center, has played for a handful of high schools and a variety of AAU programs is finally taking his official visits. Kansas hosted Maker over the weekend for its comeback victory against Iowa State, but a number of other schools are in the picture, including Arizona State, St. John’s, Notre Dame, Indiana and UNLV.

4. Updated Rankings

Rivals recently updated its 2017 recruiting rankings, and to absolutely nobody’s surprise, big man DeAndre Ayton topped the list. The 7’0” center is a fluid athlete who is the early favorite for the top pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. He currently plays for Hillcrest Academy in Arizona after previously suiting up for Balboa HS in California. The top five on the Rivals list is rounded out by 6’8” wing Michael Porter, 6’11” center Mohamed Bomba, 6’10” center Wendell Carter and 6’2” point guard Trevon Duval.

5. Illinois Fans Have Reason to Smile

It’s been a long, difficult year for Illinois fans. The Illini ended their regular season with a double-overtime loss at Penn State to finish at 13-18 overall and 5-13 in the Big Ten. There is some hope for the future, though, as Da’Monte Williams, a 6’3” guard from Peoria, gave Groce his verbal commitment last week. The four-star guard currently sits at No. 53 in the updated Rivals rankings, and more importantly, has ties to Illinois’ successful past. He is the son of former Illini star Frank Williams, the 2001 Big Ten Player of the Year. This gives Illinois its second strong in-state recruit in the Class of 2017 (Javon Pickett). Groce was smart to focus on locking up a talented guard with a legacy name to give fans hope for the future.

6. When Will Undefeated Chino Hills Be Tested?

Chino Hills (CA) is the top-ranked high school team in the country and it does not appear to be slowing down as March arrives. After destroying Mater Dei, one of the most prestigious programs in the country, by a score of 102-54, the Huskies easily handled what was considered the second-best team in the state, Chatsworth (CA) Sierra Canyon, over the weekend. Lonzo Ball, the state’s best player and a UCLA recruit, contributed 20 points, 17 rebounds, 10 assists and four blocks in the 105-83 win. The question is whether any team at the state championships in Sacramento later this month will be able to slow down the high-scoring Ball brother trio of Lonzo, LiAngelo, and LaMelo?

7. Shoe Wars Ramping Up

The spring AAU season is just around the corner and Nike, Adidas and Under Armour are all finalizing their various events and tournaments. The first big weekend will take place on April 15 when the first live recruiting period begins. New York will be the hoops hotbed with both Nike and Under Armour hosting events along with the Jordan Brand Classic. Nike and Under Armour will then move to Indianapolis for the second live recruiting period while Adidas will host its own event in Georgia. Next, over the summer, Georgia will be the focal point for college coaches as the three shoe companies will hold their championships before heading to Las Vegas in late July.

Sean Moran (79 Posts)

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