Seven Sweet Scoops: McDonald’s All-American Primer

Posted by Sean Moran on March 30th, 2016

7sweetscoops

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 rushthecourt@yahoo.com.

The 39th McDonald’s All-American game is set to take place tonight at 9PM ET (ESPN) at the United Center in Chicago. Each year this All-Star game gives the college basketball fan a sneak peak into the up and coming stars of next season. It also usually gives fans a first look at the top NBA draft picks for 2017.

Last year, the top two projected draft picks of 2016 competed in the game. Duke freshman Brandon Ingram scored 15 points after a breakout week in practice, while LSU freshman Ben Simmons scored seven points to go along with 10 rebounds. Five-star recruit Cheick Diallo was named MVP after he recorded an 18 point, 10 rebound double-double. After dealing with an early-season NCAA investigation, Diallo managed to score only 81 points on the whole season at Kansas before declaring for the NBA Draft.

The stars will be out tonight in Chicago. Below is a primer on who and what to watch for during the game:

1. Top Individual Matchup

Small forwards Jayson Tatum and Josh Jackson are arguably the top two players in the country. The 6’8” Tatum will wear #22 for the East while the 6’7” Jackson will suit up as #11 for the West. Tatum is headed to Duke and has a smooth and skilled offensive game. He has the ability to play point forward and loves to emulate Kobe Bryant with a fade-away repertoire. Jackson is still undecided and set to choose from a list that includes Kansas, Arizona, and Michigan State. The Michigan native is an explosive wing with NBA athleticism who will surely be good for a highlight reel dunk or two.

2. Most Unique Player

Keep an eye out for 6’5” point guard Lonzo Ball (#2). Just last week the best passing guard in high school finished a spectacular senior season with a California state championship. His #1 ranked Chino Hills team went 35-0 on the year, breaking 100 points on a near-nightly basis in the process. High hopes and expectations await Ball at UCLA, as the Bruins are coming off a disappointing 15-17 season. Ball has an unorthodox outside shot, but he is still plenty capable of finding the bottom of the net from NBA range. He’s also been known to throw pinpoint three-quarter court passes just as often as does a fundamental bounce pass to a teammate on a look that few other players would see. Ball’s razzle-dazzle game is made for an All-Star event. Read the rest of this entry »

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Who’s Got Next? 5-Star Wing Rawle Alkins Heads West

Posted by Sean Moran on March 9th, 2016

whosgotnext

Who’s Got Next? is a weekly column by Sean Moran, the RTC recruiting guru. Once a week he will bring you an overview of what’s going on in the complex world of recruiting, from who is signing where among the seniors to discussing the recruitment of the top uncommitted players in the country. 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 rushthecourt@yahoo.com.

Note: Scout.com used for all player rankings.

The remaining uncommitted five-star players are now coming off the board, one by one. On Tuesday night it was New York’s finest, 6’4” wing Rawle Alkins, who made his decision to head out west and play for Sean Miller at Arizona. The Wildcats weren’t even in the running for the No. 20 prospect in the class of 2016 class just three months ago, but that all changed when Alkins put together an impressive performance against five-star forward Thon Maker in Detroit while Miller was in attendance. Shortly after that performance, Alkins took an unofficial visit to Tucson and the rest is history.

A major selling point for Alkins was a comparison of his game with that of former Arizona one-and-done star Stanley Johnson. Like the 2014 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, Alkins is a powerful wing that plays with a junkyard mentality. Hailing from New York, Alkins is known as a talented scorer who can finish in the paint. He sports a powerful upper body which creates space off drives and allows scoring opportunities in the post. While a very good finisher at the rim, Alkins is a streaky outside shooter who, as Jonathan Givony from DraftExpress has noted. also has a propensity for weight fluctuations.

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

Posted by Sean Moran on March 7th, 2016

7sweetscoops

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 rushthecourt@yahoo.com.

Note: Scout.com 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.

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Who’s Got Next? Jonathan Isaac Creates Headlines…

Posted by Sean Moran on February 11th, 2016

whosgotnext

Who’s Got Next? is a weekly column by Sean Moran, the RTC recruiting guru. Once a week he will bring you an overview of what’s going on in the complex world of recruiting, from who is signing where among the seniors to discussing the recruitment of the top uncommitted players in the country. 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 rushthecourt@yahoo.com.

Note: Scout.com used for all player rankings.

Jonathan Isaac committed to Florida State last July, but the 6’10” small forward became a trending topic in the recruiting world last Friday. Interestingly, it wasn’t because of how the five-star senior (No. 10 – 2016) played in a game, nor was it because a ridiculous mix tape had been released. Instead, a Sports Illustrated report focused on the idea that Isaac was considering a bypass of his one-year pit stop in Tallahassee by making the direct leap from prep school to the NBA.

Isaac began high school in 2011, originally putting him in the Class of 2015 with such players as LSU’s Ben Simmons, Duke’s Brandon Ingram, Marquette’s Henry Ellenson. The talented wing played his first two years at Barron Collier in Naples (FL) prior to an additional two years at the International School of Broward (FL). He is currently spending this season, his fifth year of high school basketball, at IMG Academy.

NBA rules require U.S. players to be both a year removed from graduation from high school and at least 19 years old in the draft year to enter its draft. Since Isaac will turn 19 next October, he would meet that requirement. But there is some room for interpretation on the other requirement, specifically whether the NBA requires a player to be one year removed from actual graduation (which for Isaac, would set the clock ticking this spring) or one year removed from his original classes’ graduation (which for Isaac, was last spring). The NBA, for what it’s worth, weighed in with its position that Isaac is not eligible for this year’s draft.

While Isaac could have tested the waters of interpretation by taking a chance to follow a former IMG player (Satnam Singh) to the pros, Isaac instead seemed to put the debate to rest when he tweeted the following earlier this week:

https://twitter.com/jisaac_01/status/697092196353318912

Regardless of how this settles, Florida State has recruited a very good player. Isaac played on the famed E1T1 AAU squad, a team that has produced players such as D’Angelo Russell, Grayson Allen, and the aforementioned Simmons in recent years. Isaac averaged 13.9 points and 6.2 rebounds in the Nike EYBL, tantalizing observers with his skill set combined with great length. In the fall, Isaac participated in the USA Basketball Developmental Camp and was one of the most impressive prospects among a plethora of five-star recruits. He ran the floor with grace while showing off a tight jump shot.

Isaac will join two four-star recruits in shooting guard Trent Forrest (No. 92) and point guard C.J. Walker to form the No. 11 recruiting class in 2016. While current freshmen shooting guard Malik Beasley and small forward Dwayne Bacon might test their own NBA Draft status with the new rules allowing greater flexibility, a nucleus of Isaac along with that pair would make Florida State one of the most talented teams in next year’s ACC.

For now, Isaac will finish off his year at IMG Academy before beginning his All-Star travels. NBA scouts scoping his talents for the 2017 draft will get their first glimpse of Isaac in April at the Nike Hoop Summit practices.

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Seven Sweet Scoops: Udoka Selects Kansas, Match-Up in SoCal, Stock Risers, & More

Posted by Sean Moran on January 29th, 2016

7sweetscoops

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 rushthecourt@yahoo.com.

Note: Scout.com used for all player rankings.

1. Monster Center Goes With Kansas

It’s par for the course when four-star center and future McDonald’s All-American Udoka Azubuike throws down a rim-rattling dunk. While his game can be loud, his recruitment was certainly quiet. On Thursday evening, the 6’10”, 270-pound center chose Kansas over UNC and Florida State on ESPNU. In a recruitment that was kept extremely close to the vest, neither college coaches nor recruiting experts knew where the Florida standout was headed. With the commitment, Azubuike becomes the second Jayhawk commit in the class of 2016 in addition to three-star forward Mitch Lightfoot and provides immediate depth in the front-court. Given his size, Azubuike is a load to handle down low and is a beast on the low blocks. He’s capable of ripping the rim down with two-hand dunks but is limited offensively outside of the paint. While playing for the top Nike AAU team this past season in the Georgia Stars, Udoka averaged 13.1 points and 7.6 rebounds per game.

2. Big Time Match-Up In Southern California

A lot has been written this year about the Ball brothers and Chino Hills, the current No. 1 team in the country. On Saturday they will face a tough test against Bishop Montgomery (CA) who is currently the No. 2 ranked team in the state. The Chino Hills machine is a run-and-gun, offensive juggernaut that is led by Lonzo Ball, the No. 14 ranked player in the country and future UCLA Bruin. Along with Lonzo, his younger brother Li’Angelo is also headed to UCLA. Much different than his brother in body frame and playing style, Li’Angelo isn’t afraid to let it fly from deep and can also punish defenders down low with his tight end body. Bishop Montgomery is led by junior four-star guard Ethan Thompson, who is the brother of Oregon State guard Stephen Thompson Jr. Also, 6’4” sophomore shooting guard David Singleton is receiving a bevy or PAC-12 interest so far in his young career. While the gym will be packed for this match-up, fans will also be treated to a nice appetizer before with two highly touted sophomore. 6’8” Shareef O’Neal (yes, Shaq’s son) and 6’5” Jules Bernard suit up for Windward (CA) and will give fans a glimpse of the future in the state.

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Who’s Got Next? HoopHall Preview, Kobi Simmons & Rechon Black Make Decisions

Posted by Sean Moran on January 18th, 2016

whosgotnext

Who’s Got Next? is a weekly column by Sean Moran, the RTC recruiting guru. Once a week he will bring you an overview of what’s going on in the complex world of recruiting, from who is signing where among the seniors to discussing the recruitment of the top uncommitted players in the country. 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 rushthecourt@yahoo.com.

Note: Scout.com used for all player rankings.

The final day of the famed HoopHall Classic takes place today with ESPNU giving college basketball fans a chance to get a head start on watching some of the top freshmen in the 2016-17 season. Here is a primer on 5 players to watch:

Jayson Tatum (11am) – Tatum is a 6’7” wing headed to Duke and has been one of the top players in his class (#3 overall) from the time he entered high school at Chaminade (MO). The future Blue Devil has the most advanced offensive game in the class of 2016 and likes to show off his Kobe Bryant fade-away.

Markelle Fultz (11am) – As a sophomore, the 6’4” Fultz was playing junior varsity for DeMatha. Now, he is the #7 prospect in the country and will head across the country to play at Washington next season. Fultz is a combo guard that can score in unorthodox ways. He excels at getting to the basket off the pick and roll and is a strong 3-point shooter.

Lonzo Ball (5pm) – The oldest of the Ball brothers is the best passer in high school and is the quarterback of Chino Hills, the top team in the country. The future UCLA Bruin is a 6’5” point guard that can hit pin-point three-quarter court passes and also knock down a three from the NBA three point line. Chino Hills is one of the most entertaining teams to watch as well.

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Seven Sweet Scoops: Ball Brothers Shine, Marvin Bagley Finds a Home

Posted by Sean Moran on January 9th, 2016

7sweetscoops

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 rushthecourt@yahoo.com.

Note: Scout.com used for all player rankings.

1. The Ball Brothers Go National

Watching Chino Hills play basketball is similar to what you would see playing a video game. Full court passes, threes splashing in from all areas of the court, pressing, trapping, and an insane amount of highlights. Led by the Ball brothers, Chino Hills is the No. 1 team in the country after winning both the City of Palms tournament in Florida and the MaxPreps Holiday Classic in California. They narrowly defeated Thomas Jefferson (NY) 91-90 before handing Montverde their first loss of the season at the City of Palms, and then went out and beat The Patrick School, coached by former Rutgers coach Mike Rice, in overtime in the championship. The team is led by five-star senior point guard Lonzo Ball who may well be the best passer in high school basketball. His younger brothers LiAngelo and LaMelo also play key roles. LiAngelo in particular impressed over the holidays in using his football physique to punish smaller defenders in the post. All three brothers have committed to play for UCLA. After dismantling teams from across the country, the Ball brothers and Chino Hills will try to run and gun their way to a California state title.

2. Name To Remember: RJ Barrett

Candian Andrew Wiggins was the top player in a loaded 2013 high school class. Now, it appears that R.J. Barrett, a 6’6” freshman wing, might be the next Canadian to top the recruiting ranking charts. The Barrett buzz began early in the Canadian circles, as his father is a former pro player and Canadian national team member. It picked up that much more when Barrett scored 13 points in the U16 FIBA America’s gold medal game against the top USA players in the 2017 and 2018 classes. Now, Barrett is at the famed Montverde Academy in Florida playing for head coach Kevin Boyle. Before Christmas rolled around, Barrett was named to the all-tournament team at the City of Palms Classic. In one of the top tournaments in the country, Barrett averaged 19.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 4 assists. He also exploded for 31 points against Chino Hills, the top team in the country. Only 15, Barrett already displays a wide array of abilities. He makes three pointers as easily as he can finish with an athletic dunk, equally capable of punishing teams on attacks of the rim as he is from the perimeter. It’s very early in the young Canadian’s career, but Barrett currently sits at the top of the 2019 high school class. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sweet Seven Scoops: Andrew Jones Playing for 5-Star Status, Shoe Rivalries, & More

Posted by Sean Moran on December 9th, 2015

7sweetscoops

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 rushthecourt@yahoo.com.

Note: Scout.com used for all player rankings.

1. Andrew Jones Makes a Play for 5-Star Status

Shooting guard Andrew Jones was one of the hottest names on the summer AAU circuit and his rise is still going strong with the tip of the high school basketball season. The wiry point guard from Texas recently averaged 33.0 points and seven rebounds over two games in the prestigious Thanksgiving Hoopfest against two of the top guards in the country. In his first game, Jones dropped 37 points against 2017 guard Trae Young and then in a mano y mano battle against future Kentucky guard De’Aron Fox, he scored 29 more. When offers started pouring in last summer, it looked like Jones’ recruitment was going to end quickly with official visits to Arizona and Louisville. Now, Jones is also considering SMU, Baylor and he has an official visit next weekend in Austin when Texas takes on North Carolina. The Irving, Texas, native is currently ranked No. 30 in the 2016 class and will make a strong push for McDonald’s All-American status as his senior season progresses.

2. Shoe Wars: Getting Ready for 2016

All eyes will be on New York City come the weekend of April 15-17. That weekend marks the first live recruiting period for college coaches and both Nike and Under Armour will be hosting their inaugural AAU events in the basketball mecca. This will be Nike’s first foray into New York City since the company kicked off its Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) and will coincide with the Jordan Brand Classic, an All-Star event at the Barclays Center for some of the top players in the class of 2015. Last year, Under Armour had one of their AAU weekends just outside of New York City, but two of the main players in grassroots basketball are raising the bar this year. You can certainly bet that all of the college coaches that will be out on the road in April will appreciate both rivals hosting their events within easy driving distance of each other. Read the rest of this entry »

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Who’s Got Next? Meeting Kentucky’s Next Vaunted Recruiting Class

Posted by Sean Moran on November 24th, 2015

whosgotnext

Who’s Got Next? is a weekly column by Sean Moran, the RTC recruiting guru. Once a week he will bring you an overview of what’s going on in the complex world of recruiting, from who is signing where among the seniors to discussing the recruitment of the top uncommitted players in the country. 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 rushthecourt@yahoo.com.

Note: Scout.com used for all player rankings.

Kentucky took down Duke 74-63 in last Tuesday’s Champions Classic and now it has surged ahead of the Blue Devils in the race for the top recruiting class in 2016 as well. Adding two five-star recruits in the span of a week (and three in the span of a month) will usually do that. It started on November 12, when 6’3” point guard De’Aron Fox committed to John Calipari’s program. It continued last week, when 6’8” Edrice “Bam” Adebayo and 6’3” shooting guard Malik Monk followed Fox’s lead with commitments of their own.

Surprise, surprise - John Calipari is cleaning up on the recruiting trail. (Getty)

Surprise, surprise – John Calipari is cleaning up on the recruiting trail. (Getty)

So what is Kentucky getting in these three commitments? Fox will look to follow in the footsteps of John Wall and Brandon Knight, two of the many five-star point guards that Calipari has brought to Lexington during his tenure. He is a three-year veteran of the Nike EYBL, having first played on the Houston Hoops AAU squad as a rising sophomore with Justise Winslow, Kelly Oubre and Justin Jackson. Despite playing with older competition, Fox was usually somewhat of an afterthought in a loaded class of point guards. Even Kentucky originally prioritized Derryck Thornton (before he reclassified) and Kobi Simmons over Fox. However, this was before Fox put together a sensational summer and established himself at the front of the pack in a class that includes Dennis Smith, Frank Jackson (Duke commitment), Lonzo Ball and Simmons. The left-handed Fox is a menacing defensive presence who can lock down guards with his quick feet and fast hands. His primary weakness revolves around outside shooting, but he is a capable shooter off the dribble and is plenty explosive around the rim. While Fox was not always a priority for Kentucky, the Wildcats might have ended up with the best point guard in the class. Read the rest of this entry »

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Who’s Got Next? Duke Lands Top Recruit Harry Giles

Posted by Sean Moran on November 6th, 2015

whosgotnext

Who’s Got Next? is a weekly column by Sean Moran, the RTC recruiting guru. Once a week he will bring you an overview of what’s going on in the complex world of recruiting, from who is signing where among the seniors to discussing the recruitment of the top uncommitted players in the country. 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 rushthecourt@yahoo.com.

Note: Scout.com used for all player rankings.

It’s been rumored for months, but now it’s official: “I’ll be attending Duke University,” Harry Giles said at a Noon ET press conference earlier today. The 6’10” senior has been coveted by the top college coaches in America from the time he first put on a jersey at Wesleyan Christian Academy (NC) several years ago, and this article was supposed to focus on Duke’s Class of 2016 — now with the top two players committed — being one for the ages. While it might still end up this way, the somber backdrop to today’s announcement was that the nation’s top prospect tore his right ACL earlier this week and will miss his senior season at Oak Hill Acadamy (VA).

After three years at Wesleyan Christian, Giles’ transfer to the famed basketball powerhouse in the Virginia mountains meant that a high school national championship, McDonald’s All-American honors, and a National Player of the Year award were all in play. In an unfortunate but familiar twist of fate, all of those possibilities were removed when Giles heard a pop while driving to the basket against Moravian Prep (NC) on Tuesday night. The timing for his rehabilitation isn’t awful — Giles will be able to take his time to strengthen his knee in order to get ready for his freshman season in Durham one year from now, and sadly, this isn’t his first rodeo. While playing for the USA U-16 team in the 2013 FIBA Americas, Giles tore both his left ACL and MCL. He spent his sophomore season rehabilitating and it wasn’t until May 2014 when he returned to the court during Nike EYBL AAU action. He initially was nowhere near the player he had been as a freshman, and it wasn’t until almost 13 months after his injury that Giles was able to do some of the things that had previously come naturally to him. With all of the top college coaches packed into a gym in Colorado Springs for the USA U-17 tryouts, Giles threw down a rim-rattling dunk and followed that up with a smooth one dribble pull-up from 15 feet. He was back.

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Where Are They Now? Five-Stars From 2012

Posted by Sean Moran on October 29th, 2015

RTC recruiting guru Sean Moran takes an in-depth look at the players ranked as five-star recruits from the high school Class of 2012. How many of these players are still in college? How many are already out of the NBA? 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 rushthecourt@yahoo.com.

Note: Scout.com used for all player rankings.

Per Scout.com, there were 25 five-star players in the Class of 2012. Eleven of those players will suit up for a college team this season (after only seven returned last year). At the time of graduation, this particular prep class did not receive the same type of fanfare that its 2011 antecedent had (a class headlined by Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist) or the class that would follow it in 2013 (Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker). Until Nerlens Noel re-classified into the class, Shabazz Muhammad was the consensus top player in the country. Five freshmen were selected in the first round of the 2013 NBA Draft, including #1 pick Anthony Bennett (now on his third NBA team), and there have been a total of nine players drafted in the first round over the last three years. Some prospects, such as Grant Jerrett and Semaj Christon, were drafted in the second round are still bouncing around the professional ranks. Kentucky, UCLA, Arizona, Baylor and N.C. State notched the top five recruiting classes that year, but only the two Wildcats programs (in Lexington and Tucson) were able to maximize that season’s talent influx.

Sean 2012

Going into this season, Arizona’s Kaleb Tarczewski and Kentucky’s Alex Poythress are the highest ranked recruits from the Class of 2012 still playing college basketball. Other players such as Willie Cauley-Stein and Nik Stauskas weren’t five-star prospects, but they put together tremendous college campaigns and came out early as NBA lottery picks. Big things are expected out of Providence guard Kris Dunn this year — just check anyone’s All-America list — but there are also a bunch of four-star players also gracing those same teams. North Carolina guard Marcus Paige, Indiana guard Yogi Ferrell, Kansas forward Perry Ellis, and Iowa State forward Georges Niang are all solid bets to also find their names on such lists this season. Somewhat surprisingly, it could be Maryland that benefits the most from the Class of 2012. The Terps lost one top-50 player to transfer (Shaquille Cleare), but they will be adding two former five-stars to the roster this season: former Duke guard Rasheed Sulaimon, and Georgia Tech transfer Robert Carter. The 2012 class may not have generated much in terms of NBA stardom (yet), but the upcoming college season should benefit from the presence of those guys who are still around.

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Sweet Seven Scoops: Top Frontcourt? Izzo’s Top Class, UNC’s Late Night & More…

Posted by Sean Moran on October 23rd, 2015

7sweetscoops

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 rushthecourt@yahoo.com.

Note: Scout.com used for all player rankings.

1. Who Has the Top Frontcourt?

Who has the top frontcourt in college basketball? Gonzaga? Maryland? North Carolina? Kentucky? Iowa State? A debate could be made for a variety of teams, but the most talented frontcourt in terms of future NBA potential exists down in Phoenix where two of the most talented high school players in the country are teammates at Hillcrest (AZ) Prep. First, it was Marvin Bagley III, the top sophomore in the country who left Corona del Sol (AZ) after his freshman year to play at Hillcrest. Then it was Deandre Ayton, who left Balboa Prep in San Diego to do the same. At 6’10”, Bagley is a smooth and skilled lefty forward who is easily the top prospect in the Class of 2018. Ayton, to up the ante, was named as the top prospect in all of high school basketball by Scout. He injured his knee in the spring and had an underwhelming summer on the AAU circuit, but with great size and length, Ayton already has NBA scouts drooling at his physical tools. He put together a 17-point, 18-rebound performance against UNC last year in a scrimmage, and keep in mind that he was only a prep sophomore at the time. Bagley and Ayton still have considerable time to pass in the high school ranks, but if they were on a college campus right now their names would be mentioned among the discussion of the top college frontcourts in America.

2. Locked and Loaded in East Lansing

Tom Izzo currently has two five-star recruits and two four-star recruits committed, giving Michigan State arguably the No. 1 class at this point. It wasn’t all that long ago that Izzo had struck out swinging on three highly regarded Chicago-area players in Jahlil Okafor, Cliff Alexander and Tyler Ulis. The sky seemed to be falling on Sparty then, but Izzo pulled a few trademark March upsets and got the Spartans back to the Final Four last year and ready to contend for another Big Ten title again this year. In this year’s class, Izzo went back to his bread and butter of in-state recruiting. Miles Bridges, a top 10 prospect from Michigan, chose the Spartans over Kentucky and Indiana, and Cassius Winston, a four-star guard, hails from Detroit. Izzo also nabbed five-star Josh Langford, a 6’5” wing from Alabama, and 6’8” four-star forward Nick Ward from Ohio. Langford in particular is the ideal Izzo recruit, given his toughness and style of play. He outplayed several other highly regarded players at the USA Developmental camp during the first weekend of October, and while things were briefly looking bleak for Michigan State one year ago, the future now couldn’t be much brighter.

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