Sweet Seven Scoops: A Viewer’s Guide to the McDonald’s All-American Game

Posted by Sean Moran on April 2nd, 2014

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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.

Tonight the top high school players in the country gather to participate in the 37th annual McDonald’s All-American game held at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. Twenty-four of the top ranked high school seniors will provide the college basketball world with a glimpse of what can be expected from the next touted class of youngsters on ESPN at 9:30 PM ET. The high school class of 2014 might not have the star power similar to last year in a game that featured the likes of Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle, Jabari Parker and Aaron Gordon, but there are still several good storylines and match-ups to keep an eye on during tonight’s contest.


1. Chicago Natives At Home

There are three McDonald’s All-Americans from Chicago this year, including two of the top five players in the country. Five-star center Jahlil Okafor and five-star power forward Cliff Alexander will suit up for the East and West squads, respectively. The two played together on the AAU circuit this past summer and faced off in high school action several times over the last three years. Okafor is considered the No. 1 player in the country and is headed to Duke next year, while Alexander is ranked No. 5 and has committed to Kansas. Alexander put together a monster senior campaign, but it was Okafor who won the Illinois state title. Okafor and Alexander excel with different styles although they are both low post scorers. The 6’11” Okafor has the more refined post game and is almost impossible to stop in a one-on-one situation while Alexander is a DeAndre Jordan clone who looks to dunk and block everything in sight. While these two might not match up in tonight’s game, you can be certain that they will both have the hometown crowd on their feet. To go along with the Windy City twin towers, there is also diminutive 5’9” point guard Tyler Ulis (#29). The four-star prospect is headed to Kentucky and will be the quickest player on the court. The floor general is great at beating his man off the dribble and creating easy shots for his teammates. Ulis will suit up on the East squad along with Okafor, while Alexander will play for the West.

2. Where Will Myles Turner Go?

There is only one prospect in the game that remains uncommitted and he is 7’0” center Myles Turner, who is also the No. 2 ranked recruit in the country. This time last year the Texas native wasn’t even considered a top 100 player, but after a meteoric rise last summer he is now the hottest commodity in high school. Turner just recently took an official visit to Texas after previously visiting Ohio State, Duke, Oklahoma State and Kansas. He has also taken unofficial visits to SMU and Texas A&M, and is also reportedly considering Arizona and Kentucky. It’s been a whirlwind journey for Turner, who plans to sit down with his advisers and family after the Jordan Brand Classic to discuss his choice of suitors.

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Morning Five: 10.02.12 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on October 2nd, 2012

  1. Monday was Media Day around the NBA, and why would anyone here give a whit about what professional basketball players have to say? One clear reason is that former Duke forward Lance Thomas is a second-year member of the New Orleans Hornets, and his recent agreement with a New York City jeweler involving a $67,800 loan while he was a senior was bound to come up. First, despite a confidentiality agreement in place, Thomas said he didn’t believe he was involved in an NCAA violation regarding the transaction; he then added, “There’s more to it, but I’m not going to comment on it right now. Everything will unfold once everything is taken care of the right way.” He went on to say that he would eventually speak to both Duke and the NCAA about the incident, but kept referring to doing things “the right way.” What is Thomas talking about here? The settlement is already in place, and we’ve been told that it includes a confidentiality agreement. What does he anticipate will change that would allow him to comment on this matter, and why would he expose himself or his beloved alma mater by talking anyway? Thomas’ comments here make very little sense, but then again, very little about this entire incident does.
  2. DePaul basketball has to go back a long way to find its glory days, as the program in the last two decades has largely been an unmitigated disaster (one NCAA win since 1990). Still, with a deep and rich local prep talent pool and no real collegiate rival within the Chicago metropolitan area (Northwestern, of course, has zero NCAA wins to match its number of historical appearances), the school continues to believe that better days are ahead. Mayor Rahm Emanuel said on Monday what many supporters of the program have been thinking for years — one of the school’s biggest negatives is that its home court is located in suburban Rosemont, some 15 traffic-clogged miles from DePaul’s Lincoln Park campus on the north side. A new arena near campus or even regular games at the United Center near downtown might help Chicagoans start to feel like DePaul is their college basketball team. With this idea, we’re totally in favor — to really develop great fan and student support, most campus gyms should be right on campus or as near to it as possible.
  3. It appears that either dad or kids have won out in the continuing saga over the biggest package deal in college basketball since the goofy Lopez twins showed up at Stanford in the fall of 2006. After months of hemming and hawing about their announcement date (most recently: late October) and various reports suggesting that the players and father were at odds of their preference of school, it appears that someone in the (Andrew and Aaron) Harrison family has made a final decision. The top-rated point guard and shooting guard will without question infuse a backcourt with talent in much the same way that UCLA’s Shabazz Muhammad and Kyle Anderson are expected to do this year. Whether their choice will be Kentucky or Maryland is still anybody’s guess, but ESPNU will televise their decision on Thursday afternoon at 5 PM on its “Recruiting Nation” show.
  4. Just yesterday we mentioned that Louisville’s Mike Marra had torn his ACL for the second time in under a year, ending his senior season before it got started, and effectively, his college basketball career. That disappointing news was followed up by the report that Utah center David Foster had broken his right foot, also for the second time in under a year, ending his season before it got started, and effectively, his college basketball career. Ugh. Like Marra, Foster was of limited usefulness offensively, but the 7’3″ big man averaged 3.5 blocks per game in his three-year career, ultimately rejecting 219 total shots and leaving the program as its all-time blocked shots leader. His return from injury for Larry Krystkowiak’s 2012-13 squad was anticipated to provide some defensive help for a team that gave up a putrid 51.3% on shots within the arc last season; Foster’s loss now leaves that up to the more offensively-oriented Jason Washburn (11/6/1.4 BPG).
  5. The more we read about Kevin Ollie‘s tryout season as the head coach of Connecticut with his former coach, mentor and legend Jim Calhoun poking around the program he built, the more we believe that the interim coach may not get a fair shot there. According to this AP report about Ollie and Calhoun’s adjustment period, Calhoun seems to be having a little too much fun staying involved. What happens when the inevitable losing streak happens and reporters start asking for the venerable ex-coach’s opinions? At what point do the envelopes full of sand turn into stocking full of coal? It’s just a weird position for Ollie to suffer, and this is especially true because Calhoun knows he will need considerable help.
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Who’s Got Next? Updated Class of 2012 Rankings…

Posted by Josh Paunil on May 3rd, 2011

Who’s Got Next? is a weekly column by Josh Paunil, the RTC recruiting guru. We encourage you to check out his website dedicated solely to college basketball recruiting, National Recruiting Spotlight, for more detailed recruiting information. Each 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 who the hot prospects are in the lower levels of the sport. If you have any suggestions as to areas we’re missing, please let us know at rushthecourt@yahoo.com. 

Introduction

With another passing week, there is plenty of recruiting news including standout performances at AAU events, commitments and de-commitments, and the latest news on where high-profile prospects are likely to go to college. However, the biggest revelation by far in this past week was a recruiting scandal at a mid-major D1 school that has yet to win an NCAA Tournament game but somehow managed to land two elite prospects. Read on to see how a young man from Chicago, a head coach at a mid-major basketball program and a high-profile former felon created the biggest recruiting scandal in the past few years.

What We Learned

Kevin Ware's recruitment exposed ties between UCF head coach Donnie Jones and convicted felon Kenneth Caldwell.

Kevin Ware’s Recruitment and Central Florida’s Recruiting Scandal. After class of 2011 shooting guard Kevin Ware committed to the Knights two weeks ago, he backed out of the agreement Thursday when he learned of Kenneth Caldwell’s background, a Chicago man with a substantial criminal record and apparent ties to a prominent sports agency. Ware claims that Caldwell repeatedly called him to encourage him to attend Central Florida, traveled to meet with his family and even set up conversations between Ware, himself and head coach Donnie Jones and Jones’ staff – contact which is prohibited by the NCAA. Caldwell formally denied recruiting players for UCF and claimed he was simply impressed by UCF… a school that has never won an NCAA Tournament game.

When Ware and his family were asked about what coaches said their relationship with Caldwell was, they said the coaches claimed they had no direct affiliation with him but that they had known him for a year. This left the Ware family wondering exactly who Caldwell was and how he tied in with UCF.  On his LinkedIn page, Caldwell claimed to be a recruiter of potential NBA players for ASM Sports, which the company later confirmed. What was even more frightening about Caldwell’s background were his two felony convictions in 1991 and again in 1998. He also owes the IRS close to $250,000. After looking at his history and claims, Caldwell could fairly be labeled as a “runner,” someone who acts as a middle man to deliver players to universities and agents.

How current UCF commit Michael Chandler Ties In. Caldwell’s ties to the UCF program started a few years ago when a high school student whom he refers to as his “son” committed to the Knights. Then, two more players whom Caldwell likes to call his “nephews” also chose UCF for their collegiate careers, including one of the best class of 2011 centers in the country, Michael Chandler. Before becoming a Knight, Chandler had previously committed to Louisville and Xavier before he shocked many people by settling on Central Florida. Chandler’s high school coach said he’d never even heard of Central Florida before Chandler committed there. However, Chandler’s uncle said the prospect chose UCF on its merits. In Pat Forde’s column this week analyzing the odd recruitment, he said a source with knowledge of the situation claimed that Caldwell bragged about having inside information of where Chandler would be attending college well before he made his decision public.

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