Morning Five: 09.03.13 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on September 3rd, 2013


  1. Although many Michigan State fans are probably concerned about the health of Gary Harris after he sprained his right ankle in a pick-up game with teammates that will keep him out for four to eight weeks based on what we have heard it does not appear to be a major injury. Of course we take every prediction of time to return from an ankle injury with a grain of salt since it can take several days to truly understand the extent of injury so the four- to eight-week timetable should be considered a guess at best. Some Spartan fans are probably also concerned with Harris’ tendency to get injured since he was plagued by a shoulder injury that he managed to play through while averaging 12.9 points per game on his way to Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors. However the injuries appear to be unrelated so it seems that Harris is just unlucky rather than injury-prone.
  2. High school basketball recruiting has grown from a very specialized niche to a thriving industry, but few if any individuals cover it as well as Dave Telep does. So we were not shocked when the San Antonio Spurs decided to hire him to be part of their scouting department. We are still unsure what Telep’s specific role will be (given the Spurs recent history we suspect he will need to keep his passport handy), but we have no doubt given his and the team’s track record that he will be a success in his new job. We will miss having his analysis open to the public, but we wish him the best of luck.
  3. Unlike Telep and a group of other individuals we are by no means recruiting experts (particularly this early in the year) so we were a little surprised to see the media reaction to Trevon Bluiett‘s commitment to UCLA. Bluiett, who is ranked #41 overall in this year’s senior class, committed to UCLA after they hired his high school coach. We discussed this topic almost five years ago with Michael Beasley, a much more accomplished player than Bluiett, so we are somewhat surprised to see a school with UCLA’s reputation needing to resort to such tactics (admittedly within the rules) to get someone so lightly regarded. There are also rumors that Bluiett might be the first domino in a series of recruits that will commit to UCLA now. If that is the case, we understand the package deal, but for right now we remain skeptical about its impact on the national scene.
  4. Over the past year we have read plenty of analysts give their opinions on the issue of whether college athletes should be provided with monetary compensation beyond their current athletic scholarships. Most of these opinions have been voiced in Twitter rants or occasionally in the op-ed section with the primary focus being the huge TV contracts being awarded as well as the high salaries of coaches and administrators. What we have not seen (at least in mainstream media) is an economic analysis that is as thorough as what Jeffrey Dorfman provided to Forbes. Now you can take issue with the headline number of $125,000, which is admittedly back-of-the-envelope and something we would have never included if we published the article, but we agree with a lot of his underlying assertions regarding the difficulties of enacting such a system. Whether or not you agree with those assertions, the article should still illustrate why it will be a long time before any significant change is made.
  5. When we saw the news release that ESPN and Time Warner Cable had reached a deal allowing their customers in Texas to watch the Longhorn Network our first reaction was surprise that a deal had not already been reached. We are not sure how many people actually get Longhorn Network, but given the controversy surrounding its launch we are a little surprised that it has not even caught on locally. While most schools will stick with the conference contracts the difficulties of a network featuring the most profitable college brand in the country underscores some issues networks may have launching hyperlocal channels.
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The RTC Interview Series: Talking Recruiting with Dave Telep and Jeff Borzello

Posted by WCarey on August 7th, 2013

Rush The Court is back with another edition of One on One: An Interview Series, which we will bring you periodically throughout the year. If you have any specific interview requests or want us to interview you, shoot us an email at the summer recruiting window coming to a close, much was learned about the top prospects in the Class of 2014 and the Class of 2015. When it comes to acquiring information about prospects and the recruiting process, you’d be hard-pressed to find better sources than ESPN’s Dave Telep (@DaveTelep) and CBSSports’ Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello). Over the past few decades, Telep has earned a much-deserved reputation as a scouting and player evaluation workhorse. If there is basketball being played in the summer, you know Telep is going to be close to the action. While Telep has been a mainstay on the recruiting scene for many years now, Borzello is a relative newcomer to the scene – he started covering recruiting in 2009 – but in that short period, he has developed a strong reputation as a high quality college basketball and recruiting scribe. RTC correspondent Walker Carey recently had the pleasure of speaking with both Telep and Borzello about the Class of 2014, the Class of 2015, and a few notes regarding this coming college basketball season.(Ed. note – we spoke to each individual separately, but for the sake of expediency, combining their answers into a round table format made the most sense.)

Rush the Court: With the summer recruiting window now closed, who are some of the top performers in the Class of 2014 and what makes those players so special?

Dave Telep: To be honest with you, I have not had time to really process all of that yet. But I think when you are talking about 2014, you have to include Jahlil Okafor (Chicago, IL/Whitney Young), Tyus Jones (Apple Valley, MN/Apple Valley), Cliff Alexander (Chicago, IL/Curie), Myles Turner (Euless, TX/Trinity), and Emmanuel Mudiay (Dallas, TX/Prime Prep Academy) – in some order. I think with this class, whoever ends up being number one right now will be challenged and pushed throughout the year by the rest of the guys. I think we learned a lot in the month of July, but I do not think we have one guy who is ripping away from the rest of the pack to a point where he cannot be caught.

Okafor Was First Mentioned From the Experts as the Top Player in 2014

Okafor Was First Mentioned From the Experts as the Top Player in 2014

Jahlil Okafor is the complete package at the post position. His ability to catch the ball and position himself near the basket is outstanding. Cliff Alexander probably had the best summer – start-to-finish – of any big guy in the country. He is a large human being who is relentless and loves to rebound. Tyus Jones is the ultimate game manager. Skip Prosser used to say about Chris Paul, “I hand him the ball at the start of the game and at the end of the game, he hands it back over in good shape.” To me, Tyus Jones is that same kind of player. Emmanuel Mudiay plays the game like he is on skates. He reminds me of John Wall a little bit with his approach. They are different players, but they are both scoring point guards, with good size, scoring ability, and really want to just rip it and go. With Myles Turner, I am not sure two years from now we will look at this class and Myles Turner will not be the best prospect. When you stack up all these guys in-terms of long term potential, I am not sure that there is anyone who is like Myles Turner.

Jeff Borzello: The three weeks in July were great for helping to establish the rankings because you were able to take into account head-to-head matchups and things like that. Jahlil Okafor is just so skilled. There are not many guys his size that are able to do the things that he does. He passes so well, he can play in the high post, and he can play in the low post. When you look at his AAU teammate Cliff Alexander, the guy is just a physical specimen. He is stronger than most players he goes against. He might be the most productive big man in high school basketball. He might not be the best prospect, but he is so productive because he is so big. Myles Turner is probably the biggest riser of the past two months or so. He is a seven-footer who can shoot threes, run the floor, he is a great shot blocker, and might be the best interior defender in the country. It is kind of fun to compare the elite point guards – Tyus Jones and Emmanuel Mudiay – just because they are so different. Tyus Jones is more of the cerebral/runs-the-team winner. He is a really good passer and keeps things under control. Emmanuel Mudiay, on the other hand, is a legitimate possible future NBA All-Star. He is that talented. His ceiling is extremely high, he is stronger than most guys he goes against, he can get in the lane at will, and he is a much improved jump shooter. The elite guys in the country do a lot of different things. This year, they are not too similar in their skill sets.

RTC: Jahlil Okafor and Tyus Jones have long made known their intentions to play college basketball at the same school. This is definitely a unique situation given the fact that Okafor and Jones are from different states, are not related, and are two of the top players in the Class of 2014. What are your thoughts on this rare situation and is there any possibility that this package might get broken up?

Telep: Most of the time when two guys tell you they are going to school together, you are just waiting for the ceiling to fall in. You do not necessarily believe that things are going to work out the way they let everyone believe it will. However, the dynamics of this relationship is very special. You have two guys who already won a gold medal together at the 2012 FIBA U-17 World Championship and roomed together during the games in Lithuania. They have spent a lot of time together. One is the best point guard and the other is the best post player in the class, so you can understand why they would want to go to school together if they are already friends. It almost makes too much sense. Now, there are colleges as we speak that are trying to rip and pull this package away – as they should – because they do not think they can get both guys. Just to give you the reality of the situation – Minnesota is on Jones’ list, but it is not on Okafor’s list and Illinois is on Okafor’s list, but it is not on Jones’ list. On the other hand, you have a group of other schools (Duke, Kentucky, Baylor, Ohio State, etc.) that are actively going after both players. One official visit is already scheduled at Baylor and I strongly believe another one will be set for Duke. I would imagine a lot more will come out about both guys’ recruitment over the next few weeks, so we will have a better idea of where things are at with it.

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Who’s Got Next? UConn Grabs Calhoun, Tough Week For Tech, & Teague Carries Indiana…

Posted by Josh Paunil on June 14th, 2011

Who’s Got Next? is a bi-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. Twice 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 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


Freshmen and sophomores dominated in Colorado Springs last week during the USA U-16 developmental team training camp while the best point guard in the Class of 2011 hit a buzzer beater to win a fiercely competitive interstate all-star game. A few top ten stars in the Class of 2012 also announced new lists, new visits and new favorites as Jim Calhoun and the Connecticut Huskies continued their dominance on the recruiting trail. An article on the fastest rising junior in the country was another must-read as we take you into this edition of Who’s Got Next?

What They’re Saying

Kaleb Tarczewski (#6) spoke about his Kansas visit. (NY2LA Sports)

  • Junior Kaleb Tarczewski (#6) on his Kansas visit: “It was really good, I really like it there. This trip was really for my mom. She hadn’t been there yet and I wanted her to see it.”
  • Sophomore standout Allerik Freeman on some schools on his list: “Florida is a great program with a great staff. NC State is on the right tracking trying to get back to the national spotlight. Georgetown has a rich tradition, and great staff with a nice offense. Tennessee is a place where my game fits in great.”
  • Omar Calhoun, Sr., on his son, junior Omar Calhoun, Jr., committing to Connecticut: “After spending time with [head] coach [Jim] Calhoun and the rest of the coaching staff, we felt it was a place we needed to be. He believes he fits well… coach Calhoun has had a tremendous amount of success with NYC guards.”
  • Junior Ricardo Ledo (#9) on what’s factoring in on his decision: “I want to go somewhere I can win. Playing time is also important.”
  • Junior Rodney Purvis (#7) on his Missouri visit: “It was great and fun. The visit was not what I expected!”
  • Junior Archie Goodwin (#19) on Kentucky head coach John Calipari: “He’s just a great person. He helps people excel and fulfill their dreams.”
  • Junior Jordan Price on his commitment to Auburn: “I just felt like it was the best fit for me and my family. It’s not too far away from my home so family and friends can come watch.”
  • Class of 2012 center Landen Lucas on his Kansas visit: “Loved it! [Assistant] coach [Danny] Manning stood out because of how well he develops bigs and gets them to the next level.”
  • Don Showalter on players who stood out at the USA U-16 Developmental Team tryouts: “[Class of 2013 Watch List power forwards Jabari] Parker and [Aaron] Gordon really stood out, they are really, really good players. They are going to be the best players in the tournament, no question. We started there and built around them.”
  • Senior Norvel Pelle on why he committed to St. John’s: “I wanted to get the best of both worlds. It’s a perfect opportunity with their new class of freshman and being in New York. I have a good relationship with the whole coaching staff and we try to connect on a daily basis. They’re all down to earth and chill.”

What We Learned

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Morning Five: Veterans Day Edition

Posted by jstevrtc on November 11th, 2010

  1. Evan Daniels has over 10,000 Twitter followers. Dave Telep has almost 11,000. This should surprise nobody. The Louisville Courier-Journal takes a look at how the reportage of college basketball recruiting is getting to be just as big a national sports obsession, and is getting to be just as competitive, as the race to sign the recruits themselves. Interesting fellows, those chaps. We thoroughly enjoyed speaking with Mr. Telep a few weeks ago, and our own informers and operatives tell us that not only is Daniels a platinum mine of recruiting information, but that he can’t go anywhere without legions of female followers running after him. We can neither confirm nor deny that Daniels started that rumor himself.
  2. According to the Lansing State Journal, the season is over. In an article yesterday, it bullet-pointed every game on Michigan State’s schedule and provided a short description on how each will play out. Shockingly, the Journal predicts the Spartans will finish the season on a 14-game winning streak that includes clinching the Big Ten regular season title on Michigan’s floor, a Big Ten Tournament title, and another national championship for Tom Izzo. Fun stuff, here — especially when their prognostications get to NCAA Tournament time. And especially if you’re an MSU fan.
  3. Conference realignment continues. Andy Katz reported yesterday that Denver, Texas State, and Texas-San Antonio are headed for the WAC for the 2012-13 season. They’ll replace Boise State, Fresno State, and Nevada who left for the Mountain West. Again, a lot of this seems to be motivated by something called football, so we’ll do some investigative reporting to find out exactly what that is. If we ever knew, we forgot after October 15th.
  4. The first day of the hoops signing period didn’t yield any massive surprises, but some schools at or near the top of the overall recruiting rankings heard from each (or most) of the prospects who verbally committed to them earlier, and good things seem to come in fours. John Calipari discusses the four letters Kentucky received; Illinois also received a quartet of goodness yesterday; Virginia Tech saw ink from its foursome of top-100 signees; and here are four great write-ups on four prospects St. John’s officially signed yesterday, with one more likely to come tomorrow.
  5. West Virginia fans are steppin’ up. Correction: make that have been stepping up. On the strength of last year’s Final Four appearance, Mountaineer faithful have set a season-ticket sales record for the sixth straight year. Pretty impressive by itself, but more so when you factor in the still-limping economy, and that these babies aren’t exactly going for chicken feed. Hold on, here — two straight perfect graduation scores, a Final Four, a top-25 recruiting class…we’re going to have to try to get over to Morgantown. Sounds like these are good days to be an ‘Eer.

[Ed. note: we don’t know if he’s a Mountaineers fan, but #5 is humbly dedicated to Frank Woodruff Buckles of Charles Town, West Virginia. Currently 109 years old, he is the United States’ last living veteran from World War I. RTC extends its heartfelt gratitude on this day to all the military veterans who have served our country, whether it was yesterday or 92 years ago.]

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2010-11 RTC Season Preview: Complete Overview

Posted by nvr1983 on November 9th, 2010

Some of you may have noticed that we at RTC have been pretty busy getting lately. For those of you who have been keeping up to date on everything happening at RTC we would like to thank you. For those slackers who like to procrastinate in getting ready for the season (and you know who you are), we have put together this not-so-brief but comprehensive guide to get you ready for the season.

The RTC Top 25: Hard to pick against Duke this year, as all five of our voters were in agreement that Coach K’s Blue Devils are the team to beat.

Tweeting the Preview: Those of you who follow us on Twitter (@rushthecourt) are familiar with this feature, but for the past two weeks we have been Tweeting our rankings counting down every single Division I team in reverse order.

Preseason Bracketology: In conjunction with our run-down of the top 345 teams in Division 1 we also bring you the first of many installments of RTC Bracketology. [Ed. Note: If the seed doesn’t correlate with rankings just remember that just because a team has a higher seed doesn’t mean that they are better just that they have a better resume.]

RTC Conference Primers: Our countdown of every conference in Division I basketball with a breakdown of each (top players, teams, and what to watch for).

  1. Big 10
  2. Big East
  3. Big 12
  4. ACC
  5. SEC
  6. Pac-10
  7. Atlantic 10
  8. Mountain West
  9. Conference USA
  10. Missouri Valley
  11. Colonial
  12. WCC
  13. Horizon
  14. WAC
  15. MAAC
  16. Southern
  17. Big West
  18. Big Sky
  19. MAC
  20. OVC
  21. Sun Belt
  22. Atlantic Sun
  23. Southland
  24. Ivy
  25. America East
  26. Summit
  27. Northeast
  28. Patriot
  29. Big South
  30. MEAC
  31. SWAC

Where 2010-11 Happens: Our countdown of 30 things (via YouTube) to get us even more pumped up for the upcoming season.

  • It’s easiest to view all thirty clips in one place here.  And if you’re not excited about the season after watching that, well, you probably need to stick with arguing about the BCS.

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The RTC Interview Series: One on One with Dave Telep

Posted by rtmsf on October 29th, 2010

Rush The Court is back with another edition of One on One: An Interview Series, which we will bring you periodically throughout the year. If you have any specific interview requests or want us to interview you, shoot us an email at

Scouting high school basketball players is a task that probably ranks just above weather prediction and winning trifectas at the track in terms of its certainty, but there are several folks out there who are among the best in the profession.  Dave Telep, former National Recruiting Director for and current Senior Basketball Recruiting Analyst for ESPN, is one of those guys.  As a young college graduate in the mid-90s, he helped launch PrepStars before quickly rising up the ladder and developing his name at both Rivals and Scout, two of the pre-eminent recruiting services in existence today.  In the intervening decade, Telep built a sterling reputation for his workhorse approach to scouting, going from game to game in state after state to see players with his own eyes so as to fairly evaluate them.  He also founded Dave Telep’s Carolina Challenge in 2007, a one-day camp for 80 hand-picked North Carolina high school players in who want to learn what it takes to become a top college basketball player.  Some of the recruits who have attended this camp have been Duke’s Mason Plumlee and former Kentucky star John Wall.  The recruiting aficianado was in fact driving to a game in Virginia at the time of this interview — he never stops moving when there are players to be evaluated.  You can find Telep on both Facebook and Twitter — we’d recommend you friend/follow him to stay on top of all of the latest recruiting and scouting news.

Telep is a Scouting Mastermind

Rush the Court: Let’s start with the most newsworthy item in your life right now, the move from to ESPN. Can you tell us a little bit about how this all came about and what the plan is for the immediate future there?

Dave Telep: Yeah, you know, I could not be more thankful and more grateful for the nine years I spent with and Fox. My contract came up for renewal this summer and ESPN presented a really unique opportunity to do some things in the recruiting world on a bunch of different media platforms. It’s something where, to be honest, I’ve always wanted to work for ESPN. When I realized that I wasn’t going to be a professional athlete around the age of twelve, I realized one of the things I wanted to do with my life was to eventually work for ESPN. It’s really been a fun time for me and my family, and we’re having a great time with it. We have such a really neat team of guys there from the scouts to the guys who operate the database, that it’s really exciting to have so much support of a bunch of guys who are really woven into the fabric of college basketball. It’s awesome!

RTC: To many in this business, getting the call from ESPN is a dream come true. Is this the Dave Telep equivalent of seeing your name at the top of a recruiting list?

DT: The cool thing for me as the father of two boys is that I can someday look at those guys and say “if there’s something in your life that you really want to do, and you have the ability to, through hard work and luck and people helping you out, you can make that happen.” That’s been the neat thing for me with ESPN so far, just sharing and talking about it with my parents. You set these goals when you’re younger, and to see one of them come to fruition on a personal level is really cool. It’s not just a job for me. This is something I’ve always kinda had my eye on. I never knew what I would ever do at ESPN someday; I just knew that I always wanted to be around people who were excellent in their field. I knew from a young age that I would love to do that someday. This is definitely a dream come true for me.

RTC: Let’s move into some scouting questions.  Everyone has predictions from their career they’re proud of and a few they’re not quite as ready to shout from the hilltops. What are some of your most notable ones both ways?

DT: Great question. I was very excited the first time I saw Chris Paul, and I was happy to be one of the first people who spearheaded that charge. That worked out really well for me. You know, recently a couple of years ago we had DeJuan Blair in the top twenty, and the reason why I ranked Blair in the top twenty was because six or seven years before that I totally whiffed on Emeka Okafor by ranking him in the 80s. I was bound and determined that if a guy averaged as many rebounds as Blair did to not make the same mistake that we made with Okafor. I screwed up with Okafor but I’d like to think I learned something from it. Some others — I’ll never forget the day I saw Adam Morrison go for 30+ in a packed gym in Las Vegas, and I totally whiffed on that one. I learned a lot from the evaluation of Stephen Curry. I watched him all through high school. I evaluated him as a low-major player, a mid-major player, and at the end of his HS career, I rated him the highest level mid-major player possible. But if I could have stuck him into the top 100, that would probably be one of my bigger regrets in not doing so. My real job is to learn from all these mistakes and try to avoid them [in the future]. You see a situation like Emeka Okafor – he averaged 18-19 RPG in high school – that is a freaky number, to be frank. Then to see Blair come around and be that same kind of a rebounding force… they’re two different players, but although we screwed up Okafor it taught me a little more on the back end with Blair. When you see a guy with such a freakish skill set and such a knack for doing something extraordinary, your radar definitely goes up.

Telep Was Onto Chris Paul Before Anybody Else

RTC: You’ve talked in the past about ‘balancing potential with production’ when evaluating prospects. Which is harder – figuring out where a prospect can top out or figuring out where he will top out?

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