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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Around The Blogosphere: April 29, 2011

Posted by nvr1983 on April 29th, 2011

If you are interested in participating, send your submissions to rushthecourt@gmail.com as we will be updating these posts throughout the day.

News

  • He has spoken: God’s Gift Achiuwa to St. John’s: Quotes and news about the Steve Lavin’s latest pick-up. (Rumble in the Garden)
  • Maryland Recruiting 6-9 JuCo Robert Goff?: “With Jordan Williams on the verge of going pro, Maryland could really use some post help. One guy that might be able to provide it: Robert Goff, a 6-9, 240-pound JuCo center from Hutchinson C.C. Goff was committed to Oklahoma earlier, but Jeff Goodman reported that he’s been released from his LOI. IMS followed that up hours later by reporting that Maryland was “moving in on” Goff.” (Testudo Times)
  • Pitino introduces Kevin Keatts, talks recruiting: Some key quotes from Pitino’s local radio appearance. (Card Chronicle)
  • 2011 Puerto Rico Tip-Off Field Finalized: Maryland, Purdue, Alabama Highlight: “Besides the Terps, teams include Alabama, Colorado, Iona, Purdue, Temple, Western Michigan, and Wichita State.” (Testudo Times)

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Around The Blogosphere: 11.29.10 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on November 29th, 2010

If you are interested in participating in our ATB2 feature, send in your submissions to rushthecourt@gmail.com.

Top 25 Games

  • #12 Syracuse 80, Georgia Tech 76: “Syracuse is your Legends Classic champion and they won the championship game exactly how they’ve come to win most of their games this season. The Orange stalled early, took the lead around the half and held on for the close 80-76 victory over Georgia Tech. That said, the Orange also got something they haven’t gotten all year long…balance.” (Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician)
  • #12 Missouri 91, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 63: “I’m doing a lot of nit-picking for a 28-point win, but it is what it is.  Mizzou has only been sporadically great this year.  If it’s true that they’re suffering from “Play To The Level Of Competition”-itis, then we should see them play pretty well tomorrow … as Georgetown is a damn fine team.” (Rock M Nation)
  • #20 UF 55, FSU 51: “Despite the clear problems the Gators have, the play of the young bigs and a very good road win against a tough opponent will mean something. As the Gators roll towards Christmas and a tough non-conference schedule that includes several road games, Sunday’s win will hopefully be a sign of things to come.” (Alligator Army)
  • #21 UNLV 71, Virginia Tech 59: “The Malcolm Delaney Show was not enough to pull out a 76 Classic title and the Hokies lost to UNLV 71-59 in the Championship Game in Anaheim, CA.” (Tech Hoops)
  • Texas A&M 54, #24 Temple 51: “Oversized when one of our bigs were out of the game with foul trouble. Outrebounded as a result of that. Outhustled and outworked when the game was on the line. Texas A&M’s hard work through all 40 minutes of play allowed them to hand Temple it’s second loss of the year. I cannot take anything away from the Aggies. They wanted the win more than we did, and earned the 54-51 victory.” (Owlified)

Other Games of Interest

  • Northwestern 65, Creighton 52: “Excuses aside, there is not any time to dwell on it as a few more tests await this week for the Bluejays.    On Wednesday, an undefeated and likely ranked BYU Cougars come into the Qwest Center for a matchup in the MWC/MVC Challenge.  With prolific scorer Jimmer Fredette coming in and Creighton’s difficulty in keeping control of certain players, there is a lot to be worried about.  Then on Sunday, Creighton takes another road trip.  This time it is down to Lincoln to take on in-state rival Nebraska which is always a challenge in the Devaney Center the last few times as the Bluejays haven’t won in Lincoln since the 2004-05 season.  There is not any time for confusion–this stretch will be big if the Bluejays are anywhere near postseason NCAA contention come March.” (White and Blue Review)
  • UNC 74, College of Charleston 69: “First things first; it’s a better outcome than last year. It may not feel all that better, as UNC trailed often in the second half, but 74-69 is infinitely more comforting than 79-82. Of course, last year’s shocker and this year’s squeaker were both the result of one man, Andrew Goudelock. Last season he went 10 of 20 from the field and hit four threes to finish with 24 points. This year in Chapel Hill he was 11 of 28 with five threes to finish with 28. The early spurt in the second half to take the lead was almost entirely his doing, as he was draining some incredible threes from absolutely insane places. He’s a pretty impressive player. The difference is, this year he was alone.” (Carolina March)

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Recruiting Rumor Mill: 11.01.10 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on November 1st, 2010

Although we have been mentioning that some of the recruiting buzz might start slowing down we still saw one big-time recruit commit this week and another back out of his prior commitment.

  • First we will go with the big commitment as Memphis picked up its first commitment of the recruiting season (shocking, right?) when local product and reality TV star Adonis Thomas committed to play for the Tigers. Josh Pastner utilized former Memphis star Penny Hardaway to appeal to Thomas during a video segment aired during their version of Midnight Madness. Thomas announced his decision on ESPNU, which is quite frankly less dramatic than we imagined for a player who went on ESPNU to announce his finalists.
  • Now for the less joyous news (if you’re a fan of the team that previously had a commitment) we will head to Texas where Rick Barnes lost a commitment from highly coveted Canadian (via Findlay Prep) point guard recruit Myck Kabongo who has not provided a definitive answer as to why he has reneged on his earlier promise. As of now he says that he is still considering Texas along with Syracuse, Duke, Kentucky, and North Carolina. There has been some talk about Austin Rivers and Kabongo wanting to team up (anybody getting visions of college poor man’s LeBron-Wade in Cameron?), but we will probably have to wait until Spring to find out as Kabongo says he is 60% certain that he’ll sign in the late period. [Ed. Note: Where do these guys come up with these percentages?]

    Kabongo is on the market again

  • Stanford picked up a huge commitment this week when the received a verbal commitment from top 10 point guard prospect Chasson Randle, who decided to head to Palo Alto after considering Illinois and Purdue citing the combination of academics (4.0 high school GPA) and athletics.
  • Indiana might still be waiting on Cody Zeller to decide on where he wants to go, but they were able to pick up a commitment from Hanner Perea, a power forward in the class of 2012 that many recruiting experts consider the most explosive big man in the class. Some of you may remember Perea as being the focal point of Baylor‘s current cell phone/text message scandal, but we have a feeling you might forget that when you see how athletic he is (additional video after the jump).
  • [Ed. Note: Both videos–this and the one after the jump–are of Perea as a sophomore.]

  • Bruce Weber may have missed out on Randle and Anthony Davis, two of the top players in the state of Illinois, but he was able to get a commitment from Mike Shaw, a 6’8″ forward who many expect to improve significantly in college.
  • Last week we noted the apparent hesitance of Jahii Carson to officially sign with Arizona State, but now it appears like he will sign with the Sun Devils during November.
  • Duke lost a commitment from Tyler Adams, a 6’9″ center who the Blue Devils had been interested in to help them add depth on the inside. The decision might surprise some, but not those who have followed the process closely. As RTC interview subject Dave Telep notes the two sides had grown apart to the point that Adams attended Midnight Madness at Georgetown, which is never a good sign for a Duke commit. According to Telep, the two current leaders for Adams are Georgetown and Mississippi State.
  • Speaking of Mississippi State they picked up a big commitment from Rodney Hood, one of the top small forwards in this year’s class, who opted to stay in his home state instead of going to a long list of potential suitors. With Arkansas picking up an outstanding class, Georgia starting to corner the market on in-state recruits, Kentucky being Kentucky, and other schools landing several solid recruits could the SEC be turning the corner and becoming a solid conference again? Read the rest of this entry »
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Morning Five: 10.13.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on October 13th, 2010

  1. Things do not continue to improve for Baylor’s Scott Drew.  Last week his star player LaceDarius Dunn’s basketball future was placed in question over allegations of aggravated assault against his girlfriend, while yesterday Jeff Goodman reported that the Bear program is being investigated by the NCAA concerning the recruitment of Hanner Perea, a 6’9 high school junior from Colombia (the country, not the phonetically-same Missouri/South Carolina city) currently playing in Indiana.  The primary issue ONCE AGAIN COMES DOWN TO TEXT MESSAGES!!!!  Baylor assistant coach Mark Morefield was already serving a suspension for text message-related violations, so what did he do during July’s quiet period?  He of course sent multiple text messages to Perea’s high school and AAU coaches, a rather unbelievable example of Pavlovian conditioning if we’ve ever seen one.  Baylor has already self-reported the latest violations, according to Goodman’s report, and we can only hope that Morefield’s SMS package was turned off on the latest cell plan provided by the university.
  2. Are we getting closer to an NCAA decision on the eligibility of Kentucky star recruit Enes Kanter?  Only the NCAA knows that for certain, but NYT’s Pete Thamel writes that the club team in Turkey is standing by its original assertion that it holds bank statements and documentation proving that Kanter was paid well beyond “reasonable and necessary expenses” during his time with the club.  Their representative, Nedim Karakas, says that they promised not to show these documents, however, until the NCAA has made its final decision.  It’s hard to know whom to believe here, but we’re having trouble understanding why the NCAA would care in the least what the Turkish club team does or does not do with its documentation, right?  What are we missing here?
  3. Tuesday was KU Media Day and Bill Self told the assembled scribes that he expects his star recruit Josh Selby’s eligibility decision to come sooner rather than later, and he expects it to be positive.  Selby is currently practicing with the team and will be able to suit up on Friday night at Late Night in the Phog at Allen Fieldhouse.  In our view, Selby is the difference between a Kansas team making another serious run at the Final Four and one that will be pleased with playing into the second weekend.
  4. It’s looking more and more like the Pac-10 will go to a two-division system in both basketball and football starting in 2011-12.  Final decisions have not yet been made, but this report from Andy Katz suggests that Stanford and Cal are the final hurdle for the league to split into six-team North and South divisions — the Washingtons, Oregons and NorCals in the North, and Utah/Colorado, the Arizonas and SoCals in the South.  The hoops schedule would remain at eighteen games, with home-and-homes guaranteed against each team’s rival (UCLA vs. USC, for example) with six other home-and-homes and four one-games rotated on a yearly basis.
  5. This dumbfounded us, but did you know that Arizona State’s Herb Sendek, himself a branch on the incredibly fecund tree of Rick Pitino (yes, we went there), has a total of eight former assistants who are now head coaches in Division 1 basketball, more than any other coach?  The names on the Sendek tree:  Thad Matta (Ohio State), Sean Miller (Arizona), Mark Phelps (Drake), John Groce (Ohio), Larry Hunter (Western Carolina), Ron Hunter (IUPUI), Jim Christian (TCU), Charlie Coles (Miami (OH)).   Louisville’s Rick Pitino and Rice’s Ben Braun currently have six each.
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