Who’s Got Next? Gathers Commits, McDonald’s All-Americans Announced And More…

Posted by Josh Paunil on February 10th, 2012

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. 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 who the hot prospects are at the lower levels of the sport. 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.

Lead Story: Ricardo Gathers Chooses Baylor — Big Get For Bears

Ricardo Gathers Is A Huge Get For Baylor Head Coach Scott Drew.

Top-50 Power Forward Gives Scott Drew A Top-Five Recruiting Class. Three months after backing off his commitment to St. John’s, Class of 2012 power forward Ricardo Gathers committed to Baylor, joining point guard L.J. Rose and centers Isaiah Austin and Chad Rykhoek. The Louisiana native is a terrific fit for Baylor because he’s a double-double machine who can get it done on both ends of the court. He was second in scoring during the Nike EYBL last summer, averaging over 20 points a game while leading the EYBL in rebounding with about 12 a contest. He also recorded 20.7 PPG, 16.2 RPG, 3.9 BPG and 2.3 APG as a junior en route to winning the 2011 Louisiana Gatorade Player of the Year award. An interesting story that has unfolded recently is that Gathers de-committed from St. John’s in the first place to give LSU a chance to land him. According to the player, Tigers’ head coach Trent Johnson didn’t recruit him very hard which turned him off to the program. With the new addition of Gathers, Baylor has a top-five recruiting class featuring two of the best big men in the country (between Gathers and Austin).

What They’re Saying

  • Senior Ricardo Gathers on committing to Baylor: “The coaching staff made me feel like I was a main priority, and with the signing class they have coming in, we have a really good chance of being a potential national champion. That was one of the biggest things for me.”

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Big East Morning Five: 02.03.12 Edition

Posted by Patrick Prendergast on February 3rd, 2012

  1. Noel mania has surpassed the 24-hour mark now and it rages on at a fever pitch.  In case you were distracted by your favorite football team’s signing of a future fourth string tight end and missed it… late Wednesday night news broke that star prep center Nerlens Noel will reclassify to 2012 and plans to sign with one of seven finalists — Syracuse, Connecticut, Providence, Kentucky, Florida, Georgetown and North Carolina — in the April signing period. The frenzy seemingly resonated nationwide but perhaps nowhere more than in Providence when a GoLocalProv.com story anonymously quoted a coach in Noel’s prep school league as saying Noel, “is leaning towards picking PC.” The news sent Friar fans into a delirious state of social networking madness (see #Nerlens4PC on Twitter).  In the great timing for Providence coach Ed Cooley department, Noel and his Tilton School teammates will be playing in Providence College’s back yard on Sunday as part of the National Prep School Invitational which is being held at the city’s Rhode Island College.  CLICK HERE to vote in our poll and log your opinion on Noel’s destination!
  2. Surprised about the possibility of Nerlens Noel heading to Providence? Do not be. Noel’s relationship with and courtship by Providence is nothing new.  Being from nearby Everett, Massachusetts, Noel has attended several Friar home games and has reportedly developed a respect for head coach Ed Cooley and the Providence staff. Furthermore, Noel has been very thoughtful and deliberate about his recruitment, and it appears the idea of teaming up with fellow top tier recruits Ricardo Ledo and Kris Dunn and being part of an upstart program in a community where college basketball is the only game in town appeals to him. Noel participated in an online chat last August where Providence represented a prominent part of the discussion.  In fact, Noel revealed at the time (which was also before Ledo committed to PC) that he and Ledo had spoken about attending Providence together.
  3. Speaking of the National Prep School Invitational, which started yesterday and runs through Sunday, fans do not have to be present at Rhode Island College to get a glimpse of some of the best high school talent in the country, including a couple of Big East signees (Steven Adams, Pittsburgh and Ricardo Ledo, Providence) and a host of Big East recruiting targets. Cox Sports will be streaming a number of the contests live, and via replay, for free.  A full schedule can be viewed at coxsportsonline.com.
  4. In keeping with the recruiting theme this morning, the 2012 Jordan Brand Classic rosters were announced yesterday.  Not surprisingly the Big East was well represented with three selections: Jerami Grant, who will attend Syracuse, along with the aforementioned pair of Providence signees, Ricardo Ledo and Kris Dunn.  The trio will fittingly team up on the East squad.  Also featured on the East’s roster is undecided center Tony Parker who is being pursued by Georgetown and Connecticut, among others. The game will take place on April 14 at 7 PM in Charlotte and will be televised on ESPN.
  5. As conveyed here on Wednesday a report surfaced that Louisville is pursuing an exit from the Big East in favor of a spot in the Big 12 (think Fresca).  Since Syracuse and Pittsburgh announced their intentions to jump ship for the ACC, Cardinals head coach Rick Pitino has been a vocal supporter of staying the course and preserving the future of the Big East. Fittingly, Pitino downplayed the possibility of a move by his school saying, “I doubt it. I think that there was a chance last year but from what I understand some of the members of the [Big 12] conference don’t want to split the revenue and they want to stick at 11, so at least personally I’m hoping we stay put.” Stay tuned on this.

Rick Pitino is Not Swayed by the Power of Fresca (Photo: Fresca.com)

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Four Thoughts: Syracuse vs. Notre Dame Edition

Posted by mlemaire on January 23rd, 2012

Game recaps are boring. If you want to read them, search your local newspaper or the Associated Press. Four Thoughts is our brand new, not-so creatively titled feature where, in lieu of a game recap, we give you (in this case a belated) four thoughts about key Big East action. Enjoy!

1. Fab Melo would have helped Syracuse, but he is not the reason they lost.

Fab Melo's Absence Hurt, But It Wasn't Why Syracuse Lost

The former-five-star recruit turned serviceable offensive center and excellent rim-protector has been one of the key reasons why Syracuse has enjoyed so much success this season. When we learned that Melo would not travel to South Bend for Saturday’s tilt with the Fighting Irish, everyone knew the Orange would not be as effective, but even if he had played, there is little chance ‘Cuse could have pulled out a win in this one. Jim Boeheim‘s club finished with just two blocks and was outrebounded 37-24, which shows that the primary effects of Melo’s absence were felt where we expected them to be felt — around the rim and on the glass. But the reason the Orange lost is because they couldn’t shoot the ball effectively, and they basically let Notre Dame have open shots whenever the Fighting Irish wanted them. Kris Joseph and Dion Waiters went a combined 8-26 from the field, including 3-11 from behind the arc, and Notre Dame shot an efficient 50 percent from the floor and from behind the three-point line. To be blunt, you don’t win games that way.

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Big East Recruiting Round-Up: Volume Two

Posted by Patrick Prendergast on December 2nd, 2011

Big East Recruiting Round-up is a recurring feature that will focus on, well, recruiting.  Rumors, buzz, rankings…..everything potentially shiny and new. 

Nerlens Noel Poll Results!

Nerlens Noel, Heavily Desired by Providence Fans...

When last we met on the recruiting trail, super class of 2013 center Nerlens Noel was a hot topic of discussion.  He had semi-revealed a short list of five schools, four of which reside in the Big East.  So we did what any red-blooded American college basketball site would do and took it to the voters.  The turnout was great and all of the hanging chads have been counted.  They apparently voted early and often in the Ocean State because, as you can see below, the results were overwhelmingly in favor of Providence.  Perhaps we should rename ‘Friartown’ to ‘Nerlenstown.’  If you’d like to get a late vote in, the polls will remain open so go for it!

Will the Bernie Fine Controversy Hurt Syracuse’s Recruiting Efforts?

Syracuse recruits comment on whether or not Bernie Fine allegations impact their decision. It is important to note that this check-in occurred on November 23 which was before the Laurie Fine telephone call recording broke.  Further, with head coach Jim Boeheim now being called into question it is reasonable to believe some recruits will take a wait-and-see approach.  As noted in our previous round-up, Syracuse has signed two highly-rated recruits out of the class of 2012 in DaJuan Coleman (6’10″ center – Jamesville DeWitt – NY – Ranks: Rivals: 27, ESPN: 14) and Jerami Grant 6’7″ – forward – DeMatha – MD – Ranks: Rivals: 60 , ESPN: 43)

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Who’s Got Next? Britt Chooses Carolina, Jones To Duke And More…

Posted by Josh Paunil on November 30th, 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. 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 who the hot prospects are at the lower levels of the sport. If you have any suggestions as to areas we’re missing or different things you’d like to see, please let us know at rushthecourt@yahoo.com.

Lead Story: Britt Chooses Carolina, Gives Tar Heels Top Two Committed Juniors

Nate Britt Will Be A Force In North Carolina's Backcourt. (ESPNHS)

Roy Williams Out To Early Lead In Class of 2013. With junior point guard Nate Britt‘s selection of North Carolina last night, head coach Roy Williams has now received commitments from the top two signed prospects in the Class of 2013 — the other being power forward Isaiah Hicks. Britt has dreamed of being a Tar Heel since the age of 11 and will form a nightmare backcourt with Class of 2012 point guard Marcus Paige (North Carolina) when the two are put together. North Carolina is in great shape at the point guard position over the next few years thanks to the duo of Paige and Britt and won’t suffer a large drop-off after sophomore point guard Kendall Marshall leaves. Britt is such a valuable prospect because of his outstanding ability to score in the mid-range, knock down perimeter shots, and his consistency in getting into the lane. He’s an intelligent player who can finish well around the bucket with both hands. Britt is also a great passer and does a good job of controlling the pace of the game. A couple of other top juniors North Carolina is going after includes small forward Troy Williams and power forward Julius Randle. The Tar Heels have a good shot with Randle, although they aren’t the favorite — that would be Kentucky.

What They’re Saying

  • Junior Matt Jones on selecting Duke: “It’s the way they play and [head] coach [MikeKrzyzewski, everybody respects him and what they stand for with academics on and off the court. They can get me to the next level as a person and a man and as a player to continue to improve my game.”
  • Junior Julius Randle on  how Matt Jones’ commitment affects him: “I have to do what’s best for me and find the best fit. I know Matt pretty well and I don’t think he’s going to put pressure on me. He’ll tell me that if I don’t go to Duke he’ll love me either way.”
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Big East Recruiting Round-Up: Inaugural Edition

Posted by Patrick Prendergast on November 23rd, 2011

Big East Recruiting Round-up is a recurring feature that will focus on, well, recruiting.  Rumors, buzz, rankings…..everything potentially shiny and new.  

Class of 2012 Early Signing Period

The early signing period for class of 2012 recruits occurred this past week. Let’s take a look at how the Big East fared.

  • The hauls of  Providence, Pittsburgh and Syracuse have received the highest accolades amongst Big East schools nationally.
  • Providence’s class is currently the conference’s highest rated and most surprising, as Ed Cooley began his rebuilding effort with a much-needed infusion of talent.  The Friars inked consensus top 30 guards in Providence native Ricardo Ledo (6’6″ shooting guard – South Kent – CT – Ranks: Rivals 8,  ESPN 22), Kris Dunn (6’3″ point guard, New London – CT – Ranks: Rivals: 10, ESPN: 29) and sharp-shooter Josh Fortune (6’5″ shooting guard – Kecoughtan – VA).
  • Pittsburgh continued to leverage their connections with Notre Dame Prep (MA), landing premier 6’10″ big man Steven Adams (Rivals: 4) along with 6’3″ point guard James Robinson (DeMatha – MD – Ranks: Rivals: 58, ESPN: 48).
  • Syracuse scored two highly rated recruits in local product DaJuan Coleman (6’10″ center - Jamesville DeWitt – NY – Ranks: Rivals: 27, ESPN: 14) and Jerami Grant 6’7″ – forward – DeMatha – MD – Ranks: Rivals: 60 , ESPN: 43)

Coleman Stayed Home to Play in the Dome

Links to a few class of 2012 national rankings:

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Who’s Got Next? Recruiting Model Changes, Coleman Commits…

Posted by Josh Paunil on October 27th, 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. 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 who the hot prospects are at the lower levels of the sport. If you have any suggestions as to areas we’re missing or different things you’d like to see, please let us know at rushthecourt@yahoo.com.

Lead Story: Proposed Rule Changes Will Open Up Contact Between Recruits and Coaches

College Coaches Would Be Able To Contact And Evaluate Prospects More Under the Proposed Rules Change.

NCAA To Vote On Potential Changes Today. The NCAA Leadership Council will vote on a number of proposals today that could change the recruiting model and deregulate much of the communication between prospects and coaches. One of the biggest proposals is a change in policy that will make texts, calls, e-mails and the like unlimited beginning on June 15 of a recruit’s sophomore year. Currently, texts aren’t allowed, phone calls are limited, and e-mails unlimited. Two other proposed changes that involve communication between players and coaches include allowing contact with juniors at the prospect’s school in months other than April.  During April, college programs could do in-home visits with prospects. Another potential change worth noting is the rule that would let prospects take official visits beginning January 1 of their junior year, including paid travel expenses for the recruit and his two parents or legal guardians. Although the most significant changes would be with respect to the contact period, the evaluation period would be significantly affected as well. Coaches would be allowed to go to sanctioned events in April, although the dates have not been determined.  The thought is that the April evaluation periods will constitute two weekends beginning on a Friday evening and running through Sunday afternoon. Also, the July evaluation period will be narrowed into three four-day periods. The periods will run from Wednesday at 5 PM to Sunday at 5 PM. However, the dates have not yet been specified.

What They’re Saying

  • Senior stud Alex Poythress on his Memphis visit: “It was really good; I enjoyed it. We got here and watched practice. I hung out with the players. I got to watch [strength and conditioning coach] Frank [Matrisciano] work out Z-Bo (Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph) and another NBA player. I went to [head] coach [Josh] Pastner‘s house. I enjoyed it overall.” Read the rest of this entry »
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Around The Blogosphere: September 19, 2011

Posted by nvr1983 on September 19th, 2011

If you are interested in participating in our ATB2 feature, send in your submissions to rushthecourt@gmail.com. We will add to this post throughout the day as the submissions come in so keep on sending them.

ACC Expansion

  • Wake Up And It’s A New Conference: “It is official. Pitt and Syracuse are moving to the ACC [...] The exact timeline is unclear. Big East rules call for a 27 month notice period — and the ACC stressed that they would abide the Big East bylaws. This may mean, a lot like what went down in the Big 12 last year that Pitt and Syracuse are going to have to surrender some extra money to the Big East to make it happen by next year.  We shall see on that front.” (Pitt Blather)
  • Syracuse University Is An ACC School, Officially: “I went to sleep Friday night safe and secure in the knowledge that the Syracuse Orange had a home in the Big East for as long as they wanted. I woke up Sunday morning confused and yet even more secure in the knowledge that Syracuse now has a home in the ACC for as long as they both shall live.” (Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician)
  • Syracuse & Pitt To ACC: I Mean, Where Do I Begin?: Breaking down the meaning of the move. (Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician)
  • Realignment is real, and UConn searches for a life raft in the ACC: A look at Connecticut’s options. (The UConn Blog)
  • It’s Official: Syracuse and Pitt Join the ACC. What Are Georgetown’s Options?: A look at Georgetown’s next potential move(s). (Casual Hoya)
  • Pitt, Syracuse elope with the ACC; why St. John’s should worry: “A number of other schools have reportedly expressed interest in becoming members of the Atlantic Coast Conference, who also raised their exit fee to $20 million to assure their members won’t be poached by the Southeastern Conference (or anyone else). Texas is rumored to have inquired about the ACC, and the ACC reports that a total of ten teams have reached out with inquiries. I have been hoping to not have to write about conference expansion, but it’s at the Red Storm’s door. This is bad news for the monster that is Big East basketball, for St. John’s, and possibly even for the Red Storm’s resurgence.” (Rumble in the Garden)
  • The Big East Coast Conference?: Thoughts on the expansion from a current ACC member perspective. (Tar Heel Fan)
  • Why Maryland and Pittsburgh Should be Rivals: Looking at one potential new rivalry that could come from the ACC’s expansion. (Testudo Times)
  • Texas to the Pac-12 Reportedly Gaining Steam: “While Texas to the ACC was the rumor du jour last week, that all seemed to change over the weekend with the Pac-12 once again looking like a legitimate option. At issue for Larry Scott and the Pac-12 has been the league’s desire for equal revenue sharing and ownership of each school’s third-tier rights, exactly the rights that ESPN owns with the Longhorn Network. So what has changed?” (Burnt Orange Nation)
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Around The Blogosphere: September 8, 2011

Posted by nvr1983 on September 8th, 2011

If you are interested in participating in our ATB2 feature, send in your submissions to rushthecourt@gmail.com. We will add to this post throughout the day as the submissions come in so keep on sending them.

General News

  • The Rupp Arena Task Force Met Today: “The Arena, Arts, and Entertainment Task Force met today to discuss how far along the team is in the Rupp Arena project. There weren’t a lot of newsworthy notes from the meeting; and no progress other than listening to potential options has really been made.” (Kentucky Sports Radio)
  • Schedules from Big Ten Teams: Full schedules including non-conference games for a handful of Big Ten teams. (Purdue: Hammer & Rails; Indiana: Inside the Hall; Michigan: UM Hoops; Michigan State: The Only Colors)
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Around The Blogosphere: September 7, 2011

Posted by nvr1983 on September 7th, 2011

If you are interested in participating in our ATB2 feature, send in your submissions to rushthecourt@gmail.com. We will add to this post throughout the day as the submissions come in so keep on sending them.

General News

  • Crisler Arena: Phase One: A look at renovations to Michigan’s arena. (UM Hoops)
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Around The Blogosphere: August 30, 2011

Posted by nvr1983 on August 30th, 2011

If you are interested in participating in our ATB2 feature, send in your submissions to rushthecourt@gmail.com. We will add to this post throughout the day as the submissions come in so keep on sending them.

General News

  • Maryland Adds 7-2 Ukrainian Olexiy Len to 2011 Roster: “Remember those rumblings about Maryland and Mark Turgeon adding a Ukrainian big man to their 2011 roster? Well, they weren’t as wrong as they appeared; they just had the wrong big man. Per InsideMDSports, the Terrapins are adding 7-foot-2 Olexiy “Alex” Len to this season’s roster:” (Testudo Times: News and Analysis)
  • Kentucky adds two walk-ons: “Coach Cal has added two new walk-ons, Sam Malone and Brian Long. Malone is a point guard from Scituate, Massachusettes. He is not the owner and bartender on Cheers. Long is from New Jersey.” (Kentucky Sports Radio: News and Analysis)
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Who’s Got Next? Nike EYBL, Kevin Ware, New Lists and More…

Posted by Josh Paunil on May 31st, 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 rushthecourt@yahoo.com.

Introduction

Try saying Nike EYBL five times fast — it’s tough, but after this past weekend, it’s fairly easy to write. When the best players in the country come together for a three-day weekend leaving everything on the court because a Peach Jam appearance is on the line, you get the best prep basketball in the country. From excellent shooters to freak athletes to dominant big men, the Los Angeles EYBL had it all this weekend and it also gave us a chance to get some updates from prospects regarding their recruitment. And remember that guy Kevin Ware (yes, this Kevin Ware)? Well, he committed… again.

What They’re Saying

  • Josh Gershon on L.J. Rose‘s (#20) recruitment: “L.J. Rose says UCLA and Texas lead. He’ll visit UCLA on Monday and also check out UT again.”
  • Junior Rodney Purvis (#7) on adding a school to his list: “Adding Coach [Josh] Pastner and the Memphis Tigers to my list of schools….” On the best player in the Class of 2013: “[Power forward] Julius Randle (Watch List) is way better then advertised. Hands down best player in country in his class!.”
  • Lis Mack, mother of senior Kevin Ware, on her son’s commitment to Louisville: “The visit was pretty much the deal closer. We had a comfort level that he developed and he thinks it’ll be a great place for him. On top of the ability to learn and they have a great fan base.”
  • Sophomore standout Jairus Lyles on his favorite school: “I wanna go to Wake Forest… that’s my dream school.”
  • Senior Sidiki Johnson (Arizona) on who he’s recruiting among the sophomores and juniors: “[Class of 2013 shooting guard] Chris Thomas (Watch List), he’s a great player… [Class of 2012 power forward] Danny Dingle out of New York, he’s pretty good… and this kid from California, [Class of 2012 small forward] Shabazz Muhammad (#3), that’s about it.”
  • Sophomore sensation Kuran Iverson (Watch List) on location factoring into his recruitment: “Well, my mom may say something about it, but I don’t really care.”

What We Learned

Kevin Ware Commits… Again. With the drama from the Central Florida recruiting scandal dying down, Class of 2011 shooting guard Kevin Ware committed to Louisville over the weekend. After de-committing from both Tennessee and UCF in the past couple of months, Ware joins a Cardinal class that includes shooting guard Wayne Blackshear (#22), small forward Angel Nunez, power forward Chane Behanan (#35) and center Zach Price. With this addition, Louisville head coach Rick Pitino now has a top ten class and will be moved into either the #8 or #9 slot when I update my 2011 Class Rankings later this week. However, keep in mind that Ware cannot make a binding agreement since the spring signing period ended and what he will be signing is non-binding grant-in-aid papers until he enrolls in classes. This means he has the opportunity to de-commit again without penalty if he chooses to do so (but to see why it’s likely that Louisville is where he’ll attend college, check out what his mother had to say in the “What They’re Saying” section above). Ware is a great athlete who excels in transition and is a tremendous finisher above the rim. He is a spectacular slasher from the wing and has improved his perimeter shooting so it too is respectable now. However, he needs to continue to get better at shooting in both catch-and-shoot situations and off the dribble so he can be a scoring threat in a variety of ways on offense. He can also become a better ball-handler since he commits too many turnovers as the secondary ball-handler. Look for him to be a three to four year player for the Cardinals since despite his fantastic athleticism and raw talent, Pitino could really help him develop into an elite player when he’s an upperclassman. 

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