RTC 2012-13 Top 25: Post NBA Draft Deadline

Posted by KDoyle on May 1st, 2012

It’s never too early for these, right? We all love the debates, projecting who is too high or too low, and taking a closer look at the upcoming college hoops season — six months goes by quickly, promise. In quickly looking at the Top 25, one would surmise that having five of a team’s top players forgo the remainder of their college careers in favor of the NBA Draft would absolutely kill that team’s prospects for the upcoming season, but that is simply not the case for Kentucky. Last year’s National Champions check in at #2 in the Top 25, proving that John Calipari doesn’t rebuild, he reloads. It would not behoove us to let Kentucky steal the storyline, however, as Tom Crean’s Indiana Hoosiers are the top dog in what looks to be a banner upcoming year. In what was arguably the most exciting and high-flying game of last year’s Tournament, the Hoosiers fell to Kentucky in the Sweet Sixteen, but have nearly all the pieces back. Just two years ago this was a 12-20 team with no postseason experience, and now they are the top team in the land — according to our group of experts, at least. What a tremendous job Tom Crean has done. The usual Quick ‘n Dirty after the jump…

Whether it is through an exceptional recruiting class, or an impressive finish to the 2011-12 season coupled with a strong nucleus returning, the following five teams surged upward—and for good reason:

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Who’s Got Next? Stokes Denied Appeal, Pronouncing Muhammad’s Name is an Issue…

Posted by Josh Paunil on November 23rd, 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: Jarnell Stokes Still Ineligible For His Senior Season

Jarnell Stokes Is Ineligible For His Senior Basketball Season. (Wildcat Blue Nation)

Top-20 Recruit Left Searching For Other Options. The TSSAA Board of Control, the body of people responsible for deciding whether Class of 2012 power forward Jarnell Stokes can play basketball his senior season, announced Monday that they denied his appeal to the August ruling that said he cannot play in the 2011-12 season. Stokes was initially ruled ineligible by Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association executive director Bernard Childress after transferring from Central High School (TN) to Southwind High School (TN). Stokes has lived in the same address for the past nine years in the Southwind district but was able to attend Central on an academic exemption as a freshman. However, Stokes’ academic record over the last three years doesn’t meet any of the ten TSSAA guidelines that would have allowed him to transfer and become eligible at Southwind this season. Despite the setback, Stokes and his family still have several other options. One option, something that Stokes’ father says is a possibility, is that Stokes can graduate early and enroll in college in January (keep in mind though that he is still uncommitted). Another option he has is to return back to Central, but his father says that almost certainly won’t happen. Stokes is a good enough player though that, even if he doesn’t player basketball this year, the likes of Arkansas, Memphis and Kentucky will still recruit him and his recruitment should be unaffected.

What They’re Saying

  • Senior standout Ricardo Ledo on who Providence is going after: “We’re trying to get [Class of 2012 power forward] Chris Obekpa, we’re trying to get [Class of 2013 center] Nerlens Noel, we’re going hard at him. We’re trying to get [Class of 2012 small forward] JaKarr Sampson.”

Ricardo Ledo Says Providence Is Going After Chris Obekpa, Nerlens Noel And JaKarr Sampson.

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Morning Five: 10.24.11 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on October 24th, 2011

  1. Louisville got some great news on Friday when the NCAA announced that it was clearing Wayne Blackshear to play after reviewing some of his academic paperwork. As it stands now the Cardinals have a very deep team, but lack the star power that many of the teams above them have. Once he gets back in shape, Blackshear (a McDonald’s All-American who averaged 32.6 PPG and 14.6 RPG as a high school senior in Chicago) could be the piece that helps lift them from a potential Sweet 16 team to a truly elite team. With Blackshear joining Chane Behanan the Cardinals should have one of the more electric freshmen duos in the nation that could potentially propel them to the next level.
  2. Like Louisville, Xavier also picked up a big piece when they reinstated senior center Kenny Frease after suspending him nine days earlier for “not fulfilling all the responsibilities of a Xavier basketball player”. Apparently, he learned to fulfill those responsibilities pretty quickly. Although Xavier coach Chris Mack claims that the suspension was “tough” for Frease we are assuming he will be able to overcome the trauma of not participating in Midnight Madness. If Frease can continue to fulfill his responsibilities (whatever they were) and build on a strong junior season (11.7 PPG and 7.1 RPG) the Musketeers could have a legitimate shot at making it into the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament and making some noise there.
  3. It may just be posturing, but Gary Harris Jr. does not have a top choice according to his father despite Indiana fans insisting that he is definitely going to be a Hoosier. Instead, Indiana is among four schools that Harris is considering at this time with Kentucky, Michigan State, and Purdue being the other three. Harris is the final piece of a class that Tom Crean is using to reestablish the Hoosiers as the dominant school for recruiting in the state of Indiana after they failed to keep many of the top recruits in-state for the past decade. If Crean is able to get Harris to commit to Indiana he will have secured all three five-star recruits in the state (Hanner Perea and Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell have already committed) at which point the Indiana hype machine would go into overdrive along with the expectations for Crean for the next four years.
  4. Seth Davis drops in on Syracuse to take a look at one of the more interesting teams in the country. As Davis notes, Jim Boeheim calls this year’s team, “the best team we’ve had in a long time”, and the polls seem to agree ranking the Orange 5th in the country. For a team that returns nine of its top ten scorers on a team that went 26-7 last year before losing in the third round of the NCAA Tournament and adds two McDonald’s All-Americans, it seems reasonable to expect this team to contend for a national title. However, like Davis, we get this strange feeling that Syracuse lacks the elite talent to be a national title favorite at this point. It is possible that someone could breakout and have a huge season, but looking through their roster I don’t see anybody who will take over a game. Unfortunately, we probably will not get an idea of how good this team is until later in the year due to their atrocious non-conference schedule as they only play one good team (Florida) before they start Big East play and that game is being played in Syracuse.
  5. You may be familiar with the Harvard College Sports Analysis Collective from their work last year on whether or not a team should foul when up by three points at the end of the game. While that piece got a lot of attention from the national media and was even discussed on television a few times, they do put out work fairly frequently that does not get the same level of attention, but is still quite interesting. Their most recent piece is an attempt to answer the question of whether or not Vegas gets more accurate with college basketball lines as the season progresses. It certainly will not generate as much attention as the previously mentioned post, but it is interesting for those that like to follow lines for “academic purposes”.
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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. 


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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