Baylor Secures Commitment From Four-Star Center Dominic Woodson

Posted by Nate Kotisso on November 1st, 2012

Sigh, just another day on the recruiting trail for Scott Drew.

Earlier today, the Baylor coach received a verbal commitment from 2013 center Dominic Woodson. Woodson (a 4-star recruit according to Rivals and ESPN) attends famed Huntington Prep in West Virginia but is originally from Round Rock, Texas. There’s no doubt distance played a role in his decision. He was down to Baylor and NC State, so having the chance to play at a still rising program just 90 minutes from his home seemed like an easy choice to make. The news was first reported by Evan Daniels of Scout.com

Woodson joins an already stacked recruiting class in Waco. (Davide Depas)

Woodson is the latest in a recent line of big men to commit to Scott Drew. This may be a reach but if Isaiah Austin, Cory Jefferson and Rico Gathers all decide to return to school next season along with Woodson, Ishmail Wainwright and Jonathan Motley coming in, the Bears could very well have the biggest and most talented set of big guys in America. “It’s close to home, a great academic school and has a great coaching staff. And [there's] a chance to win a championship,” Woodson told Scout.com.

After all these years, it’s crazy to hear the word “championship” associated with Baylor basketball.

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Big 12 Summer Update: Baylor Bears

Posted by dnspewak on July 25th, 2012

In an effort to remind you that college basketball does in fact exist during the summer, Big 12 microsite writers Danny Spewak (@dspewak) and Jeremy Pfingsten (@jeremylp21) will roll out three summer updates per week during the next month. The goal is to compile every bit of news and information from the summer months for each team and package it into neat, easy-to-read capsules for your convenience. Next on the list — an update on Baylor.

Baylor Bears

2011-12 Record: 30-8, 12-6 (3rd place)

Baylor’s women’s program may have visited the White House after winning a national championship, but the men’s team did pretty well for itself too in 2011-12. Scott Drew dealt with the resurfacing of the usual criticism of his program after a 17-0 start turned into a mid-season swoon, but by the end, his supposedly soft and undisciplined program found a way to reach the Elite Eight for the second time in three years. Now, however, the Bears must deal with a few distractions this summer — both on the court and off.  The first news out of Waco involved former men’s basketball walk-on Richard Khamir Hurd, who was arrested and charged with trying to extort ex-star football quarterback Robert Griffin III. Authorities haven’t released many details about the actual extortion attempt, but this is a mess of a situation for a program that could afford to go, say, 100 more years without another legal scandal after the Patrick Dennehy murder in 2003.

That’s not all, though. The most crippling off-season development punished Drew for major NCAA violations. He’ll be suspended for two of the first Big 12 Conference games in 2012-13 after the NCAA claimed he failed to monitor the program in accordance with NCAA regulations. It was determined that Baylor’s men’s and women’s basketball programs had more than 1,000 impermissible text messages and phone calls, and the NCAA accepted the program’s self-imposed sanctions. In addition to Drew’s suspension, Baylor faces three years of probation, which affects Drew’s off-campus recruiting visits and takes away one scholarship for the 2012-13 season.

The last and most significant impact on next year’s team was the departure of Perry Jones III, Qunicy Acy, and Quincy Miller to the NBA. Granted, these players were expected to be in the draft anyway, but the Bears now have some work to do if they want to build on last season’s success.

Brady Heslip Won’t Sneak Up On Anybody This Year

Summer Orientation: Big surprise: Scott Drew has put together another top five recruiting class, according to ESPN, even with the violations and loss of a scholarship. As usual, the results are impressive.

Drew secured 7’0” center Isaiah Austin as a replacement for his departed frontcourt, giving Baylor a freakish 9’3” standing reach and the ability to shoot from deep. He’s a star prospect in every way and just might be one of the Big 12′s top performers in his first season. The bad news? He needs to bulk up. Austin has a skinny frame for his size, so he may not be effective as a traditional post man right away. Austin’s freshman sidekick this year will be 6’7” power forward Ricardo Gathers. When you see Gathers, you’d first think he is on the football team. Simply put, he is a beast. At 240 pounds, Gathers will immediately bring credibility to the post, even though he’s a tad bit undersized from a height standpoint. According to those who’ve seen him play, Gathers will step into the Big 12 with as much pure strength and physicality as anyone in the league.

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Who’s Got Next? Muhammad & Noel Commit, Updates On Elite Recruits…

Posted by Josh Paunil on April 12th, 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: Top Recruit In the Country Chooses Kentucky

Noel's Commitment Gives UK the Number One Recruiting Class. (Sports Illustrated)

Noel’s Commitment Gives Wildcats Top Recruiting Class. Class of 2012 center Nerlens Noel, the best player in the high school ranks, committed to Kentucky yesterday over Georgetown and Syracuse. Noel joins shooting guard Archie Goodwin, small forward Alex Poythress and center Willie Cauley-Stein to give head coach John Calipari the best recruiting class in the country again. Goodwin and Poythress are both top-15 guys whereas Cauley-Stein is a top-50 recruit. Noel, a 6’11″, 216-pound big man, is the only person on this planet capable of filling Anthony Davis’ shoes at Kentucky and will provide an even better defensive presence and a great target in transition. The Massachusetts native is an excellent finisher and has good explosiveness and athleticism all over the court. He also has done a great job developing his offensive game and has shown an improved 15-foot jumper as well as better interior scoring moves. His rate of development is an extremely good sign for Kentucky fans since he’s already very talented. The good news for Wildcat fans doesn’t stop there since Coach Cal isn’t done yet in the Class of 2012. They’re still after power forward Anthony Bennett, a top-10 recruit, and have a very realistic shot at landing him too. The addition of Bennett would put this Kentucky recruiting class in the conversation of one of the greatest recruiting classes of all-time.

What They’re Saying

  • Anthony Bennett on how he would fit in at Kentucky: “I can see myself fitting in [with] all schools but Kentucky, they produce great players. Coach Cal produces them to the league and makes them better and also they win national championships on top of that so it’s a great fit.” Read the rest of this entry »
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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 12 Morning Five: 02.10.12 Edition

Posted by dnspewak on February 10th, 2012

  1. Let’s get the morning started with some recruiting and prospect news… blue-chip forward Ricardo Gathers committed to Baylor this week, choosing to leave his home state of Louisiana. Now, we are learning today why he spurned Louisiana State. Apparently, Gathers wasn’t too happy with the lackadaisical approach LSU coach Trent Johnson took during his recruitment. Johnson disagrees, claiming he has recruited Gathers during the entire duration of his high school career. Unfortunately, Johnson only made it to one of his games this year, which may have cost him his commitment. Scott Drew has to be smiling about that.
  2. Marcus Smart already committed to Oklahoma State a long time ago, but now he has been selected as a McDonald’s All-American. We have talked a lot about Smart’s impact next season, and this selection should now only add to the hype. Smart, considered one of the top guards in the Class of 2012, plays for a state championship team in Texas and could be a program-changer– especially if he gets to team with Le’Bryan Nash. 
  3. McDonald’s All-Americans are old hat to Kansas, which learned Perry Ellis will also join the team in March. Ellis is an important recruit for Bill Self, who has been criticized (probably unfairly) for failing to bring in elite talent to Lawrence lately. And by that, we mean some of his current players are, um, not McDonald’s All-American. Unacceptable. And yes, that was sarcasm.
  4. You didn’t ask for this, but we have got another Missouri article coming your way except we swear, this one is very well-done and original. Every time we read the story of Frank Haith and the Tigers’ tumultuous off-season, we begin to wonder how this dream season is even possible. From Mike Anderson to Nevin Shapiro to Laurence Bowers, shall we say there’s a feel of destiny to this 2011-12 campaign?
  5. Texas knows exactly what it must do at this point to reach the NCAA Tournament: get that signature win already! We can sit here all day and debates the ins and outs of the Longhorns’ RPI and non-conference SOS, but it all comes down to Texas beating either Baylor or Kansas. They already threw away two golden opportunities against Missouri and Kansas, so it is now or never for Rick Barnes. Close losses don’t count for moral victories anymore.
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Who’s Got Next? Jarnell Stokes Volunteers, Torian Graham Confused And More…

Posted by Josh Paunil on December 29th, 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 Commits To Tennessee, Will Enroll In January

Maybe This Is What Swayed Jarnell Stokes To Tennessee.

Top-25 Senior Picks Volunteers Despite Late Kentucky Push. It’s been a long road for Class of 2012 power forward Jarnell Stokes but the recruiting process for him is finally over. The 6’8″, 250-pound big man committed to Tennessee last Thursday after transferring to Oak Hill Academy (VA) over this summer, then changing his mind and transferring to Southwind Central High School (TN) where he was ruled ineligible to play his senior season of basketball. He will be joining the Vols in January and looks to help them in every phase of the game. Stokes is the type of player who can help Tennessee on both ends of the floor, especially in rebounding — an area that Cuonzo Martin’s team could really use some help in. He picked UT over Memphis and a late push by Kentucky head coach John Calipari. Opposite of what many people many think, the difficult part of the transition for Stokes won’t be the physical aspect, it will be the mental part given the fact that he’ll have to face a sharp learning curve. His impact will be limited this year but he will still be a contributor and he’ll get an early head start on making the jump from high school to college compared to everyone else in the Class of 2012. He was never going to be a four-year player anyway so the Vols are simply getting an extra semester out of the Tennessee native.

What They’re Saying

  • Senior Ricardo Ledo (Providence) on recruiting junior star Nerlens Noel and others: “If I could choose any player to commit to Providence, it would be [Class of 2012 power forward] Chris Obekpa and I’m also trying to help out with [Class of 2013 center] Nerlens Noel. I’m trying to get [Class of 2012 small forward] Jakarr Sampson on board and a couple more I haven’t named. I just tell them about the Providence atmosphere and to try to start something new, don’t try to be like everybody else and go to a school just because of the school’s name. I just tell them to be your own man, set your own trend.”

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Morning Five: 12.29.11 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on December 29th, 2011

  1. Yesterday the Big Ten and Pac-12 announced a “collaboration” that would enable them to have frequent inter-conference match-ups. As Gene Wojciehowski notes this agreement “could have far-reaching ramifications for both leagues.” Essentially the deal would enable the conferences to get some of the benefits of having a mega-conference and more national exposure without all the legal battles and huge exit fees. While most of the talk was centered around football and the possibility of a bowl game run by the two conferences outside of the existing bowl system, the effects on the basketball schedule could be felt as early as next season with more inter-conference match-ups. We are not sure how this would effect some of the current inter-conference match-ups like the Big Ten-ACC Challenge, but we hope that the schools cut out some of the cupcakes and guarantee games rather than some of the mid-majors that are given a shot against the “big boys”.
  2. Anthony Davis is featured in ESPN Magazine’s “Next” Issue along a handful of other athletes who are on the verge of becoming household names as well as Cam Newton, who is already there. The article does not really say much that our average reader doesn’t already know about Davis (growth spurt and really long, but not anywhere near his ceiling). Still it is a nice form of recognition that might get Davis noticed by basketball fans who might not otherwise pay attention to his game like those fans who only watch NBA basketball including some foreign fans. We have not seen anybody do an analysis on how often these “Next” athletes pan out, but we suspect when they pick athletes that are as far along as Davis much less Newton they have a pretty good track record.
  3. Former St. John’s commitment Ricardo Gathers (class of 2012) has “narrowed” his list to KentuckyDuke, St. John’s, BaylorLSU, and Florida, but has not set a date to announce yet. Meanwhile two highly sought-after class of 2013 recruits appear to be narrowing their lists more as Aaron Gordon is being pursued hard by Kentucky, but according to Josh Gershon of Scout.com they still trail Washington and Arizona while Julius Randle has not officially narrowed his list, but appears to be more focused on Duke, Kentucky, and North Carolina in a recent interview. We do not expect Gordon or Randle to commit any time soon, but the clock is ticking on Gathers.
  4. As we noted earlier this week Virginia has lost quite a few transfers recently. One of those was power forward James Johnson, who has started to look at schools to transfer to and appears to be starting with San Diego State, Washington State, and New Mexico. Any of these schools would certainly welcome an ACC level recruit particularly a 6’9″, 240-pound power forward even one who put up unremarkable numbers in his short stay there (left midway through his redshirt freshman year). We have not heard any information about where Johnson is leaning, but if being close to home is a factor then San Diego State would have be the heavy favorite as it is only about an hour away from where he grew up.
  5. Richard Deitsch of SI.com handed out his media awards yesterday and some college basketball media members were prominently featured. As you would expect, Jay Bilas got the most nominations thanks to his all-out media blitz as a studio analyst, working courtside, and on Twitter. However, there were a handful of other prominent media members who made various lists (mostly good, but a few of them bad). While we could do without some of the stuff in there like all the non-college basketball talk, it is an interesting read especially for some of the media politics.
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ACC Morning Five: 12.23.11 Edition

Posted by mpatton on December 23rd, 2011

  1. Washington Post: Virginia Tech‘s kicker was arrested and charged with breaking and entering into an on-campus residence before pulling a gun on those living there (also known as the far more serious crime of “home invasion”). How does that relate to the basketball team? Well… the resident was Dorenzo Hudson. Allegedly, Hudson’s roommate stole “a large amount” of marijuana from the defendants. Regardless, this is the type of story that decidedly does not go away or end well. We’ll certainly keep you posted on any forthcoming details.
  2. Wilmington Star News and Charlotte Observer: Continuing with the bad news, Torian Graham de-committed for the second time (only hours after re-committing) to NC State yesterday. Graham, a consensus top-50 recruit from Durham, said “something came up” but did not elaborate on the story. It should be noted that Graham has a history of transfers (he’s also on his third high school), which certainly points to potential academic eligibility issues. From comments Pack Pride got from Graham later in the day, it sounds like he still wants to play for the Wolfpack (which certainly supports the academic theory).
  3. Five-Star Basketball: For some more positive NC State hoops news, Adam Zagoria and Harrison Sanford are both very impressed with Mark Gottfried‘s first recruiting haul. Even without Torian Graham, the class is shaping up to be one of the best NCSU classes in years — especially if the coaching staff can land Amile Jefferson or Ricardo Gathers. Specifically, Jefferson was very positive in his review of the Wolfpack. Gottfried’s staff is also trying to expand its scope to the national level and is looking at a very talented group of 2013 targets from all over the country.
  4. Wenatchee World: Tony Bennett took over for his father, Dick Bennett, at Washington State and was very successful. But Virginia is his first time building a program from scratch, which takes more effort from the coach as well as the players: “There’s no substitute for experience. It was that way with those guys at Washington State — [Virginia players] took their lumps their first two years. And the previous group before that just had to scrap and claw for any bit of respectability.” Well after a hot start, the Cavaliers are back in the Top 25 for the first time in four years.
  5. Hampton Daily Press: David Teel takes a crack at the 18-game conference schedule once Pittsburgh and Syracuse arrive by looking at Mike Krzyzewski‘s model. Coach K wants the conference to move to one permanent rival with four “rotating” home-and-homes and the eight remaining teams played only once. While I agree with Tell that Duke and North Carolina are obvious (and essential) permanent rivals, but Wake Forest and NC State? That’s not to say the two schools don’t have a rivalry, but I’m not sure it’s at the “duh” level of the Tar Heels and the Blue Devils (in fact, NC State’s rivalry with North Carolina is much more heated). While I like the added diversity of Coach K’s proposition, I think it’d be a shame to lose games like North Carolina-NC State or Duke-Maryland (seriously, can you imagine if Duke didn’t have to play in College Park every year and vice versa). I vote for keeping the number of permanent partners the same.
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Jumping To Conclusions: The Wheels Are Coming Off The St. John’s Rebuilding Bus

Posted by mlemaire on December 9th, 2011

In 2010, after six lackluster seasons — including zero NCAA Tournament appearances — under head coach Norm Roberts, St. John’s basketball needed to make a switch. But the program didn’t just need a coach who could develop players and win games. They needed a walking, talking defibrillator. Someone who could inject some life and enthusiasm back into one of the country’s most storied programs. What they got was Steve Lavin, an affable former television personality with plenty of coaching pedigree and the desire to talk to everybody he ran into.

Steve Lavin Was Hired To Rebuild At St. John's Because Of His Infectious Personality.

It didn’t matter that Lavin hadn’t coached college basketball since he was relieved of his duties by UCLA in 2003, the buzz was back. Red Storm Athletic Director Chris Monasch said, with Lavin, “St. John’s is poised to recapture its legacy as New York’s college team.” Lavin wasted no time, hitting the recruiting trail running and accepting every interview that came his way. He assembled an experienced and energetic staff and recruits took interest.

Last season, coaching a roster that boasted nine seniors, including the team’s top six scorers, Lavin earned plenty of praise and accolades as he led the Red Storm to a 21-12 record and its first NCAA Tournament bid since 2002. Everyone knew the team would take a step back this season due to the mass graduation but most figured it was merely a bump in the road. After all, Lavin was bringing in the nation’s third-ranked recruiting class, a nine-man behemoth that had a player or two at almost every position. And thanks to Lavin’s effusive personality and charm, high-ranked recruiting classes were expected to become the status quo at St. John’s in short order. Then, rather quickly, the bus started to break down.

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Pac-12 Morning Five: 11.18.11 Edition

Posted by AMurawa on November 18th, 2011

  1. In an exciting nightcap at Madison Square Garden Thursday night, Arizona turned an eight-point deficit to St. John’s with under seven minutes to play into a nine-point win when it all was said and done. While it was Arizona veterans like Jesse Perry, Jordin Mayes, Kyle Fogg and Solomon Hill who finished strong for the Wildcats, it was their pair of highly-touted freshman guards who got the 23-6 game-closing run started. Nick Johnson took advantage of the Red Storm’s zone defense to drill a three on an underneath inbounds play, and on the next possession point guard Josiah Turner stepped into a passing lane, made a steal and threw down a slam at the other end to swing momentum. Johnson later added another three in the middle of the run to finish with 11 points off the bench, while Turner had his best game of his young career with eight points, three rebounds, and a couple of steals. He’ll still need to get his game under control more (he turned the ball over four times in 19 minutes), but last night he earned the minutes he played. He and his team will get another chance to take a step forward tonight as they face Mississippi State back at the Garden for the Coaches vs. Cancer championship.
  2. On the other side of the continent, USC came up on the losing end of another exciting game that came down to the final moments. Playing at San Diego State, Trojan sophomore point guard Maurice Jones hit a wild game-tying three pointer with 6.8 seconds left, only to see his team give up a coast-to-coast drive for a bucket from Aztec sophomore point guard Xavier Thames with 1.8 seconds remaining to provide the final margin. Jones played all but a minute of the game for USC and led the Trojans in scoring for the third straight game, but his team fell to 1-2 with the two losses coming by a grand total of five points, including a double-overtime loss to Nebraska in their last outing.
  3. ESPNU’s recruiting guru Dave Telep posted his rundown on the remaining unsigned top 100 recruits in the 2012 class and actually opined that UCLA’s struggles in their first two games of the season may help rather than hinder their pitch to #1 overall recruit, Shabazz Muhammad. Apparently Muhammad is looking for a needy co-dependent suitor, and if that’s the case, maybe the Bruins are employing a strategy similar to the Suck for Luck sweepstakes in the NFL. Elsewhere on Telep’s list, Cal and Oregon seem to be running a bit behind St. John’s for ESPNU’s #30 recruit, Ricardo Gathers, while Washington is one of many still trying to get a commitment from #7 Anthony Bennett.
  4. Arizona State hosts New Mexico tonight, with both teams coming off losses earlier in the week. It’s been said that ASU is ready to play a faster tempo this season (although the first couple of games don’t indicate much of a change) and the Lobos will certainly offer the Sun Devils every opportunity to do so. However, Herb Sendek’s team has plenty of things they’ve got to shore up before they can be considered a different team than last year’s 12-19 squad. First, guards Chris Colvin and Keala King need to buy into Sendek’s gospel of ball movement, something they haven’t done yet. And secondly, somebody along the ASU frontcourt, whether it be Kyle Cain, Jordan Bachynski or Ruslan Pateev, needs to show that they can provide the threat of a scoring punch up front. Until that happens, this is still Trent Lockett and a bunch of inoffensive warm bodies.
  5. Lastly, we head back to the Wildcats, as Mike DeCourcy of the Sporting News tells the story of Kevin Parrom’s battle back from the gunshot wounds he sustained in an attack in New York City in September while visiting his mother who was then dying of cancer. Back in New York this week for the Coaches vs. Cancer event, it is a bittersweet homecoming for the junior from the Bronx, coming back to the city where he could have lost his life, and where his mother did lose her life just a month ago.  Parrom first made it back to the court last Sunday against Ball State where he played a key role in helping the Wildcats scrape out a victory. When he left the court at the end of the game to a standing ovation from the McKale Center crowd, he also got a big embrace from his coach Sean Miller, a hug that Anthony Gimino of the Tucson Citizen puts on par with some of the other great moments in Arizona basketball.

Today we’ve got a bonus entry, as I forgot to include our football picks for the weekend. Last weekend was a dismal week for both of us as we each went 3-3, but I’d have to point out that I at least got the Oregon pick in our game of the week right (although I had the game much closer than it turned out. And, it should be noted (if only because I’m the one writing this and not Connor), that although Connor holds a one game lead on the year, I’ve correctly picked all three of our games of the week, while Connor is a mere 2-1). This week we’ll look at Oregon again in our game of the week, this time against bowl-ineligible USC playing another in a long line of what amounts to mid-season bowl games.

Game Connor (12-6) Drew (11-7)
Arizona @ Arizona State Arizona State Arizona State
Colorado @ UCLA UCLA UCLA
California @ Stanford Stanford Stanford
Washington @ Oregon State Oregon State Washington
Utah @ Washington State Utah Washington State
USC @ Oregon Oregon 38, USC 21 Oregon 49 USC 30
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Who’s Got Next? Poythress Picks, Carter Commits and More…

Posted by Josh Paunil on November 17th, 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: Poythress Picks Kentucky, UK Still Able To Nab Number One Recruiting Class

Poythress Gave UK Fans Hope To Have the Best Recruiting Class In the Country... Again (Daryl Paunil/NRS)

Big Blue Nation Has Reason To Rejoice. Don’t lie Kentucky fans, you were worried about not getting the number one recruiting class for the fourth straight year. You tweeted about it, you posted on message boards about it, you wrote on Facebook about it. But when Class of 2012 small forward Alex Poythress decided to join Big Blue Nation last Thursday, head coach John Calipari kept his 2012 class in the running to be rated as the top collection of talent in the country. The 6’7″, 220-pound wing joins shooting guard Archie Goodwin and center Willie Cauley as Coach Cal’s commitments so far with top senior targets small forward Shabazz Muhammad and power forwards Anthony Bennett and Jarnell Stokes still out there. Poythress had a terrific summer and showed the ability to consistently get to the bucket, finish in traffic and an improved perimeter shot. At times, he’s simply unstoppable when he attacks the rim and he’s able to impact the game in a number of ways whether it’s defense, rebounding or running the floor. He fits in well with Calipari’s system and will thrive with Goodwin and Cauley running the floor with him. At this point, the Wildcats have the second-best recruiting class in the country only behind Arizona’s ridiculous haul of talent but with another commitment or two they could reign supreme for the fourth straight year.

What They’re Saying:

  • Senior standout Robert Upshaw‘s mother, Ceylon Sherman, on her son choosing Kansas State: “It was a close run, he had a lot of great schools, but when it came down to it, him and all of us family just all had Kansas State. For Robert, it was about how much he liked the guys out there. He had chemistry with them.”

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Who’s Got Next? Gary Goes Green, Mitchigan for McGary and More…

Posted by Josh Paunil on November 10th, 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: McGary to Michigan, Program-Changing Recruit For Beilein

Michigan Fans Will Go Crazy When Mitch McGary Steps On Campus.

Elite Recruit Gives Wolverines A Top-Five Class. When Class of 2012 power forward Mitch McGary (#2) committed to Michigan last Thursday, he did more than just announce where he’s going to college, his decision sent the rest of the Big Ten a message that they need to look out for the Wolverines. McGary and Class of 2012 small forwards Glenn Robinson and Nik Stauskas will look to give Michigan its first conference championship since the 1980s — yes, it’s been that long — and McGary is the perfect player to build a team around. McGary is a high-energy, consistent big man who has an endless motor that makes him one of the best prospects in the country. He is an excellent rebounder and productive shotblocker who can impact the game in a variety of ways on both ends of the court. He can score inside and out and has an impressive mid-range game that will take his defenders out of the paint. McGary is strong, creates scoring opportunities for his teammates and has good footwork as well. The Wolverines also have gotten off to a quality start with the Class of 2013 by signing point guard Derrick Walton, shooting guard Zak Irvin, small forward Austin Hatch and power forward Mark Donnal.

What They’re Saying

  • Junior Julius Randle on almost committing to Oklahoma two years ago and great advice he received: “I was ready to commit, I had a ball and I loved everything about the campus. Coach Capel and I were close and I loved what he was doing. I had so much fun that I was ready to be a Sooner. Then I got the best advice that I could ever get. My mom and coach told me to not to get caught up in the emotions of the visit.”
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