Who’s Got Next? Noel Re-Classifies to 2012, Jefferson Close To Deciding And More…

Posted by Josh Paunil on February 2nd, 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: Nerlens Noel Re-classifies To Class of 2012

Nerlens Noel Is Now One Of the Top Seniors In the Country. (Daryl Paunil/NRS)

Elite Junior Will Graduate A Year Early. There’s been ongoing speculation for a long time that center Nerlens Noel might re-classify from the Class of 2013 to the Class of 2012, but he didn’t gave much of an indication that he was going to. However, late Wednesday night the best shot-blocker in the prep ranks in the country confirmed that he was indeed going to graduate a year early and move to the Class of 2012. What does that mean? Well, other than getting to see him in college a year early, it means that he will have to decide which school he’s going to commit to in the next couple of months. Syracuse and Kentucky have long been the favorites for Noel and while a couple sources have told RTC that they think he will pick the Orange, it’s going to be a close race between the two. Other than John Calipari and Jim Boeheim‘s squads, Noel is considering multiple other schools and has already visited Providence and Connecticut while he plans on visiting Syracuse (February 11), Kentucky, Florida, Georgetown and North Carolina soon. He doesn’t have a timetable for committing but keep in mind that the regular signing period is April 13-May 18. We will be interviewing Noel some time in the next several days so if you’re interested in his recruitment, make sure you check back next week to see what he has to say about the schools on his list.

What They’re Saying

  • Senior star Rodney Purvis on why he’s happy he made the Jordan Brand Classic: “Being from the same city and with John [Wall] being like my big brother, I wanted to do all the things he did. I didn’t tell a lot of people, but I really, really wanted to play in the Jordan Brand Classic. Like a whole lot.”
Share this story

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.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

ACC Morning Five: 12.27.11 Edition

Posted by KCarpenter on December 27th, 2011

  1. Washington Post: The big news this weekend comes from Virginia as K.T. Harrell and James Johnson have both decided to transfer.  Johnson was a redshirt freshman who saw very little playing time, but Harrell was a key rotation player who waged a fairly successful freshman campaign, routinely knocking down big shots from beyond the arc and starting 15 games. Harrell, however, has struggled on offense this season and has seen his minutes drop. Both players cited a lack of playing time as the reason for transferring. Coach Tony Bennett doesn’t seem very concerned with these decisions, noting that transfers are becoming more common and that he’s had at least one player leave his program every year that he’s been a head coach. While Bennett might be unworried, at least one player transferring every year probably seems too high for Virginia’s fans.
  2. Fayetteville Observer: Bret Strelow has some interesting speculation about the rapid fire re-commitment and then de-commitment of Torian Graham. Apparently, while Graham definitely wants to play for North Carolina State, someone else is preventing him from doing so. He brings up the oft-discussed possibility that the Wolfpack is waiting to make sure that Graham meets the necessary academic qualifications to play college basketball, but he also brings up a more insidious theory where a relative, hanger-on, or handler is pushing Graham to sign with a more high-profile program. While this theory doesn’t yet have any hard confirmation, it’s an intriguing story. Hopefully, it’s not true.
  3. Washington Times: On Friday, Pe’Shon Howard made his season debut for Maryland. Howard has been out with a broken foot,  but played 30 minutes against Radford. The return of the talented guard is a huge boost for the Terrapins who haven’t yet seen the kind of stellar play they had been expecting of freshman guard Nick Faust. The Saturday reinstatement of freshman big man Alex Len is expected to be another significant gain for Maryland. Len has been serving an NCAA suspension related to his time playing with a professional club in the Ukraine.
  4. Soaring to Glory: It’s been a rough year for Boston College fans, and it doesn’t look like things are going to get any easier. Soaring to Glory breaks down the remaining Eagles schedule and tries to predict how may games this team can actually win. Spoiler Alert: Not many.
  5. Tobacco Road Blues: Chanukkah is nearly over, but it’s not too late to acknowledge the proud tradition of Jewish basketball at Duke and North Carolina. While Jon Scheyer gets the first spot on this list, the great Lennie Rosenbluth is probably the greatest son of David to play in the rivalry: In case you’re unfamiliar with the name, Rosenbluth averaged 28 PPG during the Tar Heels’ undefeated 1957 season, capped off by a triple-overtime victory over Wilt Chamberlain’s Kansas team.
Share this story

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.
Share this story

Morning Five: 12.23.11 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on December 23rd, 2011

  1. Aaric Murray, who is sitting out this season after transferring from La Salle to West Virginia, was arrested in Philadelphia, his hometown, on Thursday morning for possession of marijuana. Having not learned the specifics of the charges we cannot comment too much other than to say that unlike narcotics, which marijuana is not despite reports otherwise on multiple sites yesterday, marijuana possession usually carries fairly light penalties. We are also not familiar with the details of Murray’s prior legal troubles, which could affect his sentencing if he is formally charged, although we have heard reports of prior behavioral issues. Murray, who averaged 15.2 PPG and 7.7 RPG as a sophomore at La Salle, would be a significant addition to the Mountaineer lineup next season assuming he does not blow that opportunity by ending up in these situations often. West Virginia has only released the following statement from Bob Huggins: “I’ve been alerted about the situation and the matter will be handled internally.”
  2. We have seen a lot of strange things from teenagers involved in the world of college recruiting before, but the actions of Torian Graham yesterday may have raised (or lowered) the bar. In the morning, Green, one of the top shooting guards in this year’s graduating class, recommitted to North Carolina State after having backed out of a commitment he had made to the school in May. When he announced, Graham said, “I’m all in for NC State.” Just a few hours later Graham decommitted from North Carolina State again saying, “Something came up… I don’t really want to talk about it.” We have no idea what could have come up in such a short period of time other than Mark Gottfried saying the offer was no longer on the table that could have changed Graham’s mind, but as you can imagine the people around the NC State program are not to thrilled with the latest turn of events and are suggesting that the team stop recruiting Graham. We doubt that Gottfried will do that, but it should be concerning for him or any other coach that is recruiting Graham.
  3. We have a couple of Khem Birch updates coming from fairly reliable, but divergent sources. On one side there is a report that Birch is interesting in coming back to Pittsburgh although he has not talked to Jamie Dixon yet. The other side is that Birch is headed to either Missouri or New Mexico State. While we would be more interested in the first report (for the posts we could write about it), we have a hard time believing that Dixon would be that ready to take back Birch after his decision to leave the school although technically it could be viewed as a freshman going home for winter break if it weren’t for all the games that Pittsburgh will be playing while still on “winter break”. The latter report seems more realistic and also offers the tantalizing possibility of a “Redemption Team” with Frank Haith coaching Birch and Jabari Brown if Birch were to head Missouri.
  4. Yesterday brought us the latest versions of power rankings from Luke Winn and Mark Titus. As you are well aware, the two approach these rankings very differently: Winn does so by providing you with a lot of quantitative analysis in a manner that is approachable for the casual fan while Titus does it with a mix of personal anecdotes and witty commentary. This week, Winn provides his usual adroitly presented analysis (though without the shocking statistic that we have come to expect) while Titus actually plays the part of a serious basketball writer by providing some thoughtful analysis without as much of his usual humor (it is still in there, but like Winn’s it is tamed down a bit this week).
  5. With the resurgence of Indiana this season there have been a lot of analysts trying to come up with a reason for the Hoosiers’ improvement. Some claim that it was just a matter of time before Tom Crean’s recruits could contend while others say that is it merely the improved health of the team. Sebastian Pruiti theorizes that it is due to their improved defense using advanced metrics and freeze-frame analysis from their games this season. While Pruiti applauds the Hoosiers’ efforts and improved defense he is quick to add that we shouldn’t get too far ahead of ourselves with projections for the Hoosiers this season.
Share this story

Who’s Got Next? Purvis Picks Pack; Stars Talk Midnight Madness, Visits

Posted by Josh Paunil on October 5th, 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: Purvis Picks In-State Wolfpack

North Carolina State head coach Mark Gottfried has to be happy about Purvis' commitment.

Things Looking Good For N.C. State Head Coach Mark Gottfried. Class of 2012 shooting guard Rodney Purvis committed to North Carolina State Friday giving the Wolfpack one of the best guard combinations in any recruiting class thus far between him and point guard Tyler Lewis (to see why Purvis committed check out the “What They’re Saying” section). Purvis ended one of the more interesting recruitments in the class after he committed to Louisville last December, de-committed from the Cardinals in May, made it look like it was a three-horse race between Duke, N.C. State and Missouri, and expanded his list to eight schools that included North Carolina Central and Virginia Commonwealth. His commitment comes just a month after Class of 2012 shooting guard Torian Graham de-committed from the Wolfpack and after Lewis predicted Purvis would be N.C. State’s next commit. This year’s senior class is looking like it could shape into a top ten recruiting class for N.C. State head coach Mark Gottfried. Although Graham de-committed, the Wolfpack made small forward T.J. Warren‘s final four list of schools along with Florida, Georgia and North Carolina. Gottfried also still has a shot at small forward Devonta Pollard and power forward Amile Jefferson among many others in the Class of 2012.

What They’re Saying

  • Senior Rodney Purvis on committing to North Carolina State: “After many conversations and prayers with the Lord, and visits, I came to a conclusion. There is no place like home.”
Share this story

Around The Blogosphere: August 9, 2011

Posted by nvr1983 on August 9th, 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

  • Calipari: “Doron Lamb is our best basketball player.” (Kentucky Sports Radio)
  • USA Midwest, Harris win Nike Global Challenge: “The USA Midwest team, featuring 2012 IU recruiting target Gary Harris, beat Canada 99-94 last night in Hillsboro, Oregon to win the Nike Global Challenge.” (Inside the Hall)
  • Epic Kenner League Playoffs Recap: A summary of the playoffs of the Georgetown summer league. (Casual Hoya)
Share this story

Who’s Got Next? Top Uncommitted Prospects To Commit Soon…

Posted by Josh Paunil on May 18th, 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

From an important commitment Monday to an important commitment today, we’re bringing you everything you’ve missed in the past week in the world of recruiting including new developments in a top ten prospect’s recruitment, the meteoric rise of a somewhat unknown recruit, more rankings being released, a challenge issued to two powerhouse programs on Tobacco Road, and how an ACC program’s recruiting class is falling apart.

What We Learned

Class of 2012 power forward Perry Ellis (#10) might stay in Wichita.

Wichita State Has a Realistic Shot at Perry Ellis. Class of 2012 power forward Perry Ellis (#10) has long had the same list of six schools (Kansas, Kansas State, Kentucky, Memphis, Oklahoma, and Wichita State) that’s he interested in, but lately, it seems as though there has been some movement as to who his favorite is. The latest shift involves Wichita State after they hired assistant coach Dana Ford, who has a longstanding relationship with the Ellis family. Ford has watched Ellis play since his first middle school game and even worked out with Ellis several years ago when Ford was a Shocker intern. The WSU coaching staff also met with Ellis and his family last Wednesday and emphasized how much they wanted to keep Perry in Wichita (Ellis attends Wichita Heights HS). Some other news involving Ellis includes the fact that Minnesota is now starting to recruit him and head coach Tubby Smith called him on the phone recently. A source very close to the situation also says that they suspect Kansas and Kentucky are two of the front-runners in Ellis’ recruitment.

Mitch McGary is Becoming a Top 2012 Talent. This time of year last year you probably didn’t know who class of 2012 power forward Mitch McGary was; well now he is one of the best players in his class. McGary has become significantly better in all parts of his game over the past 12 months and is a force to reckon with both inside and out. He is a tough, strong, big man to handle in the paint and has the ability to step out and score on the perimeter. However, the biggest reason he has received much more attention lately is because of his incessant motor and the fact that he has gotten his grades in order. Now that schools don’t have to worry about whether he will qualify or not, programs such as Duke, Kansas and Kentucky are in near-constant contact with him. He says that his recruitment is wide open and that he will likely wait until late in the process to make his decision. He also says location isn’t a factor in his choice. As of January, before top programs began taking notice of McGary, he had visited Purdue, Indiana, Illinois and Marquette.

Maryland’s Recruiting Class is Falling Apart. Many people wondered what would happen to Maryland’s recruiting class when the Terps found their new coach and whether their commitments would stay with Maryland or seek releases from their letters of intent; well now we know. The Terrapins have lost every recruit in its Class of 2011 after the university granted shooting guard Nick Faust (#38), point guard Sterling Gibbs and power forward Martin Breunig releases from their signed letters of intent. To make matters even worse, just days after his release was granted, Gibbs committed to the Texas Longhorns (read more about this in the “What You Missed” section below). However the Terps still have a shot at Faust, who is now the second highest rated uncommitted prospect and still likes Maryland (Check out the “What They’re Saying” section below to find out why), and Breunig, who visited Washington Monday night. Keep in mind Faust and Gibbs are good friends so Gibbs’ commitment to Texas might push Faust away from College Park. This coaching change is also affecting Maryland’s 2012 class since small forward Justin Anderson (#45) said Sunday in a text that he isn’t sure whether he will open his recruitment back up. On the brighter side of things for Terps fans, head coach Mark Turgeon picked up Class of 2012 shooting guard Seth Allen who is a prolific scorer and can get the ball in the basket from anywhere on the court.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

Who’s Got Next? Updating the Class of 2011 Rankings…

Posted by Josh Paunil on April 26th, 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

This week has been full of events ranging from my final class of 2011 rankings to high-profile commitments to big-time performances to much rumor mill chatter. Players being lost in their recruitment, underclassmen making names for themselves and conference champions rescinding scholarship offers from top-five recruits are just a few things that happened in a very eventful week in the world of college basketball recruiting.

What We Learned

Former class of 2012 top-15 prospect small forward Alex Murphy (#34 – Duke) decided to join the Blue Devils a year early.

Murphy Heads to Duke a Year Early. Former class of 2012 top-15 prospect small forward Alex Murphy (#34) decided to join the Blue Devils a year early (to see why, check out the “What They’re Saying” section below) as he has already passed the necessary courses to graduate and has been in high school for four years. There was speculation since he first committed to Duke that he would reclassify to the class of 2011 and the fact that he never denied it just added to the conjecture. The scouting report on Murphy is that he has a very nice shooting stroke from both the perimeter and mid-range game and is a superb slasher who finishes well around the basket. Given his length and athleticism, he is also versatile and will be able to play either forward position for Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski. However, he needs to add strength to his frame and become a better rebounder, but there have been rumors that he will redshirt so if true he will have another year to develop both of those attributes.

Kevin Ware is a Knight… I think. Shooting guard Kevin Ware committed to Central Florida Monday joining an impressive class including center Michael Chandler, small forward Rod Days and power forwards Wayne Martin and Kasey Wilson. However, we don’t know whether Ware still wants to be a Knight. Since he already signed a letter of intent with Tennessee (which they released him from after Bruce Pearl was fired), NCAA rules prohibit him from signing another one in the same year with UCF, so Ware is free to do whatever he wants. The first thing that raised eyebrows about his future college choice was the fact that he was announced as “undecided” in the Kentucky Derby Festival Basketball Classic over the weekend (although his stepfather later said he filled out the forms before he committed and didn’t feel like changing it). The next thing that made people question his commitment was when a Louisville website reported that Ware told them his recruitment to UCF wasn’t a done deal and that he was “absolutely” still considering Louisville (see the “What They’re Saying” section for Ware’s quotes on this). Also, he reportedly told fans at the Derby Classic while signing autographs that he was still considering the Cardinals. The excuse for all of this that has been picking up steam lately is that Ware was simply afraid of potential backlash from Louisville fans at the event, which is plausible since Ware tweeted he was afraid of a backlash before he left for it. We still don’t know what is going on with him but hopefully by next week we will have a clearer picture of his college choice.

UNC Rescinds Shabazz Muhammad Scholarship Offer. In a surprising move, North Carolina head coach Roy Williams pulled the scholarship offer from junior small forward Shabazz Muhammad (#5) this week while at the same time offering his teammate, small forward Rosco Allen (#27). It has seemed as though Carolina was losing steam with Muhammad ever since he didn’t attend the North Carolina vs. Duke game at Chapel Hill (although a reason to why he missed it was never confirmed), and the rumor going around now is that he is close to making a commitment elsewhere. The other schools that he would be presumably choose between are Duke, Kentucky, Texas and UCLA. Muhammad is an impact player who will start from day one no matter the program he goes to since he is such a prolific scorer on the offensive end and is so athletic and versatile. He is a better scorer inside the arc than anyone else in the class of 2012 but needs to work on consistently rebounding and improving his ball-handling to become a complete player.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story