One on One: An ACC Preview With Bret Strelow

Posted by Walker Carey on November 5th, 2014

RTC interviews one on one

Rush the Court is back with another edition of One on One: An Interview Series, which we will bring you throughout the preseason with previews of each of the major conferences.

With the college basketball season nearly upon us, we thought it would be a good idea to gather some expert opinions on the nation’s major college basketball conferences. As part of our national preview with the ACC, RTC correspondent Walker Carey (@walkerRcarey) recently had the pleasure of speaking with an ACC expert in Bret Strelow (@bretstrelow), the ACC basketball reporter for The Fayetteville Observer.

Rush the Court: Duke was an extremely talented unit last season, but it was ultimately done in by its defensive deficiencies in its stunning NCAA Tournament loss to Mercer. The Blue Devils once again have a talented roster and are widely projected to win the league. Will this season be any different than last when it comes to the defensive end of the floor?

Bret Strelow: It would be hard to get much worse. The Blue Devils ranked in the 100s in defensive efficiency, which is a far cry from what a Mike Krzyzewski-coached team usually is. With Jabari Parker, defense was not his calling card. Rodney Hood took on some tough assignments and struggled at times. The current thought around the Duke camp is that Jahlil Okafor at 6’11” and 270 pounds is a legitimate rim-protector. Duke can clean up some of its mistakes and pressure the ball a little bit more with Okafor back there. I think Duke should ultimately be a better defensive team, but we will see how much of a difference that will make.

Marcus Paige could be NPOY This Sesason. (credit: Ethan Hyman / Raleigh News & Observer)

Marcus Paige could be NPOY This Sesason. (credit: Ethan Hyman / Raleigh News & Observer)

RTC: Marcus Paige alone can probably keep North Carolina competitive in the ACC, but if the Tar Heels want to compete for the league crown, they are going to need a supporting cast to step forward. What Tar Heels can you see breaking out this season?

Strelow: It really might be a little bit of everybody. If Marcus Paige has to carry the load like he did for much of last season, North Carolina is probably not going to reach the goal that it has of contending for a Final Four and a national title. I think you can expect a little bit from everybody. Brice Johnson was extremely efficient last season in a secondary role behind James Michael McAdoo. If Johnson can stay out of foul trouble and guard well enough, I think his offense will be there. Kennedy Meeks has slimmed down. His offense has never been a problem. With Johnson and Meeks, you have two solid front line guys. When you look at the North Carolina freshmen class, Justin Jackson is a guy who has the uncanny ability to score. He has a way of scoring quickly and scoring in a way that does not require a lot of dribbles. I think he can really have a big year. He is probably more of an offensive threat than fellow freshmen Theo Pinson and Joel Berry II. I think outside shooting might still be an issue for North Carolina outside of Paige and if Jackson can hit a few. When you look at a guy like J.P. Tokoto, outside shooting is not his game. I think the Tar Heels have enough inside and with Jackson coming along, they are going to have enough to help Paige carry the load this season.

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ACC Team Preview: Syracuse Orange

Posted by Chris Kehoe on October 23rd, 2013

The Syracuse Orange had a great season last year, largely overachieving on their way to a 30-10 record and a Final Four appearance. After struggling to an 11-7 conference record in the swan song for the mighty Big East Conference, they rode a wave of momentum behind their tenacious zone defense all the way to Atlanta where they fell to Michigan. Much of their overall success was due to senior leaders Brandon Triche and sixth man extraordinaire James Southerland. Losing these two seniors and play-making savant Michael Carter-Williams to the NBA Draft lottery removed much of the nucleus head coach Jim Boeheim relied upon in the 2012-13 season. However, Syracuse does return arguably the team’s most valuable and versatile player in C.J. Fair, who led the team in points and rebounds per game from the forward slot. Much of the team’s success this year will rely on Syracuse’s patented zone defense and Fair’s ability to shoulder an even larger offensive role without Southerland, Carter-Williams and Triche around to help shoulder the burden. There certainly will be a nice “shock factor” present in unleashing their vaunted defense against the rest of the new ACC this season that will have Boeheim cushioning his already exorbitant wins total.

syracuse-preview-2013

Returnees

  • Senior forward C.J. Fair: Widely considered one of the best players in the ACC. Should be in a compelling year-long battle for ACC Player of the Year with Virginia’s Joe Harris and Duke’s Jabari Parker. A second team all-Big East performer last season, Fair is a versatile and athletic leader for this Syracuse team. Big things are expected from the Baltimore native in a transition year for Syracuse athletics to the ACC.
  • Sophomore forward Jerami Grant: The 6’8” DeMatha alumnus is pegged by many analysts to have a breakout season. While he did not have a successful freshman season, he is a future project based on his rangy and lanky body type and the athleticism he has exhibited. He certainly has successful basketball genes in his family, seeing as his brother Jerian is a senior point guard star at rival Notre Dame and his father Harvey had a successful NBA career with multiple teams.
  • Redshirt sophomore guard Trevor Cooney: This redshirt two-guard sure has no trouble scoring the basketball. He is a prolific shooter but needs to improve other facets of his game to secure his spot in Syracuse’s starting lineup. The Delaware native has two years of practice with Boeheim under his belt which should help his knowledge of the 2-3 zone and offensive schemes.

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Season In Review: Syracuse Orange

Posted by mlemaire on May 16th, 2013

The 2012-13 college basketball season for the Syracuse Orange was nothing if not entertaining to watch and follow. Hopes were high after the team rattled off 18 wins in its first 19 games including a gutty road win over then-No.1 Louisville. The optimism faded quickly as off-the-court issues sprung up again, the team lost seven of its final 12 regular season games, and some began to wonder whether the Orange had quit. Of course the Orange made those people look foolish in the Big East Tournament by reaching the title game and then made the doubters really eat crow by cruising with relative ease all the way to the Final Four before losing to Michigan. The team heads for the ACC next season and coach Jim Boeheim’s future remains murky, but for now, Orange fans have reason to walk a little taller these days.

Preseason Expectations

Everyone agreed that the Orange were at least a half-class below Louisville in the preseason conference pecking order, especially considering they had lost three of their four leading scorers from a year ago and one of the conference’s best defenders in big man Fab Melo. Despite all of that, expectations were still high for the Orange who had plenty of talent to fill the holes and now had a year of college basketball experience. Both the coaches and our microsite picked the Orange to finish second in the conference and while the regular season didn’t shake out that way, the NCAA Tournament vindicated our predictions.

Michael Carter-Williams Was The Big Reason Syracuse Was So Good.

Michael Carter-Williams Was The Big Reason Syracuse Was So Good.

The Good

Even if you didn’t watch any Syracuse basketball you could still say that Syracuse’s defense was excellent and feel good about your chances of being right. Boeheim’s 2-3 zone defense has become famous, but this year’s team was particularly well-suited for it. There may not have been a longer and more athletic team in the country than Syracuse and opponents did not enjoy trying to score against that zone, just ask Indiana in the Sweet Sixteen or Marquette in the Elite Eight. The Orange’s team defense is the reason the team made it all the way to the Final Four. If you are one who likes to nitpick, you could point out that Michael Carter-Williams turned the ball over too much and has a long way to go before he becomes a shooting threat. That still won’t change the fact that MCW (11.9 PPG, 7.3 APG, 39.9% FG) was one of the best players in the entire country and a big reason why Syracuse was so successful this year. He was a difference-maker on both ends of the floor and in every facet of the game and opponents should be glad he has moved on to the NBA. Efficient senior seasons from Brandon Triche and James Southerland helped the Orange get over the rough stretches of the season and junior C.J. Fair (14.5 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 47.0% FG) came into his own this season, especially in the NCAA Tournament when he was a two-way monster for the Orange.

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Who’s Got Next? Top Centers to ACC, Isaac Hamilton Picks UTEP, Syracuse Adds Tyler Roberson…

Posted by CLykins on November 20th, 2012

Who’s Got Next? is a weekly column by Chad Lykins, the RTC recruiting guru. 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 discussing the recruitments of the top uncommitted players in the country. We also encourage you to check out his contributions dedicated solely to Duke Basketball at Duke Hoop Blog. You can also follow Chad at his Twitter account @CLykinsBlog for up-to-date breaking news from the high school and college hoops scene. 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.

Note: ESPN Recruiting used for all player rankings

Kennedy Meeks Chooses UNC Over Georgetown

Two schools consistently stood out above the rest for West Charlotte High (North Carolina) center Kennedy Meeks. Appropriately, both schools have had a long and successful history in landing and producing top big men. With his recruitment winding down, Georgetown and North Carolina were in a neck-and-neck battle that left most national recruiting pundits undecided. On Friday, Meeks made it official as he will remain in his home state and play for the Tar Heels and head coach Roy Williams.

Charlotte native Kennedy Meeks picked UNC over Georgetown

“I talk to Roy Williams almost every other day. He understands the recruiting process and gives me good advice about college and about being a great player,” Meeks said of his decision. “Coach Williams said he liked my tenacity, my desire to play the game, my rebounding and outless passing.” Ranked as the No. 20 overall prospect and No. 2 center in the class of 2013, the 6’9″, 275-lb. big man is expected to contribute right away during his freshman season. Due to his size, Meeks is a true center that impacts the game significantly down low. With an extremely wide frame, he has a soft touch around the rim and is able to rebound at an extremely high rate by carving out space. One of his better traits is his passing. Whether it’s his superior outlet passing skills or if it’s out of the low-post, he exhibits excellent vision for a big man. There is no question regarding his talent and skill, but his conditioning has been a constant issue in the past. With North Carolina’s up-tempo style of play, it is extremely necessary for him to arrive at Chapel Hill in the best playing shape of his young life. Read the rest of this entry »

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Big East M5: 11.16.12 Edition

Posted by Dan Lyons on November 16th, 2012

  1. ESPNU’s National Signing Day Special airs tonight, and features two top-30 players who may select Big East schools. Four-star center Kennedy Meeks will reportedly decide between Georgetown and North Carolina. Meeks is a big-bodied post player who should be able to dominate the glass at the next level.  Four-star Tyler Roberson will choose between SyracuseVillanova, and Kansas. Roberson would fit well in both Jim Boeheim’s and Jay Wright’s up-tempo systems.  He has range out to the NBA three-point line, and his coach Dave Boff from Roselle Catholic in New Jersey calls him the best rebounder in the state.
  2. Following a big win in Germany over Michigan State, UConn fans are pretty excited about their prospects this season, with a pair of student writers debating the possibility of the Huskies claiming the one title they can win this year – a Big East regular season crown. While the Huskies are certainly a talented team, they lack the depth and experience of the top-tier Big East teams, and the grind of the conference season does not bode well for teams in that situation. Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright are both talented scorers, but neither is a tremendously efficient player, and if one has a really off night it will be interesting to see what other players are capable of picking up the slack. The Huskies are talented, but choosing them to win the Big East is an aggressive prediction.
  3. In other news about a wiser monetary investment in Connecticut basketball, interim coach Kevin Ollie further demonstrated his loyalty to the program with a $100,000 donation to the new UConn Basketball Developmental Center. Combined with his big first win over Tom Izzo and the blessing of his mentor Jim Calhoun, Ollie seems to be doing all the right things in order to have his coaching contract extended at UConn. He really needs to just focus on his team improving every day in practice so that they can compete in every game where they lace them up.
  4. One of the major themes of this early season seems to be the growth of many big players in the conference.  Yesterday’s M5 touched on the evolution of Eric Atkins, and today we learn about Louisville’s Russ Smith‘s own maturity as a player.  Smith spent last year as a sparkplug off the bench for the Cardinals, and while he had a penchant for the big play, his usage rate was incredibly high and he was prone to big mistakes as well. Going into this year, Rick Pitino tasked Russ with improving his consistency and becoming a more reliable basketball player. Eamonn Brennan’s ESPN article also delves into the etymology of Smith’s nickname “Russdiculous.” I’m not sure if it’ll ever catch on outside of Louisville, but if it’s good enough for one of Pitino’s horses, it’s good enough for me.
  5. This early signing period has been a joyous occasion for Marquetteas the school looks to bring in one of the best classes in school history. The Golden Eagles, who in the past have built the program on the backs of underrated players and junior college prospects from all over the nation, focused on higher-rated high school talent this time around, and were able to keep a few Milwaukee-area stars at home. Scout has Marquette’s 2013 class ranked seventh in the nation, with four top-100 players committed to Buzz Williams. If this class can pan out for the school, we may see the Golden Eagles’ ascendance from conference contender to top-flight program.
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Seven Sweet Scoops: Jabari Parker Visits Duke, Austin Nichols Nears Decision…

Posted by CLykins on November 2nd, 2012

Seven Sweet Scoops is the newest and hottest column by Chad Lykins, the RTC recruiting analyst. Every Friday he will talk about the seven top stories from the week in the wide world of recruiting, involving offers, which prospect visited where, recent updates regarding school lists and more chatter from the recruiting scene. You can also check out more of his work at RTC with his weekly column “Who’s Got Next?”, as well as his work dedicated solely to Duke Basketball at Duke Hoop Blog. You can also follow Chad at his Twitter account @CLykinsBlog for up-to-date breaking news from the high school and college hoops scene.

Note: ESPN Recruiting used for all player rankings.

1. Duke “Welcomes Home” Jabari Parker

This past weekend the Duke Blue Devils hosted their longtime top recruiting target in the class of 2013, No. 2 ranked Jabari Parker. The 6’8″ small forward out of Simeon Career Academy (Illinois) was greeted graciously by the Duke faithful upon arriving to campus for his second official visit. Parker, who also lists BYU, Florida, Michigan State and Stanford, took in Duke’s first exhibition game of the 2012-13 season. Since the summer, it has been perceived that Duke and Michigan State share the role as the favorite for his services. However, apparent updates coming off of Parker’s visit to Durham over the weekend may have very well shifted the tide in Duke’s favor, according to Michael O’Brien of the Chicago Sun-Times. As he has already taken his first official to visit to Michigan State, the Blue Devils are in an even more comfortable position going forward. Parker will now take his third official to Florida this weekend and will round out his schedule with visits to Stanford and BYU on the following weekends. Once he completes his scheduled visits, it has been rumored that a December decision is likely with Parker making it official during the spring signing period which runs from April 17 to May 15.

Jabari Parker, the No. 2 prospect in the class of 2013, took his second official visit to Duke over the weekend

2. Austin Nichols Finishes Official Visits, Approaching Decision

For the No. 12 ranked player in the Class of 2013, the visits are all finished. Power forward Austin Nichols from Briarcrest High School (Tennessee) wrapped up his schedule of official visits this past weekend, completing his final visit to Auburn. Also listing Duke, Memphis, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Virginia, Nichols and his family will now sit down with all of the information they have gathered from his list of schools and will begin the stages of making a final decision. Throughout the process, rumors have ran rampant about where Nichols is leaning. The one school that seems to be consistently at the forefront though, has been Tennessee. After visiting Knoxville two weeks ago, it seemed to be clear that the Volunteers had done enough to seal the deal for the home state native. Though no timetable for a decision has been set, the original plan all along has been for a November commitment during the early signing period.

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Big East M5: 10.30.12 Edition

Posted by Will Tucker on October 30th, 2012

  1. Mike DeCourcy at The Sporting News released his comprehensive Big East preview yesterday. DeCourcy selected Louisville as the league’s top team and Peyton Siva as MVP. Where he strayed from the preseason consensus was in ranking St. John’s last in the conference and heaping praise on South Florida point guard Anthony Collins, who made TSN’s All-Big East team and, DeCourcy argues, single-handedly saved Stan Heath’s job last season. He also contends that Mick Cronin isn’t getting enough credit, calling his Cincinnati tenure “one of the most impressive coaching achievements of the past decade.” The highlight of the guide might be this farewell to Notre Dame: “There’s almost no way to get to South Bend easily, almost nowhere to eat, almost nowhere nice to stay, almost no chance to beat the Irish at home.”
  2. Yesterday’s Hartford Courant ran a great piece on Kevin Ollie’s newly promoted Assistant Head Coach, Glen Miller, and the circuitous route that led him back to coach in Storrs. Judging from quotes from Ollie’s right-hand man, the coaching transition at UConn has been pretty painless this offseason: “Kevin is not trying to reinvent the wheel. We’re all cut from the same cloth as Coach [Calhoun]. We understand how this program became successful and how it can continue to be successful.” The story offers a rare depiction of the kind of personal adversity a lot of coaches endure in order to seize a great opportunity. In the first year after Miller left Penn to rejoin Calhoun’s staff in 2010, he spent most of his free time driving the nine-hour round trip to visit his family in Pennsylvania and tend to the storm-damaged home they were desperately trying to rent out. Miller’s description of his recruiting trip to Northeastern in the early ‘80s is also worth a read if you enjoy anecdotes about Jim Calhoun’s laconic, Ron Swanson-esque personality.
  3. In other Big East-related human-interest pieces, Mark Story from The Lexington Herald-Leader sheds some light onto Elisha Justice’s decision to transfer from Louisville to NAIA program Pikeville (KY). At the time, the move had been a head-scratcher to Louisville fans: while Justice may have been buried in the depth chart this year, he had repeatedly articulated an interest in coaching after college and an enthusiasm for learning under Rick Pitino. But as the Herald story reveals, Justice’s primary motivation was a yearning to be closer to his grandfather, who was recently diagnosed with colon cancer. The former Kentucky Mr. Basketball has come to terms with the fact that he may have turned his back on an opportunity to win a national title this year: “I came home for my family, to spend as much time with them as I can, while I can,” he says. “Whatever happens at Louisville [this season], I’ll never regret that.”
  4. In light of potentially nightmarish post-Sandy travel conditions, St. John’s announced that its season opening exhibition game against Sonoma State has been postponed from Thursday to Saturday night. Elsewhere in Big East country, Villanova and UConn both rescheduled or cancelled practice activities today, as their campuses were shut down by the hurricane. Basketball obviously takes a backseat under these sobering circumstances, but it will be interesting to see if the storm adversely affects the play of any Big East teams in its path as they open exhibition play this week.
  5. Two Big East programs remain in the running for elite power forward prospect Tyler Roberson, who yesterday announced he had trimmed his list to Syracuse, Villanova, and Kansas. The news might be most encouraging for Villanova fans because his visit to their Midnight Madness last weekend was apparently persuasive enough to lead Roberson to cancel his impending trip to Kentucky: “Although I was only at Villanova for a day I felt at home and knew after the visit that I didn’t need to take my last visit.” The 6’8 New Jersey four-star plans to commit in the next couple of weeks according to Adam Zagoria.

 

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Who’s Got Next? Wainright Opts For Baylor; Missouri Adds Two…

Posted by CLykins on October 25th, 2012

Who’s Got Next? is a weekly column by Chad Lykins, the RTC recruiting guru. 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 discussing the recruitments of the top uncommitted players in the country. We also encourage you to check out his contributions dedicated solely to Duke Basketball at Duke Hoop Blog. You can also follow Chad at his Twitter account @CLykinsBlog for up-to-date breaking news from the high school and college hoops scene. 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.

Scott Drew Hauls in Wainright

After making an official visit to the Baylor campus for their “Midnight Madness” festivities nearly two weeks ago, small forward prospect Ishmail Wainright made it official last Thursday evening by verbally committing to the Bears. Wainright, the No. 26 ranked prospect in the ESPN 100, picked Baylor over Ohio State, St. John’s and Texas.

Scott Drew Continues to Pile Up the Top Recruits at Baylor

A Missouri native, the 6’6″ Wainright was formerly a Missouri commitment back in May 2011. At the conclusion of that summer, he decided to reopen his recruitment after a successful AAU campaign. As Wainright began the recruiting process all over again, over 30 of the top schools in the country reached out to the Missouri small forward. With his recent commitment to Baylor, Wainright will join power forward Jonathan Motley as the only two commitments for the Bears from the class of 2013.

When describing Wainright’s overall game, he is a tremendous athlete and one of the most physically imposing small forwards at the high school level. On the offensive end, Wainright does most of his damage scoring around the rim, either in transition or driving to the basket when creating for himself off the bounce. He is also a great passer with even better court vision. He has a knack for making the right play at the right time when creating opportunities for his teammates to make plays. A glaring weakness of his offensive game, however, has been his shooting. Prior to the summer, Wainright was not a good shooter. Most defenses took note of that fact by playing him loosely, forcing him into taking shots from the outside. As exhibited during the early recruiting period in the summer, though, Wainright showed an ever improving jump shot. To round out his game, Wainright needs to make it a point to continue working on his shooting touch before ending up on the Baylor campus. On the defensive end, Wainright is as good as they come. With great length, strength and athleticism, Wainright is arguably one of the best defenders from the class of 2013. He can guard multiple positions on the floor in part due to his great frame. He is a nightmare for the opposition and will continue to be well into his college career.

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Big East M5: 10.15.12 Edition

Posted by Dan Lyons on October 15th, 2012

  1. Where many midnight madness events favor glitz and glamour over basketball substance, Louisville‘s event at the Yum! Center was all business. The Cardinals are a few months removed from a Final Four berth, and enter the 2012-13 season as one of the favorites to return, so it is little surprise that the team is taking their practice time seriously. Point guard Peyton Siva said as much about Louisville’s midnight madness event: “It’s definitely all business here,” Siva said. “I wish we could Midnight Madness and play around, but Coach P is a business-first type of guy. We have our fun after practice, but once we lace it up and step on the court, it’s all business and that’s how we play.” Don’t worry though, the Cardinals did find time to dance to “Gangnam Style”, because it is still in fact the fall of 2012.
  2. Pittsburgh’s Steven Adams continues to receive praise from various publications in their preseason lists and rankings. Today, it is Athlon Sports, who lists Adams at the top of its “Top Impact Freshman of 2012-13″ rankings heading into this season, noting that Adams is the highest-rated recruit to ever sign with Pittsburgh, and that though he is raw, his talent should allow him to be very productive for the Panthers this season.
  3. That whole “will he stay home in Syracuse or join Kentucky’s stellar 2012 recruiting class” thing?  Syracuse freshman big man DaJuan Coleman said that was never even much of a debate for him. “I wasn’t close at all,” Coleman told the Post-Standard’s Donna Ditota. “I had a feeling I was going to come here since my junior year. I just wanted to go through the recruitment and everything.” Coleman joins former high school teammate Brandon Triche at Syracuse this season, and unlike some other recent Syracuse freshman bigs, many believe that Coleman has the polish to be an effective player on both ends of the court immediately. If anything, the bulky Coleman should help shore up the major rebounding problems that plagued the Orange in 2011-12.
  4. It is no secret that this basketball season in Storrs is going to be a trying one for all involved. The players have no postseason to play for, Kevin Ollie is fighting for a multi-year contract, and the administrators who need to make decisions that will impact the program going forward will be doing so under the gaze of legendary head coach emeritus Jim Calhoun, who is expected to remain a major part of the program. With all of the pressure that is being heaped on the Connecticut program, Ollie’s utilization of a sports psychologist with the whole team may be a very wise move early in his tenure. UConn is working with Dr. Joe Carr, a psychologist who worked with UMass last year en route to a strong year for the Minutemen, to work through many of the chemistry issues that plagued the Huskies in 2011-12.  Carr is no stranger to helping teams come together, as noted in the Courant’s article, and he describes the positive effects of sports psychology further: “If we can get players to develop blind trust and buy into a principle, they are going to outplay a lot of people. They are playing for something else, and that’s each other. The teams that win are usually the ones that make the most sacrifices.”
  5. Prized recruit Tyler Roberson is on the radar of many Big East teams, but he chose to head to Rutgers for this year’s midnight madness.  Roberson would be an absolute recruiting coup for Mike Rice and company, as he holds offers from Big East rivals Syracuse, Villanova, and rival-to-be SMU, as well as perennial national power Kansas.  Kentucky is also involved, as Tyler Roberson is an elite high school basketball player, and that’s sort of their thing.
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Who’s Got Next? Harrison Twins Pick Kentucky; Parker & Randle Trim Their Lists…

Posted by rtmsf on October 10th, 2012

Who’s Got Next? is a weekly column by Chad Lykins, the RTC recruiting guru. 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. We also encourage you to check out his contributions dedicated solely to Duke Basketball at Duke Hoop Blog. You can also follow Chad at his Twitter account @CLykinsBlog for up-to-date breaking news from the high school and college hoops scene. 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.

Double Dip for Coach Cal

In what is being referred to as the best package deal in high school recruiting by a number of national recruiting analysts, twin brothers Andrew and Aaron Harrison of Fort Bend Travis High School (Texas) verbally committed to the defending national champion Kentucky Wildcats on Thursday, October 4. Andrew, the top rated point guard and No. 2 overall prospect in the ESPN 100 and Aaron, the top rated shooting guard and No. 4 overall prospect, chose the Wildcats over the Maryland Terrapins and SMU Mustangs. The addition of the Harrisons will automatically vault the Wildcats as the No. 1 overall class in 2013 over SEC rival Florida.

The Harrison Twins are the latest dynamic duo to commit to Kentucky (maxpreps)

“Coach Calipari presented a challenge for us. He would push us every day,” Andrew said. “We just want to be better players.” Aaron added: “Also, coach Calipari did not guarantee anything and we liked that.” The announcement comes after an intense summer of recruiting for the twin brothers. Throughout the AAU evaluation period, coaching staffs from the final three schools were spotted at almost every event that the Harrisons participated in with their AAU club, Houston Defenders.

In the end, it was a neck-and-neck race between Kentucky and Maryland with SMU a distant third in the running. Kentucky head coach John Calipari and Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon battled for the services for the Harrisons up until the very last minute. Turgeon even made a visit on Wednesday in an attempt to make one final impression on the Harrison family. A Maryland commitment would have clearly brought the Terrapins back to national relevance.

Speculation ran rampant throughout the week leading up to the announcement that the decision may have been swinging in Maryland’s favor, mainly because the mainstream gear brand Under Armour was playing a huge role in the recruitment. Under Armour outfits both the Terrapins and the Harrison’s AAU club coached by their father, Aaron Harrison Sr.

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Who’s Got Next? Amile Jefferson Decides on Duke, Anthony Bennett Runs With the Rebels…

Posted by Josh Paunil on May 17th, 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: Amile Jefferson, Top Unsigned Prospect Left, Commits To Duke

Amile Jefferson Committed To Duke over Kentucky, Ohio State, N.C. State And Villanova. (ESPN)

Blue Devils Add A Second McDonald’s All-American. It has been a long time coming, but Class of 2012 power forward Amile Jefferson finally committed Tuesday when he chose Duke over Kentucky, Ohio State, NC State and Villanova. The Philadelphia native joins fellow McDonald’s All-American shooting guard Rasheed Sulaimon as the only two commits for Blue Devil head coach Mike Krzyzewski in the Class of 2012. The 6’9″, 197-pound big man has had a long, drawn-out recruitment and has had more timetables than Class of 2012 power forward Tony Parker had speakers at his hour-long commitment ceremony when he chose UCLA. However, you can’t completely blame the two-time Pennsylvania Gatorade Player of the Year since Duke chased after him throughout his sophomore year then cooled down to recruit other big men and then decided on turning their attention back to Jefferson after missing out on higher-ranked targets during the early signing period. Now that he’s finally a Blue Devil, Jefferson is a huge get for two reasons. Not only is he a quality player who can give Duke solid minutes next year and then become a major contributor after that, but he was the best option to try to fill their need of a big man. Jefferson is a versatile forward who has a great combination of athleticism, length and quickness but he can also rebound well. He will definitely have to add strength once he gets to Durham but he’s a very good pick-up for Coach K this late in the process.

What They’re Saying

  • Senior star Anthony Bennett on choosing UNLV: “I felt a great relationship with the coaches. I went to a lot of games at UNLV and it felt like a second home. The fans at UNLV came to a lot of my games. They’re very passionate about their Rebels and they’ve been very supportive to me.” Read the rest of this entry »
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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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