Who’s Got Next? Austin Nichols Stays In Memphis; Jarrell Martin Picks Hometown LSU…Posted by CLykins on November 6th, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: ESPN Recruiting used for all player rankings
Austin Nichols Stays Local, Picks Memphis
There’s no place like home. At least according to 6’8″ Briarcrest Christian (Tennessee) power forward Austin Nichols, who ended his college recruitment on Monday by committing to the hometown Memphis Tigers. The No. 12 ranked player in the class of 2013, Nichols will join an already loaded recruiting class that includes fellow ESPN 100 prospects small forward Kuran Iverson, small forward Nick King and point guard Rashawn Powell as well as three-star shooting guard Markel Crawford. He chose the Tigers over Auburn, Duke, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Virginia.
“At the end of the day, Austin wanted to stay at home and play with some talented guys who he knew very well,” said his father, Mark Nichols. Once back home after completing his last official visit to Auburn, Memphis head coach Josh Pastner showed up at the Nichols residence for one final recruiting pitch. Rumored by many to be fading down the stretch to the likes of Duke and long-time favorite Tennessee, Pastner never wilted and kept pushing to land what he considers a “future Memphis basketball icon.”
With his recruitment shut down for a week once Pastner made his last attempt, the Nichols family spent Sunday night pondering the important decision. Mark Nichols then presented Austin with a 58-page report from KenPom.com to review advanced statistics of each of the six teams he was considering. The innovative approach factored into Nichols selecting the Tigers, which was decided as the perfect place for his future. The allure of playing in the area he grew up and in front of family and friends at the collegiate level proved to be all he could have ever wished for. “I’m just honored, I can’t even explain it,” Nichols said. He intends on signing his national letter of intent during the early signing period, which runs from November 14-21.
In Nichols, the Tigers will be getting a guy that excels at running the floor and never takes plays off. He has a terrific face-up game and scores frequently from the high post. At 220 lbs. with added muscle, he can compete in the low post at the collegiate level. It was previously one of his main weaknesses, but he has made good strides at turning it into one of his best strengths. With great length, he can score down low with solid footwork. Rebounding is another one of his best assets, as he uses his athleticism effectively on the glass. While efficient from the mid-range, improving his shooting consistency will make him even more dangerous of a player.
As a junior at Briarcrest, the five-star prospect averaged 18.3 points, 12.5 rebounds and six blocks per game while leading the Saints a 24-6 overall record and a runner-up finish at the 2012 TSSAA Division II Class AA Boys Basketball Championship. Nichols led the Saints in scoring, rebounding, blocked shots and field goal percentage and was the recipient of the 2012 TSSAA Mr. Basketball award.
Jarrell Martin Remains in Louisiana
LSU graduate and incoming head coach Johnny Jones received substantial news last Thursday that instantly benefited his 2013 recruiting class. Jarrell Martin, the No. 14 ranked prospect in the class of 2013, decided to change his initial plans of waiting until the spring by going ahead and verbally committing to the Tigers. He will make the decision official by signing his national letter of intent during the early signing period from November 14-21. With the commitment from the five-star prospect, he will now join fellow ESPN 100 recruits power forward Jordan Mickey and point guard Tim Quarterman as well as pair of junior college transfers Deng Deng and John Odoh. Martin chose his hometown Tigers over Alabama, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and St. John’s.
“I decided to stay at home, and with the recruiting class (LSU) has coming in, I think it will help me get to the next level,” said Martin, after discussing with his family and coaches about his upcoming decision. “We all had time to talk about it, and we came to the agreement that LSU would be a perfect place.” Martin is the vital piece to this class that elevates LSU to a top-10 national class ranking. His overall game is one that will make an immediate impact in the SEC from day one. He is an athletic and smooth 6’8″ power forward with great size and an ability to score in a variety of ways — with most of his damage coming around the rim. The best aspect of his game is his rebounding prowess, and he runs the floor very well and plays with great energy. With an eventual desire to get to the professional level, Martin will need to improve his low-post game significantly. However, he has tremendous upside and should blossom with a few years at the collegiate level in the SEC.
With the start of the 2012-13 season rapidly approaching, the progress that Jones is making since taking over the LSU job back in April is remarkable. With his Louisiana roots, Jones and Martin kept in touch regularly and developed a great relationship quickly. The up-tempo style of play that Jones will bring to LSU was a definite attraction to Martin, who excels in that type of environment
After transferring to Madison Prep from Glen Oaks High School, Martin had to sit out for his sophomore year per Louisiana transfer rules. Eligible for his junior season, he averaged 26 points and 14 rebounds per game while leading Madison Prep to the state semifinals. He was named the Class B Most Valuable Player in his first full season for the Chargers. During the summer, his most notable event came at the 2012 Adidas Nations playing for the USA 2013 Blue team. In five games, Martin averaged 12.2 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.
Dominic Woodson Chooses Baylor Over North Carolina State
One week after landing their second commitment in the class of 2013, Baylor proceeded to add a third in a “big” way. Texas native and center Dominic Woodson made it official on Thursday morning, as he ended his recruitment by picking the Lone Star State Bears over North Carolina State. The No. 80 ranked prospect in the class of 2013, Woodson will join ESPN 100 small forward Ishmail Wainright and power forward Jonathan Motely.
Despite playing his high school basketball in West Virginia for Huntington Prep, Woodson still calls Texas home and cited that as one of the main reasons he decided on Baylor in the end. “It’s close to home, a great academic school and has a great coaching staff,” Woodson said. After cancelling his third official visit to Oklahoma once he completed trips to Baylor and North Carolina State, Woodson was approaching the end of the recruiting process with a clear vision on where he was going.
At 6’10″ and around 290 lbs., he is a dynamo in the low post. With his wide-body frame, he is able to carve out space inside and finish consistently around the rim. His mid-range game is good for a center, as he can consistently be a threat with face-up jump shots. He has a great nose for rebounding the basketball and presents extreme difficulty for opposing centers by keeping him off the glass. Another solid part of his established skill set is his passing. For a big man, he can distribute the basketball out of a double-teams, almost always hitting the right teammate in a scoring position. Adding an array of low post moves to his inside game would do him wonders for the future. And with Baylor’s style of play, staying in shape is a must for Woodson.
By joining the Bears, the frontcourt for the future in Waco has unlimited potential. Incoming freshmen Isaiah Austin and Ricardo Gathers will man the front line for Baylor this season. At 6’10″, Austin has future lottery pick written all over him after a successful freshman campaign. However, if Austin elects to skip the NBA Draft to come back for his sophomore season, a trio of himself, Gathers and Woodson would be a virtual nightmare for opposing teams. While we’re a ways from that possible scenario, head coach Scott Drew continues to compile impressive recruiting class after impressive recruiting class in Waco. Woodson will enter his senior season at Huntington Prep, who is ranked as the No. 1 prep basketball program in the nation at the beginning of the 2012-13 season.
Notable Other Commitments
- November 2 – No. 63 ranked prospect in the class of 2013 JaJuan Johnson commits to Marquette
- November 3 – No. 84 ranked prospect in the class of 2013 Devin Williams commits to West Virginia
- November 3 – Unranked class of 2013 prospect Ron Patterson commits to Syracuse
- November 5 – No. 17 ranked prospect in the class of 2014 Chris McCullough commits to Syracuse
YouTube Video of the Day
2013 Memphis commit Austin Nichols shines during the summer.