Posted on: April 28, 2011 3:33 pm

St. John's receives Gift from God

Posted by Jeff Borzello

Easter’s over, but St. John’s still managed to get God’s Gift.

Of course, we’re talking about Nigerian big man God’s Gift Achiuwa, a junior college transfer from Erie Community College (N.Y.). Achiuwa, a 6-foot-9 power forward, signed with St. John’s on Thursday.

Achiuwa is the ninth member of the Red Storm’s 2011 recruiting class, joining Jakarr Sampson, D’Angelo Harrison, Sir’Dominic Pointer, Maurice Harkless, Norvel Pelle, Amir Garrett, Phil Greene and junior college transfer Nurideen Lindsey.


“I am excited to come to St. John’s and New York City,” Achiuwa said. “I really like the coaching staff and the way St. John’s plays. They are a running team and that’s what I like.”

Achiuwa, who chose the Johnnies over Washington, Cincinnati and others, said location played a role in his decision.

“I like the city and have been to New York a number of times,” he said. “Madison Square Garden is the biggest stage in the world and it is a great opportunity to have The Garden as my home court.”

Posted on: April 28, 2011 11:28 am
Edited on: April 28, 2011 3:34 pm

Bishop Daniels sticks with UM

Posted by Jeff Borzello

The college basketball season is still months away, but new Miami (Fl.) head coach Jim Larranaga picked up his first victory Thursday morning.

Top-150 recruit Bishop Daniels, who had previously asked out of his letter of intent when Frank Haith left for Missouri, told Larranaga he was coming to Miami.


“I met with the coach yesterday and outside of basketball, coach L is a great person,” Daniels told CBSSports.com. “I believe that him and his staff can help me develop as a basketball player and man.”

Daniels, a 6-foot-2 combo guard from Word of God (N.C.), is a high-flying athlete who can finish above the rim but has also improved his point guard skills.

He is excited about the potential in South Beach next season.

“I can't predict how many wins we will have, but I know with coach L we definitely will be getting better,” Daniels said. “I really think we as a team will get it done next year."

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: April 26, 2011 11:36 am

Recruiting Notebook: St. John's after 2011 big

Posted by Jeff Borzello

St. John’s is already bringing in eight players for next season, but the Red Storm aren’t done yet.

While they are involved with God’s Gift Achiuwa and Jamari Traylor, Steve Lavin has his eye on another frontcourt player.

Daouda Soumaoro, a 6-foot-9 native of Mali who plays his basketball at Our Savior New American (N.Y.), has been hearing from St. John’s and said the Red Storm are one of his two favorites.

“I’m going to visit St. John’s and Texas Tech,” Soumaoro said. “After those visits, I’m going to commit.”

He also said Charlotte, Iona, Towson, Washington and Providence were showing varying levels of interest.


Bryant on track for 2011

Chris Bryant planned on making a decision during the middle of his high school season, but he is just now getting around to visits.

“In the next couple of weeks,” Bryant said.

Bryant, a 6-foot-7 forward from Rickards (Fla.), is considering Florida State, Alabama, Houston, Virginia Tech and Marquette.

“Great program, great academics,” he said when asked what he was looking for in a school. “Some place that feels like home and is safe, basically.”

Bryant did say there was a chance he would have to attend prep school next season, but he is improving academically and should be on track to attend college in the fall.

He added that Florida State and Houston were standing out to him at this point.

A.J. English deciding between prep and college

With the clock ticking, A.J. English is still taking his time with a college decision.

“Right now I’m looking at majors and mid-majors,” English said. “Keeping my options open until the end of May.”

English, a 6-foot-2 guard from Appoquinimink (Del.), said Boston College, La Salle, Seton Hall, Old Dominion, Towson and others are pursuing him.

“I like every school right now,” said English, who added that he was in the process of planning visits.

There’s also another option for English this coming fall – prep school.

“I’m still making a decision with my parents for the best situation,” he said. “I don’t know yet.”

Posted on: April 25, 2011 4:22 pm

Notebook: Eric Katenda set to decide

Posted by Jeff Borzello

It’s been a long journey for Eric Katenda, but he is ready to announce his next stop on Tuesday afternoon.

The 6-foot-8 France native played at Chesire Academy (Conn.) before transferring to Sunrise Christian Academy (Kan.) prior to last season.

Katenda informed CBSSports.com he will decide between Notre Dame and Wake Forest on Tuesday.

“Relations with the coaching staff and the players,” Katenda said when asked what would play the biggest factors in his choice. “And the opportunity to develop.”

Katenda is an athletic forward who is still developing his all-around game. For now, he is long and lanky but can run the floor and finish at the rim. Katenda doesn’t have much of a post-up or face-up game, but he can drive to the rim.

He will be a nice addition to whichever school he chooses on Tuesday.


New York guard planning visits

For people in New York, it feels like Shaq Stokes has been on the recruiting scene for approximately a decade.

Well, with the Lincoln (N.Y.) prospect plotting his visits, it will soon come to an end.

The 6-foot-1 point guard is considering TCU, Colorado State, Western Kentucky and Hawaii.

“I don’t have a timetable,” Stokes said. “I’m just take my visits, then I’ll know.”

He will leave for Colorado State on Thursday and then visit Hawaii next weekend. Western Kentucky and TCU are not yet planned.

“No favorites,” Stokes said. “I’m just going open-minded.”

McKoy still has long list

He’s not Derrick Favors, but South Atlanta (Ga.) still had a slew of schools at its games this season thanks to Dominique McKoy.

McKoy, a 6-foot-7 forward, is taking his time with his final decision, though.

“Sometime early next month,” McKoy told CBSSports.com. “All are equal.”

He currently lists Rhode Island, Tulane, Providence, La Salle, Georgia and New Mexico.

Posted on: April 24, 2011 1:13 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2011 1:20 pm

Carter picks Scarlet Knights

Posted by Jeff Borzello

It’s become an arms race in the New York metropolitan area between St. John’s, Rutgers and Seton Hall – and the Scarlet Knights struck the latest salvo on Friday night.

Eli Carter, a 6-foot-2 guard from Brewster Academy (N.H.), committed to Rutgers over offers from Penn State, Providence, Rutgers, Virginia Tech, TCU and others.

“I chose Rutgers because I was comfortable with all the coaches,” Carter told CBSSports.com. “I have a chance to come in and play right away.”


Carter, who was previously committed to St. Bonaventure, can play both guard positions but is at his best when scoring the ball at the rim. He has a good mid-range and perimeter jump shot, but has a tendency to be streaky at times. With plenty of guards on Rutgers’ roster, Carter will have a chance to make an impact in a variety of ways.

The New Jersey native is looking forward to his time in Piscataway.

Said Carter: “There’s nothing like playing in your home state where my family can see me play.”

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: April 21, 2011 5:42 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2011 2:26 pm

Cooley lands first recruit at Providence

Posted by Jeff Borzello

Since taking over Providence, new head coach Ed Cooley has seen both committed recruits ask out of their letters of intent and look elsewhere.

On Thursday, Cooley was finally able to land his first recruit with the Friars, as Kiwi Gardner committed to Providence.

Gardner is a 5-foot-8 point guard from Westwind Prep (Ariz.) who ran with the Oakland Soldiers on the AAU circuit last summer.

“[Providence is] in the Big East,” Westwind coach Gary Trousdale said. “He had a great feel for the coaches.”


Gardner originally planned on reclassifying to the class of 2012, but he recently qualified for 2011 and decided to head to college in the fall.

Gardner is extremely quick with the ball, creating havoc defensively with his aggressiveness and putting pressure on the opponent at the other end with his ball-handling and penetration abilities.

“He will bring instant excitement with his personality and style of play,” Trousdale said. “He will have an impact as a freshman.”

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: April 19, 2011 2:28 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2011 2:26 pm

Murphy to enroll at Duke in 2011

Posted by Jeff Borzello

Duke might be losing its top three players for next season, but the Blue Devils aren’t expected to fall very far.

That sentiment was cemented Tuesday, when 2012 Duke commit Alex Murphy told Jeff Goodman of FOXSports.com he would be enrolling in Durham this fall.

Murphy, a 6-foot-8 small forward from St. Mark's (Mass.), confirmed the news to CBSSports.com in a text message.

He joins Austin Rivers, Quinn Cook, Michael Gbinije and Marshall Plumlee in the Blue Devils’ class of 2011. 

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: April 19, 2011 11:34 am
Edited on: April 24, 2011 2:27 pm

Former Tennessee commit chooses UCF

Posted by Jeff Borzello

For years, people have been saying UCF is a sleeping giant in the college basketball world. 
The Knights started the process last year, beating Florida in the non-conference and winning 21 games. Donnie Jones' program took another step in the right direction on Monday night, as top-100 senior Kevin Ware picked UCF over Louisville and Georgia.

"It was the relationship I established with the coach," Ware told CBSSports.com. 

Ware had previously committed to Tennessee, but requested a release from his letter-of-intent after Bruce Pearl and the Volunteers parted ways.

He doesn't see the move from the SEC to Conference-USA as a step down.

"Everyone has their own opinion on people's decisions," Ware said. "Everyone forgot they started off 14-0 last season before some key injuries. They have talent. I think I can really help them next season do some big things."

Ware is a 6-foot-4 shooting guard from Rockdale County (Ga.) who will make an immediate impact at both ends of the floor. He is long and athletic, and relies on his natural talents to be an active defender and finisher. 

With the talent Jones has assembled on the roster, UCF will be a threat in the coming seasons.

Said Ware: "With me and Mike Chandler coming in and all the pieces already there ... should be special next year."
Category: NCAAB
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com