Posted on: April 17, 2011 10:51 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2011 2:27 pm

DePaul reaches into Baltimore again

Posted by Jeff Borzello

The pipeline that brought Cleveland Melvin from Baltimore to DePaul paid off once again for the Blue Demons.

On Sunday, Oliver Purnell received a verbal commitment from post-grad prospect Montray Clemons.

Clemons chose DePaul over Illinois, Texas Tech, Tennessee, Auburn and North Carolina, according to Cecil Kirk AAU coach Anthony Lewis.

“He’s a face-up four man, with good shooting range from 22 [feet] and in,” Lewis said. “He’s strong from the shoulders up. Will be an impact [player] for DePaul and the Big East.”

Clemons, a 6-foot-8 forward who plays his prep ball at Evelyn Mack Academy (N.C.), is an athletic player who loves to run the floor and finish with a power dunk.

He should be perfect for Purnell’s up-tempo system.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: April 16, 2011 7:49 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2011 2:28 pm

Cuonzo Martin gets another commitment

Posted by Jeff Borzello

Cuonzo Martin isn't waiting very long to make an impact on the recruiting trail. Less than a week after picking up Wes Washpun, the new Tennessee head coach received another commitment on Saturday.

Josh Richardson, a 6-foot-5 guard from Edmond Santa Fe (Okla.), popped for the Volunteers, choosing them over Penn State, TCU and Missouri State.

“I just liked everything there,” Richardson told CBSSports.com. “I was real comfortable.”

Richardson is a long and athletic wing who is lethal in the mid-range, knocking down pull-up jumpers and floaters in the lane. His aggressiveness and motor should help immediately down in Knoxville.

Posted on: April 14, 2011 9:02 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2011 2:28 pm

North Carolina nabs New Jersey big man

Posted by Jeff Borzello

North Carolina will have arguably the best frontcourt in college basketball next season, and the Tar Heels added to their embarrassment of riches on Thursday.

Desmond Hubert committed to North Carolina, choosing the Tar Heels over Maryland. Hubert was one of the top big men left on board.

“When I decided what school I wanted to be at, I took basketball out of the picture and said, where would I feel more comfortable at as a regular student?” Hubert told CBSSports.com. “I was more comfortable with the campus, students and the high quality of an education I can receive at UNC.”

Hubert is a 6-foot-9 center from New Egypt (N.J.) who ran with the Playaz on the AAU circuit. He is a long and athletic big man who runs the floor effectively and blocks shots at a high rate on the defensive end.

He will help provide depth behind John Henson and Tyler Zeller down low in Chapel Hill.

“I’m going to come in and try to make the biggest impact on the defensive end that I can and from there, whatever else I can contribute on the offensive end,” Hubert said.

Hubert is the fifth member of the Tar Heels’ recruiting class for next season, joining James McAdoo, P.J. Hairston, Jackson Simmons and Stillman White.

Head coach Roy Williams is excited about Hubert’s potential.

“He was really excited,” Hubert said. “He told me he couldn’t wait for me to get down there.”

Posted on: April 14, 2011 4:19 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2011 2:29 pm

Pinson impresses at every level

Posted by Jeff Borzello

HAMPTON, Va. – When a player can compare himself to Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant and still come off humble, you know you have something special on your hands.

Theo Pinson, a 6-foot-6 wing from Oak Ridge (N.C.), is one of the top players in the class of 2014 and has the potential to be an NBA lottery pick in the future.

He is arguably the best long-term prospect in North Carolina right now, and that includes top-five 2012 guard Rodney Purvis. Pinson is extremely long and athletic, and creates match-up problems with his ability to pass the ball and knock down shots from the perimeter.

Pinson’s vision and awareness on the offensive end of the floor is superior to nearly all of his peers in the class of 2014. He can find teammates in transition or in the half-court, utilizing skip passes and no-look dimes to fill up the highlight reel.

“I really like to get my teammates involved,” Pinson said. “Nine out of 10 times, if I don’t have an open shot, I’m going to pass the ball.”

For a player going against guys two years his senior, Pinson is an eye-opening prospect.

“They just keep moving me up,” Pinson said of playing at the 17U level. “It’s a chance to see where I’m at with my game.”

“He was 14 years old at Nationals last year,” CP3 All-Stars assistant coach Antone Williams said. “He showed he could play with the best.”


Pinson played on D-One Sports for most of last season’s AAU circuit, looking like the next stud in a lineage that included John Wall and Quincy Miller.

Maybe it was the Jordan Brand gear that persuaded him, but Pinson seems happy with CP3.

“At the time, [D-One] was a good fit,” his father, Theo Pinson Sr., said. “But CP3 gave him the opportunity to play in the EYBL.”

Added the younger Pinson: “I like it a lot. We got a lot of players in our class that are very good.”

As far as recruiting, Pinson is hearing from a long list of schools, but he pinpointed Syracuse, Clemson, Georgetown and Virginia Tech.

Photo: Tag 

Posted on: April 14, 2011 2:52 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2011 2:30 pm

Julius Randle out to prove he's No. 1

Posted by Jeff Borzello

HAMPTON, Va. – Most players might shy away from being the No. 1 player in the class.

Not Julius Randle.

Randle, a 6-foot-9 forward from Prestonwood Christian Academy (Texas), is in the mix for the top ranking in 2013 – and he isn’t afraid to let people know.

“Every time on the floor, I want to let everyone know I’m the best player on the court,” he said last weekend at the Boo Williams EYBL event in Hampton. “There’s a lot of tough players, but I think I rank up there. Every time I play against a top player, I go at him.”

ESPN and Scout rank Randle atop his class, although Nerlens Noel attempted to stake his own claim for No. 1 at Boo Williams.

Randle, who plays for Team Texas Titans, enjoys the level of competition in the EYBL – even if players are gunning for him.

“Every player on the court is a good player,” he said. “It lets you compare."

“There’s a target on my back. If you play well against me, you feel like you have a chance to make a name for yourself.”

Randle has drawn comparisons to everyone from Chris Webber and Kevin Garnett to Marvin Williams and Caron Butler due to his ability to play both forward positions and score in a variety of ways.

“I always told my mom I didn’t want to do just one thing,” he said. “I like versatility.”

Randle struggled at times during the event in Hampton, but he still managed to demonstrate an inside-outside offensive game and ranked among the top rebounders at the EYBL.

His unselfishness was also on display throughout the weekend.

“I’m trying to get my teammates involved,” Randle said. “I’m working on everything, trying to be an all-around player.”


Not surprisingly, Randle has a who’s who of colleges on his tail. The schools coming at him the hardest include Baylor, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kentucky, Kansas, Kansas State, Duke and Louisville.

He even received an offer from North Carolina, despite head coach Roy Williams’ propensity for waiting a long time to extend offers.

Despite the long list of suitors, Randle is taking his time.

“There’s not leader at this point,” he said. “I’m in no rush to make a decision.

“I want coaches that will push me. And academics, in case basketball doesn’t work out for me.”

For now, it seems that basketball will work out just fine.

Photo: TheShiver.com

Posted on: April 14, 2011 1:39 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2011 2:30 pm

Notebook: Cauley rising up big men rankings

Posted by Jeff Borzello

HAMPTON, Va. – Although he was giving up around 65 pounds to DaJuan Coleman, Willie Cauley showed flashes as to why he’s one of the nation’s fastest-rising big men in the country.

Cauley has trouble with Coleman’s strength and size, but he was able to give Coleman problems with his length and athleticism defensively. Cauley runs the floor well and can finish at the rim, and is also solid on the offensive glass.

“I played well, but there are some things I can improve,” Cauley said. “I had some problems with how strong he is.”

In terms of recruiting, the 6-foot-11 center from Olathe Northwest (Kan.) said he is hearing from the entire Big 12, as well as Florida, Alabama and Georgia.


Bridgewater anchors Hoops frontline

With three five-star guards on the roster, the perimeter group for Houston Hoops garners most of the attention.

However, people will start looking down low in the next couple of years, as 6-foot-6 forward Brian Bridgewater has the makings of a high-major prospect. The Episcopal (La.) product has a very strong body and can run the floor with the best of them. He can finish effectively despite being undersized.

“I love playing with great guards,” Bridgewater said. “It’s a great thing; I just go with it.”

The 2013 prospect as an early list, claiming offers from Baylor, Oklahoma State and LSU, with interest coming from Kentucky and North Carolina.

Jaylen Brantley lights it up despite small stature

Don’t let the 5-foot-9 size fool you – Jaylen Brantley can flat-out play.

Surrounded by highly-touted prospects across then BABC roster, Brantley still manages to make a name for himself on the AAU circuit. The Wilbraham & Monson (Mass.) guard scored 33 points against a talented CIA Bounce group at the Boo Williams EYBL last weekend.

He is a very good 3-point shooter, but he can also get to the rim, as evidenced by his 15-of-18 performance from the free-throw line against CIA.

Brantley, a 2013 prospect, claims offers from Pittsburgh and Boston College, as well as interest from Wake Forest, Vanderbilt, Maryland and Providence.

Posted on: April 13, 2011 1:13 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2011 2:31 pm

Smith-Rivera ready for second recruiting process

Posted by Jeff Borzello

HAMPTON, Va. – D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera was planning on sitting out the entire AAU circuit.

“I wanted to improve a lot of aspects of my game,” Smith-Rivera said over the weekend.

Most opponents now wish Smith-Rivera had stayed true to his original intentions.

Instead of staying home, Smith-Rivera lit up the Boo Williams EYBL event in Hampton last weekend, averaging 20.8 points per game for Spiece Indy Heat, including a 31-point effort against MoKan Elite on Saturday.

In a relatively weak guard class, Smith-Rivera has made himself one of the most attractive options in the country. The 6-foot-3, 210-lb. combo guard can handle the ball and initiate offense for his teammates, while also showing the ability to penetrate past his defender and finish at the rim. He is physically stronger than most opponents and uses that to his advantage, drawing fouls and getting baskets through contact. Smith-Rivera also has very good range and accuracy on his 3-point shot.

When it comes to recruiting, Smith-Rivera committed to Xavier in October before decommitting from the Musketeers in late December and reopening his recruitment.

“I just wanted to explore my options,” he said.

Chris Mack and company still have an edge on the rest of the suitors, though.

“I think Xavier has a leg up,” Smith-Rivera said. “They got on me early.”

Other schools in the mix include UCLA, Texas, Baylor, Miami (Fl.), Georgetown and Ohio State.

Expect the North Central (Ind.) product to take his time with his new decision – after he gets finished filling it up on the AAU circuit.

Photo: Indy Star

Posted on: April 13, 2011 12:21 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2011 2:33 pm

Notebook: Kethan Savage lights up scoreboards

Posted by Jeff Borzello

HAMPTON, Va. – Kethan Savage was struggling for much of the game against California Supreme. He couldn’t get the open lanes he needed at the rim and was failing to finish against Cal Supreme’s size.

It seems he took out his frustrations on Emmanual Ndumanya, hammering a one-handed dunk on the 6-foot-10 big man.

“I had to get one,” Savage said. “It was exciting.”

Savage, a 6-foot-2 guard from Episcopal (Va.), is a very aggressive scorer who uses his strength and athleticism to finish at the rim. He doesn’t have much of a jumper and has to work on his left hand, but he is nearly impossible to keep out of the lane or slow down in transition.

Several colleges have taken notice of his scoring ability, as Savage boasts interest from Virginia, Penn State, Iowa, VCU, Duquesne and UCF.

He plans on visiting Virginia next week and Penn State sometime in the near future.


Ferguson next to lead Takeover

With the talent in the Washington D.C. Catholic League, it’s no surprise Team Takeover annually produces one of the best teams on the AAU circuit.

The next player to take the reins of the program is Will Ferguson, a 5-foot-11 point guard from Bishop O’Connell (Va.).

Ferguson is a very quick player who can get to the rim and finish well over bigger players. He is effective when driving in the lane and creating shots for himself or teammates.

“I like playing with other good players,” Ferguson said. “Plus, other people get to see you.”

The 2013 prospect has offers from Virginia Tech, Xavier and Massachusetts, with interest coming from Virginia, Wake Forest and VCU. Ferguson has taken trips to Georgetown and Villanova.

Miles holds his own vs. Gathers

Baltimore Elite has no players taller than 6-foot-7 or bigger than 230 lbs., so it was interesting to see how they planned on defending Ricardo Gathers, the Louisiana Select forward who has one of the most imposing physiques on the circuit.

Isaiah Miles was up to the task.

Miles, a 6-foot-7, 205-lb. forward from Gleneig (Md.), didn’t allow Gathers to dominate the paint, grabbing rebounds and pushing Gathers out to the perimeter.

“We wanted to play it like any other game,” he said.

The 2012 prospect is hearing from Maryland, Xavier, South Florida, Saint Joseph’s and Loyola (Md.). 

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com