Posted on: April 9, 2011 11:46 am
Edited on: April 24, 2011 2:43 pm

Washington, New Mexico lead for Gordon

Posted by Jeff Borzello

HAMPTON, Va. – Aaron Gordon is never the focal point on the AAU circuit.

Last July, Gordon was injured for most of the NIKE Peach Jam and the Las Vegas events. Now, he is overshadowed by 2012 top-10 prospect Brandon Ashley and a host of high-major talents on the Oakland Soldiers.

Nevertheless, Gordon has managed to cement himself as a top-15 player in the class of 2013. He went for 18 points and 12 rebounds against the Arkansas Wings on Friday at the Boo Williams Elite Youth Basketball League.

Gordon is extremely aggressive offensively, attacking the offensive glass on nearly every possession. He is always looking to drive to the rim, whether catching it in transition and finishing or dunking on an opponent off an offensive rebound.

On one highlight-reel play, the Archbishop Mitty (Calif.) led the fast break before crossing over a defender and then finishing with a two-handed dunk.

Looking at his lineage, though, Gordon’s talents shouldn’t come as much of a surprise: he is the younger brother of New Mexico standout Drew Gordon.

Another not-so-surprising tidbit – New Mexico is one of two schools standing out for the younger Gordon right now.

“I like how they get up and down,” Gordon said.

The other favorite on Gordon’s list is Washington. “[Lorenzo] Romar’s my boy,” he said of the Huskies’ head coach.

Arizona and Kansas are two of the other schools under consideration by Gordon at this point.

Posted on: April 9, 2011 9:03 am
Edited on: April 24, 2011 2:43 pm

Two schools stand out for Bird

Posted by Jeff Borzello

HAMPTON, Va. – Facing top-25 recruit Archie Goodwin on the opening night of the Boo Williams Elite Youth Basketball League event, Oakland Soldiers swingman Jabari Bird wasn’t backing down.

“It was real fun, I like playing against good competition,” Bird said. “It was normal basketball for me though.”

Bird was one of the most impressive players on Friday, scoring in a variety of ways on the offensive end and making life difficult for Goodwin defensively.

Bird was effective with his floater, using it in transition and along the baseline in a half-court setting. The 6-foot-4 2013 prospect runs the floor well and catches and finishes well in traffic. He scored with contact and also knocked down mid-range jumpers and fadeaways.

The Salesian (Calif.) product was ruled ineligible in late January because of pre-enrollment contact with another player, but that didn’t slow his recruitment.

Bird’s school list currently consists of Arizona, California, Washington, Florida International, Oregon and Washington State.

Two Pac-12 schools – Arizona and Washington – are standing out.

“Their system is the main thing,” Bird said.

Bird has taken an unofficial visit to California, but it is still early in the process.

“I want to visit all the schools on my list,” he said.

Posted on: March 21, 2011 6:40 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2011 2:44 pm

Recruiting notebook: Bruce Pearl aftermath begins

Posted by Jeff Borzello

It hasn’t even been a full day since Bruce Pearl was reportedly fired by Tennessee, but the fallout has already begun.

Kevin Ware, one of two signees for next season, asked for a release from his letter-of-intent today.

“It was just a lot of stress with all of the reoccurring problems going on up at Tennessee,” Ware said. “I couldn’t focus on school without some bringing to my attention what was going on in Knoxville.”

Ware, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard from Rockdale County (Ga.), is ranked as one of the top-25 players at his position by Scout.com.

While Georgetown, Florida State, Florida and Georgia were on his final list before making his original decision, Ware has no idea where he will end up next.

“I won’t know what schools are really looking until the release forms go through,” Ware said.

He did say he would reconsider Tennessee based on who fills Bruce Pearl’s shoes as the next head coach.

Villanova picks up five-star center

Daniel Ochefu, ranked as the No. 15 player in the class of 2012 by Scout.com, verbally committed to Villanova today.

Ochefu, a 6-foot-9 big man from Westtown (Pa.), chose the Wildcats over Georgetown, Texas, Temple and others.

He confirmed the news in a text message to CBSSports.com.

Indiana adding to 2012 class?

A source informed CBSSports.com that 2012 prospect Jeremy Hollowell will commit to Indiana this week.

Hollowell is a 6-foot-7 small forward from Lawrence Central (Ind.), and is ranked as the No. 23 player in the country by Scout.com.

Cincinnati, Ohio State and Purdue are also in the running.

Razorbacks’ recruit in a holding pattern

People who were against Arkansas getting rid of John Pelphrey a couple of weeks ago pointed to the Razorbacks’ highly-touted recruiting class as a reason to keep Pelphrey.

Based on which coach Arkansas hires, that class could be in danger of falling apart.

B.J. Young, the No. 19 player in the class of 2011, is currently undecided on whether he will stick with the Razorbacks.

“As of now, [he’s still committed],” St. Louis Gameface coach Richard Noll told CBSSports.com. “He’s not doing anything until they hire a new coach.”

Young, an explosive 6-foot-2 point guard from McCluer North (Mo.), doesn’t have a specific preference for the next coach.

“He just wants to play for a coach that fits his up-tempo style of play,” Noll said.

Photo: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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Posted on: March 21, 2011 6:00 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2011 2:44 pm

Goodwin turns focus after photo fallout

Posted by Jeff Borzello

Lost in the story about John Pelphrey being fired by Arkansas and the picture he took with a prospective recruit was the recruit himself.

Archie Goodwin, ranked No. 18 in the nation by Scout.com, was the player in the photo. Of course, the fallout from the photo is the last thing the 2012 prospect wants to talk about – he’s ready to focus on the upcoming AAU season.

Based on his school list, it’s obvious his recruiting has not been affected.

The 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Sylvan Hills (Ark.) is hearing from Kentucky, Louisville, North Carolina, Missouri, Arkansas, Baylor, Kansas, Connecticut, Georgetown, Tennessee, Auburn, Marquette and Texas.

Goodwin said he doesn’t have a top 10 or a leader at this point, but four schools pique his interest the most.

“All of them are coming pretty hard, but schools like Kentucky, Kansas, North Carolina and UConn are always going to stand out,” he said.

Goodwin has taken unofficial visits to Kentucky, Arkansas, Baylor, Memphis and Tennessee. While he enjoyed his time at each school, one of the trips was slightly more memorable.

“Kentucky,” Goodwin said. “I really enjoyed it down there. All of them were great, but Kentucky was really good.”

Only a junior in high school, Goodwin has no plans to make a decision anytime soon. He said he would wait to take more visits and then choose a school sometime next year.

“A school that’s going to challenge me on and off the court, and [one] that is family-oriented,” he said when asked what he was looking for in a school.

During the high school season, Goodwin led Sylvan Hills to a 25-4 record, averaging 28 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals per game. He was the Gatorade Player of the Year in Arkansas, but still has a sour taste in his mouth because of a loss in the state championship game.

“[Winning the award] felt pretty good,” Goodwin said. “The championship would have felt better though.”

Goodwin jumped onto the scene last spring at the NIKE Hoop Jamboree, and only solidified his status during an impressive summer. He is a very good player at both ends of the floor, using his aggressiveness and athleticism to score at will offensively. Defensively, he has good size and length, as well as the will to guard opponents.

His two weaknesses are strength and 3-point shooting, but he is making a point to improve while on the AAU circuit with the Arkansas Wings.

“Getting stronger and improving my shot and ball-handling,” Goodwin said when asked what areas he was focusing on. “Doing pretty much everything.”

Always the consummate teammate, Goodwin’s biggest goal this spring and summer has nothing to do with a personal goal.

“I want to win the Peach Jam and to get some of our plays more out there in recruitment,” he said.

Photo: Premierball.com

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Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 3, 2011 11:22 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2011 2:45 pm

2012 recruit chooses North Carolina

Posted by Jeff Borzello

Given the way North Carolina is playing lately, it certainly didn't need an added bonus for 2012.

However, the Tar Heels picked up a little boost on Thursday night, when highly-regarded high school junior J.P. Tokoto announced he would play his college ball in Chapel Hill.

The 6-foot-6 wing from Menomonee Falls (Wisc.) made his announcement on FOX6 in Milwaukee, choosing North Carolina over Wisconsin, Maryland and numerous others.

“I will be a Tar Heel,” Tokoto said. “I’ve been down there a few times since last year. And coach, he’s just a great guy. I get the vibe that they care about their players. I felt like I was at home.”

Tokoto was ranked in the top-10 of the class for several years, but his struggles on the AAU circuit last spring and summer dropped him all the way to No. 42 in Scout.com’s rankings.

With that said, Tokoto is set to make an immediate impact in the ACC. He is smooth with the ball and has the ability to corral a rebound at one end and drive coast-to-coast for a finish at the other end. His jump shot needs work, as hestruggles from the perimeter when the defense backs off. With his length, size and skill set, he has the potential to be a very difficult match-up problem.

He joins point guard Marcus Paige in the Tar Heels’ 2012 class.

Photo: HighSchoolHoop.com

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Posted on: March 3, 2011 5:59 pm
Edited on: March 3, 2011 6:33 pm

Another HS all-star game? Hold off judgment

Posted by Jeff Borzello

Before you say something about not needing another high school all-star game, consider the uniqueness of the All-American Championship.

While the All-American Championship may never be on the same level as the McDonald’s All-American Game or the Jordan Brand Classic, it has two things going for it – it is for true regional pride, and it takes place in the same city as the Final Four.

There are four teams taking part in the April 3 double-header, one from each of the four regions: North, South, East and West. The North plays the South in the first game, with the East facing the West afterwards.

Unlike the two major all-star games, the players are actually representing a specific region. The North features players solely from Illinois, Indiana and Missouri; the South takes ones from Mississippi, Arkansas, Georgia, Alabama and North Carolina; the East uses New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Virginia and Massachusetts; and the West has California, Texas, Nevada and Kansas.

Because the game occurs the weekend of the Final Four in the same city as it, hundreds of media members, coaches and fans are already in the city. It takes place on the day between the semifinals and championship, giving everyone an opportunity to relax for a couple of hours and take in a couple of excellent all-star games.

As for the rosters, the All-American Championship also is unique – it doesn’t include just seniors. There are 14 juniors spread out among the four regions, to go with 26 seniors. For fans that don’t get to see AAU or high school games, it is a chance to see the next crop of great players, as well as the group after that.

Despite the McDonald’s and Jordan games taking most of the top talent, the All-American Championship did a good job culling 40 players for two competitive games.

The North team has an explosive group of guards, with scorers Ryan Boatright and B.J. Young combining with savvy leaders Chasson Randle and Tracy Abrams. Junior Hanner Parea and Sam Thompson will dunk all day up front.

The South has a California import leading the way in point guard Josiah Turner, who plays at Quality Education Academy (N.C.). Rodney Hood, Ky Madden, Dai-Jon Parker and Levi Randolph provide plenty of wing scoring.

On the East, versatile perimeter scorers Michael Gbinije and LaQuinton Ross wait on the wings, while dominant 2012 big man Dajuan Coleman camps out down low. Duke-commit Alex Murphy and two St. John’s signees (Maurice Harkless and Jakarr Sampson) are also on the team.

The West will be led by 2012 studs Shabazz Muhammad, Perry Ellis, L.J. Rose, Rasheed Sulaimon and Cameron Ridley – all five could be "Burger Boys" next season. They will be fun to watch.

It’s not as star-studded as McDonald’s or Jordan, but the All-American Championship has set up a niche for itself that could create a worthy competitor to the two heavyweights.

Photo: MaxPreps (Josiah Turner)

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Category: NCAAB
Tags: Recruiting
Posted on: March 2, 2011 3:35 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2011 2:51 pm

Todd Mayo has clear leader

Posted by Jeff Borzello

Known for much of his career as O.J.’s younger brother, Todd Mayo set himself apart as a high-level prospect this season at Notre Dame Prep (Mass.).

Thanks to impressive performances like the one he had at the National Prep Showcase in November, Mayo has garnered plenty of attention on his own over the past few months.

As one of the top unsigned seniors left on the board, Mayo is now going through the recruiting process. The 6-foot-3 shooting guard took a visit to Marquette over the weekend.

“It blew me away,” Mayo said. “Me and the team bonded, we clicked right away. I also like how the coaches are – they push players to the limit. And the players are really cool to be around.

“I met everybody, all the players, the coaching staff. I went to the practice gym, went to the weight room."

The only other trip Mayo has taken so far was when he went to Providence for the Friars’ game against Villanova.

After the weekend visit to Marquette, though, Mayo has a clear leader.

“They have a big edge,” he said of the Golden Eagles.

Mayo is trying to visit Central Florida on March 9 or March 12, and is interesting in checking out Oklahoma State and Baylor. Other schools involved include Maryland, West Virginia, Nebraska and Providence.

Kansas and Pittsburgh were showing interest at one point but he hasn’t heard from them in awhile. “I’m running out of time so I have to go with the schools that are recruiting me,” Mayo said.

Mayo is a big-time scorer who can get hot in a hurry from behind the 3-point line. He is athletic and is also adept at scoring inside the arc, either driving aggressively to the basket or pulling up. Mayo also can notch a few assists when the defense focuses too closely on him.

While Mayo does not yet have a timetable for his decision and made it clear he is still wide-open, he now has a baseline for what he expects from each prospective school.

“The main key is getting along with the players and coaches. I have to be there for four years, so those are the guys that will be coaching me for four years,” he said. “The main keys are the ones that Marquette had.”

Photo: Herald-Dispatch (W.Va)

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Posted on: March 2, 2011 1:30 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2011 2:47 pm

Canty's return to 2011 unlikely

Posted by Jeff Borzello

With just a few top-100 players remaining in the class of 2011, certain schools are waiting to see if anyone from 2012 will reclassify.

The main candidate to do this is Kareem Canty – but he is leaning towards staying in his current class.

“More than likely I won’t leave in 2011,” said Canty, who is ranked as the No. 9 point guard in 2012 by Scout.com. 

Canty, a 6-foot-1 New York native who now plays at Bridgton Academy (Maine), decided in November to move back to the class of 2012 after several schools expressed interest in him. He then said in February that he would likely go back to 2011 if he qualified.

It appears now that Canty is content with 2012, though.

“I’m still in 2012,” he said. “I’m thinking about making a decision sometime in March but that might change.”

Canty added that he is focused on dominating the upcoming AAU season – another sign that he is going to return to high school next year.

The three schools showing interest in Canty for both 2011 and 2012 are Seton Hall, Oklahoma and Pittsburgh, while Clemson, Florida State and UCLA have begun to recruit him since he went to 2012.

“They see that I’ve become a better player,” Canty said. “[I’ve improved] my decision-making and becoming more of a vocal leader.”

Canty is an explosive scoring guard who can get into the lane on nearly any defender due to his quickness and ball-handling ability. He creates chances for his teammates once he penetrates and draws help defense. Canty changes directions very quickly and has improved his outside shooting.

If Canty announces that he will reclassify, expect colleges to flood him with interest.

For now, though, it seems they will have to wait.

Photo: NY Post

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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