Tag:Signing Day
Posted on: November 9, 2011 4:39 pm
 

What's going on in Lawrence, Kansas???

By Jeff Goodman

There's no logical explanation.

Bill Self is regarded as one of the elite recruiters in the country and Kansas is obviously a program that is soaked in tradition.

Self is as likable as just about any coach in the nation and is a fixture on the recruiting trail - whether it's during the season or in the July recruiting period.

Kansas has just about everything to offer a kid - exposure, Phog Allen Fieldhouse and all the bells and whistles that many top-tier recruits yearn for nowadays.

So, why are the Jayhawks struggling mightily to land big-time players?

There is clearly playing time available in Lawrence these days, yet Self and his staff haven't been able to secure any of the big boys.

Sure, they got Perry Ellis.

But he's no program changer - and he's a local kid that may have gone there no matter who was in charge.

Oh yeah, they also got an unranked power forward named Zach Peters.

Kansas is hardly intimidating on paper this season and next year it could be even worse. Tyshawn Taylor will be gone - and Thomas Robinson could well explore the NBA route if has the season many (including me) expect.

The Jayhawks recently swung and missed on 7-footer Kaleb Tarczewski, their top target in the Class of 2012. Assistant coach Joe Dooley put in more work with the New Hampshire native than anyone else - but they lost out to Arizona.

More on recruiting
They've also struggled to secure a big-time guard - which is a necessity with the departure of Taylor. Marcus Smart went with Oklahoma State in a package deal with Phil Forte and J-Mychal Reese also paired up, with his father to Texas A&M. Kansas missed on Danuel House, who is headed to Houston, and Ioannis Papapetrou went with Texas over the Jayhawks.

There's still the top-ranked player in the Class of 2012, Shabazz Muhammad, but I'm not sure anyone - even Self - thinks Kansas has any chance over UCLA and Kentucky.

Maybe it's time to re-evaluate Self as one of the elite-level recruiters in the nation.

Or maybe this is just one of those years where all the stars aligned in a way that went against the Jayhawks.

Whatever the case, it's baffling. There's no clear explanation for what's gone on in Lawrence lately, but that wealth and excess of talent that was found at Kansas a couple of years ago?

Those days are gone. At least for now.

Instead, it can be found in other places - like Lexington, Tucson and Chapel Hill.

Photo: Getty Images 
Posted on: November 9, 2011 2:47 pm
 

Indiana takes most significant step in Crean era

By Jeff Goodman

Indiana coach Tom Crean has waited nearly 1,100 days for this.

Sure, the Hoosiers signed the youngest of the Zeller brothers, Cody, a year ago - and while he was unquestionably the most important piece of Crean's semi-recent recruiting success, he was just that.

A piece.

Today marks what could be the return of IU basketball.

Crean will have a trio of Top 50 kids ink in the Class of 2012: Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell, a point guard who should have the ball in his hands the day he arrives in Bloomington; Hanner Perea, an athletic power forward who was coveted by no shortage of high-major schools; and Jeremy Hollowell, a 6-foot-6 scorer.

This could be the group that ultimately saves Crean his job.

Ferrell is the most critical piece that Crean will bring in and not just because of his ranking. No disrespect to Verdell Jones, but Ferrell is a major upgrade at the point guard spot. In fact, he's the second-highest rated floor leader in the nation (behind Providence-bound Kris Dunn).

Perea is something that Indiana doesn't have: a physical, hard-playing athlete on the frontline that will run the court, rebound the ball and block shots.

Hollowell is an enigma due to his inconsistent effort, but at worst case he'll give Crean depth at the wing.

Arizona's class may be ranked higher, but no one needed the Class of 2012 more than Crean and Indiana.

It's a program that has been in a state of rebuilding since the day Crean took over and while some expect the Hoosiers to take a step forward this season with the addition of Zeller, it's unlikely that Indiana makes any noise nationally.

But that could change a year from now.

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Crean didn't just go out and get any three players, either. Ferrell and Hollowell are in-state kids - and Perea, who hails from Columbia, has been at a prep school in Indiana for the last couple years.

He's making strides to do what the head coach in Bloomington has no choice but to do in order to make IU a national player again.

Lock down the state - or at least make it cool to play at Indiana again.

Crean has struggled to gain any on-court momentum in his first three seasons in Bloomington - so much so that many - including myself - have speculated that Butler's Brad Stevens is waiting in the wings if Crean doesn't soon make progress.

The Hoosiers should take a step forward this season on the court - but today was the most significant step that Indiana has displayed in the Crean Era.

Photo: US Presswire
Posted on: November 9, 2011 1:30 pm
 

Signing Day Senior Superlatives

By Jeff Borzello and Jeff Goodman

The class of 2012 has been an interesting group of players over the last couple of years. Many of the questions people had about the class – Who’s No. 1? Best point guard? How will Andre Drummond shake out? – have been answered. It’s also had plenty of movers and shakers in the rankings, with Mitch McGary becoming a top-five recruit and people like Danuel House, Adam Woodbury and Kris Dunn going from mid-major to top 40.

With so many different personalities and story lines in the class of 2012, we decided to break it down into 15 categories:

Most important commitment:

Goodman: Kyle Anderson to UCLA - Ben Howland and the Bruins were struggling on the recruiting trail and needed a big-time player - especially in the backcourt. Anderson, despite being 6-foot-8, is the best pure passer in the class and just knows how to win and make his teammates better. If Howland can find a way to keep Reeves Nelson and Josh Smith for another year, UCLA could get back to the Final Four with the help of Anderson.

Borzello: Mitch McGary to Michigan – John Beilein has never been known to get five-star prospects, and McGary was being pursued by the likes of Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, Florida, Maryland and many others. He was one of the best players in the country on the AAU circuit in the spring and summer, and will make an immediate impact in Ann Arbor. When Beilein gets supremely talented players to run his system, it’s bad news for everyone else.

Best mid-major recruit:

Goodman: Danuel House to Houston. There's a reason why many have House ranked in the Top 50 - and some even in the Top 20. He's a gifted (especially athletically) wing with size who does a terrific job attacking the basket. If he gets a perimeter shot, he'll be a pro.

Borzello: Danuel House to Houston. House shot up the charts in the late spring AAU period, going from two offers to 35 offers in a two-week span. He’s extremely athletic and is a menace in transition. House is also improving his perimeter game and is tough to stop going to the rim.

Best shooter:

Goodman: Kellen Dunham - It's no shock that I'm going with a kid headed to Butler as my top shooter. Dunham has the size, at 6-5, and can really stroke it from, well, just about anywhere. Just imagine he and Rotnei Clarke on the floor together next year.

Borzello: Fred Thomas – When he gets going, there’s not a more fun shooter to watch in the country. Thomas has the swagger of a stone-cold shooter, capable of knocking down several shots in a row and getting his team on a run. He has great size and deep range.

Best passer:

Goodman: Kyle Anderson - There's no one better in this class - and I haven't seen anyone his size pass it like this in a while.

Borzello: Kyle Anderson – It’s a weak class of point guards, but Anderson would win either way. His size and vision put him head and shoulders above the rest.

Biggest risk:

Goodman: Ricky Ledo - He's got the natural ability, but new Providence coach Ed Cooley is rolling the dice with the Rhode Island native. Teammates don't exactly love to play with him - and he hardly won at all this past summer. He's also bounced around to four different schools. If all that's not a risk, I'm not sure what is.

Borzello: Nino Jackson – Jackson became a household name on the AAU circuit two years ago, when he used his explosiveness to become one of the top guards in the country. However, he didn’t play AAU, he’s nearly impossible to track down and no one has heard from him in months. Might not qualify.

Most underrated:

Goodman: Nik Stauskas - The 6-foot-6 Canadian has been overshadowed by Alex Murphy and Kaleb Tarczewski at St. Mark's, but he's the ideal John Beilein recruit. Obviously, Michigan getting Mitch McGary was huge - but Stauskas passes and shoots the you-know-what out of the ball.

Borzello: Semaj Christon – Chris Mack got an absolute steal with this one. He’s not often mentioned among the top point guards in the country, but there might not be anyone better at getting to the rim than Christon. He will shine this year at Brewster Academy (N.H.) under Jason Smith.

Most overrated:

Goodman: Isaiah Austin - He looks the part, so long and athletic. The 7-footer, who is headed to Baylor and ranked in the Top 5 by just about everyone, just never gets anything done when I've seen him. I don't ever see his production matching his potential.

Borzello: Rodney Purvis – I think Purvis has great scoring ability, but the North Carolina commit tries too hard to be a point guard. He struggles with his left hand and doesn’t initiate offense for others too effectively. Moreover, his personality takes a turn for the worse when he isn’t getting his on the offensive end.

Biggest sleeper: (guy outside of Top 100)

Goodman: Olivier Hanlon - The Canadian was a huge pickup for Boston College. He's a pure point guard who knows how to play and makes his teammates better.

Borzello: Fred Van Vleet – Wichita State did a great job of getting him before the summer period – he was one of the best point guards on the AAU circuit in July.

Best defender:

Goodman: Chris Obekpa - The uncommitted power forward from Our Savior plays hard, runs the court well and gets after it on the glass - and is also a big-time shot-blocker.

Borzello: Marcus Smart – The Oklahoma State commit simply plays harder than nearly everyone else. He can guard four positions on the floor, and physicality and nonstop motor make him a pest.

Most explosive scorer:

Goodman: Shabazz Muhammad - He's the top-ranked player in the country for a reason. He's got an NBA-ready body and can score the ball in a variety of ways. He shoots it from deep, is athletic enough to get into the lane and strong enough to finish around and above the rim.

Borzello: Shabazz Muhammad – Didn’t want to pick the same as Goodman, but it’s impossible to go against Muhammad. The lefty is impossible to stop going to the basket, and his mid-range game is deadly. He’s not afraid to go against bigger players and finish in traffic either.

Best rebounder:

Goodman: Mitch McGary - Think Tyler Hansbrough. McGary, who is headed to Michigan, is relentless. He's also strong and is a monster on the glass.

Borzello: Ricardo Gathers – He might not be as tall as some of the other big-time rebounders, but he’s as strong as they come and has an unparalleled nose for the ball.

Best first recruit: (new coach signee)

Goodman: It would be easy to go with Kris Dunn, who is arguably the top point guard in the country and is headed to Providence. But I'm going with a somewhat-under-the-radar guy with Katin Reinhardt heading to play for Dave Rice at UNLV. Reinhardt has the size and athleticism - and can shoot it, get to the basket and finish.

Borzello: I know I wrote that Rodney Purvis was overrated earlier, but he was still a monster commitment for Mark Gottfried. He’s an in-state kid who had previously committed to Louisville and had interest or offers from Duke, Connecticut, Memphis, Missouri, Ohio State and others. He’s a big-time scorer who can be a go-to-guy.

Best frontcourt:

Goodman: C'mon, this one is just too easy. The only answer for this one can be Arizona - as Sean Miller has somehow managed to land the trio of Brandon Ashley, Kaleb Tarczewski and Grant Jerrett - and all three could wind up playing in the McDonald's All-American Game.

Borzello: It’s just dumb not to pick Arizona and its trio of five-star frontcourt players. Brandon Ashley and Kaleb Tarczewski are top-five prospects, and Grant Jerrett is another potential Burger Boy. Sean Miller did a great job getting all three to come to Tucson.

Best backcourt:

Goodman: There's honestly no one that truly stands out, so I'm going to go with N.C. State - even though I think all three of their guys maybe a tad overrated. The bottom line is that Mark Gottfried and his staff have added a trio of Top 100 players: Rodney Purvis, T.J. Warren and Tyler Lewis. Honestly, I think I like Lewis more than the other two. He doesn't look the part, but he knows how to play and brings a toughness to the table. Purvis can really score it and Warren can really shoot it. 

Borzello: Only one team has two five-star guards in the fold, and that’s Providence. Ed Cooley picked up the nation’s best point guard in Connecticut native Kris Dunn, and also received a commitment from Ricardo Ledo, who can be the best scoring guard in the country when focused. They can be the backcourt of the future for the Friars, who also nabbed Josh Fortune – a knockdown shooter who will certainly be useful for Cooley during his career at Providence.

Guy I love to watch:

Goodman: Sam Dekker - He's athletic and skilled - and will be a star for Bo Ryan at Wisconsin. There's absolutely no doubt in my mind.

Borzello: Yogi Ferrell – His ability to handle the ball and get into the lane against defenses is impressive. Ferrell will run the show for Tom Crean from the get-go.

Photos: Nike, MaxPreps

Posted on: November 9, 2011 12:23 pm
 

Sean Miller brings surprising No. 1 class to UA

By Jeff Goodman

Brandon Ashley, Kaleb Tarczewski and Grant Jerrett.

Three of the elite big men in the entire country, all headed to the same place.

Tucson, Arizona.

A decade or so ago, this would hardly be newsworthy. Lute Olson was doing this sort of thing all the time, plucking the best of the best - especially on the west coast.

But Arizona hasn't been, Arizona, for a while now.

That's set to change with Ashley, Tarczewski and Jerrett - in addition to consensus Top 50 guard Gabe York - all signing with Sean Miller's Arizona Wildcats.

Ashley checks in at No. 3 overall in our rankings, Tarczewski is at No. 5 while Jerrett (No. 23) is also a legitimate McDonald's All-American candidate.

This is a class that stands at numero uno right now - without any question or hesitation - and it's also one that no one expected out of Miller when took the job a couple years ago.

Miller was an east coast guy who had virtually no recruiting ties west of the Mississippi, but he's been able to make inroads in California - and that's a state that has been primed to invade lately with the inability of Ben Howland to secure elite local talent and the hesitation of Kevin O'Neill to go after (or secure) potential one-and-done guys.

Sure, Miller was fortunate that USC let Derrick Williams out of his letter of intent and ended up in Tucson. He was lucky that he was able to persuade former Xavier signee Kevin Parrom to come with him to Arizona.

But this was a program with as much instability as any in the nation a few years ago.

It appeared to be in the same realm as Indiana, a major rebuilding process that could take years for it to be nationally relevant again.

Now Miller, just two years removed, is beating Kentucky and Phil Knight, I mean Oregon, for studs like Ashley. He got John Calipari twice this year and also nabbed Tarczewski over Kansas and North Carolina.

That's mind-boggling.

However, the most shocking aspect of his current class is that the 7-foot Tarczewski committed with Ashley and Jerrett already in the fold. This could be the most talented trio of big men in the country in any one spot a year from now - and we haven't even touched on current Arizona freshmen Angelo Chol or Sidiki Johnson - both big men who cracked the Top 100 in the previous recruiting class.

With this group that will ink in the early signing period, Miller has put Arizona back where Olson had it in his heyday.

Just imagine a starting unit of sophomore guards Josiah Turner and Nick Johnson in the backcourt with a healthy Parrom or Solomon Hill (both will be seniors) on the wing and some combination of Ashley, Tarczewski and Jerrett up front. Then you'll have guys like Johnson, Chol and York coming off the bench.

That's a team that can compete for a league - and likely even a national - championship.

Photo: US Presswire
Posted on: November 9, 2011 10:45 am
Edited on: November 9, 2011 10:54 am
 

Survey: Peers pick top recruiter, overrated, etc.



By Jeff Goodman


With the first day of the early signing period here, it's easy to put all your focus on the kids who are inking their names on Letters of Intents today.

But here at CBSSports.com, we take a different look as well - one that had more than 100 high-major Division 1 coaches respond to the following seven questions about their peers and recruiting.

Regardless of affiliation, if you had to pick one head coach to get a prospect, who would it be?

1. John Calipari, Kentucky
2. Sean Miller, Arizona
3. Roy Williams, North Carolina
4. Rick Barnes, Texas
5. Billy Donovan, Florida

Regardless of affiliation, if you had to pick one assistant coach to get a prospect, who would it be?

1. Russell Springmann, Texas
2. Jerrence Howard, Illinois
3. Butch Pierre, Oklahoma State
4. Dalonte Hill, Kansas State
5. Tommy Lloyd, Gonzaga

Who is the most overrated head coach recruiting-wise?

1. Ben Howland, UCLA
2. Travis Ford, Oklahoma State
3. Mark Gottfried, N.C. State
4. Bill Self, Kansas
5. Shaka Smart, VCU

Who is the most underrated head coach recruiting-wise?

1. Lorenzo Romar, Washington
2. Thad Matta, Ohio State
3. Jamie Dixon, Pittsburgh
4. Leonard Hamilton, Florida State
5. Sean Miller, Arizona

Who’s the most relentless recruiter in college basketball?

1. Josh Pastner, Memphis
2. Buzz Williams, Marquette
3. Sean Miller, Arizona
4. Kevin O'Neill, USC
5. Scott Drew, Baylor

Which mid-major assistant will make it big-time due to his recruiting ability?

1. Yanni Hufnagel, Harvard
2. Ulric Maligi, Houston
3. Luke Murray, Towson
4. Matt McMahon, Murray State
5. Ashley Howard, Drexel

You can have anyone from the Class of 2012. Who are you taking?

1. Shabazz Muhammad
2. Marcus Smart
3. Mitch McGary
4. Kyle Anderson
5. Gary Harris

Photo: US PRESSWIRE

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