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Tag:Tournament of Champions
Posted on: June 7, 2011 12:22 pm
 

Bronson Koenig dealing with recruiting attention

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Posted by Jeff Borzello

RALEIGH, N.C. – Not many high school sophomores receive scholarship offers from Kansas, North Carolina and Wisconsin. The ones that do are usually very confident in their abilities to deal with the attention.

Bronson Koenig, though, admits he is struggling with the additional pressures brought on by the early offers from big-name schools.

“I mean, I’m handling it,” Koenig said last week at the Tournament of Champions, minutes from UNC’s Chapel Hill campus. “I’m not very good at it yet. But I’m trying to get better.”

Koenig, a 6-foot-2 point guard from Aquinas (Wisc.), is also looking to get better with his game. Right now, Koenig has the ability to play both guard positions, but is best attribute is his 3-point shooting ability. He has tremendous range and a very nice stroke on his jumper. While Koenig isn’t explosive or extremely quick, he has good ball-handling ability and the swagger to run a team.

“I try to bring leadership and distributing the basketball,” he said. “And score when they need me to score.”

While schools like Virginia are also coming after Koenig, the three he is focused on are Wisconsin, North Carolina and Kansas. The Badgers offered him last June, but he really made headlines when North Carolina offered him in February.

Roy Williams is notorious for waiting until a prospect’s junior year to offer players, but the Tar Heels had been highly-interested in Koenig since watching him nail multiple 3-pointers last summer alongside North Carolina-commit J.P. Tokoto on the Wisconsin Playground Warriors. 

“I don’t know how to explain it, but it felt really good,” Koenig said of the early offer.

Kansas joined the fray last month after Koenig and the rest of his AAU team went to Lawrence, Kan. for the Jayhawk Invitational.

The three schools are clearly in front for Koenig, but neither of the three stands out in particular at this point.

“They’re all recruiting me the hardest,” he said. “I like them all the same. I feel comfortable, I like the coaching staffs. I want to go to a program that can go to the NCAA national championship – because I just like to win.”

Clearly, all three schools have very good histories and traditions, but Koenig discussed the specifics of each school that appealed to him.

With North Carolina, Koenig seemed to like everything about the Tar Heels.

“Just the program in general, with McDonald’s All-Americans,” he said. “The coaches, the facilities.”

The hometown Badgers have the local angle.

“I just felt comfortable there,” Koenig said. “Some guys are from Playground [his AAU team].”

Kansas is the most recent to enter his top three, but the Jayhawks are squarely in the mix.

“Me and my parents got to sit down with coach Self,” Koenig said. “I like how he plays ball.”

The comparisons have already begun for Koenig. While he likens himself to former Wisconsin guard Devin Harris, the most common one is Kirk Hinrich, who played under Williams at Kansas.

Not surprisingly, the comparison stems from Williams, who showed tape of Hinrich to Koenig when he checked out the Tar Heels’ campus.

“I see myself as more of a point guard,” Koenig said. “At Wisconsin, they wanted me as a point guard, but Roy Williams said I can play the point guard, 2-guard or 3-guard.”

By the time he is ready to make a college decision, Koenig will undoubtedly be able to handle either guard position – and better deal with the pressures that come from being a big-time recruit.

Photos: Lacrosse Tribune

Posted on: June 6, 2011 4:50 pm
Edited on: June 6, 2011 4:52 pm
 

Andrew White looking to prove himself on circuit

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Posted by Jeff Borzello

RALEIGH, N.C. – Some players rest on their laurels after rising up rankings and becoming high-major recruits.

Andrew White is not one of them.

“I now have to prove I’m as good as advertised,” White said last weekend at the Tournament of Champions.

White parlayed an impressive winter and spring into a top-100 ranking by many services, and the 6-foot-6 small forward from The Miller School (Va.) is making sure it stays that way.

He put his reputation on the line against fellow 2012 prospect T.J. Warren at the Ravenscroft School (N.C.) last week.

“I heard he played the same position as me, so I was looking forward to it,” White said. “It’s good to have the top players. It’s good to matchup with someone as good or better than you.”

While White struggled to defend Warren and also faded somewhat in the second half, his complete skill-set was on display.

His size and athleticism makes him a difficult matchup on the offensive end, as he runs the floor extremely well and attacks the basket with a purpose. White is improving his outside jumper, and is highly-effective with his mid-range game.

Since reclassifying to 2012, White has seen his recruitment skyrocket from mostly mid-majors to a smattering of schools at a variety of levels. He mentioned George Mason, Old Dominion, Connecticut, Virginia Tech, North Carolina State, Boston College, Providence, Utah, BYU and South Florida.

“I’m wide open,” White said.

While he holds at least 15 offers, he is still very motivated to make sure everyone knows he can compete at the highest level.

“Some schools passed up on me in 2011,” White said. “I’ve got to show I’m worthy of a place like that.”

Photo: Charlottesville Daily Progress

Posted on: June 6, 2011 10:58 am
 

Versatile Devonta Pollard shoots up the rankings

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Posted by Jeff Borzello

RALEIGH, N.C. – It certainly doesn’t take long to see why Devonta Pollard is one of the fastest-rising players in the class of 2012.

Pollard, a 6-foot-7 forward from Kemper County (Miss.), immediately impresses due to his long and lean frame, and his eye-popping athleticism. But he’s more than just a talent on paper.

Need to see him make a play in the paint? Pollard outleaps everyone and finishes well above the rim.

Need to see him get other players involved? Pollard draws the defense and finds a wide-open teammate near the bucket with an excellent jump-pass.

Need to see him extend his game to the perimeter? Pollard knocks down a couple of outside jumpers with range.

Of course, with all of his talents, Pollard draws attention because of his versatility. He might be the most explosive leaper in the country, but his dexterity around the rim and ability to knock down jumpers make him a must-have prospect.

“I think of myself as a three man,” Pollard said at last weekend's Tournament of Champions, where he led the Southern Phenoms to the U-17 title. “I’m being recruited as a three.”

Among the schools recruiting him include Mississippi State, Alabama, Georgetown, Mississippi, LSU, Kentucky and Missouri.

Pollard insists he has no favorites, and will take his time with a decision.

“I want to take some more visits, then make a decision in my senior year,” he said.

While roundball is in his immediate future, Pollard said the factors that go into his college choice will include more than just the basketball program and coaching staff.

Academics are important to Pollard.

“I don’t want to just be good at basketball,” he said.

For now, he’s more than just “good” when it comes to the hardwood. Pollard is a lock to be ranked in everyone’s top 20 after the spring and summer.

While it’s a nice feeling, Pollard said the high rankings also motivate him.

“It’s good,” he said. “But it also lets me know that I have to work harder."

Photo: Meridian Star 

Posted on: June 6, 2011 9:58 am
 

2013 big Kennedy Meeks with plenty of interest

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Posted by Jeff Borzello

RALEIGH, N.C. – He may go by “Baby,” but Kennedy Meeks is a grown man on the basketball court.

Meeks is listed at 6-foot-8 and 260 lbs., and dwarfs most opponents that try to defend him in the paint. He has great hands and knows how to finish at the rim with post moves and a soft touch. Meeks can pass out of a double team, and is also a very solid rebounder. The West Charlotte (N.C.) product is improving all facets of his game.

One of the top centers in the class of 2013, Meeks is receiving tons of college interest.

“Everybody in the ACC besides Duke and Georgia Tech,” Meeks said. “Also, Georgetown, Louisville and North Florida.”

North Florida? “North Florida.”

Meeks said his favorites are Georgetown and Maryland, and he wants to check out the campuses of Maryland and Miami (Fl.) at some point in July.

The exceptional campaigns by Georgetown’s Greg Monroe and Maryland’s Jordan Williams over the last two seasons are part of the reason Meeks is drawn to those two programs – they utilize their post players.

“They feed the big man,” he said. “I want to go to a place where they use their big man.”

Despite his nickname, Meeks certainly fits the profile.

Photo: Charlotte Observer
Posted on: June 3, 2011 8:38 am
 

Kuran Iverson stays out of the spotlight



Posted by Jeff Borzello

RALEIGH, N.C. – For such a highly-ranked player, Kuran Iverson gets very little coverage on a consistent basis.

It could be attributed to his lack of appearances on the AAU circuit, the fact he plays for a small school in Connecticut, or simply because you don’t know where and when he will show up.

For example, it was rumored he would play with the Long Island Lightning at the Tournament of Champions. On Friday, he wasn’t there. After a flight delay, Iverson appeared on Saturday to help lead the Lightning to the U-16 championship game.

“I haven’t played ball in awhile,” Iverson said.

The 6-foot-8 small forward from Northwest Catholic (Conn.) has sat out most of the spring period to focus on academics. Now, Iverson said his grades are in good shape.

Also in good shape is Iverson’s game. The rising junior is an absolute matchup nightmare due to his size and skillset. He can handle the ball well and is able to knock down perimeter jumpers. Moreover, he is versatile enough to play around the rim and make passes over the defense. Iverson still seems to be growing, which could hamper his ability to run the floor. With that said, his potential might be as high as anyone in the class of 2013.

The younger cousin of former NBA star Allen Iverson will have his pick when it comes to colleges.

For now, Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Kentucky, Syracuse, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech and North Carolina are in the mix.

Although he doesn’t seem anywhere close to a decision, Iverson likes North Carolina and Connecticut.

While on Tobacco Road, Iverson took a trip to Chapel Hill. “I like the team, everybody played hard,” he said of the Tar Heels.

The national champion Huskies are his home state team, but location has nothing to do with why they are high on his list. “I just like Kemba,” Iverson said.

Iverson also mentioned that he wants to visit St. John’s.

With his combination of size, skill and athleticism, Iverson is guaranteed to make an impact at the next level.

If colleges can find him, of course.

Photo: Hartford Courant 

Posted on: June 2, 2011 1:00 pm
 

Gavin Ware "50/50" on going to Mississippi State

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Posted by Jeff Borzello

RALEIGH, N.C. – Ever since Gavin Ware transformed his body and became one of the top low-post players in the class, he has been hearing from a variety of high-major schools.

Some people have assumed he would be a Mississippi State lean, though. After all, the 6-foot-9 big man is from Starkville, Miss. and attends Starkville High School (Miss.).

It turns out that it will indeed be tough to pull Ware away from Rick Stansbury and the Bulldogs.

“There’s a 50/50 chance [I go to Mississippi State] because it’s right there,” Ware said over the weekend. “Most of my family is in Starkville. It would be easier to go there, and it would help me.”

He did say Georgetown and Alabama were also in his top three, and Tennessee and other SEC schools are pursuing him, but it would take a lot for one of those schools to swoop in and steal Ware from the hometown program.

“That’s a hard question to answer,” Ware said when asked what would make him leave Starkville. “But my decision is based on the coaches and if I like the school better.”

Ware is still developing at both ends of the floor, but he has a very strong body and great hands. He runs the floor very well and has the athleticism to beat most defenders down the court and finish at the rim. Ware gets good position in the paint and can also knock down face-up jumpers in the mid-range.

After landing Fred Thomas two weeks ago, it looks like Mississippi State could be poised to pick up its second big-time Southern Phenoms prospect.

Posted on: June 2, 2011 11:53 am
Edited on: June 2, 2011 12:26 pm
 

Recruiting Notebook: Sam Mader finds way to shine

Posted by Jeff Borzello

RALEIGH, N.C. – For Sam Mader, there are positives and negatives to being on a team with North Carolina-commit J.P. Tokoto, Wisconsin-bound Sam Dekker and 2013 stud Bronson Koenig.

“I do feel like I get overshadowed,” Mader said. “But it’s a team game, and they’re great players. I still feel like I get looks, because people are coming to games. It doesn’t affect me.”

Mader, a 6-foot-9 power forward from Appleton East (Wisc.), made his presence known over the weekend at the Tournament of Champions. He is a good high- and low-post big man, with the ability to pass to teammates from the free-throw line or make plays around the rim with his back to the basket. Mader has good hands and makes himself available with good positioning.

Several high-majors – like Minnesota, Northwestern, Oregon State and Stanford – have shown interest in Mader in the past, but he mentioned five schools last Friday.

UW-Milwaukee and UW-Green Bay have offered him, while Ball State and Drake are showing plenty of interest. Mader wants to take a visit to Northern Illinois.

“I want to make a decision in August,” he said.

Jordan Scott taking his time

One of the more underrated teams at the Tournament of Champions last weekend was the Colorado Chaos. Despite having two high-major commits in Josh Scott (Colorado) and Kaileb Rodriguez (California), not many people knew about this team.

A player who made people take notice was Jordan Scott. A 6-foot-5 forward, Scott knows how to finish around the rim and plays well in transition. He is also a very good defender and can guard multiple positions.

For now, the Lewis-Palmer (Colo.) product is hearing from Colorado, Air Force, Denver and Arizona.

“I want to make a decision during my senior season,” the 2013 prospect said. “I’m taking my time.”

Terrell Rogers follows in father’s footsteps

Despite standing just 5-foot-4, Shawnta Rogers terrorized the Atlantic-10 for three years in the late 90s, averaging 20.7 points in his final season at George Washington.

Now, he has a son who is looking to continue that reputation.

Terrell Rogers, a 5-foot-8 guard from Indiana Land (S.C.), impressed with his scoring ability at the Tournament of Champions. He is supremely quick with the ball and has an ability to get into the lane and finish against bigger players. Rogers adjusts his body well to avoid getting blocked.

The rising senior said he is hearing from Clemson, Boston College, Virginia Tech, Florida Atlantic, Florida State, Providence and Charleston.

“Not yet,” Rogers said when asked about a decision. “At the end of the summer.

Posted on: June 2, 2011 9:52 am
Edited on: June 2, 2011 12:26 pm
 

Solomon Poole continues to make adjustments

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Posted by Jeff Borzello

RALEIGH, N.C. – Because of a flight delay, the Dwight Howard Warriors did not arrive at Ravenscroft School (N.C.) until nearly 10 p.m. last Friday at the Tournament of Champions. Despite the late tip time, there were still plenty of media and scouts in attendance, with many staying to watch Solomon Poole, one of the top-25 players in the class of 2013.

As the game went on, and Poole continued to miss outside shots, people began to question his ranking. With the clock winding down, though, Poole reminded everyone why he is so highly touted.

Down one to the Charlotte Nets, Poole put up a stepback jumper that splashed through the net as time expired. That one play demonstrated his quickness, strength and scoring ability, and how tough he is to stop when it all comes together.

It might have been enough to make people forget his early struggles.

“I just focused,” Poole said of the way he bounced back. “I knew I had to keep going. I knew my teammates would pick me up.”

Poole, a 6-foot-1 combo guard from Terry Parker (Fla.), is the younger brother of Kentucky’s Stacey Poole and the son of former Florida standout Stacey Poole Sr. The basketball bloodlines are hard to miss when gauging Poole’s natural talent. He is a big-time scorer who finishes tremendously well in traffic and controls his body effectively in the lane. Poole can beat his man off the dribble and is strong enough to pull-up in the mid-range against defenders. While inconsistent from 3-point range, Poole does have range behind the arc.

Because of his size, though, Poole might have to play the one at the next level, and he knows it.

“I need to work on my pace,” he said. “I need to work on changing speeds.”

A long list of schools are courting the talented sophomore. Poole and his AAU coach, Antwain Tennell, rattled off offers from local schools Central Florida and South Florida, as well as Georgia Tech and South Carolina. Providence, North Carolina, Arizona, Memphis, Florida and Oklahoma State are all showing interest. 

Decision time is a long way away for Poole, but he knows what he’s looking for in a school.

“First, academics. You can’t get anywhere without that,” Poole said. “And a coach that makes you better. I want him to tell me what I’m doing wrong.”

Based on the way he makes adjustments during the game, though, it seems Poole is getting by just fine on his own.

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