Tag:2013
Posted on: May 14, 2011 12:20 pm
Edited on: May 14, 2011 1:35 pm
 

Recruiting Notebook: Griffin is a two-sport star

Posted by Jeff Borzello

Watching Derrick Griffin run the floor and grab alley-oops – over and over and over – you would think he doesn’t even hesitate when going up for a dunk.

Interestingly, the 6-foot-6 forward from Terry (Tex.) does have second thoughts the split-second before he skies over defenders.

“Sometimes, I do get nerves,” Griffin said.

Of course, those thoughts quickly dissipate, turning into a confidence where he knows he can out-leap nearly any opponent.

“Then I just jump,” Griffin said. “If it’s there, I’m going to get it.”

Teamed with two top-10 prospects in twins Aaron and Andrew Harrison, Griffin was the one who stole the show at last weekend’s Nike Baltimore Elite Invitational. He wowed the crowd with one-handed finishes, alley-oops when he rose high above the rim and big-time blocks on the defensive end.

Although he can certainly make an impact at the next level in basketball, Griffin is also a stud football player. As a wide receiver, Griffin reportedly caught 18 touchdown passes, proving to be an impossible match-up with his athleticism and strength.

Baylor, Texas, Texas A&M, Oregon, Kansas and USC have already reached out to the sophomore for both sports.

He has not made up his mind as to which sport he will play in the future, but Griffin knows his development might be better suited for the hardwood.

“If I get taller, I’m going to play basketball,” he said.

Lee to take it to the next level

Britton Lee understands.

The Roman Catholic (Pa.) sophomore knows he’s 5-foot-10 and isn’t yet a pure point guard or a big-time shooter. He knows he has room to improve and has a lot of work to do in order to reach his goals.

“I need to work on my jump shot, need to work on my handle,” Lee said.

With that said, Lee also envisions himself as a major conference player.

“I think I can go high-major,” he said.

For now, Rutgers, Pittsburgh, Xavier and Niagara are showing varying levels of interest.

Other Notes:

- The U-16 group of the Team Final AAU program is one of the top groups in the country, although they also play up an age group in a few tournaments. In addition to Lee and high-major prospects Austin Colbert, Rondae Jefferson and Davon Reed, head coach Rob Brown also has plenty of other players at his disposal.

Yosef Yacob, a 6-foot point guard from Archbishop Carroll (Pa.), is hearing from Canisius, Rhode Island, Saint Joseph’s and Drexel. Yacob is long and an effective facilitator.

Johnnie Davis might be undersized at 6-foot-4, but the Neumann-Goretti (Pa.) forward is productive. Davis is hearing from schools like Niagara and George Mason, but also has high-majors like Pittsburgh tracking him.

- At the Nike Baltimore Elite Invitational last weekend, the New Jersey Playaz should have run roughshod over Threat 220. One player wouldn’t let that happen, though: Junius Thomas.

Thomas, a 6-foot-5 forward from Anacostia (D.C.), was outstanding. He blocked shots, finished above the rim, dominated the glass and single-handedly kept an undermanned Threat team in the game. While they eventually lost, Thomas might have been the most impressive player all game.

If he can get his academics in order, he has the potential to be at least a mid-level player. Thomas did mention hearing from St. Bonaventure and Clemson

Photo: iHigh.com 

Posted on: May 13, 2011 4:35 pm
Edited on: May 13, 2011 4:39 pm
 

Recruiting Notebook: Thornwell on the rise

Posted by Jeff Borzello

The class of 2013 is going to be known for its depth at the wing position, and one player making his way up the rankings is Sindarius Thornwell.

Thornwell, a 6-foot-4 sophomore from Lancaster (S.C.), makes an immediate impact because of his length and athleticism. He handles the ball and distributes well for someone his size, and is also adept at finishing.

“I’m quick and I can handle the ball,” Thornwell said. “I’m always attacking and I play defense.”

Plenty of colleges have taken notice of the versatile 2013 prospect.

Thornwell currently holds offers from South Carolina, Clemson, Tennessee State, Georgia Southern and Charlotte. He also has interest from Louisville, UCF and the entire ACC besides North Carolina and Duke.

Thornwell, who has visited Clemson and South Carolina, knows exactly what he needs in a school.

“I’m looking for playing style, good academics and playing time,” he said. “That’s it.”

2013 big man looking to improve

Most 6-foot-10 sophomores can get by on size and length alone. Andre Walker, on the other hand, is constantly looking to get better.

As it stands, he is a talented but raw big man who can run the floor and finish after he catches it.

“I need to make strong moves and play better defense,” Walker said. “I need to get better, get stronger. I also want to work on my perimeter game. I’m working hard.”

The Clarksburg (Md.) native is hearing from DePaul, Washington State, VCU, Northwestern, George Mason and Maryland.

Whitfield transfers to team with Tyler Lewis

North Carolina is loaded with prospects in the class of 2012. One player flying under the radar is Shane Whitfield, a 6-foot-5 forward.

In an attempt to make a name for himself, Whitfield is transferring next year to Forsyth Country Day School (N.C.). There, he will team up with North Carolina State commit Tyler Lewis in hopes of increasing his recruitment.

“It’s better competition,” Whitfield said. “I want to get better everyday.”

Right now, Whitfield has offers from Delaware, American, Campbell and Holy Cross, with interest from Richmond, Charlotte and East Carolina.

Other notes:

- A Texas team in need of impact players could pick up one this weekend. Recently available Sterling Gibbs and North Carolina State transfer Ryan Harrow are both visiting Austin this weekend.

- Unsigned 2011 center Daouda Soumaoro is currently on an official visit to Washington. Soumaoro took a trip to St. John’s recently, and said he enjoyed it.

- Top-50 2012 forward Ricardo Gathers is taking an unofficial visit to St. John’s this weekend. The Louisiana native also wants to take a trip to Florida.

Photo: 6manbasketball.com 

Posted on: May 13, 2011 2:13 pm
Edited on: May 13, 2011 3:17 pm
 

2013 prospect Isaiah Hicks has UNC at the top

INTERESTED TEAMS:



Posted by Jeff Borzello

HAMPTON, Va. – There’s Isaiah Hicks dunking the ball three times in a row. There’s Isaiah Hicks running the floor and beating everyone for a transition basket. There’s Isaiah Hicks blocking shots at will.

And there’s Isaiah Hicks  . . . disappointed with his performance?

“I didn’t play my best,” Hicks said at the Southern Jam Fest last weekend. “It just wasn’t my day. I could’ve done everything better.”

According to everyone else, though, Hicks is one of the top players in the class of 2013. The 6-foot-8 forward from Body of Christ Academy (N.C.) is extremely long and athletic, creating mismatches with his leaping ability and speed. He can beat bigger players down the court and score on smaller defenders around the rim.

“I just gotta bring it every game,” Hicks said.

In terms of recruiting, the sophomore has offers from Xavier, North Carolina State and Clemson, along with interest from North Carolina and Wake Forest.

Despite not getting an offer from the Tar Heels, they seem to be ahead of the pack.

“I liked everything,” Hicks said.

Posted on: May 11, 2011 3:33 pm
Edited on: May 12, 2011 4:20 pm
 

Sophomore Austin Colbert gets taste of U-17 level

INTERESTED TEAMS:



Posted by Jeff Borzello

HAMPTON, Va. – Growing up, it’s always fun to hang out with the older kids a little bit, but everyone seems more comfortable with people their own age.

For Austin Colbert, it is the same way in AAU basketball.

Colbert is arguably the best player in the Team Final AAU program, but the sophomore admittedly struggled playing with the U-17 team.

“They were all in my grill, as far as being stronger and defending me,” Colbert said at the Southern Jam Fest last weekend.

Moving back down to his natural age group, the young power forward looked more relaxed and was able to showcase his full skill set.

“It’s a little bit easier than playing with the 17s,” Colbert said. “I’m real comfortable, we’ve played together before.”

Despite that, Colbert said he enjoyed playing up a level because it gave him a chance to go against the best of the best in the class of 2012.

“It’s good for exposure,” he said. “We get to see where we compare against some real talented players.”

Colbert, a 6-foot-9 prospect from St. Patrick (N.J.), has been ranked among the top players in his class for a few years. He is very long and athletic, showing the ability to run the floor and finish in transition. Colbert is an outstanding shot-blocker who can also guard players off the dribble due to his lateral quickness.

In order to become more attractive at the next level, Colbert is expanding his game to the perimeter. He showed off his outside jumper and spent time around the arc.

“I want to move out a little bit, try to be a three,” Colbert said. “I’m athletic, I can stretch out and guard four of five positions.”

As far as recruiting, Colbert named a top five of Seton Hall, Xavier, Pittsburgh, Georgetown and Oklahoma.

“I want to go to a running school with a good coach,” he said.

By then, expect Colbert to fit right in with older players. 

Posted on: May 10, 2011 2:39 pm
Edited on: May 12, 2011 4:16 pm
 

High school sophomore gets pro offer

Posted by Jeff Borzello

On Monday, we introduced you to 2013 prospect Aquille Carr, a highly-touted guard from Baltimore.

Carr is a great story: he’s 5-foot-6 yet is one of the most explosive scorers in the country and is a consensus top-50 prospect.

The story took a turn towards mythical status later Monday, when it was revealed the diminutive prospect received a $750,000 pro offer from Lottomatica Virtus Roma in the Italian league.

Carr, who plays at Patterson (Md.) and runs with the Baltimore Panthers on the AAU circuit, went to Milan in late April and helped lead the United States team to the gold medal at the Junior International Tournament.

Recruiting

While there, Carr averaged nearly 41 points per game and became something of a cult hero. According to Cameron Smith of Prep Rally, Italian fans carried him off the court after one game.

“I would be interested in [playing abroad] one day,” Carr told Joe Davis of Scouts Focus. “It was fun over there. I just want to keep [the Roma offer] in mind. I don’t want to make my decision so fast. But perhaps we might do that.”

Roma is the same club team that signed Brandon Jennings out of high school.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: May 9, 2011 10:08 am
Edited on: May 12, 2011 4:23 pm
 

5-foot-6 Carr continues to convert doubters

Posted by Jeff Borzello

HAMPTON, Va. – Aquille Carr still isn’t tired of hearing the doubters.

The 5-foot-6 Carr is one of the most explosive scorers in the country, but many onlookers think he’s not big enough to be a factor at the next level.

“I want them to think that,” Carr said Friday at the Southern Jam Fest. “I always hear that. ‘He’s too small, he’s overrated.’ It keeps me working hard.”

Carr began turning heads a couple of years ago because of his scoring exploits in Baltimore. He was named the MaxPreps National Freshman of the Year in 2010, and took his game to a new level during his sophomore campaign. Carr set a school record by scoring 57 points in one game, and has already topped 1,000 career points in just two seasons. This past season, Carr led Patterson (Md.) to a 25-2 record, falling in the state championship.

He owns a 48-inch vertical leap and some of the best dribbling ability in the country. Despite his size, he can get into the lane and finish against bigger players, or use his quickness and athleticism to get baskets in transition. His crossover and ability to change directions allow him to create space and get off open shots from the perimeter.

While some people might underestimate Carr, most high-major schools cannot be counted in that group.

Carr has an impressive school list, led by Memphis, Kentucky, Syracuse, Xavier, Texas, LSU, Wake Forest and Arkansas.

“I want a team that runs most of the offense around their point guard,” Carr said.

He said that Syracuse and Wake Forest are both standing out right now, and he also wants to take a trip to Xavier.

Recruiting

Although high school powers like St. Patrick (N.J.), Findlay Prep (Nev.) and Oak Hill Academy (Va.) are courting Carr for his final two seasons of high school, Carr plans to return to Patterson.

“Patterson is the best fit for me,” Carr said. “They help me there, they help me with my work.”

On Friday, Carr seemed frustrated with early palming turnovers – a violation not normally called on the AAU circuit. After he adjusted to the referees, though, he began to demonstrate why he has become a national sensation.

“I just had to get to my style of play,” Carr said. “I had to get back to my fundamental game.”

It was just another hurdle in a long line of obstacles for the diminutive yet explosive guard.

And, as usual, Carr handled it with ease.

Photo: Baltimore Sun

Posted on: May 2, 2011 11:44 am
Edited on: May 12, 2011 4:22 pm
 

Race to the Top: Looking at the elite recruits

Posted by Jeff Borzello

The book is just about closed on the class of 2011. 
Sure, there are still players like DeAndre Daniels, Trevor Lacey, Joseph Uchebo, Kevin Ware and others dragging out their recruiting process, but it’s almost time to put the senior class in our rearview mirror.

Recruiting
There was no clear-cut number one player in the class, with different rankings placing Anthony Davis, Austin Rivers or Michael Gilchrist at the top of the class. Davis came out of nowhere in the spring of his junior season, making his case for No. 1 on the AAU scene. Rivers simply kept lighting it up no matter whom he played, while Gilchrist was steady and solid and probably held the No. 1 spot for the longest of anyone in the class.

But that’s all in the past. The final rankings are out, and it’s time to look at them as incoming college freshman, not high school players. As for the high school players, who’s got next? With only one month of the AAU circuit in the books, there is still plenty of spring and summer ball to be played.

This is the first in a summer-long “Race to the Top” feature at CBSSports.com where we gauge which players helped their case as the top player in the class and which players might have dropped a bit in the eyes of observers. We will likely update it after each major event we attend. To start, here’s a look at the candidates for the No. 1 ranking in the classes of 2012, 2013 and 2014.

2012


Photo: Lonnie Webb/MaxPrepsAndre Drummond (pictured): 6’10”, C, St. Thomas More (Conn.) 
Why No. 1: When motivated, he’s unstoppable; combo of size and skill is unparalleled. 
Why Not: Doesn’t dominate consistently; disappears and fails to play hard at times.

Shabazz Muhammad: 6’6”, SF, Bishop Gorman (Nev.) 
Why: Outstanding lefty scorer and unstoppable in the mid-range; good size and build. 
Why Not: Perimeter shooting is inconsistent right now; not as effective going to his right.

DaJuan Coleman: 6’10”, C, Jamesville-Dewitt (N.Y.) 
Why: Has the ability to dominate the interior with his size and bulk; beginning to score in other ways. 
Why Not: Needs to become more toned and get in better shape; does not dominate consistently.

Cameron Ridley: 6’10”, C, George Bush (Tex.), committed to Texas 
Why: Late bloomer continues to improve and has a high ceiling; scores and rebounds effectively. 
Why Not: Needs to develop interior offense more; doesn’t have a wide variety of post moves.

Isaiah Austin: 7’0”, C, Grace Prep (Tex.), committed to Baylor 
Why: Absolute match-up nightmare due to his size and skill; tremendous inside-outside option. 
Why Not: Needs to add weight; spends too much time on the perimeter for a 7-footer.

Others:
Brandon Ashley, Ricardo Ledo, Rodney Purvis, Grant Jerrett (Arizona), Kaleb Tarczewski, Amile Jefferson

2013

Julius Randle: 6’9”, PF, Prestonwood Christian (Tex.) 
Why: Unbelievably versatile, can score and defend in different ways; motivated to be No. 1. 
Why Not: Could improve his outside jumper; tends to force drives at times against bigger players.

Jabari Parker:
6’7”, SF, Simeon (Ill.) 
Why: Coming on strong for the top spot; can score inside and out and is becoming quicker. 
Why Not: Struggles defensively to guard quicker or bigger players; working on his handle.

Nerlens Noel: 6’10”, C, Tilton (N.H.) 
Why: Defensively ability is out of this world in terms of blocking shots and rebounding; developing offensively. 
Why Not: Has to add weight to his frame; still somewhat raw on offense and struggles with contact.

Kuran Iverson:
6’8”, SF, Northwest Catholic (Conn.) 
Why: Very high ceiling due to his skill and size; very versatile and knows how to score in different ways. 
Why Not: Takes possessions off and does not play hard all the time; needs to dominate like he can.

Chris Thomas:
6’5”, SG, Westwind Prep (Ariz.) 
Why: Outstanding offensive player; he can shoot from the perimeter, score inside and rack up assists. 
Why Not: Jump shot can disappear at times; defense takes a backseat to his offense in terms of effort.

Others: Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison, Aaron Gordon, Keith Frazier

2014

Andrew Wiggins: 6’7”, SF, Vaughan (Can.) 
Why: Multi-skilled and can play a variety of positions; has the ability to score on the perimeter or at the rim. 
Why Not: Needs to develop a mean streak; not at the point where he takes over games.

Wayne Selden: 6’4”, SF, Tilton (N.H.) 
Why: Powerful body and an imposing player for his age; is unstoppable going to the rim and can shoot. 
Why Not: He’s simply more physically developed than his peers; has to be more explosive as he ages.

Theo Pinson:
6’5”, SG, Oak Ridge (N.C.) 
Why: Long and athletic, very tough matchup; has excellent passing ability and can finish at the rim. 
Why Not: Needs to add weight to his frame and get stronger; ball-handling is getting better.

Jahlil Okafor:
6’8”, PF, Whitney Young (Ill.) 
Why: Already has good post moves and back-to-the-basket game; finishes at the rim and likes contact. 
Why Not: Not an explosive athlete right now; tends to play below the rim despite his size.

Dakari Johnson: 6’8”, C, St. Patrick (N.J.) 
Why: Dominant space-eater with great skill for his age; very difficult to stop once he gets the ball. 
Why Not: His athleticism needs work; struggles at times against taller players as a result.

Trey Lyles: 6’7”, PF, Arsenal Technical (Ind.), committed to Indiana 
Why: His mix of size and skill is tough to match; can run the floor and scores inside and out. 
Why Not: Doesn’t dominate against inferior opponents; could add strength and weight to his frame.

Others: Justin Jackson.

Photo: Lonnie Webb/MaxPreps
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.”

Recruiting

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

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