Posted on: July 20, 2011 5:20 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 5:33 pm

Shaq Goodwin determined to be two-sport star

By Jeff Borzello

Shaq Goodwin makes no secret of his desire to play both football and basketball at the next level.

“I want to play both sports,” Goodwin said. “Football then basketball. I want to play both of them.”

There are obvious concerns to playing both sports at such a high level in college, but the 6-foot-8, 230-lb. forward/tight end isn’t worried. The major one, aside from simply being overworked and tired, is the amount of time he will miss should his football team make a prominent bowl game.

For example, the national championship game in football next season is on January 9, meaning there is a chance Goodwin might not be able to join his teammates on the hardwood until conference play is already underway.

His response? “Then I’ll be a national champion,” Goodwin said.

Goodwin is ranked higher in basketball – No. 13 in CBSSports.com’s Top 100 – than football, but he is set on being a dual-sport athlete. On the basketball court, Goodwin’s athleticism and toughness are noticeable immediately. He is not averse to drawing contact in the paint, and gets to the free-throw line as well as anyone in the country. Goodwin runs the floor well and has great vision and hands.

He usually plays with the Atlanta Celtics, but he ran with YOMCA Memphis on the EYBL circuit. Being a figurative outsider forced Goodwin to adjust his game slightly.

“I played good defense, not really looking to score,” he said. “Jarnell [Stokes] is the man on this team. I have no problem; I didn’t come to this team to be the man. It’s different.”

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Based on his natural abilities, it’s no surprise that he is also a coveted recruit on the gridiron. If a school doesn’t offer him in both sports, he said, there is little chance they would land a commitment from him.

“I would look at them, but they wouldn’t be in my top five,” Goodwin said.

That vaunted quintet currently includes Memphis, Georgia, Alabama, Florida and UCLA.

The Bruins are the most interesting team on that list, given that Korey McCray, Goodwin’s former AAU coach, recently became an assistant coach in Westwood. Jordan Adams, Goodwin’s Atlanta Celtics teammate, also committed there in late June. He was supposed to visit UCLA in late June, but it never happened.

Goodwin said UCLA doesn’t stand out any more than the rest of the schools do, though.

“It’s good that I know two people going there, but that’s it,” he said.

Goodwin’s recruitment will be interesting to follow. There is not only a tug of war between different schools – different sports will be pulling him in opposite directions, too.

Photo: Five-Star Basketball

Posted on: July 20, 2011 3:24 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 6:33 pm

Jarnell Stokes plays with target on his back

By Jeff Borzello

As a five-star recruit with several of the top schools in the country on his tail, Jarnell Stokes knows he’s being watched on the AAU circuit.

The 6-foot-8 power forward from Memphis uses it as extra impetus to play his hardest every time out.

“First of all, you get a target on your back,” Stokes said. “People know who you are, so you have to bring it.”

Stokes, who will play at Oak Hill Academy (Va.) next season, was simply a dominant inside player for most of the past few years.

This spring and summer, though, he expanded his skill set and added a solid face-up game to his repertoire.

“I’m playing more outside, working on my versatility,” Stokes said.

It’s been working out well so far for Stokes, who ranked near the top of the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League in both points and rebounds, averaging 19.3 points and 8.4 rebounds through 14 games. He also topped the Peach Jam in rebounding, grabbing 9.7 per game in South Carolina last week.

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Stokes’ ability to outmuscle smaller defenders and get past slower opponents enables him to get to the free-throw line at an extremely good rate and score efficiently in the post, too.

“Most defenders can’t guard inside and out,” he said. “I’m trying to play my best, bring effort to the floor. But there’s a lot more to improve on.”

Stokes ranks No. 16 in CBSSports.com’s Top 100, and he has plenty of schools on his trial. Recently, though, he named his top six schools: Connecticut, Kentucky, Arkansas, Florida, Memphis and Tennessee.

Out of that group, Arkansas and Memphis are standing out.

“I have a great relationship with the people there,” Stokes said.

Stokes had said in the past that he would likely have committed to Tennessee prior to Bruce Pearl and the Volunteers parting ways, but he is not ready to make a decision just yet.

“I’m looking at style of play,” Stokes said when asked about the factors in his final decision. “And I want to go to a winning program.”

Sounds like Stokes is looking forward to having a target on his back at the next level too.

Photo: Point Guard U

Posted on: July 14, 2011 1:55 am
Edited on: July 14, 2011 6:34 pm

Hampered Archie Goodwin attracts attention

By Jeff Borzello

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. – Archie Goodwin was quickly becoming one of the top scoring guards in the country, ranking as perhaps the elite finisher in the class.

Then, in the All-Star Game at the Pangos All-American Camp in early June, Goodwin broke his left wrist and had to go on the shelf.

“It’s about 50 percent,” Goodwin said.

Despite the injury necessitating that Goodwin wear a protective brace on the wrist, the 6-foot-5 Sylvan Hills (Ark.) prospect refused to sit out the Elite Youth Basketball League finals at the Peach Jam.

Originally slated to miss four to six weeks, Goodwin suited up for the Arkansas Wings this week.

“I’ve been told a lot of times that it would heal faster if I sat out,” he said. “There was no question, I love the competition.

“I wasn’t going to let my teammates go to war without me.”

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That mindset has helped Goodwin impress even without the use of his left hand. He said it affects his ability to finish with both hands at the rim, and also impacts his off-hand dribbling.

The smooth and athletic wing hasn't stopped attacking the rim with reckless abandon, though. He is still playing aggressive, looking to beat his defender and get to the rim at every opportunity.

“It’s just instincts,” Goodwin said. “I’m a relentless guy. I’m going to try to dunk it. That’s the kind of guy I am.”

In terms of recruiting, Goodwin is taking his time. The No. 12 prospect in the latest CBSSports rankings has plans to narrow his choices down at the end of the summer.

“There’s a lot of schools,” he said. “The list is at about 20 now.”

Goodwin listed Kentucky, Connecticut, Baylor, Kansas, Arkansas, Memphis and Tennessee as the schools that have contacted him the most recently.

Unlike many five-star recruits who want a starting job on a silver platter, Goodwin is looking to work for whatever he gets in college.

“I want to go somewhere I feel comfortable,” he said. “And a school that’s not going to give me anything.”

Even if many schools want to.

Photo: Arkansas Wings

Posted on: July 13, 2011 3:43 pm
Edited on: July 13, 2011 4:04 pm
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Posted on: July 13, 2011 2:14 am

Day One Notebook: Tony Woods ready to end process

By Jeff Borzello

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. – The saga of Tony Woods seems to be nearing an end.

The former Wake Forest transfer and Louisville commit is on the verge of making a choice.

“He should be announcing his decision in the next couple of weeks,” said Norman Parker, Woods’ AAU coach with the Georgia Stars.

Parker said Kentucky, Texas, Cincinnati, Auburn, Texas Tech, Oregon and Xavier are the main schools in the mix, although other colleges have reached out.

Before Woods makes a decision, he needs to get his academics in order for the fall.

“He has to finish up a class,” Parker said. “All that other stuff is irrelevant if he doesn’t finish his course work.”

There were rumors recently that Woods committed to Texas, but Parker refused those reports, saying that Woods merely visited Texas – in addition to Kentucky.

Darrick Wood impresses in front of coaches

Despite having multiple offers and plenty of college attention, the first day of the Peach Jam was still exciting for Darrick Wood.

Wood, a 6-foot-3 guard from the Washington D.C. area, knew exactly who was keeping an eye on him from the sidelines.

“I’m watching the coaches,” he said. “I want more scholarships, man.”

Oklahoma State, Connecticut, Seton Hall, Rutgers, Temple and Virginia all informed Wood they would be watching him at the Peach Jam.

The NIA Prep prospect has offers from Oklahoma State, Seton Hall, Rutgers, Georgetown, West Virginia, USC, Arizona and USC.

“I want a good setting, a family setting,” Wood said. “I want my mom to be able to come see me, and I also want good weather.”

Interestingly, he said location would be a factor – but he wasn’t sure in what way.

“I want to go either really close to home, or really far away,” Wood said.

Physical Martavious Newby looks at two sports

When watching Martavious Newby play for Memphis YOMCA, one immediately noticed his physical brand of basketball and propensity for defense.

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Not surprisingly, it comes from Newby’s attitude on the gridiron.

“This is only my third year playing AAU, but growing up, my physical way just came,” Newby said.

The 6-foot-4 Booker T. Washington (Tenn.) prospect has a great body and good strength, which enables him to defend at one end and finish effectively at the other. He can also known down outside shots and score in transition.

For now, he has offers from Ole Miss, Auburn and Arkansas to play both basketball and football, with Missouri and Nebraska also extending scholarships on the hardwood. Memphis, Arkansas State and Tulane are showing interest.

Posted on: July 11, 2011 1:02 am
Edited on: July 11, 2011 4:09 pm

Scorer Gabe York pops for Arizona

By Jeff Borzello

The main question regarding Gabe York revolves around his position. Is he a point guard or a shooting guard?

While the jury is still out, we now have an answer for where York will be lighting up the scoreboard in college: Arizona.

“I felt in my heart that it was the right choice,” York told CBSSports.com Sunday evening. “It just felt better than all the rest. That was the biggest thing.”

York, a 6-foot-1 scorer from Orange Lutheran (Calif.), chose the Wildcats over Washington, Marquette and Notre Dame.

While some players might be afraid to enter a program that will bring in two top-25 guards a year before his arrival, York does not plan to relinquish anything to incoming freshmen Josiah Turner and Nick Johnson.

“I know I work harder than anyone there,” he said. “So I’m very confident in what I can do there.”

York is one of the best 3-point shooters in his class, possessing deep range and a quick trigger on his jumper. He has great lift and also knows how to finish effectively at the rim. Once he improves his ability to facilitate for others, York will be a very difficult point guard to contain.

The reputation of Arizona as “Point Guard U” could live on through York.

“That had a little bit to do with it,” he said.

With his decision out of the way, York can now play out the rest of the summer with the Compton Magic, not needing to think about a future destination.

“It feels great,” he said. “A huge weight lifted off of me.”

Photo: MaxPreps.com

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: June 29, 2011 4:09 pm

Versatile Kyle Anderson talks top five


By Jeff Borzello

Normally, when scouts who have watched a player for three or four years still can’t figure out his position, it’s a bad thing.

In the case of Kyle Anderson, it’s just another sign of his versatility.

Anderson, a 6-foot-8 St. Anthony product (N.J), has the vision and passing ability of a point guard; the scoring prowess of a wing; and the size, finishing and rebounding skills of a power forward.

Ask Anderson, though, and he knows which position he wants to play at the next level.

“Point guard,” he said. “It’s the position I’m most comfortable at.”

At the NBPA Top 100 camp two weeks ago, Anderson played that position for the majority of the event.

“I’m just trying to be unselfish, play the point guard role,” he said.

Anderson has already made plenty of advancements in the recruiting process, trimming his list to five schools earlier this spring: Georgetown, Florida, Seton Hall, St. John’s and UCLA.

His potential to be a match-up problem and his passing ability would be a perfect fit for Georgetown.

“John Thompson III is a great coach, they run the Princeton offense,” Anderson said.

He also likes the way Florida head coach Billy Donovan makes players better during their time in Gainesville.

“Coach Donovan is great with player development,” Anderson said.

While Seton Hall might seem like it doesn’t belong in the same breath with the other programs, its proximity to Anderson’s Fairlawn, N.J., home could play a factor.

“It’s the hometown school, and all the guys play hard,” he said.

St. John’s emerged on the radar of several high-major prospects in the last year, as head coach Steve Lavin reeled in a nine-person class that included six players ranked in the top 100.

Anderson is impressed by the talent on the Red Storm’s roster.

“I like Coach Lavin, I like the class he has coming in,” he said.

Across the country sits UCLA, where Ben Howland has had a steady stream of pro point guards run through his program.

“Coach Howland puts point guards in the NBA,” Anderson said. “I think there’s five in the NBA right now.”

With most of the recruiting process behind him, the nation’s most versatile player is still not sure when exactly he wants to commit.

“No timetable,” Anderson said. “But before the season.”

Photo: NJ.com

Posted on: June 23, 2011 6:01 pm
Edited on: June 23, 2011 6:12 pm

Mississippi State nabs in-state big Gavin Ware

By Jeff Borzello

Gavin Ware has long been considered a Mississippi State Bulldog.

The 6-foot-9 big man hails from Starkville, Miss. -- home to the Bulldogs -- and also attends Starkville High School (Miss.). Some have maintained that Georgetown and Alabama had good shots at landing him, but it seemed Rick Stansbury had the inside track.

On Thursday evening, Ware made it official: he planned to announce his commitment to Mississippi State at a press conference.

He confirmed the news to CBSSports.com shortly before his announcement. "Yes sir," Ware said.

When we spoke to Ware in late May, he explained why it would be tough to choose another school besides MSU.

"It’s right there,” Ware said. “Most of my family is in Starkville. It would be easier to go there, and it would help me.”

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.

He joins Fred Thomas and Craig Sword in Mississippi State's 2012 recruiting class.

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