Posted on: June 20, 2011 6:31 pm
Edited on: June 21, 2011 10:10 am

Jordan Adams pops for UCLA

By Jeff Borzello

UCLA assistant coach Korey McCray was brought from the Atlanta Celtics AAU program to UCLA because of his ties to plenty of top prospects in the Georgia area.

His first test was Jordan Adams, a 6-foot-5 wing from Oak Hill Academy (Va.) who runs with the Celtics on the travel circuit.

On Monday evening, Adams announced his commitment live on CourtCred.com.

“I’m taking my talents to the West coast,” Adams said before putting on a UCLA hat.

Adams chose the Bruins over Memphis, Georgia, Miami (Fl.), Alabama and others.

“I didn’t think I would fit well there,” Adams said of Memphis.

Adams is a power guard whose strength and scoring ability makes him difficult to guard for opposing wings. He doesn’t shy away from contact around the basket and can also knock down perimeter shots.

Adams is UCLA’s first commitment in the class of 2012. The Bruins are also in good shape for Shabazz Muhammad, L.J. Rose, Kyle Anderson and potentially Shaq Goodwin, among others.

Photo: Bring Ing/SL

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: June 20, 2011 3:08 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2011 3:09 pm

Brandon Ashley stakes claim to top-five ranking


By Jeff Borzello

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – When discussing the top players in the class of 2012, Brandon Ashley is not always mentioned in the case for number one.

Ashley takes offense to that.

“I definitely feel like I belong in the top five,” he said. “I know I’m just as good or better. My skill level is not an issue. I just have to play harder, play more consistently.”

The 6-foot-9 forward from Bishop O’Dowd (Calif.) certainly made his case at the NBPA Top 100 camp last week. Ashley showed off his all-around skill set, scoring with his back to the basket and knocking down face-up jumpers. He runs the floor better than most big men, and also handles the ball and passes well for someone his size.

Ashley’s potential is through the roof, and when he brings maximum effort, he is tough to contain.

“I’m trying to become an all-around better player, an inside-outside player,” he said.

Ashley has plenty of suitors at this point, but said he is ready to cut down his list in the near future. For now, though, it seems a number of colleges have a shot at him.

“I’m wide-open, but a lot of the same schools [are involved],” Ashley said. “The Pac-10, the SEC, Kansas, schools like that. Everyone is coming at me the hardest.”

In addition to the entire Pac-10 and Kansas, Wake Forest, Texas, Georgia Tech, Ohio State, Connecticut and others are also recruiting him.

One school mentioned in association with Ashley in the past has been Kentucky, but he said the Wildcats’ pursuit has tailed off.

“They’ve sent me a few emails, but that’s it,” he said.

When Ashley does make a final decision – which doesn’t look like any time soon – he is looking for a school that already has established talent on the roster

 “I want to go to a place where I’m surrounded by good players, with a good coaching staff,” Ashley said.

Photo: Media 411

Posted on: June 20, 2011 8:51 am
Edited on: June 21, 2011 4:13 pm

NYC wing Nkereuwem Okoro commits to Iowa State

By Jeff Borzello

One of the more interesting recruiting pipelines that has developed over the past year extends from New York City to Ames, Iowa.

It started in September, when Tavon Sledge pledged to the Cyclones. On Monday morning, Fred Hoiberg and co. picked up another NYC prospect, as rising senior Nkereuwem Okoro committed to Iowa State.

“I chose Iowa State because I love the coaching staff, the Big 12 is one of the best conferences in college basketball and I have an opportunity to make an impact my freshman year,” Okoro told CBSSports.com Sunday night. “Plus, they’re also bringing in a lot of good recruits.”

Okoro, a 6-foot-4 wing from St. Raymond’s (N.Y.), picked Iowa State over Seton Hall. He also held offers from Pittsburgh, Rutgers and Arizona. Okoro is the second New York player to commit to the Cyclones since Brooklyn native Matt Abdelmassih joined Hoiberg’s staff. Abdelmassih played a major role in landing Sledge and Minnesota transfer Royce White while in recruiting positions.

While Iowa State seems like a strange destination for a New York player, Okoro said Sledge signing there for 2011 and several other NYC recruits considering the Cyclones played a role in his decision.

“It feels good to have players from my state that I know be at school with me,” he said. “Helps me feel more at home.”

There were reports in late May that Okoro was ready to commit to Iowa State, but he quickly squashed those rumors and said he was unsure of his next destination. It turned out that Okoro knew all along that Ames was the spot for him.

“I just had to review some things with my coaches and my family,” Okoro said, adding that he is “very confident” in his decision.

Okoro is the Cyclones’ second commitment in the class of 2012, joining New England prep school forward Georges Niang.

Naturally, the Iowa State coaching staff was excited about Okoro’s pledge.

“Coach Hoiberg sounded very happy in my decision,” he said. “It was great news to them.”

Most observers will immediately notice Okoro’s strong body and non-stop motor. He never takes a play off and loves bringing it on the defensive end, bodying up opponents and racking up steals and deflections. Offensively, he is still developing his all-around game, but Okoro has the ability to score in the mid-range effectively.

His energy level and defensive ability will be an asset right off the bat.

“I’m considered a big guard and the Big 12 is flooded with big guards,” he said. “I’m going to bring the most I can offensively, but I’m going to defend all the time and continue to work hard.”

Okoro has been on the recruiting scene for several years in the New York City area, so the process has lasted quite awhile for him. With a commitment he feels comfortable with, it’s as if a weight has been lifted off Okoro’s shoulders.

“It feels very good to come to the conclusion and know where I’m playing college basketball,” he said. “Next year, I can just focus on winning championships. I’m looking forward to the future.”

Posted on: June 17, 2011 3:05 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2011 3:20 pm

Five-star guard Gary Harris cuts list to top five


By Jeff Borzello

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Gary Harris has been notoriously quiet when it comes to recruitment, keeping it close to the vest.

At the NBAPA camp on Thursday, Harris made it clear he’s making advancements in the process.

“Indiana, Michigan State, Louisville, Notre Dame and Purdue are coming at me the hardest,” Harris said. “That’s my top five.”

Harris, a 6-foot-4 guard from Hamilton Southeastern (Ind.), is one of the more intriguing prospects in the class of 2012. He is physical and long, which makes him tough on the defensive end and difficult to stop on the offensively. Harris is deadly with his mid-range game, and is working on getting to the basket.

The five schools on his list will have to wait to see him make his next move.

“After the summer is over, or after this June and July, my parents and I are going to sit down and talk about it,” Harris said. “I’m looking for a school where I can get playing time.”

Harris, rated as a five-star recruit by most services, is also looking to demonstrate his ability to run an offense and facilitate for others.

“I want to come here, play my total game, show off my versatility,” he said. “I want to show what I can do, show that I’m not one-dimensional.”

“I want to be a combo guard, I’m working on my ball-handling,” Harris added.

If the Midwesterner is able to consistently handle the ball and switch between the two guard positions, he will have no problem making an impact at the next level.

Photo:Nation of Blue

Posted on: June 16, 2011 9:54 am

Rodney Purvis: Duke, N.C. State sit atop his list

By Jeff Goodman

Rodney Purvis has been busy since his de-commitment from Louisville last month.

The top-ranked shooting guard in the Class of 2012 spent last weekend at the Chris Paul Camp and followed it up with an unofficial visit to Missouri – where ex-Louisville assistant Tim Fuller is now on staff.

Purvis will also head to the NBA Camp this week and plans to attend LeBron James’ Skills Academy in early July.

``If Tim Fuller had stayed at Louisville, I’d still be committed,” the 6-foot-3 guard admitted.

Purvis said that he is in the process of compiling a definitive list, but he did admit that two schools that stand at the top right now are Duke and N.C. State.

``Those are probably the two that have been on me the hardest,” he said.

Purvis also told Scout.com recently that Kentucky, Louisville and Memphis comprised the remainder of his top five
Posted on: June 13, 2011 1:29 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2011 1:30 pm

Ricardo Ledo aims for consistency


By Jeff Borzello

BRONX, N.Y. -- When Ricardo Ledo is on top of his game, there's not a better scorer in the country.

However, it's his inconsistency that has prevented him from breaking into the top-five players in 2012. That was clearly on display this weekend at the Rumble in the Bronx, when Ledo lit up the scoreboard on Friday night – only to turn around and struggle immensely Saturday morning. He was scoreless for most of the early game, with his only points coming on a few late 3-pointers.

"I played a lot better yesterday," Ledo said. "I took too many 3s today."

Despite his up-and-down play at times, Ledo still ranks near the top of his class. With his combination of size and skill, he's essentially unguardable.

Ledo is confident about his standing nationally.

"I think I'm the best guard in the country," he said. "I can do so many things."

At 6-foot-6, the Notre Dame Prep (Mass.) product has the ability to see over most opposing guards. He can handle the ball well, has a very good mid-range game and can also shoot from deep. Ledo can post up smaller guards and demonstrates great body control when knocking in tough shots. He has a great first step and uses his length to finish effectively at the rim.

Ledo, who plays on the AAU circuit with Expressions Elite and the Albany City Rocks, admits he has things to work on.

"My all-around game needs to get better," he said, pointing to defense as his major weakness.

As for recruiting, the former Providence commit is taking his time wading through the myriad colleges currently courting him.

Kentucky, Syracuse, Providence and Connecticut are the four currently standing out for Ledo, but Texas, Florida, Arizona and Maryland are also heavily involved.

"I want to go somewhere I can win," he said. "Playing time is also important."

If Ledo develops consistency, though, he will likely find getting playing time won't be much of a problem. 

Photo: Rush the Court 

Posted on: June 12, 2011 2:53 pm
Edited on: June 12, 2011 3:03 pm

Finally comfortable, Michael Carey is motivated


By Jeff Borzello

BRONX, N.Y. – After going through multiple high schools in the span of five months last summer and fall, Michael Carey is content with where he is now.

He attended Lamar Consolidated (Tex.) this past year, and is happy with the way things turned out there.

“I’m going to be there for good,” the rising senior said.

One thing Carey is not content with is his standing nationally. Not ranked in anyone’s top 100, the Bahamas native is out to prove people wrong.

“I want to become an elite point guard in the country,” Carey said. “People are starting to see me as a point guard, that’s what they’re going to see at the next level.”

The 6-foot-5 Carey is an offensive-minded player who can handle both guard positions. He is extremely aggressive off the dribble, getting past defenders into the lane and using his length and athleticism to finish strong at the rim. With his size, Carey is able to see over most opponents and also make plays inside.

In order to get recognized as a full-time point guard, Carey realizes there’s work to do.

“I can run a team and break down anybody,” he said, “but I need to get faster. I’m fast, but not fast enough. I need to get quicker.”

After an impressive spring, Carey was set to continue to make a name for himself with a solid June heading into the July live period. Unfortunately, at the Rumble in the Bronx on Saturday, Carey reinjured a toe that he had originally hurt during the school season.

It is unclear the extent of the injury, but Carey will undergo an X-ray back home on Thursday to determine whether he needs surgery now or after the July period.

“My coaches think I should do it now,” Carey said. If he decides to do that, he likely won’t be able to play in any events until the Desert Duel in late July.

“Just as I was playing really well,” Carey said, showing signs of disappointment.

Even the injury won’t keep him down for too long, though.

On Monday, Carey will take a trip to Tallahassee, Fla. for Florida State’s elite camp. The Seminoles are one of the schools to offer Carey, with new assistant coach Dennis Gates taking the lead in his recruitment. Carey has also spoken to head coach Leonard Hamilton.

“I like their style of play, and the way they develop players,” he said. “They have good players, and they can take me to the next level. I’m looking forward to [the visit].”

Carey also holds offers from Nebraska and Houston, and has been offered in the past by Marquette, USC, Baylor, Arkansas and Oklahoma State. Kansas, Auburn, Florida, West Virginia and Tennessee are also in the mix.

One interesting facet in his recruitment is his relationship with highly-touted forward Wannah Bail. Bail is also a native of the Bahamas, and plays on the same high school and AAU team as Carey.

“I mean, we’ve talked about it,” Carey said of going to the same college. “That’s my boy, but I’ve gotta do what’s best for me.”

Carey does not have any visits planned besides Florida State, although he did say he wanted to take a trip to Tennessee at some point.

Despite not having a favorite or a specific timeline for a decision, Carey could be ready to end his recruitment.

“It could happen anytime,” he said. 

Photo: Houston Roundball Review

Posted on: June 11, 2011 8:04 pm

Auburn picks up second 2012 commitment

By Jeff Borzello

At this rate, Tony Barbee is going to field one of the most athletic teams in the SEC in a couple of years.

Adding to a recruiting class that includes explosive leaper Shaquille Johnson, Barbee picked up a commitment from top-100 guard Jordan Price on Saturday.

“I just felt like it was the best fit for me and my family,” Price told Evan Daniels of Scout.com. “It’s not too far away from my home so family and friends can come watch.”

Price, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard from Southwest Dekalb (Ga.), has a thick body and is able to overpower opponents with his strength. He is adept at getting to the basket, but can also knock down jumpers from the mid-range and outside the arc. Despite his stocky frame, Price is also very athletic when it comes to finishing at the rim. Due to his strength, he is a good rebounder and defender at his position.

He visited the Auburn campus on Saturday morning, and clearly liked what he saw. Price chose the Tigers over Georgia, Georgia Tech, Memphis, Mississippi, Miami (Fl.) and others.

Category: NCAAB
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