Tag:A.J. Hammons
Posted on: October 14, 2011 2:42 am

Notebook: Texas, Purdue pick up big men

By Jeff Borzello

The biggest weakness with this year’s Texas team will be its lack of post players and inside depth. Rick Barnes has clearly made sure that won’t be the case next season.

Prince Ibeh, a 6-foot-11 big man from Naaman Forest (Tex.), committed to the Longhorns on Thursday night. He chose Texas over Arkansas, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt.

Ibeh joins a very good recruiting class that also includes Cameron Ridley, a 6-foot-10 center and the No. 9-ranked player in 2012. Although the two are both inside players, they are very different. Ridley is a massive body in the post who has good hands and is tough to stop once he gets the ball.

Ibeh is an excellent shot-blocker who has very good timing and defensive instincts. He is long and athletic, and is improving offensively. On the glass, he uses his leaping ability to snare rebounds and make plays at both ends. Ibeh is ranked No. 82 in CBSSports.com’s Top 100.

In addition to Ibeh and Ridley, Texas also has pledges from Javan Felix and Connor Lammert. The Longhorns had a borderline top-10 class before the Ibeh’s commitment – expect them to move up in the rankings.

Purdue nabs A.J. Hammons

A.J. Hammons has had an interesting high school career thus far. He was once considered one of the top centers in the class of 2012, but a variety of factors contributed to hinder his reputation.

When Hammons focuses and plays hard, though, he has the potential to be an impact big man.

Purdue is hoping the light switch turns on sooner rather than later for Hammons, as the 6-foot-10 Oak Hill Academy (Va.) product popped for the Boilermakers on Thursday night.

Minnesota, Cincinnati and Dayton were also in the running for Hammons, who ranks No. 98 in CBSSports.com’s Top 100. He joins Ronnie Johnson, Raphael Davis and Jay Simpson in Matt Painter’s recruiting class.

Photo: Dallas Morning News

Posted on: August 11, 2011 1:53 pm

Top 100 analysis: Who's up, who's down?

By Jeff Borzello

July is normally the most important month when it comes to determining where a player ends up in the recruiting rankings. The high school season has inconsistent levels of competition, while the spring AAU circuit has so many events that players can go up and down with every week. On the other hand, July is a chance for every player to be seen multiple times in a three-week span, against the other top players in the country – in game settings. The NBPA Top 100, Nike Skills Academies and Pangos All-American Camp all gather tremendous amounts of talent, but it’s often difficult to truly scout a player in a camp setting. As a result, the evaluations made in July are often the ones that stick for the rest of the year.

CBSSports.com and MaxPreps released their updated Top-100 rankings for 2012 on Thursday morning, and there are plenty of changes since the pre-July rankings. Which players increased their stock the most in July, and which ones went the same direction as the real stock market?


Marcus Smart (No. 12): The ultimate winner, Smart (above) can play any perimeter position and is a terrific defender.

Kris Dunn (No. 26): Dunn (right) moved up to become the No. 1 point guard in the country after yet another impressive month.

Brice Johnson (No. 29): Johnson really broke out at the Peach Jam, demonstrating a vastly improved offensive game.

Alex Caruso (No. 55): One of the breakout players of June, Caruso is surprisingly athletic and excels at scoring in unconventional ways.

Jake Layman (No. 57): He’s long, athletic and can score in a variety of ways. Layman creates havoc with his perimeter defense.

Georges Niang (No. 70): Niang has always been productive, and it was finally time to reward him with a top-100 spot.

Semaj Christon (No. 80): The Xavier-commit won over all onlookers in July, demonstrating his excellent penetration ability.

Dominic Artis (No. 84): Artis, who committed to UCLA in late July, has terrific handle and knocked down threes with consistency.

Josh Scott (No. 86): The bottom line is that Scott is a different player with his AAU team; he scores effectively around the rim.

Grant Verhoeven (No. 91): Our first look at Verhoeven was a good one. He blocks shots very well, and can score in different ways.

Jordan Loveridge (No. 92): One of the biggest risers in Las Vegas, Loveridge is versatile and proved to be a match-up problem.

Tyrone Wallace (No. 96): A long point guard with great size (6-foot-4) for the position, Wallace has a great feel for the game.


D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera (No. 39): His scoring ability is impressive, but Smith-Rivera (left) is not a true point guard and has a limited ceiling.

Adam Woodbury (No. 40): This isn’t really Woodbury’s fault – we overrated him after an MVP performance at NBA Camp.

Daniel Ochefu (No. 43): Ochefu is an excellent defender but doesn’t have much of a back-to-the-basket game. High upside, though.

Torian Graham (No. 48): Graham can fill it up with the best of them, but he doesn’t bring effort consistently and is somewhat out of control.

J.P. Tokoto (No. 66): Tokoto continues to spiral down the rankings after peaking in the top five two years ago.

Damien Wilson (No. 75): Wilson is athletic and can really defend, but he lacks the ability to create his own shot.

Tyler Lewis (No. 76): Lewis is fun to watch and doesn’t back down from everyone, but his size and lack of defense could hinder him.

Nino Jackson (No. 81): He is only 6-foot, but is more of a scorer than a point guard. Jackson also disappears from the circuit on occasion.

Steve Taylor (No. 89): It was a down summer for most Chicago prospects, to be honest, and the Marquette-commit was inconsistent.

A.J. Hammons (No. 98): It just doesn’t seem like Hammons really enjoys himself out there. Has to improve conditioning.

Fred Thomas (No. 100): Again, probably not Thomas’ fault that we saw him for the first time when he couldn’t miss from 3-point range.

Jordan Hare (Unranked): This is simply a case of not seeing him. If anyone can remember the last time Hare suited up on AAU, let us know.

Photos: Adidas Super 64, MaxPreps, Indy Star

Posted on: June 23, 2011 11:19 am
Edited on: June 23, 2011 1:29 pm

Notebook: Jerami Grant starts to stand out

By Jeff Borzello

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Jerami Grant has been overshadowed for much of his basketball career. Besides being the younger son of Harvey Grant and younger brother of former Clemson forward Jerai Grant, Jerami has always played second fiddle at DeMatha (Md.) and on the AAU circuit with Team Takeover.

That all changed this spring, though, as Grant played a major role in leading Takeover to an undefeated record in the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League.

“My confident has shot up,” Grant said. “I had no other choice. My coaches had been telling me I had to play like that.”

The 6-foot-7 small forward is long and athletic, and he has improved his passing and ball-handling skills. Throw in his ability to knock down jumpers and attack the rim, and Grant is become more and more difficult to defend.

“I bring mismatches to the table,” he said. “I’m a playmaker.”

While being the son of an 11-year NBA veteran might add some pressure, Grant said having someone who has made it to the NBA giving advice is a huge asset.

“It definitely helps because my dad is a guy that pushes you,” he said. “Even if I played good, there’s always something I can improve.”

In terms of recruiting, Grant is hearing from Virginia Tech, North Carolina State, Syracuse, Maryland, Virginia, Georgetown, Clemson and Rutgers.

“I’m visiting Syracuse sometime soon,” he said.

Grant, who likes Virginia Tech, NC State and Syracuse right now, said he wants to decide before his senior season.

Robert Upshaw looks to improve

Robert Upshaw was one of the most impressive players at the NBPA Camp in the workouts. He has plenty of post moves and a soft touch in his jump hook.

The 6-foot-11 big man from San Joaquin Memorial (Calif.) struggled at times to bring his whole repertoire into the games, though, and he was visibly frustrated.

“Coach [Tony] Allen and Coach [Michael] Peck talked to me,” Upshaw said. “They said, ‘Cut the bull out, just work 100 percent. If you don’t score, but get a rebound or a block at the other end, it’s all good.”

Upshaw has a simple goal for the rest of the summer: “I want to be a beast.”

While he doesn’t talk much about recruiting, he did say he took a visit to UCLA.

Ricardo Gathers has four standing out

Ricardo Gathers is a physical specimen. If he showed up at a football camp, no one would bat an eye.

For now, though, Gathers is doing just fine on the hardwood.

“I want to prove I’m just as good as they are,” he said.

The 6-foot-7 forward from Riverside Academy (La.) has four schools at the top of his list: St. John’s, Texas, Arizona and LSU. Other schools in the mix include Baylor, Oregon, California and Syracuse.

Gathers plans on visiting Arizona in August, and he also wants to see Oregon and Syracuse.

A.J. Hammons determined to make an impression

A.J. Hammons has had a wild ride around the rankings in the class of 2012. He was once considered one of the top big men in the class, but injuries and sitting out hindered his reputation.

This summer, Hammons is looking to show everyone he is still the player he once was.

“I need to get back in shape,” he said. “I took off too long.”

Several schools are courting the 6-foot-10 Oak Hill Academy (Va.) big man, including Texas, Minnesota, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Purdue and Maryland.

“I want to come in and play,” Hammons said. “I don’t have to start, but I want to play.”

Mitch McGary remains mum on school list

Despite being the fastest-rising player in the country, Mitch McGary isn’t talking much about potential schools.

“I’m not at liberty to discuss schools right now,” McGary said.

The 6-foot-10 Brewster Academy (N.H.) product did take trips to Maryland, Connecticut and Kansas recently, though.

Commitment Catch-up

-- Former Texas Tech commit Mervyn Lindsay signed a grant-in-aid agreement Wednesday night with Kansas.

-- 2013 guard Jalen James went to the Illinois team camp Wednesday with his high school, Hope Academy (Ill.). While there, Fighting Illini coach Bruce Weber offered James a scholarship, and James quickly committed.

Photo: MaxPreps.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