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 No. 1.
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 skills, scoring with his back to the basket and knocking down face-up jumpers. He ran the floor better than most big men, and also handled the ball and passed 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 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,” he said.
Photo: Media 411