Posted on: November 1, 2011 2:59 pm
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Posted on: October 27, 2011 9:12 am

Brandon Austin quietly going through recruitment


Jeff Borzello

I walked into a gym in central Maryland last spring for an AAU tournament, and the first player I watched was a 6-foot-6 guard who could do everything. He was handling the ball, running the break, knocking down shots – but there was no name for him in the roster book.

I went up to the coach after the game, and asked who that was. “Oh, that’s Brandon Austin.”

Well, that made sense. Austin is one of the more versatile perimeter players in the country, with the ability to play up to three positions. The Imhotep Charter (Pa.) product’s recruitment has been fairly quiet so far, but it will pick up soon.

“It has been going good so far,” Austin said. “Everything’s coming along well.”

He currently holds offers from Syracuse, Villanova, Rutgers, Penn State, Saint Joseph’s and Temple, with interest from Georgetown and Connecticut.

Austin has taken trips to Rutgers and Penn State. “I like them both very much,” he said.

Austin is ranked No. 75 in CBSSports.com’s Top 100 for 2013.

News and Notes: Anthlon Bell announced on Twitter that he chose Arkansas over Massachusetts . . . Arkansas hit the daily double by also nabbing a commitment from forward JaCorey Williams . . . Marquette dipped into Texas once again, this time for Aaron Durley . . . Beau Beach popped for North Florida. 

Posted on: October 5, 2011 12:50 pm

Alabama commit Jaren Sina reopens recruitment

By Jeff Borzello

When Gill St. Bernard’s (N.J.) product Jaren Sina committed to Alabama midway through his sophomore year of high school, it came as something of a surprise. It’s not often a player from central Jersey treks down to Tuscaloosa for college.

Last night, nine months after originally giving his pledge to Anthony Grant and the Crimson Tide, Sina announced he was decommitting from Alabama.

“We went down there a few more times, and I think it was a good thing we did,” said Mergin Sina, Jaren’s father and coach. “Something started changing with him. A few days ago, he came to us and said, ‘I’m not sure.’

“He just wasn’t 100 percent sure that’s where he wanted to be. It didn’t have anything to do with anything on Alabama’s part. It was just pretty much a feeling we had. It wasn’t the same.”

Sina, a 6-foot-2 point guard, is one of the best scorers in the class of 2013. He has tremendous range and can knock down shots with consistency from behind the arc. Sina can get his shot off in a variety of ways, absorbing contact and making tough baskets over defenders. As a point guard, he has a high basketball IQ and is a very good passer.

Mergin Sina said Alabama is still in the mix.

“They’re still under consideration,” he said. “We’re going to take it a little bit slow. We actually went down there four times, so we had a better opportunity to really research it. We’re just going to look and see if there’s anything else he wants. If it ends up being Alabama, that’s fine.”

When Sina originally chose Alabama, he also held offers from Seton Hall, Rutgers, St. John’s, Florida, La Salle and many others.

He and his father have yet to develop a list for his second go-round on the recruiting trail.

“It was a long day,” Mergin sina said. “I didn’t really answer the phone, I was bombarded with out-of-state numbers. I just started to listen to some of the stuff. He’s really going to take his time. We’re going to go through the process, let Jaren go through it naturally.”

Sina ranks No. 41 in CBSSports.com’s Top 100 in 2013.

Photo: MyCentralJersey.com

Posted on: October 3, 2011 11:18 am
Edited on: October 3, 2011 3:01 pm

Weekend Notebook: Joel James to UNC

By Jeff Borzello

It’s been a rocky relationship between Joel James and North Carolina over the past few months, but it ended on a high note last week.

Rumors had been going around that James committed to North Carolina, and it was finally confirmed to Scout.com’s Brian Snow on Sunday.

“Right now it is North Carolina,” James told Snow. “I called Coach [Roy] Williams a couple of days ago.”

James made some waves in August when he aired out his complaints to CBSSports.com regarding North Carolina and the fact the Tar Heels had not offered him a scholarship.

A few weeks later, Williams finally did make an offer to James and the Tar Heels immediately became the frontrunner in his recruitment.

James, a 6-foot-10 center from Dwyer (Fla.), is one of the biggest bodies in the class. He simply overpowers defenders with his size and strength, and certainly does not shy away from contact. James moves around effectively in order to get open on the block, and he is trying to lose weight as his senior season approaches.

James is ranked No. 54 in CBSSports.com’s Top 100. He joins Marcus Paige and J.P. Tokoto in North Carolina’s 2012 recruiting class.

Arnaud Adala-Moto pops for Wake Forest

When Jeff Bzdelik took over the Wake Forest job, it was unclear if he would be able to recruit at an ACC-level.

Those concerns might be alleviated now, as the Demon Deacons landed their highest-profile recruit on Saturday. Arnaud Adala-Moto, a 6-foot-6 small forward from Episcopal (Va.) committed to Wake Forest.

Team Takeover coach Keith Stevens confirmed the news to CBSSports.com.

Moto was one of the fastest-rising players in the country during the spring, using his all-around game to help lead Takeover to an undefeated EYBL campaign. He is a very good defender, and is excellent at getting points off of dribble-drives and transition attacks.

Moto, ranked No. 60 in CBSSports.com’s Top 100, joins guard Codi-Miller McIntyre, wing Aaron Rountree and forwards Devin Thomas, Andre Washington and Tyler Cavanaugh in the Demon Deacons’ 2012 recruiting class.

West Virginia lands Eron Harris

West Virginia wanted another guard in the class of 2012, and the Mountaineers got their man on Sunday.

Eron Harris, a 6-foot-3 guard from Lawrence North (Ind.), committed to Bob Huggins after visiting the Morgantown campus this weekend.

“I just feel like I’m needed there, and their coaching staff is straight up with you,” Harris told CBSSports.com. “The guys are real cool and they were willing to take me in right away.”

Harris chose West Virginia over Dayton and Loyola (Chicago).

Commitment Catch-up

  • Connor Lammert – Texas
  • Jelon Hornbeak – Oklahoma
  • Chris Jenkins – Colorado
  • Kareem Canty – Marshall
  • Willie Clayton – Charlotte
  • Reggie Moore – TCU
  • C.J. Ford – Murray State
  • Dallas Anglin – Hofstra
  • Willie Moore – Duquesne
  • Richard Carter – Drake
  • Julian Harrell – Penn
  • John Gillon – Arkansas-Little Rock
  • Torrion Brummitt – Western Carolina
  • Cedric Muakumensah – Brown
  • Kameron Mitchell – Wagner
  • Ramon Johnson – North Carolina-Central
  • Cleveland Thomas – Louisiana-Lafayette

Photo: Scout.com

Posted on: September 30, 2011 10:56 am
Edited on: September 30, 2011 11:14 am

Ishmail Wainright happy with move to Montrose

By Jeff Borzello

When Ishmail Wainright made the move from Raytown South (Mo.) to Montrose Christian (Md.), a lot of things changed.

Wainright was suddenly nearly 1,000 miles from home, with new friends, new teammates, new style of play and more pressure. But the biggest difference for Wainright?

“The weather,” he said. “It rains too much.”

Not surprisingly, Wainright is extremely happy with his decision to leave home and go to the vaunted private school near Washington D.C.

“This was one of the best moves by far,” he said. “The only move, really. It’s a great education.”

Although the season has not yet started, Wainright has already noticed a difference in the attendance at the preseason workouts. The door leading to the gym is a revolving door of high-major head coaches and some of the best recruiters in the country.

UCLA, Texas, Kansas State, Alabama, Providence, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, UMKC, Georgetown, Maryland, Villanova have all stopped by. St. John’s, Texas A&M, Baylor and Missouri were there on Wednesday. Louisville is expected to come soon, while Memphis set up a date to check out Wainright as well.

“I didn’t know it was going to be like this,” Wainright said. “I was just thinking in my head, ‘I don’t know who is going to see me, I don’t know who likes my game.’

“When I got there, coach [Stu] Vetter sat me down and said, ‘Now you know you will be hearing from coaches that you’ve never heard from, right?’ I just giggled. I thought he was playing, but it was for real.”

Wainright has had an interesting recruitment so far. He committed to Missouri in May, becoming new head coach Frank Haith’s first big-time recruit since taking over the Tigers. In late June, though, but suddenly decommitted and reopened his process.

After a few underwhelming performances with Memphis YOMCA on the Nike AAU circuit in the spring, Wainright won back his reputation with the KC 76ers in Las Vegas. He led his team to a surprising Fab 48 title, outplaying No. 1 prospect Jabari Parker in a head-to-head battle.

Wainright currently holds offers from Syracuse, Baylor, Missouri, Kansas, Kansas State, Texas, Texas A&M, Colorado, St. John’s, UMKC, Florida, Nebraska and Louisville.

While he doesn’t have any specific visits planned, he wants to attend Louisville’s Midnight Madness festivities.

“I don’t have [a favorite] right now,” Wainright said.

Wainright, a 6-foot-5 small forward, is ranked as a five-star prospect in CBSSports.com’s Top 100 rankings for 2013. He is No. 17 in the country.

Photo: STLToday

Posted on: September 28, 2011 11:59 pm

Kendrick Nunn decommits from Texas A&M

By Jeff Borzello

In early August, new Texas A&M head coach Billy Kennedy dipped into Chicago and grabbed No. 31-ranked junior Kendrick Nunn out of Simeon (Ill.).

Now, Kennedy has to get back to work on recruiting Nunn, as the 6-foot-1 point guard decommitted from the Aggies on Wednesday night.

“As of today, I will be opening my recruiting process,” Nunn said on Twitter. “I feel I rushed my decision, and I still have 2 years left to make the right 1.”

Nunn is a big-time offensive player who uses his strength and athleticism to finish at the rim with consistency. The lefty can pull-up in the mid-range and knock down jumpers and has good range from behind the 3-point line.

He held offers from Providence, Memphis, Florida State, Ohio, Saint Louis, Arizona, Illinois and DePaul prior to making his original commitment.

“There is no dislike to Texas A&M or basketball staff,” Nunn tweeted, “this was just a decision that I trust felt is best for me at the time.”

Photo: Web Sports Chicago

Posted on: September 26, 2011 3:38 pm

Notebook: Chris Walker sets decision date

By Jeff Borzello

It’s not often a junior sets a decision date, but Chris Walker announced Sunday he would be committing on November 15.

“It’s my first game,” Walker told CBSSports.com.

Walker, ranked No. 5 by CBSSports.com in the class of 2013, will choose between Florida, Connecticut, Kentucky, Florida State, Ohio State, Kansas, Kansas State, Baylor and Memphis.

When we spoke with Walker two weeks ago, he said that Florida, Florida state, Kentucky, Ohio State and Kansas were standing out to him as a top five. He has taken trips to Florida and Florida State, and plans to go to Kansas for its Midnight Madness festivities. Memphis head coach Josh Pastner went to Walker’s high school on Monday to watch him work out.

Walker, a 6-foot-10 power forward from Holmes County (Fla.), has improved drastically over the past year. He runs the floor exceptionally well and knows how to make plays in transition. Walker can knock down short jumpers or drive to the rim, and he is also very solid on the defensive end due to his defense and athleticism.

Poythress cuts list to four, eliminates Duke

Duke and Alex Poythress were associated with each other over the summer on multiple occasions. There was mutual interest from both parties, and then the two made news with the Blue Devils offering him a scholarship during an AAU tournament.

It looks like that chapter of Poythress’ recruitment is over, though, as he cut Duke from his list on Monday morning.

Poythress is down to Kentucky, Florida, Vanderbilt and Memphis. The 6-foot-8 forward from Northeast (Tenn.) has visited Vanderbilt already, and will take trips to Florida and Memphis in the coming weeks. Poythress will also head to Kentucky for its midnight madness.

Poythress is ranked No. 14 in CBSSports.com’s Top 100.

Commitment Catch-up

It was a busy weekend for commitments, as several high-major prospects made their decisions.

  • Elijah Macon – West Virginia
  • Christian Sanders – Stanford
  • Bronson Koenig – Wisconsin
  • Tyler Cavanaugh – Wake Forest
  • Waverly Austin – South Florida
  • Kodi Justice – Arizona State
  • Nolan Berry – Butler
  • Buddy Hield – Oklahoma
  • Anthony Clemmons – Iowa

Chris Jones advances process

Although he was overshadowed on the New Jersey Playaz by plenty of high-major prospects, Chris Jones still managed to get noticed by plenty of scouts and coaches.

Jones, a 6-foot-4 guard from Teaneck (N.J.), is a very good scorer who uses his size and strength to score at the rim. He has good athleticism and is effective off the dribble.

He took an unofficial visit to Manhattan last week, and also went to Towson officially this past weekend.

“That was cool,” Jones said of Manhattan. “They have a real experienced staff with Scott Padgett playing in the NBA. And Manhattan is close so that was a plus.”

Of Towson, Jones said: “It was a good visit. I like the campus. The coaches were honest with me, and I had fun with the guys.”

He trips to Siena this weekend, and is also looking to set up a visit to La Salle. Massachusetts is in the mix as well.

“There is no real set time,” Jones said of a decision. “I’m really just evaluating all of them.”

Posted on: September 22, 2011 5:03 pm

Tyler Roberson attracting plenty of attention

By Jeff Borzello

Fairly unknown nationally, Tyler Roberson was one of the more underrated players heading into the LeBron James Skills Academy.

While there, Roberson showcased his inside-outside game and parlayed that performance into a top-75 ranking and plenty of new college interest.

“My game changed a lot and then I had opportunities to showcase myself,” Roberson said.

Roberson, a 6-foot-7 junior forward from Roselle Catholic (N.J.), holds offers from Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Seton Hall, Rutgers, Kansas State, Saint Joseph’s and Virginia Tech. Connecticut and others have also been through to watch him work out over the past couple of weeks.

“More schools have been recruiting me,” Roberson said of the uptick in recruitment since his standout play during the summer.

He has not taken any unofficial visits and does not plan to anytime soon. Roberson is willing to take his time with the recruiting process, but he knows what he is looking for in a school.

“A school with good academics,” Roberson said. “And one that fits my style of play.”

He is ranked No. 62 in CBSSports.com’s Top 100.

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