Posted on: September 27, 2011 11:13 am
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Posted on: September 26, 2011 10:35 pm

Mike Hall heads to the Ivy League, picks Harvard

By Jeff Borzello

Only one night removed Harvard’s biggest recruiting weekend ever, the Crimson’s hard work has already paid off.

Mike Hall, an improving big man from Woodward Academy (Ga.), committed to Tommy Amaker’s program on Monday night, according to a source.

Hall visited Harvard’s campus this past weekend, along with several other high-major prospects in 2012 and 2013. He had offers from Florida State, California, Mississippi, Oklahoma State, George Mason and several mid-major programs. Academics were always a high priority for Hall, who scored a 29 on his ACT and holds a 3.5 GPA.

While still raw, the 6-foot-10 Hall has the tools to be a potential stud in the Ivy League. He is long and athletic, and uses both effectively on the defensive end. He needs to add weight and get tougher, but he’s not afraid to mix it up on the glass. Once he irons out the wrinkles, he will be very good down the line.

Hall joins Evan Cummins in Harvard’s 2012 class.

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 23, 2011 10:53 am

Zach Auguste picks Irish; Barnette pops for UCF

By Jeff Borzello

The relationship between Notre Dame and Zach Auguste was on-again, off-again for much of the past year.

The Fighting Irish were one of the first schools involved in Auguste’s recruitment, but they did not make his list of four when he cut it to Florida, Georgia Tech, Marquette and West Virginia.

They suddenly got back in the mix last week, and Auguste completed the turnaround by committing to Notre Dame on Friday morning. The news was confirmed by a source to CBSSports.com.

Auguste is a 6-foot-9 power forward from New Hampton School (Mass.). The lefty has loads of potential, but needs to bring it consistently. He runs the floor extremely well, and can block shots at a high rate. Auguste has the ability to knock down shots from the mid-range and continues to develop his game in the paint.

Barnette pops for UCF

Despite an injured ankle during the summer, Taylor Barnette consistently boosted his stock due to his shooting ability. In Las Vegas, Barnette proved he was one of the better shooters in the country – and UCF took a chance and offered him.

On Thursday night, Barnette took advantage of that offer and committed to the Knights. Wofford and several mid-major programs were also in the mix.

“I liked it down there,” Barnette said. “Through hard work, I can help the team.”

Barnette is a 6-foot-3 shooting guard from Lexington Christian Academy (Ken.). He feels relieved that the recruiting process is completed.

“I wanted my senior year to be about my team, not about me,” he said. 

Posted on: September 22, 2011 10:38 am

Decision coming soon for Elijah Macon


By Jeff Borzello

Elijah Macon has been through all of this before.

Because he once committed to West Virginia before reopening his recruitment in March 2010, Macon knows the perils of rushing into a decision.

“I know what to look for,” he said.

Macon is going through the process for a second time, and he still has plenty of teams in hot pursuit. DePaul and West Virginia have come through for in-home visits, while Kansas State, Louisville and Pittsburgh have also gone to Huntington Prep (W.Va.) to watch him work out.

The Ohio native will take an official visit to West Virginia this weekend, but he already took one to Pittsburgh.

“Pitt was cool,” Macon said. “I saw a lot of different things.”

The 6-foot-8 power forward is ranked No. 61 in CBSSports.com’s Top 100. He does a lot of his damage in transition, beating opponents down the court for easy baskets at the rim. His back-to-the-basket game is still developing, but he can face-up and knock down mid-range jumpers. Macon is also very solid defensively because of his length and athleticism.

“I believe this past summer I showed other things I can do and things I have improved from the year before,” Macon said in late August.

Although West Virginia and Pitt are the rumored favorites, Macon said he has no leaders at this point.

Despite that, his recruitment looks like it will be coming to a close in the near-future.

“It’s coming soon,” Macon said.

Posted on: September 20, 2011 9:27 pm

Twymond Howard is off the board to UTEP

By Jeff Borzello

Throughout the summer, Twymond Howard was tracked all over the country by schools from the SEC, ACC, Big 12 and Big East.

When it came down to it, though, Howard opted to go outside the power conferences. On Tuesday night, the Pearl (Miss.) product committed to UTEP.

“I just like the atmosphere and got along with the players and coaches well,” Howard told CBSSports.com. “I just felt comfortable around those guys.”

When we spoke with Howard in the summer, he said Ole Miss, Tennessee and Wake Forest were on him the hardest. Howard also held interest from Mississippi State, Arkansas, Baylor, West Virginia, Murray State and Southern Miss.

Howard, a 6-foot-6 forward, is ranked No. 72 in CBSSports.com’s Top 100. He is a big-time athlete who is excels in transition and is very effective finishing at the rim. Howard has the potential to be a matchup problem due to his size, strength and quickness. He is powerful enough to be a solid rebounder and defender, and quick enough to beat bigger players.

Howard is looking forward to helping out immediately with the Miners.

“I believe I’m going to have a huge impact,” he said.

Posted on: September 20, 2011 1:25 pm

Two schools on top for Negus Webster-Chan


Jeff Borzello

Since Louisville and Negus Webster-Chan parted ways back in April, it’s been pretty quiet on the recruiting front for the Canada native.

That will change soon, as Webster-Chan is in the process of taking visits and hopes to make a decision by November.

He has taken trips to Missouri and Iowa State, and those two Big 12 (for now) schools sit as the favorites.

“They recruit me the hardest out of all,” Webster-Chan said. “Both have really great coaching staffs. They both had in-home visits with my family over in Canada so that showed me how interested they were.”

So far, Missouri and Iowa State are the only two schools to conduct in-home visits with Webster-Chan, with no further in-homes on the horizon.

There were rumors that Webster-Chan had trimmed his list to just those two schools, but he denied those reports.

“Those are just the two schools at the top of my list,” he said.

Webster-Chan is planning an official visit to Clemson “probably next weekend,” while USC, Texas, Oregon State and Marquette are also in pursuit.

Webster-Chan is a 6-foot-7 small forward from Huntington Prep (W.Va.) who uses his length and athleticism to score effectively on drives to the rim. His shooting is getting more consistent, but he needs to add weight and bulk in order to better absorb contact on his finishes. Webster-Chan is also a capable passer and an aggressive defender.

Posted on: September 20, 2011 10:44 am
Edited on: September 20, 2011 10:53 am

What's next for Kyle Anderson's five finalists?

By Jeff Borzello

The dust is finally settling from Kyle Anderson’s announcement that he would be going across the country and playing for UCLA.

People are saying the Pac-12 is back and UCLA is a potential Final Four threat in 2012-13, while Seton Hall fans are devastated. As one Seton Hall blogger tweeted, “Feeling like Cleveland after the Decision.”

In recruiting, though, there’s always another player, another target, another must-have prospect on the horizon. Whether it’s UCLA building off Anderson’s commitment or Seton Hall bouncing back from its disappointment, each of the five teams in the Anderson sweepstakes – Florida, Georgetown, St. John’s are the other three – have already moved on from last night’s festivities.

Where are they turning?

UCLA: The Bruins could be on the verge of rivaling Arizona for the top recruiting class in the country. With Anderson, Dominic Artis and Jordan Adams already in the fold, Ben Howland has a good young perimeter group. What would take this team to the next level is Shabazz Muhammad, the No. 1 prospect in the country and the crown jewel of the class. UCLA has long been considered a favorite for his services, while rumors behind the scenes of a Kyle Anderson-Shabazz Muhammad package deal have picked up in recent weeks. UCLA is also squarely in the mix for either Shaq Goodwin or Tony Parker down low. Both are five-star prospects and are considering the Bruins. If Howland can get Muhammad and one of the two big men, he’ll have the top class in the country.

Seton Hall: To me, the most important for the Pirates is not to dwell on the disappointment and continue to go after five-star players. Sure, Anderson was a unique case in that he was from Seton Hall’s backyard, but the idea is the same: the Pirates are in an arms race locally with St. John’s and Rutgers, and they need to keep up. As I tweeted yesterday, Seton Hall feels pretty confident about New York prospects Daniel Dingle, Kareem Canty and Jevon Thomas. The Pirates need to lock down their area by getting a few local kids every year, and then still go after top-100 guys in other regions. Rutgers and St. John’s have started doing it the past few years; Seton Hall has to keep up. 

Florida: The Gators made a late run in the Anderson sweepstakes, but ultimately fell short. Billy Donovan’s troops have plenty of perimeter talent stockpiled for 2012-13, with juniors Kenny Boynton and Mike Rosario, freshman Brad Beal and three guard commitments, led by talented point guard Braxton Ogbueze. If no players leave school early after the upcoming season, the Gators could be out of scholarships. With that said, Florida is still in the mix for several frontcourt prospects. The Gators are on the final lists of Mitch McGary, Willie Cauley, Anthony Bennett, Alex Poythress, Robert Carter, Brice Johnson and T.J. Warren – all top-40 frontcourt players. Landing just one would provide great balance to the Gators’ class.

St. John’s: Forgive the Red Storm if they weren’t completely focused on recruiting over the past week. Three incoming freshmen – Norvel Pelle, Amir Garrett and Jakarr Sampson – were ruled ineligible for the first semester. Pelle and Garrett are hoping to enroll during the second semester, while Sampson went back to Brewster Academy. If Sampson decides to return to St. John’s, the Red Storm will likely have one scholarship available for 2012-13. Ricardo Gathers will help up front, but Steve Lavin could use more help down low. Chris Obekpa, who plays at Our Savior New American (N.Y.), rose up the charts in the summer and could be someone the Red Storm target.

Georgetown: Due to the Hoyas’ offensive system, Anderson would have been a great fit in D.C. However, without him, John Thompson III will move on. The Hoyas only have one commitment for 2012 – big man Brandon Bolden – but they are still hunting for prospects. They are still in the mix for T.J. Warren, Tony Parker, D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Robert Upshaw and others. Ideally, they will come away with a guard and a frontcourt player. Backcourt depth for the Hoyas in 2012-13 is shallow, so a good scoring guard (Smith-Rivera fits the bill) could be a priority. Moreover, with all the frontcourt talent left on board, the Hoyas could stockpile another big man.

Photo: St. Anthony

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