Tag:July Recruiting Period
Posted on: July 15, 2009 10:47 am
Edited on: July 15, 2009 10:48 am

Elite post players still around at Peach Jam

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. -- It's the last day of games here at the Nike Peach Jam.

The highlight is a possible championship matchup between All Ohio Red and Team Final that would put three of the nation's top bigmen on display -- namely All Ohio Red's Jared Sullinger (ranked No. 4 in the Class of 2010 by Scout.com), All Ohio Red's Adreian Payne (ranked No. 15 in the Class of 2010 by Scout.com) and Team Final's Rakeem Christmas (ranked No. 5 in the Class of 2011 by Scout.com). For what it's worth, I've seen Christmas play four or five times this week, and I won't be surprised if he finishes the summer ranked second in the Class of 2011, right behind Team Final teammate Michael Gilchrist (the consensus No. 1 player in the Class of 2011).


Because Christmas is a 6-foot-8 center who runs brilliantly and blocks everything.

Great instincts.

Strong rebounder.

Unless he endures injuries or off-the-court problems, he'll be a rich man someday, guaranteed.
Posted on: July 14, 2009 3:31 pm
Edited on: July 14, 2009 3:34 pm

Top-ranked Barnes is done for July

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. -- The summer basketball career of Harrison Barnes came to a close Tuesday morning.

His team from Minnesota lost to a team from Maryland in their final game of pool play.

They finished 2-3 in this Nike Peach Jam.

"And 2-3 won't get you anywhere," said Shirley Barnes, the mother of Scout.com's No. 1 player and quite possibly the neatest mother of any No. 1 player I've ever met. She works in the music department at Iowa State, is full of smiles and laughs and conversation. After spending 30 minutes with her this afternoon, it's clear she's the reason college coaches are in love with her son, both on and off the court.

Seriously, she's just a joy of a woman.

Coaches are going to have a blast when the in-home visits begin.

As for Barnes the player, he's opting not to compete in Las Vegas next week, meaning his summer basketball career is done. The 6-foot-8 wing has gone from an unknown talent in Iowa to the nation's most celebrated prospect in a matter of two years, but his recruitment is far from over with Duke, Kansas, North Carolina, UCLA, Florida and Iowa State -- plus several others -- all still battling for his services. Ideally, Shirley Barnes said her son would like to sign in the early period in November. But the problem with that plan is that Harrison Barnes doesn't want to take his five official visits during football season because, well, he's not going to be a football player.

"He's not going to college to play football; he's going to college to play basketball," Shirley Barnes said. "So he doesn't need to see all the glory (of a football atmosphere in the fall). He wants to visit during basketball season, go to a basketball game, watch the coach interact with the players, that kind of stuff. So I'm not sure what he's going to do."

Neither is anybody else, it seems.

But rest assured, the best programs in America are anxious to find out.

Posted on: July 14, 2009 10:18 am
Edited on: July 14, 2009 10:21 am

Top prospect likely done for summer

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. -- When Brandon Knight limped out of the Riverview Park Activities Center here Sunday night, the thought from his camp was that his right foot was merely sprained. But that was wishful thinking, apparently, because it's now believed that Knight instead fractured a bone that has prematurely ended his summer.

"He's done," said one high-major assistant who is recruiting Knight.

And so just like that, the point guard from Florida whom Rivals.com ranks as the top overall prospect in the Class of 2010 is on the shelf for the rest of July barring some miracle recovery. He won't play anymore here at the Nike Peach Jam. He won't play in Las Vegas next week. And though it won't affect his recruitment -- Florida, Kentucky, Duke and every other school in America would die to sign Knight even if they never see him again -- what it will likely do is ensure that Harrison Barnes or Jared Sullinger finishes the summer as the nation's top-ranked prospect.

Does that matter?

In the grand scheme of things, of course not.

But you'd be surprised how much prospects care about such rankings.

So I'm sure Knight hates having his summer end this way ... on crutches as a spectator.
Posted on: July 13, 2009 10:45 am
Edited on: July 13, 2009 10:46 am

Recruits reminded who coaches Team USA

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. -- The Nike Peach Jam is living up to its reputation as the best summer basketball tournament for high school prospects thanks to four games going on at all times under one roof. I could list all the coaches here watching, but that would be pointless, because they are pretty much all here save Tennessee's Bruce Pearl, who is in Israel coaching the United States in the 18th Maccabiah Games.

(Pearl was featured in the Jerusalem Post this week, by the way.)

Anyway, the scene is pretty typical -- a bunch of coaches walking around in shorts and shirts representing their schools. Jeff Capel has an Oklahoma logo, Sean Miller has an Arizona logo, Bob Huggins has a West Virginia logo. And then there's Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, who opened the event in a Team USA shirt because, presumably, it's never a bad idea to remind recruits that you are the man who could someday help them play in the Olympics. Or not.

As for actual news, the big story (relatively speaking, of course) is that the consensus top two players in the Class of 2010 -- Harrison Barnes and Brandon Knight -- have both suffered injuries. Barnes cut his non-shooting hand and had to get stitches while Knight came down on somebody's foot and suffered what appeared to be a sprained foot.

Barnes is expected to play today.

Knight is not.
Posted on: July 9, 2009 7:40 pm
Edited on: July 9, 2009 7:42 pm

Is Gilchrist really a lock for Kentucky?

CLEVELAND -- One of the things I gathered from my three days at the LeBron James Skills Academy and King City Classic is that Class of 2011 star Michael Gilchrist doesn't appear to be getting the kind of attention from college coaches that's typical of a top-ranked prospect.

The reason is simple: Everybody thinks he's a lock for Kentucky.

"I should be fired if I waste one cent recruiting that kid," said one high-major coach who apparently knows his boundaries. "[Gilchrist] is going to play for [John Calipari]. It's done. Trust me. He's playing for Cal. If you recruit him, you're wasting your time."

This perception is based on Gilchrist's relationship with Calipari confidant and basketball powerbroker William Wesley , plus a newspaper article two summers ago that quoted Gilchrist talking about how he planned to play for Calipari. Far as anybody can tell, nothing has changed even though Gilchrist has never publicly committed in a traditional way to Calipari at Memphis or Calipari at Kentucky, and that's why Gilchrist's phone isn't constantly bombarded by most of the elite programs.

It's not because he isn't talented enough.

Or smart enough.

Or good enough on a personal level.

He is all of those things, and I can't imagine there's a single school that wouldn't love Michael Gilchrist on its roster. It's just that coaches are hesitant to invest time and money into recruiting the gifted wing only to watch him sign with Kentucky in November 2010. That's the dilemma. But it should be noted that Gilchrist, his family and his high school coach are making an effort to convince schools that Gilchrist is open to being recruited by anybody and everybody. Whether it works remains to be seen.

"You talk to his mom, talk to him, they both tell me he's not automatically going to Kentucky," said Kevin Boyle, who coaches Gilchrist at St. Patrick's High in New Jersey.  "They say there is no guarantee that he's going to Kentucky, that he's pretty wide-open. So the mom is putting that out there, and I'm putting that out there, and hopefully more people will respond ... because he probably hasn't gotten a number of phone calls that you'd expect for a guy of his level."
Posted on: July 9, 2009 11:29 am

As Darren Rovell points out ...

... "LeBron James gets dunked on video" is now ranked 24th among "hot trends" at Google.

("Babies on skates" is No. 1 and "Sahel Kazemi DUI video" is No. 13. So if I could somehow get LeBron to drink and drive, then get pulled over and perform a sobriety test on skates while Xavier's Jordan Crawford, dressed in a police uniform, dunks on him, we might set the World Wide Web on fire. Give me till the end of the week. I'm working on it.)

Seriously, this thing is bananas.

And at this point it's almost better if we never see the video, isn't it?

I mean, there's no way the dunk can match this hype.

I'm told it was great.

But given all the hoopla, the video will almost certainly only disappoint us.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: July 9, 2009 2:30 am
Edited on: July 9, 2009 2:31 am

If that policy exists, nobody has ever seen it

CLEVELAND -- Nike spokesperson Derek Kent released a statement Wednesday.

"Nike has been operating basketball camps for the benefit of young athletes for decades and has long-standing policies as to what events are open and closed to media coverage. Unfortunately, for the first time in four years, two journalists did not respect our no videotaping policy at an after-hours pickup game following the LeBron James Skills Academy."

The statement was in response to my Tuesday article about how freelance journalist Ryan Miller had his tape confiscated Monday shortly after Xavier's Jordan Crawford dunked on LeBron James in a pick-up game at the LeBron James Skills Academy. It's a reasonable-enough statement on the surface, I guess. But the problem is that there is no evidence that the policy Kent referenced actually exists.

The policy wasn't in the papers journalists received upon arrival.

The policy wasn't posted inside the media room at the University of Akron.

I searched online; I couldn't find it there, either. But just to make sure I wasn't missing something, I asked a Nike representative late Wednesday for a copy of the policy Kent referenced.

My request was met with a shrug of the shoulders.

I was told no copy could be produced.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: July 8, 2009 12:56 pm
Edited on: July 8, 2009 1:03 pm
Category: NCAAB
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