Friday, August 26, 2011

Jordan Loveridge Commits to Utah

Utah just picked up its first commitment for the 2012 class and it's a big one. Combo forward Jordan Loveridge (West Jordan, UT) committed to Utah today over Arizona, BYU and Weber State.

"I wanted to make a final decision early on," he said in a press release by Utah Pump n Run. "Before the start of the high school basketball season, so I could focus all of my attention on helping coach Briggs and my teammates at West Jordan High school prepare for the season."

Loveridge, a double-double machine, had many scholarship offers and really made a name for himself in both of the past two summers.

He gained recent offers from schools such as Colorado, Hawaii, Santa Clara and more. But ultimately, after narrowing down his list, he opted to commit earlier rather than wait.

"When it came down to it, choosing the University of Utah just felt like the right fit for me," Loveridge said. "I'm looking forward to helping Coach K and his staff reinstate the winning team tradition that Utah basketball fans expect."

The 6-7 combo-forward has really excelled his game and continued to get better. He's made tremendous progress to slim down and can play much of a 3-4 role on the court.

He has the ability to stretch the floor and also bang inside with the frontier players. Utah is the best possible destination for him as he will have the ability to play in the prestigious Pac-12, that's guaranteed hype and also shine on the biggest stage.

It's a very close destination to home and he will fit in Larry Krystkowiak's system perfectly.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Frank Haith Tied to Miami NCAA Allegations

Current Missouri head coach Frank Haith, who was hired this year to replace Arkansas' Mike Anderson, is being investigated by the NCAA over allegations that recently surfaced in a report by Yahoo! Sports.

Nevin Shapiro, who is incarcerated for his role in a $930 Million Ponzi Scheme, told investigators that he supplied $10,000 to secure the commitment of then-high school phenom DeQuan Jones.

In 2008, Jones was considered one of the best wings in his class. He was ranked highly by many scouting services and held multiple scholarship offers from programs nationwide.

He was mostly known for his explosive scoring and ability to finish strong around the rim.

Jones took an unofficial to Miami in 2007 and committed the next day after, according to Yahoo! Rivals.

Shapiro alleged that the transaction was orchestrated by former assistant Jake Morton and went on to say that Haith was aware of the payment.

When notified of the allegations, Frank Haith released a statement saying, "I can confirm that the NCAA has asked to speak with me regarding he time I spent at the University of Miami. I am more than happy to cooperate with the national office on this issue and look forward to a quick resolution."

He continued by saying, "The NCAA has instructed me not to comment further at this time in order to protect the integrity of their review, so I can appreciate your understanding in this matter. The reports questioning my personal interactions with Mr. Shapiro are not an accurate portrayal of my character and per the above I am unable to comment further."

Haith, in his seven seasons at Miami, was never contacted by the NCAA over allegations of breaking NCAA rules. He's always had a reputation for running a clean program.

The University also issued a statement regarding reports on Haith saying, "We are aware of today's Yahoo! Sports story and the University of Missouri acknowledges that the NCAA has requested to speak with Coach Haith regarding his time at the University of Miami.

"As a member of the NCAA and the Big 12 conference, the University of Missouri will cooperate fully throughout this process. per the NCAA's request and guiding bylaws, we are unable to comment further in order to protect the integrity of their review."

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Goodluck Okonoboh Still Wide Open

Versatility and defense is just a few reasons frontier force Goodluck Okonoboh (Tilton School, MA) has been able to see his scholarship list continuously grow.

Okonoboh, the first cousin of UConn's Alex Oriahki, claims offers from Gonzaga, Minnesota, Missouri, NC Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Providence, Syracuse and Towson.

That list will only continue to grow as he continues to pick up interest after performing very well during the summer circuit.

"Not yet," he said when asked about if he's made a timeline for his decision. But he did say that he is starting to take some unofficial visits.

"[I'm visiting] Syracuse this weekend," he said. "Then a couple of others."

Florida, Gonzaga, Louisville, Miami, Michigan, Missouri, Penn, Providence, Syracuse, Texas, UConn.

"Probably, Michigan, Missouri, Pitt, Providence, Syracuse and UConn," he said of the schools recruiting him the hardest. But did add, "everyone is coming pretty hard."

With it being so early in the process, Okonoboh has decided to keep his options open and hear from schools. He has yet to trim his list or name any favorites for that matter.

Darrick Wood trims list to 7

Darrick Wood, (Nia Prep, DC) a 6-3 shooting guard has not made a final decision yet but does have a much smaller list to work from. Yesterday, Wood said that he was down to seven schools. Oklahoma State, Penn State, St. John's, Seton Hall, USC, USF and Virginia Tech are the schools of consideration right now.

Shane Larkin commits to Miami

After being granted a medical release from DePaul, for point guard Shane Larkin it was only a matter of time before gave Miami (FL) the heads up.

After visiting, it didn't take long for Larkin to say yes to the scholarship offer and transfer into the program. Although, since he's already taken summer classes at the University of DePaul he would atomically be deemed ineligible and have to sit out one year due to transfer rules.

However, according to reports, Miami and newly acquired coach Jim Larranaga may look to appeal that distinction in hopes to have him eligible this season. Larkin and current point guard Durand Scott could turn out to be a dominant duo in the backcourt, if eligible right away.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Wally Ellenson Commits to Minnesota

The Minnesota Gophers received their first commitment in the class of 2012 when they landed Wally Ellenson (Rice Lake, WI) earlier today.

Ellenson, a 6-4 wing, held offers from five high-major offers with many mid-majors offering as well.

He had previously taken an unofficial to Minnesota before but after returning from the previous visit he decided to end his recruitment.

"Tubby Smith is a great coach, with a great program and it's close to home" Ellenson said.

"It's close to home, so all my family and friends can come to my games."

Ellenson had planned on taking an unofficial to West Virginia on the 3rd of September and even had a visit planned with the Jayhawks.

Colorado, Nebraska and Oregon State were the latest programs to try to get in the mix with the talented wing.

Danuel House trims list to 10 

Things for Danuel House (Hightower, TX) are becoming a little clearer these days. The five-star small forward recently narrowed down his list to 10 schools.

Arizona, Baylor, Georgetown, Georgia Tech, Houston, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio State, Oregon and Texas are the teams still in the mix.

He hasn't scheduled any visits as of yet but according to a source, his first in-home visit will be with the University of Missouri.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Perry Ellis Cuts List to Four; Schedules Visits

Perry Ellis (Wichita Heights, KS) has trimmed his list once again.

Back in December of 2010, Ellis cut his list to six with Kansas, Kansas State, Kentucky, Memphis, Oklahoma and Wichita State in the mix.

Later on in his recruitment, Ellis decided to add Duke to the mix after former Sooners coach Jeff Capel joined the Duke Blue Devils coaching staff.

There were even reports that stated the recruitment of Ellis could come down to an arms race between Duke, Kansas and Kentucky.

Despite the reports, Ellis cut his list to four with Kansas, Kansas State, Kentucky and Wichita State still in the mix.

Surprisingly, even after being present at most of his games and make a tough recruiting pitch, the 6-8 combo-forward opted to cut Duke from the list. Oklahoma and Memphis is also absent from the shorten list and the race for the talented big is really starting to heat up.

Kansas and Kansas State coaches both flocked to every single game Ellis played this summer. If it wasn't the head coach, an assistant was always there for both schools. Kentucky's John Calipari wasn't absent this summer either. He visited Ellis often and made his presence felt.

Ellis, has scheduled two in-home visits with both Kansas and Kansas State on September 9th. Wichita State and Kentucky visits haven't been scheduled yet but they could happen in the near future.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Katin Reinhardt Commits to UNLV

UNLV's head coach Dave Rice has been getting it done on the recruiting trail. Not only did Rice pick up talented four-man Christian Wood (Findlay Prep, NV) in the class of 2013, but also picked up another big-time athlete today.

Katin Reinhardt (Mater Dei, CA) said in May that he was no longer committed to USC and reopened his recruitment.

It was soon after the summer ended when he made his decision for the second time and committed to UNLV.

Reinhardt is considered one of the top shooters in his class, whether it's from three or mid-range. He's a very athletic off-guard and has the potential to be an all-conference player.

Reinhardt will join point guard DaQuan Cook (Digital Harbor, MD) in the class of 2012.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Good Summer for Telfair Getting Better

A name to watch in the class of 2014 is point guard Ethan Telfair (Northwest Catholic, CT). Telfair, the younger brother of Sebastian Telfair, could emerge as one of the top guards in his class when it's all said and done.

Last season, the sophomore received limited minutes at Lincoln averaging 1.8 points and 1.6 assist per game, which didn't help him out at all in gaining college interest.

This summer with more minutes, however, he did that and more. "I did play really well all summer long," he said. "A lot of college coaches told my AAU coach that they got their eye on me and that I'm looking better."

His solid play this summer with Long Island Lightning didn't bring in any scholarship offers but he did pick up interest from two college programs.

Oklahoma and St. Peters both contacted his AAU coach inquiring about the 5-10 lead guard.

In his first season at Northwest Catholic, Telfair has the opportunity of his life to continue getting better and  keep up the momentum he created this summer on the AAU circuit. Playing with five-star small forward Kuran Iverson and Zach Lewis will only help his cause.

It also helps when you have a brother who went through the same process. His brother, Sebastian, who decided to play professionally rather than go to college, still went through the recruitment process.

In fact, before he decided to play professionally, he committed to Rick Pitino and the University of Louisville.

Jamel Thomas, also went through the process and signed his letter of intent to play at Providence.

Sebastian and Jamel, are constantly in his ear providing him with advice and guidance. It will ultimately make him a great basketball player and a positive young man.

"Both of my brothers, Jamel and Sebastian help me a lot," he said. "Sebastian taught me how to play under pressure, keep focus and not letting anything get to my head.

"Jamel taught me the game, taught me to love it and it will me back. I workout everyday. He has the blueprint and he tells me hard work can get you anywhere you want to go."

There's nothing about Telfair that says he won't live up to his lofty expectations. He hasn't made much of an impression on many colleges yet but with two more years of high school and AAU ball, he will surely command the attention of many high-major programs.

There's plenty of evidence to suggest that Telfair will eventually be one of the top point guards in his class. His AAU coach Shandue McNeil speaks very highly of him, he's a hard worker, has a great work ethic and continues to develop his game.

"I can make my teammates better," he said. "I get them open shots with my penetration and I can finish at the rim with both hands." He continued by saying, "I'm a good pick and roll player. I read the defense really well and knock down jump shots off it."

But that's only a tidbit of what he can actually do offensively. "He's been our linchpin," McNeil told the Marc Raimondi. "He makes everyone go. He gets us out in transition. He finds guys. He's been making shoots, too. He's been solid. He left July feeling good about himself."

But it doesn't stop there. Telfair may be smaller than most guards but he's smart and more notable, the kid has a ton of heart. "I'm not the biggest or strongest person on the court," he said. "But my heart makes up for that."

Still, just like every player, Telfair has his weaknesses. "I'm not a great spot up shooter," he said. "I shoot better off the dribble." He added, "I have to [play defense] better. I play the passing lanes pretty well but I need to get better on defense as well."

Jordon Granger Hearing From High-Majors

Jordon Granger (McCluer North, MO) has yet to commit anywhere or narrow down his college list for that matter. "I haven't narrowed it down to a short list yet," he said. "I'm still open to high-major programs."

Right now, Arkansas stands as his only high-major offer. Coach Mike Anderson, former Mizzou head coach, recruited Granger back when he was with the program and once he became a Razorback he kept recruiting Granger.

But Arkansas isn't the only high-major interested. He's picked up interest from Auburn, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

Nevada has also recently shown interest and his scholarship count could grow drastically over the next few months.

Right now, he's gotten offers from Arkansas, Detroit, Illinois State, Missouri State, Murray State, Ohio, Saint Louis, Tennessee-Martin, Tulane and Tulsa.

Granger is considered one of the better mid-range shooters in his class. The 6-8 combo-forward has the ability to play in the post and on the wing.

He has great handle for his size, the ability to shoot and score in the post. Arkansas has been on him hard for a long time and his former teammate BJ Young is also a Razorback. Despite his obvious connections with the Arkansas program, he said he has no favorites.

"Not really," he said. "Because there is always somebody new calling."

But at 6-8, 195, most programs want to see him add more weight and that's exactly what's he's working on right now. "I don't have any scheduled visits just yet," he said. "Right now, I'm trying to get my body together."

Granger is set to have a big impact in his senior year of High School. He told me he plans on making his final decision this November but right now, his recruitment is open.

Calaen Robinson commits to Arizona State

Calaen Robinson had emerged on the scene this summer, showcasing his ability as a true point guard. After having a successful showing during the first live period, Robinson started receiving interest from Clemson, Colorado, UNLV, Virginia, Washington State.

But instead of playing things out, he already knew where he was headed. Early Wednesday afternoon, Robinson verbally committed to Arizona State.

He'll likely join Jahii Carson in the backcourt next season at ASU, which will be one of the more dynamic backcourts in the Pac-12.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Johnson Lands UNC Offer

Brice Johnson (Edisto, SC) picked up another scholarship offer when North Carolina coach Roy Williams phoned him late last night and extended an offer.

Johnson now has offers from Clemson, UConn, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Southern, Louisville, North Carolina, NC State, Ohio State, and South Carolina.

Johnson, 6-9 power forward, has really emerged as one of the top big men in the class of 2012. He was the Gatorade Player of the Year in South Carolina last season after averaging 23 points, 12 rebounds, seven blocks, three assist and two steals per game.

Johnson is an intriguing athlete with a mixture of size and athleticism that allows him to be dominate in the frontcourt.

He can also step outside the paint and knock down that mid-range jumper.

After the summer he's had, his phone has been ringing off the hook lately. Last time I spoke with Johnson, he said, "[I want to go play] anywhere I can go play and get a degree."

Jaylen Bond to Texas

The Texas Longhorns picked up its seventh commitment in the 2011 class early Tuesday from a flying under the radar, three man in former Pitt commit Jaylen Bond.

"[Rick Barnes is] a great coach, the city is nice and I can play right away," Bond said. Texas did end up losing its three superstars in Cory Josephs, Tristian Thompson and Jordan Hamilton but have reloaded completely.

Bond joins a class that features Myck Kabongo, Sterling Gibbs, Sheldon McClellan, Jonathan Holmes and Julien Lewis to name a few.

Swopshire waiting on offers

Jordan Swopshire (Fort Zumwalt South, MO) has yet to pick up any offers despite being one of the most talented players in the class of 2013. On the day when Swopshire could receive calls from schools, he received nothing.

"Shocking," he said by text. "I was promised four or five calls." But, things may have gotten a little better for the 6-6 wing. Following our brief conversation, he informed me that he was selected to represent USA in Rome, Italy.

"I'm totally honored," he said. "I can't wait to get back to work." Swopshire has heard a lot from VCU and Memphis, with interest in Arizona, Florida, Georgetown, Illinois, Louisville, Miami (FL), Missouri and Tennessee.