Monday, September 19, 2005

Hoops Recruiting

Well, I'm over the flu and now I'm in Montreal Quebec again. I just love traveling on Sunday. The fun never ends.........

Ok, I haven't done much on hoops recruiting, but I thought I would bring everyone up to speed on where things stand.

First, let's look at the scholarship situation:

Lewis Clinch
D'Andre Bell
Alade Aminu
Paco Diaw?????? (not cleared yet)
Mouhammad Faye?????? (not cleared yet)

Zam Fredrick
Anthony Morrow
Jeremis Smith
Ra'Sean Dickey

Mario West

Theodis Tarver

Now, we don't know yet if Diaw and Faye are actually going to be on scholarship. Once they are cleared by the NCAA I'm sure we'll hear more. As it stands WITHOUT these two guys, we will have 9 guys on scholarship this season. We don't know yet if Keith Jones has been given a free ride this season either.

Once Tarver graduates, we should have between 3-5 scholarships available. The range is again because of the two new foreigners with the unclear situation. Remember that Mario West will be the only graduating senior for the class of 2007. So in essense Coach Hewitt has 4-6 scholarships to hand out the next two seasons. We have some very strong interest from guys in the class of 2007 so we'll see how Coach plays these cards.

Priority #1 for the class of 2006 was clearly Point Guard and Coach Hewitt swung for the fences and connected with Javaris Crittenton. Clearly the most physical high school PG in the nation and the most "NBA Ready" body in his class, Javaris comes in right into the Jarrett Jack mold. He's 6'4", and the Dwight Howard's running mate for years in high school. recently crowned him the #1 Point Guard in his class, while every other recruiting service sees him as one of the top 5 PG's. Javaris worked on converting his game from the 2-spot to a clear PG and it payed off. He has a fantastic ability to get the hoop and score and has really shown an ability to dish. The only part of his game that gets criticized is his outside shot, and he's been working on that too.

By drawing in JC early, this adds another recruiting member to the team, as JC has been hard at work trying to entice some other talented players to be his running mate. The next set of commits are all going to be "bigs", from the 4/5 spot primarily, as the depth is sorely lacking for the Jackets here. So here are the main players involved right now:

PHIL NELSON........6'8", 190lb......... Rivals #71......... Scout #66
Another west coast prospect (Oregon). The work "lanky" is often found in articles describing this kid. Now here's the hook with Nelson - he might be the best shooter in the class - and he's 6'8". And I'm not kidding - he can shoot the rock flat out..... With the size, that certainly brings an intrigue about him. Scouts say that offensively he plays like European's do. He's very athletic and very versatile. It looks like this one will probably come down to Washington and Georgia Tech, although he also hold offers from Gonzaga, Depaul and Oregon State. Here's an interesting point - Washington is recruiting him as a 2/3 player, while GT has pitched him as a 3/4. Could that make a difference?....... visited GT weekend of 9/17 and early reports are it went well.......

THADDEUS YOUNG......6'8", 200lb....... Rivals #3....... Scout #7
Labeled by some as the most versatile player in the class of 2006, don't expect him to be around for more than a year or two. Young is a legit straight-to-the-NBA player who won't get that chance with the age-limit rule. However, he indicated that he will explore all options, including those that don't include going to college (NBDL, Europe, Prep, etc)...........Rivals ranks him as the #3 overall player in his class, while has him #7............. Visited Georgia Tech last weekend and saw the UNC football game. He has kept recruiters at arms length though, releasing his "final 7" list through a press release. They include GT, Ark, Duke, KY, Mem, UNC, Tenn........... Tech helped their case during his visit but is probably in 3rd place at best right now, behind Memphis and UNC.

ALEX STEPHENSON.........6'8", 210lb...... #57....... #58
A very talented west coast Power Forward who happens to be best buddies with D'Andre Bell. He has a big frame and long arms and a lot of talent. He's athletic, wide and has good bounce in his step. Solid rebounder and runs the floor well. He's also a high character kid with great grades as well............ Tech is probably not in his top tier of teams right now, but never count Hewitt out once he gets a recruit to campus.......... He visited GT 9/10............... His mom has family in the ATL area so that might help......... Teams in the running include UConn, AZ, UNC, Wash, WF, UCLA and GT. UNC might have the inside track here.

BRAD SHEEHAN.........6'10", 200lb......... unranked
From the Albany NY area, so you know there are some Sienna ties at work here somehow. Sheehan is not ranked by any of the recruiting services, but sports offers from Syracuse and UVA. You have to think that Syracuse is the favorite, but playing in the ACC could draw him out. He's very thin, but has a nice jumpshot out to 15 feet. Not strong enough to battle inside against real physical competetion and needs to work on his rebounding. But a solid 4-year big man who can develop into a real important piece of the puzzle for someone.

STANLEY ROBINSON..........6'9", 220lb....... #14......... #20
From Alabama, one of the top athletes in the class. Very versatile, can really get to the hoop, but sometimes is criticized for playing on the perimeter too much. Has a good mid-range jump shot and can put the ball on the floor well...........He is close friends with Javaris Crittenton, so maybe that will help. GT in his top 5 along with AL, FL, Mem, UConn........... He did make an unofficial visit to GT and we should get an official as well..............

ZACH PEACOCK...........6'7", 215lb......... unranked
This past summer, Peacock was a double/double machine. Think of 120% effort and non-stop energy wrapped up in a slightly undersized body. He's only been playing organized hoops since he was a freshman and his upside is huge. A bit weak on ball handling, but he can hit the 3-ball. So where is the GT link? New assistant Chalton Young, who was recruiting him at UTC. This is a 2-horse race between GT and FL right now and he's from the state of Florida. Peacock is probably going to be one of those fast-developing 4-year guys who the fans love.

PERRY STEVENSON......... 6'9", 200lb......... Rivals #59........... Scout #60
From Louisiana, his recruitment has slowed tremendously the past few months. Incredibly thin, but a good rebounder and shotblocker right now because of his long wingspan. He has some decent post skills and good offensive skills around the basket. To play every night in the ACC, his frame is going to need to add some serious muscle, or else his game might have to move further outside. He's not really a touch-player and likes to mix it up. However, he just needs more strength. He's not a project, but a classic developing bigman. Teams involved include UConn, KY, GT, LSU, Texas, TT, but there isn't much coming from his camp lately. GT should get one of his official visits.

JAMIL TUCKER........... 6'9", 210lb........... Rivals #63............. Scout #77
His name popped up on the radar again last week. Jamil is from Gary Indiana and had a press conference announcing that he would commit to Ohio State. The problem - .he didn't have an offer and misunderstood signals from Thad Matta, which were basically - "look I've got 4 of the next fab 5. The 5th is Thad Young. If he doesn't want to come, I'll consider inviting you"........... He is considered more of a transition wing player than an inside banger - small forward material. Good at hitting the three and getting to the hoop in a couple of dribbles. When he plays hard, his talent is sky high. However, that is the question that has dogged him - will he give 100% effort? Some are convinced he's dogs it too much ............. Schools now in the running include GT, Virginia, Tennessee and Kent State. Will visit GT Sept 24................

There are other names like Brandon Wright, Lance Thomas, Wellington Smith and JeJaun Jones, but these are the most likely targets to commit. So, there are about 8-10 guys and coach is looking to sign 2-3 more in this class. Decent odds for sure. Look for most of these guys to make their decisions by November.

Hopefully that will keep you satisfied for awhile.