Vonleh tops heralded Indiana recruiting class
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Devin Davis likes being No. 1.
He was the first player to commit to Indiana in this year's recruiting class, the first to send in his national letter-of-intent Wednesday and he hopes to be the first to hang more than one national championship banner during his career in Bloomington.
The 6-foot-6 forward was one of five players expected to sign with the Hoosiers on Wednesday, the first day of the early signing period. School officials were waiting for the last player in the six-man class, which has been rated in the top five nationally, to sign before talking about the incoming freshmen.
Davis couldn't wait to start talking.
"I'm really excited, just playing in front of all of those fans and playing for Coach (Tom) Crean, you couldn't ask for much more," said Davis, who plays at Warren Central in suburban Indy. "And now that they're ranked No. 1, it makes it even better."
There's only one problem: In a group this talented, Davis isn't going to Bloomington as the top-ranked recruit.
That honor belongs to 6-9 forward Noah Vonleh, who has been rated in the top 10 nationally. The New Hampton (N.H.) Prep star announced last week he had chosen the Hoosiers over Syracuse, Ohio State, Connecticut, North Carolina and Georgetown.
Troy Williams, a 6-6 forward from Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, and Stanford Robinson, a 6-4 shooting guard from Henderson, Nevada, have both been ranked in the top 60. Luke Fischer of Germantown, Wis., is considered one of the nation's top centers. And Crean got two of the state's best prep players, Davis and Collin Hartman, a 6-6 forward from Indianapolis Cathedral.
The question isn't how good this class will be, it's how Crean intends to fit them in.
Indiana (2-0) has only three seniors on the roster - Derek Elston, Jordan Hulls and Christian Watford. Adding six freshmen next fall would put them over the NCAA's scholarship limit. If 7-foot center Cody Zeller left early for the NBA, as some believe he will, that would open a fourth roster spot but would still leave Indiana two over the limit.
Crean faced a similar situation earlier this year until Ron Patterson enrolled in prep school after Indiana announced he had not met the school's academic requirements. It could happen again, though Davis and Hartman have big plans for their college careers.
"Obviously I want to go in and contribute right away. That's my goal right now is to get myself set up for that," Hartman said. "I really just want to come in and hang banners. I just want to be part of that and contribute to it. I think they're going to do big things."
Purdue (1-1) signed three players Wednesday morning - guard Bryson Scott and forward Basil Smotherman, both Indiana natives, and forward Kendall Stephens, an Illinois native with strong Indiana ties.
The 6-1 Scott averaged 25.2 points and .6.5 rebounds at Fort Wayne Northrop last season, while Smotherman averaged 9.9 points and 6.3 rebounds at Lawrence North, another suburban Indy school.
"Bryson gives us a lead guard and we think we can play two point guards together. I think when you look at teams that play two point guards together, it's really hard to defend," coach Matt Painter said. "Smotherman is a kind of a combo forward that has the size to play the three and the four. We think he can be a matchup type of guy."
The most intriguing signee, though, might be Stephens. He averaged more than 24 points as a junior at St. Charles East High School and 17.1 points as a sophomore and comes from a lineage of scorers.
Like Scott, Stephens is considered a Top 100 recruit, and Stephens made it clear that he wanted to follow in the footsteps of his father, Everette, who scored more than 1,000 points during his career at Purdue.
"Any time someone wants to be at your place and be at your Purdue because of his mom and dad, you're going to recruit those guys," Painter said. "He's a great person and a great player."
While the Indiana and Purdue men stole Wednesday's headlines, as usual, they certainly weren't alone in signing players.
Butler, a two-time national runner-up, signed three recruits in its first recruiting class since joining the Atlantic 10. Coach Brad Stevens said the Bulldogs (1-1) received letters from 6-10 Nolan Berry, a Missouri native; 6-7 Andrew Chrabascz of Cushing, Mass.; and 6-2 Rene Castro of Worcester, Mass.
"One of the things that we've really tried to prioritize in the class of 2013 was recruiting kids with competitive maturity, guys who have won and guys who we think are mature beyond their years and will have an impact sooner, rather than later," Stevens said in a statement.
And it wasn't just the men making news.
Purdue's women's team signed 5-9 guard Ashley Morrissette from Twinsburg, Ohio and 6-2 swing player Bridget Perry from Indianapolis Roncalli.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Ohio State has signed Marc Loving of Toledo (Ohio) St. John and Kameron "Kam" Williams from Mount St. Joseph's High School in Baltimore to national letters of intent for the 2013-14 season.
Loving, a 6-foot-8-inch, 215-pound forward, was the 2012 Associated Press Division I co-player of the year in the state and preceded his first-team big-school all-state mention with a second-team pick his sophomore season. He averaged 22.5 points, 9 rebounds and 2.7 assists last year.
Williams is a 6-2 shooting guard who was MVP of the Baltimore Catholic League last season and also led his AAU squad in scoring with 22.2 points per game.
The fourth-ranked Buckeyes have only one senior (center Evan Ravenel) this season.
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) -- Conner Frankamp, a 6-foot guard from Wichita, became the first player to sign a letter of intent with Kansas for next season when the fall signing period opened Wednesday.
Frankamp averaged 32.3 points as a junior for Wichita North last season, helping his team to the state quarterfinals. He would need to average about 28 points over his senior season to surpass current Kansas freshman Perry Ellis as the Wichita City League's career scoring leader.
The Jayhawks have five known commitments, though it's unclear when they'll all sign.
Frank Mason is a point guard from Petersburg, Va.; Wayne Seldon is a shooting guard from Tilton, N.H.; Brannen Greene is a small forward from Tifton, Ga.; and Joel Embiid, the Jayhawks' latest commitment, is a 7-foot center from Gainesville, Fla.
The early signing period runs through Nov. 21. The spring signing period begins April 17.
DALLAS (AP) SMU coach Larry Brown has signed three players to national letters of intent to be part of the Mustangs' debut in the Big East Conference next season.
The signing class Wednesday included a pair of standout high school players from the Chicago area, 6-foot-4 guard Sterling Brown and 6-8 forward Ben Moore, along with 6-11 junior college forward Yanick Moreira.
Brown, the Hall of Fame coach in his first season at SMU, says the three players are high-character kids from winning programs that are athletic and can play multiple positions.
Along with the three signees, the Mustangs have three transfers who are sitting out this season.
Sterling Brown is the younger brother of Phoenix Suns guard Shannon Brown, who was coached by Larry Brown in Charlotte.
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger has signed a pair of junior college forwards and a high-school point guard to join the Sooners next season.
Kruger announced Wednesday that 6-foot-8 Dominique Elliott from Trinity Valley (Texas) Community College, 6-foot-10 Keshaun Hamilton from Labette (Kan.) Community College and 6-foot Jordan Woodard from Edmond Memorial High School signed letters of intent with Oklahoma.
Kruger calls Woodard "a point guard that's terrific at running his team and can become a big-time scorer as well."
He says Hamilton could provide the Sooners the low-post scoring threat they're currently lacking, although he's currently recovering from surgery on his anterior cruciate ligament.
Kruger described Elliott as a mobile power forward who can attack off the dribble and make plays for others.
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