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Sleeper set

Five recruits who've flown under national radar

Posted: Thursday July 31, 2003 1:08 PM
  Lee Cummard Lee Cummard could be the best shooting guard prospect on the West Coast. TheInsiders.com

By Tracy Pierson, TheInsiders.com

While the big-name prospects get most of the ink during the July recruiting period, there are still some sleepers who have gone relatively unnoticed. Here are five who have either flown mostly under the radar or whose blip wasn't picked up until this summer.

1. One of the best undiscovered wing prospects is Nick Young from Reseda (Calif.) Cleveland High, but a Pac-10 school secured a verbal commitment from him before the nation learned about him.

Young, a 6-foot-5 SG/SS, verbally committed to Southern Cal this week. He was a senior last year at Cleveland, but intends to go to prep school for a year and then enroll at USC in the fall of 2004.

Young is a superior athlete whose basketball skills continue to improve. He had a very good senior year, and has continued to improve his stock while playing for the Pump 'N' Run All-Stars during this July evaluation period. Young scored 36 points in one game at the Las Vegas Big Time this week.

Young chose USC over Colorado, New Mexico, Pepperdine and DePaul.

2. Joakim Noah from New York has had a very good July evaluation period and has seen quite a few more schools interested in him -- including elite high majors.

Noah, a 6-10 senior C/PF from Brooklyn Polytech Prep, has gone from a second-tier high major to probably an elite high major recruit as a result of his showings during this July evaluation period. He said that he practically has a new list of schools heís now interested in, since so many new schools have recently expressed interest in him.

ďItís good,Ē Noah said. ďItís good to be recruited by some top schools. Thatís what youíre out here to get done.Ē

Noah said that the long list of schools heís considering include Duke, Maryland, UCLA, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Fordham. ďI really donít have a favorite right now," he said. "So many of these schools just started recruiting me right after I played well at the ABCD Camp, so I donít even know what I think about them.Ē

Noah, who is the son of tennis player Yannick Noah, said he wasnít sure what schools he would consider visiting officially. ďIíll wait until August and then talk to my family. Iím just not sure right now. My family is in Africa for a while, so Iíll wait until they get back.Ē

Noah did say that staying close to his home in New York wouldnít be a big factor. ďIíll go wherever the school is that I like. It doesnít matter if itís across the country,Ē Noah said.

3. With this being the last day of the summer evaluation period, itís difficult to believe there are any big-time players who are still under-recruited. But hereís a name you might want to remember: Lee Cummard.

Cummard, a 6-6 senior SG from Mesa (Ariz.) High, could be the best shooting guard prospect in the West Coast class of 2004. That puts him in some pretty good company, ahead of Arron Afflalo, who has committed to UCLA, Bryce Taylor (Oregon), DeMarcus Nelson (Duke) and Josh Shipp.

Cummard played in the Las Vegas Big Time, but since his team wasnít in the open division, he didnít play many games at Durango or Green Valley, which is where many of the national recruiting analysts spend their time. Heís been at the Best of Summer tournament this week in Los Angeles, and has been playing exceptionally well.

Cummard has shown this summer that he can play the small forward position, while his ball skills make him a terrific two-guard prospect. Heís very skinny, but heís a fierce competitor and plays with a hard-nosed toughness that you donít see in many kids. Heís got a very good stroke, great feel for the game and heís a terrific athlete.

Arizona State, New Mexico, Oregon State, Utah and BYU are all recruiting Cummard.

However, heíll go on a two-year Mormon mission out of high school, and is ultimately part of the 2006 class. He said Wednesday that, because of his mission, he's wide open at this point.

4. Because of his impressive showings this July, Al Horford from Michigan is now getting some big recruiting interest.

Horford, 6-8 SR PF/C from Grand Ledge (Mich.) High, said he now has a considerable list of schools that are showing interest after his performance in the July evaluation period.

ďIím hearing from Ohio State, Iowa, Purdue, Kansas, Xavier, UCLA, Georgia, Georgia Tech and more I canít think of right now,Ē Horford said.

Horford doesnít have a favorite but is just collecting all of his options. ďIím just seeing whoís interested. If someone is interested in me I think I should be interested in them enough to learn about that school. So Iím pretty wide open.Ē

Horford said that his loose plan is to get together with his family and coaches after the July evaluation period and do a little evaluating himself. ďAfter all the tournanments, Iíll sit down and think about all of the schools and narrow my choice. Iíll probably bring it to five or so.Ē

When asked if he had any preference for staying close to home, Horford said, ďIt would be easier, but if I like the place, I have no problem leaving.Ē With a 3.5 GPA, he said he wonít have a problem qualifying academically. Heíll take the SAT in the fall.

5. One player who has improved his stock this July has been Rod Stuckey from the state of Washington. He is a high-major player who is still somewhat of a secret outside of the Northwest.

The 6-3 senior SG from Kent (Wash.) Kentwood may lack a consistent jump shot, but Stuckey is very athletic, active, quick and an excellent defender.

Stuckey, actually, though, could be limited by his academics. Sources indicate that it will there is a question whether Stuckey will qualify academically to play as a freshman in college, even though he claims he has a 3.0 GPA (and intends to take the SAT for the first time this fall).

Stuckey said heís hearing from Oregon State, Washington, Washington State and Eastern Washington the most. ďEastern Washington is recruiting me the hardest,Ē Stuckey said. ďBut I donít have a favorite right now.Ē

According to Stuckey, Washington, WSU and Eastern Washington have all offered him a scholarship.

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