Talk hoops all year long in Luke Winn's blog, a journal of commentary, news and reader-driven discussions about the college game.
7/31/2006 02:14:00 PM
Fresh Players On The Recruiting Scene
Texas A&M coach Billy Gillispie has broken into the rich talent of Houston this offseason.
When at least three of the top 10 players in the Class of 2007 may be headed to programs that missed the last NCAA tournament, one can tell that change is afoot in the recruiting world. The powerhouses are still throwing their weight around this summer -- UCLA landed Kevin Love, Texas grabbed Gary Johnson and Florida got Alex Tyus -- but a few new heavies are poaching some of the nation's most coveted prospects. With the summer-tournament season about to come to a close, let's take a look at four "freshly hot" teams on the scene:
4. Texas A&M
Had this highly subjective list been drafted one week ago, the Aggies would not have been included. What changed? On Thursday, coach Billy Gillispie landed the biggest recruit of his tenure in College Station, 6-foot-10 center/forward DeAndre Jordan out of Bellaire, Texas, near Houston. This is important not only because Jordan is a massive dude who happens to be the No. 2-rated center in the entire Class of '07. It means that A&M has a succession plan after star forward Joseph Jones (probably) turns pro after this season. It marks Gillispie's first big move into the rich Houston recruiting market that has been dominated of late by Texas and Arizona; the Aggies' talented young guards (Dominique Kirk and Josh Carter) hail from Dallas, and while Jones played his AAU in Houston, he had committed before Gillispie arrived. Biggest of all, this is Texas A&M beating out the likes of Indiana, Texas, LSU and Florida for a blue-chip recruit. Not a bad score heading into a season in which the Aggies could be a top-10 team.
The Trojans can't be "officially" considered hot yet ... not until O.J. Mayo confirms his reportedly behind-closed-doors commitment to play for USC, and the rumors die down about Reebok lord Sonny Vaccaro's attempts to get Mayo and buddy Bill Walker into the NBA without them ever playing a game of college ball. The mere chatter that coach Tim Floyd has landed Mayo, however, has the Trojans on the verge of being hot; he's the No. 1 player in the Class of '07 and the likely No. 1 pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. If you're a guard with aspirations of leading the Pac-10 in scoring, you probably don't want to team up with Mayo ... but otherwise, why not? The kid is good enough, with the right supporting cast, to make a Final Four run in his one season.
2. Kansas State
In the span of four and a half months, the Wildcats went from being irrelevant on the recruiting trail to landing a respectable recruiting class for '06 and a potential blockbuster haul in '07. That's the Bob Huggins Factor at work. In late June, K-State landed ex-Oak Hill power forward Michael Beasley, the No. 5 overall prospect in the Class of '07, after convincing him to de-commit from Charlotte by hiring away 49ers assistant Dalonte Hill. The next big score is rumored to be small forward Bill Walker, the sidekick of Mayo and also the No. 8 overall prospect in '07. Why the rumors? Well, Huggins has been after Walker, who played last season at Cincinnati's North College Hill high school, since the coach's days with the Bearcats. Walker is fond of both Huggins and Beasley; and best of all, according to the Cincy Enquirer, Walker is using Huggins' lawyer, Richard Katz, to fight his eligibility case with the Ohio High School Athletic Association. Hmmm.
Need I remind you how bad the Boilers were last year? Just three Big Ten wins (against 13 losses) was all they could muster due to injuries and a roster that was very light on major-conference talent. And now, out of the depths, comes coach Matt Painter with a recruiting class that ranks -- no joke -- among the best in the nation. In 25 days this summer, the Boilers secured commitments from a quartet of four-star prospects, all of whom are in the top 80 of Scout.com's Class of '07 rankings. Power forward JaJuan Johnson came first, on June 27. Then, three teammates from the Indiana AAU powerhouse SYF Players made their decisions in July -- shooting guard E'Twaun Moore on the 14th, small forward Robbie Hummel on the 17th, and small forward Scott Martin on the 21st. The Boilers are ahead of Indiana in the Hoosier State recruiting wars -- and they’re well on their way out of the Big Ten basement.
On the flip side, who do you think is the coldest school right now? I'd vote for Oregon, which has two of the nation's top five recruits for '07 in its backyard (Love, of Lake Oswego, and Kyle Singler, of Medford), and didn't even make it in either player's top five. It's not as if that state produces players of Love and Singler's ilk on a yearly basis. For Ernie Kent and the Ducks, missing out on both of them is a major disappointment.
Boiler Up! Painter has brought a new level of excitement to the Purdue program after a few years of basement dwelling. This recruiting class will hopefully be just the start in a long string of great classes to come that will help add banners to the Big Ten's winningest program.
Bob Huggins is a disgrace to college basketball. He is an immoral thug who recruits younger immoral thugs (not all his players, obviously, and I wouldn't have any idea about these new recruits) to play for a program that cares nothing about sportsmanship or producing well-rounded citizens, just winning. Sadly he wouldn't be so successful if we as a society didn't also place so much more emphasis on the ends than the means.
J.D., you might be overexaggerting just a little bit. Wait and see what kind of players actually end up at KSU before throwing Huttigs to the wolves. I give him credit for stopping the recruitment of the kid arrested for sexual assault and for suspending Cartier Martin. KSU ain't Cincinnati; its a school that's already had its share of legal problems with high-profile athletes (see Elle Roberson before the Fiesta Bowl). They're not going to let Huggy Bear get away with the stuff he did at Cincy. All that being said, Huggins won't ever have the talent to consistently beat KU either :)
Please don't let the FACTS get in the way of opinions on KSU and Bob Huggins.
1) Ell was cleared of anything other than stupidity. (not a crime....) 2) KSU put a "detrimental to the university" clause in Huggins contract. 3) His "low" graduation rate is grossly exagerated. 4) He only recruited 1 kid convicted of anything at Cincy (with university approval).
Lastly, please do not denigrate Kansas State University that way. You know nothing of the school, its officials, alumni, students, or fans based on your comments.
The only reason KSU got Huggins was because Mizzou took a pass on him. If Missouri won't hire him then that should tell you something in itself. Huggins players will burn Manhattan down to the ground. Of course given the size of Manhattan that should only take about 2 matches.
What about KSU being the other contender for Mayo? What about being strong on the list for no. 7 Herb Pope out of Pittsburgh? It looks as though K-State might be the favorite for Pope. If they don't land Mayo and get the other 3 that will be a ridiculous change from who usually shows up on the K- State hardwood.
With all the positive press (lol) Missouri basketball has had lately under Mighty Quinn, Wayne, don't think for a minute Huggins would've considered coaching there. Huggins will restore the KSU basketball tradition, which has included NUMEROUS poundings of Missouri. And J.D., don't have an apoplectic fit when Huggins is inducted to the basketball Hall of Fame.
Spacebadger16, how do you know the AAU coach is a Purdue fan. Don't attach his comment to a friend to the whole Purdue community. We don't need you to tell us what the worry about. You worry about UW - we have Purdue covered.
Hey Kyle Rhode, you said "Huggins won't ever have the talent to consistently beat KU either". Wanna bet? Word has been out for some time on the recruiting circuit that Huggins is in good shape to land top 10 recruits Herb Pope & Bill Walker. Put those 2 kids in the same lineup with Jason Bennet (7'3" Center) and top 5 commit Michael Beasley and it won't really matter who's playing for the Jayhawks - they will get run out of the gym. I have personally seen Beasley, Walker and Pope play before....they are the best high school players I have seen in person since Lebron James.........there are too many NBA teams they coudn't start for......you can take that to the bank. Shep in Cincy
You obviously are one of if not the most "ignorant basketball know it all's" that there ever was. Bob Huggins is a blessing to the KSU program and if you will do your homework (see Jaon Maxiel, Leonard Stokes, Steve Logan, Eric Martin, Terry Nelson and the list goes on and on and on) you would see that he has literally raised hundreds of "thugs" to become outstanding citizens in our community and others, that these young men have chosen to live... He left a legacy in Cincinnati of a winning program and of, in the MAJORITY of cases, first class kids that have gone through here. Get your facts straight before you jump off the deep end....
What I said about KSU was said with a smile in a good-natured way, take it easy. I'm a KU grad, of course I have to talk a little smack to KSU and a lot to MU.
Wait and see if those guys actually end up at KSU. Just like OJ Mayo, many of them are having trouble with the thought of living in Manhattan, Kansas. Bill Walker might end up in the NBA or somewhere else still.
And no matter who Huggins he gets, he ain't running KU out of the gym. Rush, Wright, Chalmers, Arthur, Collins, Robinson, Giles....we're going to be alright :)
We must not be afraid to let cats die. It is a natural part of life for a cat to die. So, please do not be sad when a cat dies. I am thrilled to death Barry Collier has left Nebraska. Maybe now we can get on a list like this someday at Nebraska in men's basketball.
Kyle, point well taken. KU has a tremendous basketball tradition and will always be very competitive with the best D1 schools in the country......KU is one of only 5 or 6 true 'blue blood' programs in the country. I don't have a dog in this fight. I'm a Cincinnati grad who honestly was glad to see Huggins leave because he became a constant lightening rod for negative publicity ( even when it wasn't justified). Don't miss my broader point here though. The entire dynamics of the situation at KSU have dramatically changed. The days of KU just showing up and breezing past KSU are over.....if you don't believe me you will soon enough. Huggins has very deep recruiting roots in the midwest and will be able to capitalize on KSU's BIG 12 affiliation. His recruiting efforts at Cincy often suffered because the school was in conferences like "The Great Midwest" and C-USA during his tenure. Huggins won't have that as a detterrent anymore. btw....i watched KU a couple of times on the tube last year.....now I have no doubt that kids like Julian Wright, Russell Robinson and Miles are good players. But please don't even try to compare those kids with this latest group that Huggins is recruiting to KSU.....you are talking about the difference between men and boys.....literally. Shep in Cincy
I'm truly glad to see KSU finally on the right track. A rivalry is no fun if one school is horrible. Right now with KSU we've got a football rivalry again and hopefully we'll have a basketball one too.
A few years back, we had a great rivalry with Mizzou too, like my freshman year ('01) when we played them and both teams were top 5. Now that was exciting (kinda like UNC vs. Duke almost every year).
We'll see how those kids do once they get to college; in the meantime, watch how those "boys" do this year. KU, along with Florida and UNC, is the class of college basketball this year. Those are the top three, followed closely by A&M, Ohio State, Wisconsin, UCLA and some others.
Can't wait for November 25 - KU vs. Florida in Vegas!
villanova has a monster recruiting class for 2007, jay wright is a stud out there....two top 30 guys potential all americans in Corey Fisher and Corey Stokes and NYC public league POY Malcolm Grant who will be rated even higher after he preps this year. Also Kraidon Woods out of the Pocono's will be a nice get for the cats after his year in prep school. 2009 could be their year.
What about Arizona State and Herb Sendek? They got Eric Boateng (transfer from Duke) and today just got 5-star shooting gaurd James Harden. Do you see a pattern happening here? Herb is going to turn that program around at it has started before he has even coached a game for ASU.
Kudos to matt painter, I really like to see him have success at purdue, but when we are talking about big time recruiting classes, we must talk about illinois. They have a solid class behind tisdale, cole, and McCamey (ranked 57), o yeah, that dynamite player Eric Gordon( ranked 2), the best shooting guard in the nation. If they land Derrick Rose they will have one of the best back courts in the nation, and they will look like that trio of guards two years ago, maybe even better
History of Bob Huggins molding great young men!! (I mean really....do you not have cable or Google in Kansas?!)
- Player Roy Bright arrested in 2004 for Concealed weapon - Cincy Recruit arrested in 2004 for Statutory Rape - Huggy arrested in 2004 for DUI - Player Donald Little arrested for kidnapping & assault in 2002 - 1998 NCAA sanctions - 3 lost scholarships and 2 years probation - Player Rueben Patterson suspended 14 games for receiving extra benefits in 1997 - Lifetime Graduation rate 28% - Graduation Rate since 1990 - 20% - Graduation Rate of 0% in 4 of last 9 yrs at Cincy - 21 players, from the 1990 to 2006 recruiting classes, "have had significant encounters with law enforcement, most of those consisting of arrests, with many ending in convictions."
According to The Cincinnati Enquirer, convictions include disorderly conduct, shoplifting, assaulting police officers and three other incidents of assault, two involving women.
Litigation was pending for 2005 incidents that included misdemeanor assault and Roy Bright being dismissed from the team after his arrest for felony charge of carrying a concealed weapon on campus.
Cases resulting in acquittals or dismissed charges include incidents alleging rape, underage drinking, theft, domestic violence, DUI, driving with a suspended license, fourth-degree felony assault and punching a police horse.
Apparantly you have done some homework. Each item probably has valid points that you make. However, in 16 years with 230-240 kids coming through here, to have what, 10-12 probelm kids; and in each case action was take either by the University or the police, to punish the offenders or remove them from the program(Roy Bright, Donald Litttle at the end of his eligibility at tournamnet time, playing his best basketball)the glass is 1/2 Full not empty. The graduation rate numbers are just that numbers, they are based on 4 year graduation rates and if you look at most schools other than Duke and Virginia etc., the rate @28% isn't that far out of line... You must also consider that at the beginning UC did not have the talent pool to bring the better "student first athlete second" to Cincy and accomplish what Hugg's was brought here to do intitially -- " turn the program around and win" !!!! He did that and more.... I give him two maybe three years at most and he will win the Big 12 League Title, Tournamnet and go to the Final Four... Get all the facts man!!!