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Tag:Recruiting
Posted on: August 8, 2011 8:45 pm
 

Javan Felix commits to Texas

By Jeff Borzello

Javan Felix entered the NBPA Top 100 camp in June looking for exposure.

He came out of the summer as a Texas Longhorn.

“I visited the campus and everything just felt right,” Felix told CBSSports.com.

Felix, a 5-foot-11 point guard from Saint Augustine (La.), impressed onlookers throughout July, especially at the Adidas Super 64 in Las Vegas. He is not overly quick, but he knows how to use screens and he can knock down shots when left open. Felix can score at the rim because of his strength and finishing ability.

Texas became involved in Felix’s recruitment after head coach Rick Barnes saw him play in Indianapolis at the Adidas Invitational.

“He contacted my dad about me,” Felix said. “That meant a lot, that he reached out to my father before me.”

The Louisiana-to-Texas move is not unprecedented – D.J. Augustin starred in Austin, catapulting him to an NBA career. Interestingly, Felix has known Augustin since the eighth grade.

“He didn’t push me anywhere,” Felix said. “But I asked him questions about the recruiting process, and when I knew I wanted to go to Texas, I asked him questions about coach Barnes, coach Springmann, coach Lanier. He told me everything I needed to know.”

Oregon, Virginia, Baylor and LSU were also in the mix for Felix down the stretch. While he was not ranked in the top 100 going into the summer, don’t be surprised to see him sneak into the updated rankings later this week.

Felix is looking forward to being a major part of Texas’ year-in, year-out success.

“I want to make some noise in the tournament,” Felix said. “I want to win a national championship.”

Photo: 247Sports.com

Posted on: August 5, 2011 5:02 pm
 

J-Mychal Reese pops for Texas A&M



By Jeff Borzello

The stories surrounding J-Mychal Reese have certainly not been limited. There were rumors that he and his father were a package deal, while others focused on his affection for Kansas.

On Thursday, Reese decided to stay at home and go to Texas A&M. The news was first reported by Scout.com and confirmed to CBSSports.com by two sources.

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Reese, a 6-foot-2 guard from Bryan (Texas), lives a short distance from the College Station campus and has a brother who is a manager for the Aggies. Moreover, John Reese, J-Mychal’s father, could still have an assistant coach job offer on the table from new coach Billy Kennedy.

While not a pure point guard, Reese is one of the best shooters in the country. The lefty has a deadly pull-up jumper and is most effective when attacking after a jab step or ball fake. He can handle the ball and initiate offense, but is more productive when playing off the ball. Reese ranks No. 44 in CBSSports.com's Top 100.

Photo: Kelly Kline

Posted on: August 5, 2011 11:27 am
Edited on: August 5, 2011 12:15 pm
 

Top-50 recruit's father can't trust Cal, Pitino

By Jeff Borzello

The major story surrounding Derek Willis on Thursday was the news of his decommitment from Purdue.

The father of Willis, a top-50 junior from Bullitt East High School in Kentucky, later denied the commitment withdrawal, but said we would all know more on Sunday.

If this were solely a decommitment story, though, you would find it on the recruiting blog.

This is about a quote found at the bottom of an article at Rivals.com’s Purdue affiliate site, made by Del Willis, Derek’s father.

“I don’t know if I can trust a Coach [Rick] Pitino or Coach [John] Calipari,” Willis said. “Their agenda is more for their benefit than the kid’s. They’re more worried about themselves.”

Remember, Willis is a four-star recruit from the state of Kentucky – and his father is disparaging the two biggest coaches in the commonwealth, if not the country. Besides the implications that his father clearly doesn’t want him staying in-state for college, it’s very interesting that he would alienate two of the most successful programs.

What makes it even more interesting is the fact Willis’ high school coach said Kentucky and Louisville have already reached out since news of Willis’ decommitment leaked out on Thursday.

This will certainly be fun to follow in the next few weeks, especially if Willis has indeed decommitted. One can assume his father will fight to keep Calipari and Pitino far, far away from his son’s recruitment.

Posted on: August 3, 2011 1:11 pm
 

How rampant is illegal contact in the summer?

p>By Jeff Borzello

Just to put it out there: it’s not just Duke and Alex Poythress.

Since CBSSports.com’s story about Poythress adding an offer from Duke after the AAU Super Showcase, a media storm has descended on Mike Kryzewski, Poythress and the Blue Devils.

The reason: Poythress spoke with Coach K during the July live period – a possible violation of an NCAA rule that states coaches and players cannot have contact while a player is with his AAU team at an event. Duke and the NCAA are both investigating the matter, which could result in a light punishment for the Duke coaches.

As my colleague Gary Parrish wrote in his Monday column, it’s not a big deal and the rule is silly.

For a follow-up to the story, CBSSports.com contacted nearly a dozen top-100 recruits to gauge how often “illegal contact” occurs during the July live period. All spoke off the record.

Four were adamant that they had zero contact with colleges during the evaluation period, and one left the door slightly open.

“I didn’t get any calls, that I know of,” he said. “I probably did and they left a voicemail. I’m not really sure.”

Another didn’t receive any calls or texts, but did make phone calls on three separate occasions to schools after his AAU coach told him they had reached out.

“I honestly didn’t know [it was a violation],” he said. “I thought you’re allowed to call them.”

One prospect received similar requests from colleges to call a coach, but he refused after seeing the Poythress story.

“I knew it was a violation and wasn’t going to take a chance the way this situation went down,” he said.

Coaches are finding creative ways to get around the no-contact rule, although these strategies might be illegal, as well.

“Some college players would text me and tell me so and so is coming to the game,” one prospect said.

Another prospect said a coach “accidentally” texted him. While that might be true, it could also be another trick in the battle between coaches and the NCAA rulebook.

More on Recruiting

It’s almost amusing to watch coaches go the extra mile to avoid making blatant contact with prospective recruits. In the Orlando airport last week, I saw a head coach and one his committed players standing on opposite sides of the baggage claim. Each clearly knew the other one was there; they just didn’t acknowledge it.

Not everyone has adhered more closely to the rules in the wake of the incident. One recent commitment came as a result of a coach calling the grandfather of a high school prospect while the player was at a July AAU tournament.

For the most part, though, the Duke-Poythress story put everyone on an even higher alert.

“Everybody was really acting scared,” one prospect said.

When it comes down to it, most of the recruits hold the same opinion as the rest of the people in basketball.

Said one player: “I really don’t think it’s a big deal that they offered him during a tourney. But that’s just me.”

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: July 30, 2011 6:02 pm
Edited on: July 30, 2011 6:03 pm
 

Duke and NCAA investigating possible violation

By Jeff Borzello

Duke and the NCAA are investigating whether an NCAA recruiting rule was violated when coach Mike Krzyzewski reportedly offered a scholarship to a recruit during a summer tournament.

The scholarship offer to five-star prospect Alex Poythress came on Tuesday night, after Poythress’ AAU team was eliminated from the AAU Super Showcase in Orlando, Fla.

Poythress confirmed the offer to CBSSports.com on Thursday, and said he spoke to Krzyzewski when he received the offer.

“It felt pretty good,” Poythress said of the offer. “It was pretty exciting to talk to Coach K. He said he saw me play at the Super Showcase and Peach Jam, and he liked what he saw.”

NCAA rules prevent coaches from contacting players before they are finished playing in tournaments. While the Georgia Stars were indeed eliminated from the Super Showcase, they were still in Orlando for the AAU Nationals. Players have to be dispersed from the team in order for a coach to talk to them.

On Sunday, Duke responded via spokesman Jon Jackson. “Proper adherence to NCAA bylaws has always been, and will continue to be, a cornerstone of Duke athletics,” the statement said.

Poythress is a 6-foot-7 forward from Northeast (Tenn). He is ranked No. 15 in CBSSports.com’s Top 100.

Information from the AP was used in this report.

Posted on: July 21, 2011 10:24 am
Edited on: July 21, 2011 10:47 am
 

Jabari Parker: The next Oscar Robertson?



By Jeff Borzello

Some people compare Jabari Parker to Paul Pierce because of his versatile offensive game.

Parker, though, is aiming a little bit higher for his NBA comparison. As in, the only player in NBA history to average a triple-double for a single season: Oscar Robertson.

“He played all positions,” Parker said. “He was way before his time.”

If Parker was anything less than the best prospect in the high-school game, regardless of class, that comparison might seem completely ridiculous. But given the way the 6-foot-8 Simeon (Ill.) junior has redefined his body and his game over the past year, he has future NBA All-Star written all over him.

Parker is an outstanding offensive player with the ability to knock down mid-range jumpers with ease, get to the basket and finish or post up around the rim. He can handle the ball effectively and is an excellent passer for his position.

“A lot of people say I have an old school game,” Parker said. “My body, I’m slimmed down, I can move much better.”

More on Recruiting

Nowadays, the players near the top of the rankings are outstanding athletes with explosiveness to spare. Parker is more contained, relying on a wide range of skills to be productive.

Going against the high-flyers of the 2012 and 2013 classes doesn’t faze Parker, though.

“It prepares me for college,” he said. “Some players might be more athletic than me, so I have to work harder.”

The son of former NBA player Sonny Parker will be the subject of one of the most hotly contested recruiting battles in the country, but for now he has a top five: Kansas, Washington, Duke, Illinois and Michigan State.

What endears the Jayhawks to Parker is their success.

“I’m looking to win, and they always go to the tournament,” he said.

The relationship between Washington coach Lorenzo Romar and the Parker family has the Huskies squarely in the mix.

“It started way before I played basketball; my dad played with Lorenzo,” he said.

Moreover, Parker said his brother might get a job on the staff at Washington -- but that wouldn’t affect his choice. “Not really,” Parker said. “He said it’s my decision.”

For the other three schools, Parker said the main thing that sticks out is the coaching.

Duke: “I like Coach K -- he’s a very good guy.”

Illinois: “I like Bruce [Weber] and Jerrence [Howard]. They’re good people.”

Michigan State: “Tom Izzo is one of the top coaches ever.”

While Parker has had the same top five since the spring, he said he is not limiting his recruitment to that quintet. Ohio State, Florida and BYU are among the other schools looking to break through into his favorites.

“Other schools can get on the list,” Parker said. “It’s just all the websites asked about my top five.”

As the top-rated player in his class, Parker has the luxury of going through his recruitment at his own pace. He could get it over with soon, or he could wait it out.

Considering how unselfish his game on the court is, it should come as no surprise that one of his reasons for waiting doesn’t revolve around him. 

“I want my teammates to get looked at,” Parker said. “I’m going to take my time, not rush the process.”

Oscar Robertson would be proud.

Photo: ESPN.com

Posted on: July 20, 2011 5:20 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 5:33 pm
 

Shaq Goodwin determined to be two-sport star

By Jeff Borzello

Shaq Goodwin makes no secret of his desire to play both football and basketball at the next level.

“I want to play both sports,” Goodwin said. “Football then basketball. I want to play both of them.”

There are obvious concerns to playing both sports at such a high level in college, but the 6-foot-8, 230-lb. forward/tight end isn’t worried. The major one, aside from simply being overworked and tired, is the amount of time he will miss should his football team make a prominent bowl game.

For example, the national championship game in football next season is on January 9, meaning there is a chance Goodwin might not be able to join his teammates on the hardwood until conference play is already underway.

His response? “Then I’ll be a national champion,” Goodwin said.

Goodwin is ranked higher in basketball – No. 13 in CBSSports.com’s Top 100 – than football, but he is set on being a dual-sport athlete. On the basketball court, Goodwin’s athleticism and toughness are noticeable immediately. He is not averse to drawing contact in the paint, and gets to the free-throw line as well as anyone in the country. Goodwin runs the floor well and has great vision and hands.

He usually plays with the Atlanta Celtics, but he ran with YOMCA Memphis on the EYBL circuit. Being a figurative outsider forced Goodwin to adjust his game slightly.

“I played good defense, not really looking to score,” he said. “Jarnell [Stokes] is the man on this team. I have no problem; I didn’t come to this team to be the man. It’s different.”

More on Recruiting

Based on his natural abilities, it’s no surprise that he is also a coveted recruit on the gridiron. If a school doesn’t offer him in both sports, he said, there is little chance they would land a commitment from him.

“I would look at them, but they wouldn’t be in my top five,” Goodwin said.

That vaunted quintet currently includes Memphis, Georgia, Alabama, Florida and UCLA.

The Bruins are the most interesting team on that list, given that Korey McCray, Goodwin’s former AAU coach, recently became an assistant coach in Westwood. Jordan Adams, Goodwin’s Atlanta Celtics teammate, also committed there in late June. He was supposed to visit UCLA in late June, but it never happened.

Goodwin said UCLA doesn’t stand out any more than the rest of the schools do, though.

“It’s good that I know two people going there, but that’s it,” he said.

Goodwin’s recruitment will be interesting to follow. There is not only a tug of war between different schools – different sports will be pulling him in opposite directions, too.

Photo: Five-Star Basketball

Posted on: July 20, 2011 3:24 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 6:33 pm
 

Jarnell Stokes plays with target on his back



By Jeff Borzello

As a five-star recruit with several of the top schools in the country on his tail, Jarnell Stokes knows he’s being watched on the AAU circuit.

The 6-foot-8 power forward from Memphis uses it as extra impetus to play his hardest every time out.

“First of all, you get a target on your back,” Stokes said. “People know who you are, so you have to bring it.”

Stokes, who will play at Oak Hill Academy (Va.) next season, was simply a dominant inside player for most of the past few years.

This spring and summer, though, he expanded his skill set and added a solid face-up game to his repertoire.

“I’m playing more outside, working on my versatility,” Stokes said.

It’s been working out well so far for Stokes, who ranked near the top of the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League in both points and rebounds, averaging 19.3 points and 8.4 rebounds through 14 games. He also topped the Peach Jam in rebounding, grabbing 9.7 per game in South Carolina last week.

More on Recruiting

Stokes’ ability to outmuscle smaller defenders and get past slower opponents enables him to get to the free-throw line at an extremely good rate and score efficiently in the post, too.

“Most defenders can’t guard inside and out,” he said. “I’m trying to play my best, bring effort to the floor. But there’s a lot more to improve on.”

Stokes ranks No. 16 in CBSSports.com’s Top 100, and he has plenty of schools on his trial. Recently, though, he named his top six schools: Connecticut, Kentucky, Arkansas, Florida, Memphis and Tennessee.

Out of that group, Arkansas and Memphis are standing out.

“I have a great relationship with the people there,” Stokes said.

Stokes had said in the past that he would likely have committed to Tennessee prior to Bruce Pearl and the Volunteers parting ways, but he is not ready to make a decision just yet.

“I’m looking at style of play,” Stokes said when asked about the factors in his final decision. “And I want to go to a winning program.”

Sounds like Stokes is looking forward to having a target on his back at the next level too.

Photo: Point Guard U

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com