Posted on: February 16, 2012 2:28 pm
Edited on: February 16, 2012 3:19 pm

No. 1 senior Nerlens Noel discusses recruitment

By Jeff Borzello

Nerlens Noel's recruitment has heated up since he reclassified to 2012. (MassLive.com)

Since Nerlens Noel announced a few weeks ago that he was reclassifying to the class of 2012, he’s been the most talked-about recruit in the country.

Noel, a 6-foot-10 Massachusetts native who plays at Tilton (N.H.), immediately moved to the No. 1 ranking in the nation. Moreover, the schools pursuing him have really turned up the heat.

“Recruiting has gone crazy all of a sudden,” Noel told Jeff Goodman on SiriusXM’s Inside College Basketball on Thursday afternoon. “I just need to plan out some visits to get out to all these schools. Keep talking to coaches, build better relationships with them.”

Noel is currently considering Kentucky, Syracuse, North Carolina, Florida, Georgetown and Connecticut. He later tweeted that Providence was also on his list, but did not mention them during the interview with Goodman.

He visited Syracuse this past weekend for the Orange’s win over Connecticut, and he will trip to Kentucky this coming weekend.

“I’m talking to a few more coaches to get down to their campuses during vacation,” Noel said.

Noel is the best shot-blocker in the country, and would immediately be the best in the college game too. He has tremendous dexterity defensively, able to cover a lot of ground and alter shots with either hand. Noel’s offensive is constantly getting better, and he is developing post moves and is taking defenders off the dribble as well.

He would dominate defensively wherever he ends up.

“Just a good program where I can go and play and be comfortable with the coaching staff, the whole program,” Noel said. “I know I can develop as long as I’m there, as a player and a person.”

Noel maintains that he is wide open among the six schools he mentioned, and he is still a long way from making a decision.

“I don’t really have a timeframe,” Noel said on the show. “I just want to make sure I get in all my visits to these schools. However long that takes.”

Posted on: January 17, 2012 11:06 am

Steven Adams will not be savior for Pitt

By Jeff Borzello

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Of all the top players at the Hoophall Classic over the weekend, the one player everyone wanted to see was Pittsburgh signee Steven Adams.

A 7-footer from New Zealand, Adams had only played basketball on U.S. soil a couple of times – and the reviews were outstanding. Many had him pegged as a top-five player in the class of 2012 and a future lottery pick.

On Sunday night, Adams went against New Hampton Prep and was, well, underwhelming. He only played five minutes in the first half after getting hit in the head, and finished with five points, four rebounds and three blocks in 21 minutes.

“It was a bad setting,” said DraftExpress.com’s Jonathan Givony, who had seen Adams prior to the weekend. “He got off the plane about a week ago, he’s out of shape and he hasn’t really played in six months.”

Adams has dominated at Adidas Nations the past two years and also put up 23 points and 14 rebounds against Nerlens Noel, the No. 2 prospect in 2013, on Saturday. Those sorts of performances only heightened the hype for his arrival at Blake Arena.

“It was nothing I was used to,” Adams told reporters of the crowd and environment. “It was pretty scary.”

“He was very, very nervous,” Givony said. “He’s never played in an atmosphere like this, never played in an organized setting. The best competition he could find was going against 5-foot-11 guys in New Zealand.”

Adams did show flashes of his potential, though. He is very good on the defensive end, with a nose for the ball. Adams was active on the offensive glass, getting two baskets off of putbacks. He moves well and demonstrated some athleticism – although he also seemed stiff on other plays. Moreover, he didn’t seem like he had a ton of post moves in his repertoire, leading Givony to say that Adams needs guards around him who can create shots and open looks around the rim for him.

This is the last thing Pittsburgh fans want to hear, especially after a seven-game losing streak and an 0-6 start in Big East play, but Adams will not be a savior next season.

“People need to temper their expectations of him,” Givony said. “He’ll be a 15-20-minute per game type of player. People expect him to come in and be a Jared Sullinger or an Anthony Davis. That’s not him.”

While Adams still might end up as a top-five pick due to his ceiling, it might be a couple of years before we see that on a consistent basis.

Photo: Adidas

Posted on: November 19, 2011 12:25 pm
Edited on: November 19, 2011 12:55 pm

Garrett on track to enroll soon at St. John's

By Jeff Borzello

NEW HAVEN, CONN. – A lack of depth has hindered St. John’s in its first few games, but help could soon be on the way in the form of Amir Garrett.

Garrett, who originally committed to the Red Storm as part of their monster 2011 recruiting class, is still on track to enroll at St. John’s at the semester break. He is currently at Bridgton Academy, a prep school in Maine. 

"If you ask me, I'd say yes," head coach Whit Lesure said. "He's on track and there's no question about that."

"I just need to finish out this semester and submit my classes," Garrett added. "I should be good."

Garrett was one of three St. John’s signees ruled ineligible by the NCAA prior to the season, along with Norvel Pelle and Jakarr Sampson. Pelle and Sampson have both decommitted from the Red Storm, but Garrett is still solid in his pledge.

"I'm very anxious to get out there," he said. "Me and [St. John's signee] Darrick [Wood] pretend we're St. John's in practice." 

He should fit in well with St. John’s, giving Steve Lavin another perimeter playmaker to provide depth. The Red Storm have used seven players almost exclusively, with each of them averaging between 19.8 and 33.6 minutes per game.

Garrett, a 6-foot-6 lefty swingman, is a tremendous athlete who excels in transition and can play multiple positions on the perimeter. He is aggressive going to the rim and has the ability to find players off penetration.

"He's ultra-competitive," Lesure said. "He's a high-energy guy, and he's going to help with the way they use the full-court, spacing people out. You need people to put the ball in the basket."

Garrett said he won't redshirt when he arrives in Jamaica; he plans to play.

"I can't wait to get out there." 

Photo: SI

Posted on: November 3, 2011 5:04 pm

No. 2-ranked Mitch McGary announces for Michigan

By Jeff Borzello

Michigan couldn’t get a top-five prospect, right?

That was the popular line of thought for many throughout Mitch McGary’s recruitment. The last five-star recruit the Wolverines received a commitment from was Daniel Horton back in 2002, and John Beilein has never been known to pick up top-50 guys on a consistent basis.

With Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina, Florida and others in the mix, the Gary, Indiana native still always kept Michigan at or near the top of his list. On Thursday, McGary made it official – he’s going to be a Wolverine.

This is a monster commitment for Beilein and Michigan. He’s the No. 2-ranked prospect in the country, shooting up the charts with a dominant spring and summer for the SYF Players. Beilein runs an offense that allows for the big man to play multiple positions and do different things on the court, which is perfect for McGary.

McGary will fit in with Michigan and could take them to the next level in the Big Ten. He’s a high-energy big man whose attitude and personality are infectious to his teammates. He can score around the basket and also knock down face-up jumpers out to the arc. McGary runs the floor very well, and his shot-blocking ability and athleticism have improved greatly. Moreover, he is strong and makes an impact on the glass.

There are only two seniors on the Wolverines’ roster right now, Stu Douglass and Zack Novak. Tim Hardaway Jr. is poised to become a star on the perimeter, while Jordan Morgan is developing into a consistent option down low. With freshman Trey Burke set to be the point guard and Beilein’s usual assortment of shooters, Michigan is a Sweet 16 threat this season. With McGary and two other top-100 recruits – Glenn Robinson and Nik Stauskas – coming into the fold next year, do the Wolverines have Final Four potential?

That’s how big this commitment is for Michigan; it immediately makes them a major factor in 2012-13, and also potentially opens the door for more high-level recruits to make their way to Ann Arbor.

There’s no longer questioning whether Michigan can get a top-five recruit. The Wolverines just did.

Photo: Nation of Blue

Posted on: October 31, 2011 2:48 pm

No. 7 Kaleb Tarczewski picks Arizona over Kansas

By Jeff Goodman

A few years ago Kaleb Tarczewski was an anonymous 7-footer from the sticks of New Hampshire.

Now he's headed to Arizona.

Tarczewski committed to Sean Miller and the Wildcats on Monday afternoon in a recruitment in which many had him pegged for Kansas.

"It was a very long journey," said Tarczewski, a Claremont, New Hampshire native who has spent the past three years at St. Mark's (Mass.). "An unbelievable process. I'm so lucky to be in this position and never would have imagined having these options when I first came to St. Mark's."

Ultimately it came down to Arizona and Kansas. However, North Carolina and Kentucky were also in pursuit for the No. 7-ranked prospect in 2012.

"I had great programs and great coaches recruiting me," Tarczewski said. "It just felt right at Arizona. I fell in love with everything - from the current players to the staff to Brandon Ashley, Grant Jarrett and Gabe York."

"My parents really supported me in my decision to go to Arizona," he added.

Tarczewski was basically discovered and tutored by Jay Murphy. Then he went out on the road with the New England Playaz - where he received the exposure to be recruited at the highest level.

He has terrific size, runs the floor extremely well for someone his size and has a work ethic and attitude to match. He still has his deficiencies, but the best aspect about Tarczewski is that he understands it - and is willing to put in the work.

"I still have a long way to go as a player, but I've had a ton of help along the way," Tarczewski said. "Without people like T.J. Gassnola, Jay Murphy, Dave Lubick and John Carroll, I wouldn't be in this position.

"I hope during my four years at Arizona, I can help win Pac-12 titles and help get to the Final Four."

Tarczewski becomes the fourth Arizona commit in the Class of 2012 - joining Ashley, Jarrett and York. All four are considered Top 50 players in the class - and three (Ashley, Jarrett, Tarczewski) have a legitimate shot at making the McDonald's All-American Game.

Photo: Adidas Nations
Posted on: September 21, 2011 3:48 pm
Edited on: September 21, 2011 3:51 pm

Perry Ellis stays in-state, pops for Kansas

By Jeff Borzello

Perry Ellis is one of the most decorated players to come out of Kansas in years, winning three Gatorade Player of the Year awards and three state championships, as well as leading his Wichita Heights (Kan.) team to 44 consecutive victories.

On Wednesday, Ellis announced that he would continue his legacy in the Sunflower State by staying in-state and attending Kansas.

"I've been there so many times, I just felt so comfortable there," Ellis said during a press conference at his school. 

Ellis chose the Jayhawks over Kentucky, Kansas State and Wichita State.

"All these schools were real close to me," he said. "They've been there three or four years now. It was a tough decision."

Ellis is a 6-foot-8 prospect who is one of the best offensive forwards in the country. He can score around the rim or from the perimeter, and he has improved his ability to beat defenders off the dribble or run the floor and get baskets in transition. He is ranked No. 27 by CBSSports.com.

He is happy to get the recruiting process over with.

"It's been on my mind for awhile now," he said. "I wanted to do it today because I was ready." 

Photo: ESPN.com 

Posted on: September 21, 2011 8:52 am
Edited on: September 21, 2011 8:59 am

Perry Ellis closing in on decision

By Jeff Borzello

The highly-publicized recruitment of Perry Ellis is just hours away from ending.

The 6-foot-8 forward from Wichita Heights (Kan.) will announce his commitment at 2:45 p.m. local time during a press conference at his high school gym. The finalists for his services are Kansas, Kansas State, Kentucky and Wichita State.

Throughout his recruitment, Kansas has been considered by some to be the favorite, but the family has not shown their cards heading into the final day.

“All four coaches have recruited him for at least three years,” Fonda Ellis, Perry’s mother, told CBSSports.com. “They have built a relationship with Perry and our whole family. They are all great programs and we think they all are great choices.”

Fonda Ellis took some time to break down each of the four choices.

Kansas and Kentucky are in the mix because of their tradition.

“They both have it,” she said. “From the history to the winning to the fans to the coaches.”

Ellis likes the desire that Kansas State players have.

“Coach [Frank] Martin has his players playing with heart,” she said.

As for the hometown school, Ellis thinks Gregg Marshall has put Wichita State on par with bigger and more traditional basketball schools.

“Under Gregg Marshall, he has done an awesome job rebuilding the program to the next level,” Fonda Ellis said.

Ellis is ranked No. 27 by CBSSports.com. He is a versatile forward who can score in a variety of ways. Ellis is able to post up defenders and score with his back to the basket, but he is also capable of facing up opponents and knocking down mid-range and perimeter shots. He finishes well at the rim, and is solid on the glass.

Whichever school hears its name this afternoon will be getting an impact performer.

“Perry wants to pick a school that makes him feel totally comfortable,” Fonda Ellis said. “From the coaches to the players to the style of play and the campus. We just want Perry to be happy, and if he is happy, he will be comfortable and successful.”

Photo: Adidas Nations

Posted on: September 21, 2011 12:04 am
Edited on: June 10, 2012 1:34 pm

Archie Goodwin commits to Kentucky

By Jeff Borzello

It’s been an exciting, confusing and interesting few weeks for Archie Goodwin.

He trimmed his list to 10, then eight, then five. Goodwin then said he would likely wait until the spring to make a decision, planning to take all five official visits before sitting down and then committing. On Monday, he suddenly dropped Connecticut and Kansas from his final five and said he would decide within a few weeks from between Kentucky, Arkansas and Memphis.

The whirlwind couple of days continued Tuesday night, when he sent out a tweet: “Everyone stay tuned tomorrow morning it’s going down!!!”

Everything culminated right before midnight on Tuesday, when Goodwin announced for Kentucky.

“If you don’t know by now, I’m a Wildcat!!!” Goodwin tweeted.

Goodwin, a 6-foot-5 guard from Sylvan Hills (Ark.), might be the best scoring guard in the country. He attacks the rim with reckless abandon whenever there is an opening, and he knows how to finish with authority. Goodwin is very difficult to stop off the dribble, and his first step is one of the best.

He should fit perfectly into Kentucky’s offensive system, which allows for creativity off the bounce. The Wildcats were often considered a favorite for Goodwin, although the in-state Razorbacks put a lot of their eggs in his basket. In the end, the allure of going to Lexington outweighed the nostalgia of staying at home.

Goodwin, ranked No. 6 by CBSSports.com, is the first Kentucky commit in the class of 2012. Some were worried about the lack of Wildcat pledges; those people shouldn’t worry any longer.

Photo: Paul Fimpel

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