News at the top continues to build involving the seven unsigned seniors recently chosen for the McDonald’s All-American Game and Jordan Brand Classic.
In the Weekly Wrap, an ACC and Big East school landed verbal commitments this week while a traditional national power and one of its recruits parted ways. Also, a current nationally Top 10-ranked program from the Mountain West looks to build on the success with a pickup of its own.
C.J. Leslie brings good news to North Carolina State, as rather than see two schools square off that he’s also considering, the Wolfpack will have him on campus for their Senior Day game Sunday.
A frequent visitor, the in-state native from nearby Holly Springs has three expected favorites to land him in NC State, Kentucky and Florida, while staff from UCLA and Oregon visited him recently, as did Connecticut earlier this season. Maryland is also involved.
Kentucky has its Senior Day game against Florida on Sunday but Leslie will be staying in his backyard to see NC State. UK was originally scheduled to have Josh Selby on campus but the family won’t make the trip now. Selby’s season came to a close this past week when Lake Clifton lost to City in the Baltimore Class 2A Playoffs.
Instead, Selby will now take the weekend to himself and he and his mother will not make the trip to Lexington. The family’s official visit to Connecticut scheduled for last weekend did not happen at the last second, as well. Additionally, Tennessee head coach Bruce Pearl watched Selby play in Thursday’s loss. Selby once committed to Tennessee but reneged his commitment last summer.
And furthermore, a visit to nearby Maryland for their game this past Wednesday was in the works but also cancelled as time drew near. Kansas and Arizona have had him on campus for official visits in recent weeks. The recruitment to land one of the top prospects in the senior class is certainly picking up steam or coming to a quick close, and the same can be said the other six uncommitted All-Americans considering one key factor is beginning to take effect.
Like Selby, Brandon Knight’s season ended Thursday. Playing with an injured groin suffered in the semifinal earlier in the week, Knight scored 18 points for Pine Crest in the Florida 3A State Title loss, 70-46. Leslie’s season ended the final week of February when he sat out with an ankle sprain and watched his Word of God team fall in the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association playoffs.
Cory Joseph and Doron Lamb had their regular seasons wrap up with Findlay Prep and Oak Hill Academy. They have the month of March idle before the National High School Invitational at the start of April. Ray McCallum leads Detroit Country Day into Michigan District Playoffs beginning Monday, and Terrence Jones helps lead top seed Jefferson in its attempt to defend an Oregon state title beginning this weekend.
Meanwhile, New Mexico landed one of the top available players for the spring period when they received a commitment from Kendall Williams, a 6-foot-3 combo guard from Los Osos High of Rancho Cucamungo, Calif. Williams visited Clemson recently and had pledged to UCLA earlier in his high school career.
Seton Hall scored a big man in Jamir Hanner, a 6-8 power forward from NIA Prep (Newark, N.J.) and native of Philadelphia. Hanner emerged on the radar of several schools following his all-tournament showing at February’s National Prep School Invitational.
Virginia drew a verbal commitment from Bill Baron, the 6-foot-1 point guard of Worcester Academy (Worcester, Mass.). Baron was set to play for his father at Rhode Island but listened to other schools and accepted the Cavaliers’ offer. He was named all-tournament at the National Prep School Invitational and won four straight state titles at Bishop Hendricken (Warwick, R.I.) before heading to Worcester Academy for a post-graduate season.
Connecticut and Cleveland Melvin, a 6-7 forward from Notre Dame Prep (Fitchburg, Mass.), have decided to part ways. Melvin committed to the Huskies just after the Fall Signing Period but will now re-open his recruitment. He was part of the Lake Clifton state championship team last year in Maryland before heading to Notre Dame Prep this season.
The 2011 class will come into focus more once their seasons and the college hoops seasons each end. However, a number of the top prospects from the class made campus visits this past week and one even offered a pledge to the current No. 1-ranked team in the country.
Syracuse landed a commitment from Trevor Cooney, a 6-3 sharpshooter from Sanford (Hockessin, Del.). This year Cooney has helped lead Sanford to the top seed in the Delaware state tournament and was a standout during the past spring and summer for Team Final, one of the top teams on the club circuit.
Cooney was joined on the visit by Khem Birch and Angel Nunez, a pair of teammates at the Winchendon School of Massachusetts. Both versatile forwards, Birch (2012) is a native Canadian and Nunez hails from New York City. The duo are top prospects in their class and have helped earn their team the No. 2 seed in the New England Prep School playoffs.
Quinn Cook and Mikael Hopkins were guests at Maryland this week. The point guard and power forward tandem helped DeMatha to the top seed in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference playoffs. Cook is also a member of the USA Under-16 team that won Gold in the Fiba Americas championship this past summer.
Another pair of teammates, these two on the club circuit, also made trips to schools with LeBryan Nash visiting Oklahoma State and Devonta Abron taking in Texas A&M. Nash, a 6-8 big-bodied small forward, recently ended his season in a big Dallas matchup that saw Lincoln fall to Pinkston and Missouri signee Tony Mitchell in the Texas regional playoffs. Before the Pinkston game, Lincoln knocked off Seagoville in a matchup between the two that saw Nash have 27 points and the 6-7 physical southpaw Abron score 13.
The tag-team theme doesn’t stop there as Quincy Miller and Quddus Bello are expected as guests at Louisville on Saturday and Kentucky on Sunday. Miller (6-9 C-F/Chicago/Winston Salem, N.C./Quality Education Academy) and Bello (6-4 SG/High Point, N.C./Westchester Country Day) teamed up this past summer to lead D-One Sports of North Carolina to the Reebok Summer Championship final. Miller is an All-American candidate while Bello has made national headlines this year for his in-game dunks.