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Texas gets a steal with Connor Lammert

10/13/2011

Shooting 3's ...

Lammert is barely 17, and that's good news for Texas

Connor Lammert (San Antonio/Churchill) isn’t in our ESPNU 100. Maybe he should be. Lammert committed to the University of Texas after considering Big 12 brethren Texas Tech and Texas A&M, in addition to Vanderbilt.

We have Lammert graded out as an 89, which equates to a fringe high-major player. I’m thinking we need to get fresh eyes on this guy. After receiving the following email from a college assistant, my interest was piqued. "We didn’t get him so it doesn’t matter to me, but Lammert is a top-50 talent," the note read. "FYI: big time inside-out 4-man; just turned 17 August 31st. STUD. We wanted him bad."

My next move was to call Lammert, whom I’d seen briefly at a camp in June but not again during the summer. My chance evaluation at the Pangos All-American Camp clearly leaves something to be desired. "I'm an hour-and-a-half from the deadline of being a junior,” Lammert said. "I could be a junior."

Frankly, I’m stunned that John Beilein and Michigan weren’t in the mix. To me, Beilein is the king of tracking birthdays for recruiting purposes. Michigan is always on the younger seniors, hoping to use their age as a means of scoring a player with the intention of milking the best out of him once he matures. Sorry, John, Rick Barnes got everyone this time.

As it turns out, Lammert was probably going to stay fairly close to home. "I never thought I’d ever pick a school on just the name," Lammert said. "There was a number of different things but I came into the process saying I’d base my decision on relationships with the coaches and players. They showed that and the players had nothing but good things to say about the coaches."

Lammert made his decision based on the long haul, and UT excited him because of its history with cranking out pros.

"Every college player's dream is to play in the NBA. Fortunately for me, they have a great past of developing players for the NBA, and ultimately that’s where I’d like to be."

Don’t think Lammert wasn’t nervous during the realignment talks of the last month. "I did wonder about that but it seemed like this week everything got finalized. From what they were telling me and what I’ve seen on ESPN it looks like the Big 12 is going to stick."

James is one of those loveable big guys

Ever notice that the big guys say the darndest things? When “Big Baby” was in high school, the guy was a quote machine. Tiny Gallon and DaJuan Blair used to talk to the media during games as they changed ends. There’s something endearing about a big burly guy and his personality.

Tar Heels fans, meet Joel James (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Dwyer). For starters, at an event Sunday in Florida he decided he would let the media know about his commitment to North Carolina days ago. Hello? James committed to North Carolina during the week and never told anyone.

"I just didn’t want to say anything," James said. "It doesn’t matter anyway, I’ll show them when I get on the court."

James, you don’t just show up for school and expect to sit in class. This isn’t 1940. The media wouldn’t mind a heads-up, you know.

Even better than his spur-of-the-moment announcement is his story of when he knew North Carolina was the choice.

"It happened when I was doing a math test," said the 6-foot-9, 270 pound James. "It just came to me, I had an epiphany."

Such a monumental decision had to detract from his focus on the math test, right?

"No, I got an 85."

One last footnote to the story is that James committed without seeing the campus. Of course he did. See, campus, that’s not important at all. If you haven’t figured it out, James isn’t above blind faith when the moment hits him.

"That’s pretty much where I wanted to go. I wanted to see it, but that’s where I wanted to go."

James will visit North Carolina this weekend.

Henderson slices list

Terry Henderson (Raleigh, N.C./Neuse Baptist) is a hot name on the recruiting trail this fall. He entered last spring as a mid-major player, capitalized on a late invite to the NBPA Top 100 Camp, and is now holding schools hostage with his decision. Henderson plans to announce before his first game (Nov. 14), if not sooner.

He sliced Miami, Boston College and Maryland from his list. He added Rutgers to a final list that includes West Virginia, Richmond, Virginia Tech and George Mason. He has been to Richmond, West Virginia and VaTech.

The wily senior won't name a leader, but he liked two visits. "It's hard because I haven’t been on all my visits," Henderson said. "So far, I’ve really, really liked West Virginia and Richmond. Their players get along, both staffs were great, and Richmond needs a guy to score."

West Virginia took a commitment from guard Eron Harris (Indianapolis/Lawrence North), but Henderson said the Mountaineers kept him posted the entire time. Harris' decision has no effect on the North Carolinian’s recruitment.

"If I do go there," Henderson said, "I know I’ll need another 2-guard to practice and compete against."

Notes

Hearing that T.J. Warren (Durham, N.C./Brewster Academy) thoroughly enjoyed his visit last weekend to NC State. The Pack has momentum coming off the Rodney Purvis (Raleigh, N.C./Upper Room) announcement. And Warren's father went to NC State.

I think Mitch McGary (Chesterton, Ind./Brewster Academy) is likely to decide before the middle of October. In his ESPNHS blog, the power forward said he's shutting down visits and won't be at Kentucky's Big Blue Madness or officially visit Florida. What does this mean? Behind the scenes the bet is Michigan, with Duke fighting for a foothold on the silver medal.

Gut feeling is that Brice Johnson (Edisto, S.C./Edisto) visits an in-state school. If that happens, Clemson might receive the visit. Florida, North Carolina and NC State received official visits thus far.

To my knowledge, Maryland and Clemson already trotted up to see 2014 recent blow-up recruit Dwayne Morgan (Baltimore/City College). City hasn't named a head coach yet. Come on, with this stud there the job certainly has its perks.