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Top commitments from a busy weekend

9/10/2012

Here is a look at the most impactful commitments following a weekend of trips and a day of in-home visits:

Note: these aren’t in order of ranking but impact on the programs.

ESPN 100 SF Semi Ojeleye (Ottawa, Kan./Ottawa)

Committed to Duke

Mike Krzyzewski closed Ojeleye Sunday night during an in-home visit. Like that’s going to surprise anyone? A Hall of Famer in the living room of a kid that was tilting Duke’s way, we’d expect nothing less than a pledge. Ojeleye connected on 31 percent of his 3s during the EYBL season but then closed the summer strong by making 37 percent during the Peach Jam. His future Duke teammate, Matt Jones (DeSoto, Texas/DeSoto) shot 49 percent during EYBL play. They’re both skilled, but different. Ojeleye has a bigger frame and could play SG or SF while being the better rebounder. Jones is better going to the rim and elite from behind the arc.

Here’s where Coach K makes up the talent gap (neither is a one- or two-year and done prospect). After committing to Duke, Ojeleye didn’t miss a beat. “He goes to the gym everyday,” Joy Ojeleye said. “You won’t be able to get him there, he doesn’t answer his phone.” Both Ojeleye and Jones are noted character recruits with strong work ethics. At Duke, if you don’t work, you don’t play and Ojeleye feeds into the culture that is self-sustaining in Durham.

SF Tyrone Outlaw (Roxboro, N.C./Person)

Committed to UNC Greensboro

Bigger names committed over the weekend but they won’t have the potential to do what this kid may do for the Spartans. Wes Miller, in his second year, coaches the leading scorer in the Southern Conference. Trevis Simpson has two years left and he’ll play one season with Outlaw. After he leaves, Miller will need to basically replace 20 points a game. Outlaw was targeted to be Simpson’s replacement in terms of impact in the points column.

Outlaw was Miller’s No. 1 overall target. The small forward received offers from teams in the Patriot, CAA, Atlantic 10 and SEC. Miller had a major battle on his hands and frankly, UNCG hadn’t been burning it up with North Carolina kids until Miller took over. The Spartans aren’t a big boy on the block in the SoCon but with a pair of North Carolinians (marksman Clay Byrd verballed this month) in the fold, the foundation is being reset under the youthful command of the former roommate of Rashad McCants.

Outlaw is a “name” in NC high school circles. Other kids will notice.

ESPN 100 SG Allerik Freeman (Charlotte, N.C./Findlay Prep)

Committed to UCLA

It’s difficult to project what the roster will look like at UCLA once Freeman arrives. Will Shabazz Muhammad be in his second year or first in the NBA? Regardless, the Bruins continue to load up on guards, especially the combo variety. Zach LaVine (Bothell, Wash./Bothell) was the first commitment for Ben Howland and he’s a 1-2; Freeman’s a 2-1 who likes to have the ball in his hands.

While LaVine is a string bean, Freeman’s more of a Mack truck. They operate via contrasting styles. Another reason why Freeman’s a big addition: he’s an East Coast kid. The Bruins, in the last two years, have extended the reach of their program. They’ve branched out and become more of a national recruiting program on par with other basketball superpowers. Like their Pac-12 rival Arizona, the Bruins can and will go coast-to-coast for talent.

SG Jordan Mathews (Santa Monica, Calif./Santa Monica)

Committed to Cal

The Golden Bears are the nation’s most proficient team, at this point, on official visits. Last weekend they nabbed hometown standout Jabari Bird (Richmond, Calif./Salesian) and this time landed a SoCal guard with Bay Area roots.

Mathews will play shooting guard alongside Bird. OK, so Cal’s got their backcourt nailed down. Will the frontcourt pieces fall into place?

“(Cal) talked a lot about what the class could look like,” Mathews said. “We’ve got Jabari Bird and myself and now we have to get Torren Jones, Marcus Lee and Aaron Gordon. I’m texting Torren all the time.” Matthews was an AAU teammate of Jones and Lee. Gordon and Bird played AAU together. Cal’s five top targets came from two AAU teams, Oakland Soldiers and Cal Supreme.

Mathews will see his father twice a year. Phil Mathews, Jordan’s pop, is an assistant coach at UCLA.