Friday, February 22, 2013
Cleaning out the notebook
By Dave Telep
In this week's Friday notebook, two prospects join an exclusive group of high school basketball players, three ESPN 60 stars plot to play together in college and the basketball community suffers a heartbreaking loss.
R.I.P. Josh Level
The high school basketball community in North Carolina and beyond has suffered a terrible loss. On Tuesday, in a game against Quality Education, junior wing Josh Level (Greensboro, N.C./New Garden) collapsed and died. He was 17 years old.
Level, a native of Greensboro, recently transferred from Christ School to New Garden. He was on target to be a Division I recruit and was receiving attention from Atlantic 10 and ACC programs. At this time, not much is known about the events that caused Level's death.
Yancy-Harris freed by Southern Cal
Cardell Harris, the uncle of ESPN 100 guard Kendal Yancy-Harris (Berkner, Texas/Berkner) said the guard is no longer bound by the letter of intent he signed in the fall with USC. Yancy-Harris signed with the Trojans but asked for a release when the program parted ways with Kevin O’Neill. At the time, USC gave him a partial release, which is now a full release. The guard can look at any school without penalty or restriction.
Following his high school season, Yancy-Harris will take official visits. He’s been to Southern Cal and Creighton. On Feb. 9, he took an unofficial visit to Texas. Texas, Texas A&M, Oregon, Auburn and TCU have watched him since USC initially granted his partial release. Once his season is over, the 6-foot-4, 195-pound guard will make moves to set up his remaining official visits.
Aaron ready for sea of Red
Arizona, UConn, UNLV, Syracuse, Kansas and Baylor would have liked to have spent the summer recruiting wing Shaqquan Aaron (Los Angeles/Rainier Beach). Rick Pitino would have none of that. On Saturday, Aaron pledged to Louisville.
What sold Aaron? Honesty.
“I was watching practice and sometimes when you visit a school, the coach might take it easy on the players,” Aaron said after his official visit. “When I went there, it was like I wasn’t there. Coach P was still yelling to do it right and was coaching exactly the same.”
This year Aaron moved from California to Seattle, where he’s turned in a 20-point-per-game effort. Aaron, rated No. 51 in the ESPN 60, was once a top-10 prospect in the class. Since his freshman season, he’s changed his approach.
“I play hard every possession and in every part of the game,” Aaron said. “A couple of years ago, people said I only played offense. I took that to heart and I play on both sides now.”
Rabb moves to No. 1, takes nothing for granted
The day after sophomore power forward Ivan Rabb (Oakland, Calif./Bishop O’Dowd) was named ESPN’s No. 1 player in the 2015 class, he celebrated. In a close win, Rabb went for 40 points, 18 rebounds and 10 blocks.
“This summer he’s the hunted and everyone will be coming after him,” Oakland Soldiers GM Mark Olivier said. “This summer is humongous for him.”
Olivier said Rabb is much stronger than he was at this time last year.
Tyus Jones recently scored his 2,000th point, and he is only a junior.
California head coach Mike Montgomery has been omnipresent in his recruitment. Arizona, Connecticut, Kansas, North Carolina, NC State, UCLA and UNLV want him and aren’t alone. Stanford and Ohio State are more than interested.
Welcome to the club
Recently, a junior and a senior joined a club many high school players have aspired to join but come up woefully short. Senior guard Jaren Sina (Lake Hopatcong, N.J./Gill St. Bernard’s) and junior guard Tyus Jones recently scored their 2,000th point. Jones, who competed with the USA under 16 team as a sophomore, is ranked No. 2 in the Super 60.
In Sina’s case, he became his school and area's all-time scoring champ. Mix in 800-plus assists and that’s a heckuva career. Sina’s ticketed for Northwestern next year.
Irving: it’s not where you start, it’s where you finish
For the first three seasons of his high school career, Kyrie Irving wasn’t the best point guard in his class. During the summer before his senior season, then-No. 1 Brandon Knight schooled him at NBA camp. That singular moment helped launch Irving’s rise. The Duke Chronicle had an excellent read this week about Irving’s rise and how he chased down Knight, passed him and then made a statement last weekend at the NBA All-Star Game.
Jones' final regular-season juco game had it all
You might think this is nuts, but I’ll say it only because I believe it. Next year, Louisville’s backcourt could be better than this year’s edition. Chris Jones is the No. 1 junior college player in the country. Future teammate Terry Rozier is the best post-graduate player and Hargrave teammate Anton Gill isn’t far behind. Pitino’s squad could be sick with depth and good players.
Last week, Jones played his final-regular season game for Northwest Florida State. He didn’t disappoint. According to his coach, Steve Forbes, Jones scored 32 points and had 11 rebounds and 10 dimes. By the way, he made the game-winning 3-pointer in overtime.
Think about the battle against Kentucky next year! Maybe Archie Goodwin stays and joins Andrew and Aaron Harrison against Pitino’s charges.
Junior small forward Riley Norris (Sand Rock, Ala./Sand Rock) finished up his season earlier than he would have liked. His team lost in the regional playoffs, but before his season ended, Alabama and Clemson extended scholarship offers, according to his father.
Oklahoma State and Kansas State are charging hard for the noted marksman. Alabama, Auburn and UAB are joined by Arkansas, Belmont, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State on his offers list. If Riley can pump up his grades, Harvard, Notre Dame and Stanford may come knocking.
Kansas loads up for another key weekend
Gene Keady once said, “Recruiting is like shaving. If you don’t do it every day you wind up looking like a bum.”
Bill Self’s no bum.
The Kansas Jayhawks had Julius Randle (Dallas/Prestonwood Academy) on campus last weekend, and Self will be clean-shaven this weekend, too. Self and his crew will -- weather permitting -- host a pair of big-time recruits. Tyus Jones and ESPN 60 No. 10 Justise Winslow (Houston/St. John’s) will be on campus together.
We know Jones and No. 1 overall junior Jahlil Okafor (Chicago/Whitney Young) are talking about going to school together. Recently, Winslow put himself into that conversation. Kansas is one of the only common schools on the trio's lists. It’s unlikely someone gets all three, but you never know.