Friday, March 22, 2013
Cleaning out the notebook
By Dave Telep
This week’s Friday notebook includes a look at how Julius Randle committing to Kentucky might impact Andrew Wiggins, an ESPN 100 guard who might be close to deciding, Michigan State’s latest pledge and much more basketball recruiting news.
Randle’s impact on Wiggins
With the decision earlier this week by No. 1 power forward and No. 3 overall senior Julius Randle (Dallas/Prestonwood Christian) to attend Kentucky, attention now turns to uncommitted No. 1 prospect Andrew Wiggins (Thornhill, Ontario/Huntington Prep).
Once Randle committed, here’s a sampling of the rumors I heard.
• “If Randle had gone to Kansas, that’s where Andrew was going.”
• “Good thing he didn’t go to Kansas. He and Andrew weren’t going to the same place.”
• “I think Andrew wants to play with a true point guard (a la Marcus Paige).”
• “Randle had been done to Kentucky for two weeks.”
• “Randle didn’t want to play with Wiggins anyway.”
Behind the scenes, there was one coaching staff that told me in the fall that Randle to Kentucky was a done deal. Turns out they had it pegged all along.
As far as Wiggins goes, from what I can tell, this one is still up in the air. Kentucky is obviously “crowded” -- a word I heard more than once following Randle’s pledge. Given who may return and who’s coming to Lexington next season, not even Gordon “Greed Is Good” Gekko would bet on the Wildcats in this race. Of course, betting against John Calipari at this juncture typically turns into a losing proposition.
That leaves Florida State, North Carolina and Kansas in the race for Wiggins.
It feels like FSU’s poor season has hindered their one-time position of strength. Can they overcome it in the end?
And will Wiggins’ dad sign off on sending his son to UNC to play against FSU in the ACC? Remember, Wiggins’ father grew up in eastern North Carolina and does have family in Kinston, N.C. Plus, UNC has stability and certainty at the point with true point guard Paige returning.
Then there’s Kansas. The Jayhawks, like UNC, already have an excellent recruiting class but would love to have that one bona fide superstar NBA prospect to structure their attack around. I do think there’s truth to the whispers that Wiggins and Self have a comfortable relationship.
We’ll have to continue to wait and see how this one plays out.
Randle’s coach on the pledge
Prestonwood coach Chris Mayberry on the biggest factor in Randle’s decision: “I think it was the whole product, whatever place he felt most comfortable with. From the staff to the players, the visit and all of those, the whole product was important to him.”
That complete product, in Randle’s mind, was Kentucky.
Yancy-Harris on the verge
We know a host of schools came to see ESPN 100 combo guard Kendal Yancy-Harris (Richardson, Texas/Berkner) once he obtained a release from Southern California. Could the last team to earn a visit receive his pledge?
Once Texas’ season ended, the guard moved to set up a visit with the Longhorns. It’ll take place either this weekend or next and a decision will follow shortly thereafter.
Schilling preps for Sparty Nation
Did anyone really think Michigan State and Tom Izzo were going to get shut out of signees this year? C’mon.
Center Gavin Schilling (Chicago/Findlay Prep) popped for the Spartans this week over UCLA, Minnesota and Villanova.
“One thing I liked about coach Izzo is that he’s going to keep it real with you,” Schilling said. “He’s not going to sugarcoat it, he’s going to tell you straight up. He deserves everything he’s earned, and that’s one thing I like about him.”
There were some teams that promised Schilling a starting role. In the estimation of people around him, more than one staff during the recruitment oversold his role next year. Michigan State was the most honest and forthright about where he stood. In the end, that honesty served Izzo well.
It’s also interesting to see who took home the silver medal. Schilling said UCLA finished second in the race for his signature.
NCAA tournament recruiting nuggets
• Not only did VCU beat Akron handily on Thursday night, but Zips head coach Keith Dambrot had to watch a player he recruited score 14 points against him. Ohio native Rob Brandenberg had Akron on his list of finalists before picking VCU in 2010.
• UCLA and Minnesota play on Friday. Both were finalists for Schilling. I love watching handshakes after recent recruiting battles.
• Harvard is not your typical Ivy League roster. Wing Wesley Saunders had Penn, Stanford and USC on his final list, while center Kenyatta Smith earned an NBA Top 100 Camp invitation.