Friday, September 13, 2013
Notebook: Big weekend in Aggieland
By Dave Telep
Who’s that guy headed to Xavier? Buffalo? They landed a top-100 player? Plus who’s spending the weekend in College Station? All this and more as we empty the notebook.
Hanging with Johnny Football
ESPN 100 wing Justise Winslow is looking to visit Texas A&M this weekend and Florida next weekend.
The biggest football extravaganza this weekend takes us to College Station, Texas, where Johnny Football faces the best professional college team in the country, Alabama. Can you imagine how many recruits requested a campus visit that weekend?
Billy Kennedy came up with quite the recruiting list for the weekend. We think Justise Winslow will be on campus for an unofficial visit. Obviously, he’ll have company. Taking their official visits this weekend are guard Alex Robinson and center Elbert Robinson.
Don’t be surprised if sophomore Thon Maker and sophomore De'Aaron Fox pop up on campus, but those are not definite visitors. We’ll call them game-time decisions.
Xavier nabs a gem
One of the hot names in the month of July was wing J.P. Macura. His journey began at the adidas Invitational in April when he toppled onto the national radar. By July, the Big Tens and others had taken notice. This week, Macura committed to Xavier.
“I’m relieved,” Macura said. “It took a bunch of pressure off by committing.”
We’ve heard that before, right?
“I know [Xavier’s] going to push me to be the best player I can be," he said. "More importantly they win a lot of games.”
Xavier’s Chris Mack has himself a kid who brings an edge to the court. Macura’s got a little nasty in him, and his rise mimics that of current Notre Dame wing Patrick Connaughton. As a junior, Macura shot in the high 30s but knows he can do better: “I was face-guarded a lot. I don’t think I was taking the best shots.”
Hurley pulls one of the top lesser-heralded point guards
Today’s generation might identify more with Bobby Hurley, first-year head coach at Buffalo than previous generations. Many of you reading this column understand that Hurley, a two-time national champion at Duke, was one of the finest collegiate point guards of his era.
Enter Lamonte Bearden, a senior who will debut on many top-100 lists this fall. At first, Bearden needed a little education about who he was dealing with, but he came around quickly and committed following his campus visit.
“It made me feel real good I was on Bobby Hurley’s list,” Bearden said. “I’m good enough to play for him? That made me feel real good.”
Bearden’s list was pedestrian compared to the traffic that woulda, shoulda seen him for the late blooming guy he is. Wisconsin-Green Bay, Bradley, Oregon State, Minnesota and Texas A&M were calling on him. Bearden cancelled a scheduled trip to Green Bay once he committed.
Last season, Bearden averaged 14.4 points.
Pittsburgh found some tough sledding
Sometimes the best laid plans simply don’t churn out the best results. Take the Pittsburgh Panthers for instance. Jamie Dixon signed three top-25 recruits in the last five years, all of them big men. That’s the good news. The bad news is that none fully lived up to expectations. It’s a hard-luck blow that is tough to swallow if you’re a program that isn’t known for winning top-10 recruiting battles.
Dante Taylor was the first of the trio to pledge to Pittsburgh. At his apex during his junior season, Taylor averaged 5.8 points per game.
Khem Birch averaged 4.4 points before transferring to UNLV
Steven Adams, the best recruit Dixon signed since DaJuan Blair, averaged a whopping 7.2 points before being lured into the draft.
I can’t think of a guy more in need of a break than Dixon. He did his job, the guys didn’t pan out and one must move on. How unlucky can a guy be to land three premium bigs and none averaged greater than 10 points during their time on campus? One spent four years on campus, another transferred and the final was lured prematurely to the pros.
The good news is during Blair’s second season at Pittsburgh, the top-25 recruit pumped in 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Minnesota missed on Macura but responded by immediately offering guard Riley LaChance. Xavier is out for LaChance because it added Macura.
The Florida Gators will have Justise Winslow visit campus next weekend.