Help is on the way for Big East 

March, 5, 2015
Mar 5
9:00
AM ET
The Big East currently has three teams in the top 25 and could have as many as six teams in the NCAA tournament. This conference has six prospects in the ESPN 100 along with several four-stars who could develop into very good players.

Let's take a look and see what kind of help is on the way for next season as the conference's crop is highlighted by three top-40 classes.

Most impactful class: Marquette

Coach Steve Wojciechowski put together a blockbuster class after just six months on the job, securing commitments before he even coached a game. The class includes a top-five player and the No. 2 power forward in the country, Henry Ellenson. Ellenson brings size, skill, a wide body and a workman's approach to the court. He will be utilized as a versatile forward who will both face up and grind down low, and the offense will flow through him as he contributes and influences this program immediately. Filling out the class is fellow top-100 player Haanif Cheatham (No. 82), who will bring versatility, IQ and upside as he grows with the program. Center Matt Heldt brings skilled size and promise while Sacar Anim -- the No. 2 player in the state of Minnesota -- is a fierce worker and defender. Wojo's recruiting plan is to identify and land workers who are gym rats with the talent to strengthen Marquette. Mission accomplished.

He wasn’t big enough or quick enough. He didn’t really have a position and wasn’t a great shooter, and he was just going to end up playing baseball, anyway.

It’s hard to believe, but that was essentially the consensus about Pat Connaughton’s basketball potential no less than five years ago as he was wrapping up his junior season at St. John’s Preparatory School in Massachusetts.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

The No. 1 overall prospect in the class of 2016 (ESPN 60), Jayson Tatum, is fresh off his official visit to Duke where he and his parents -- father Justin and mother Brandi -- took in the Blue Devils' 73-54 win over Syracuse on Saturday.

The five-star small forward is silky smooth, highly-skilled and athletic. Tatum is a high-character young man off the court and a matchup nightmare on it. He has been efficient, very productive and consistent since coming on the national high school basketball scene as a freshman, and we don't expect that trend to change.

We recently caught up with Tatum about his trip to Durham, where the Blue Devils put their best foot forward in attempt to show their commitment to making Tatum their top recruiting priority.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

video
The late signing period for the 2015 class is drawing near. In the coming weeks, we’re going to take a deeper dive into each of the uncommitted players in the top 25 of the ESPN 100.

Next up:

Stephen Zimmerman
7-foot, 230 pounds | Center
Las Vegas, Nevada | Bishop Gorman High School
No. 10 overall (No. 5 C)

Recruitment so far

Potential schools
Kansas -- Official visit: Oct. 10, 2014
Kentucky -- Official visit: Oct. 17, 2014
UCLA -- Official visit: Oct. 24, 2014
Arizona -- Official visit: Nov. 7, 2014
UNLV -- Official visit: Nov. 14, 2014

Zimmerman has been considered one of the top prospects in the country since his early days of high school, and his recruitment is reflective of that status. At different points over the past couple of years, different schools have been the perceived leader, but Zimmerman continues to take his time. He took all five official visits in the fall, cutting North Carolina from his final list in early November, but he isn’t ready to make a decision just yet.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Hoop Exchange Player Showdown, under the leadership of Scott Golden and Brad Winton, featured some of the best talent the Sunshine State has to offer. Day 1, the freshmen and sophomores put their talent on display, and Day 2, the juniors and seniors took center stage.

1. Most love for the game:

Antonio Blakeney
2015, SG, 6-foot-4, 185 pounds
Orlando, Florida/Oak Ridge, 2015 McDonald's All American Selection, Committed: LSU

Blakeney simply loves to play and always is seeking out a run. This event was no different. The five-star shooting guard knocked down deep jumpers both uncontested and contested and displayed excellent athleticism on the break while competing on both ends of the floor.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Help is on the way for Big Ten 

February, 25, 2015
Feb 25
9:00
AM ET
videoTalent continues to pour into this power conference as the Big Ten has 13 ESPN 100 prospects coming in along with five top-40 classes. Help is on the way for next season.

Most impactful class: Ohio State

It’s a class (ranked No. 5) of three top-100 players and one top-100 player from 2014 as this group possesses both quality and quantity. The class doesn't have a current superstar, but it does have a collection of really good players who all bring unique skills and will grow with the program.

Austin Grandstaff (No. 50) provides an instant outside shooter who will open up the post and driving lines for his teammates. Daniel Giddens (No. 56) brings a physical, athletic presence to the paint as he will look to block shots, rebound and finish at the rim. If Giddens develops offensively, the Buckeyes could have an all-league player in the frontcourt.

With the departure of Shannon Scott and D'Angelo Russell playing himself into a potential high lottery pick, A.J. Harris (No. 76) will come in and orchestrate the offense with blinding speed and quickness. Mickey Mitchell adds toughness and versatility, and he is a ball mover as he passes often. A big X factor for the Buckeyes could be point guard Jaquan Lyle (who decommitted from both Louisville and Oregon before a post-graduate year at IMG Academy). If he is focused and in top physical condition, his feel for the game is advanced.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

video
If you know anything about ESPN 100 big man Cheick Diallo (No. 11) it’s that he’s known for his high motor and athleticism. He runs and jumps with ease, brings tremendous energy to the floor and is an outstanding defender. But what does that equate to in terms of how he’ll be utilized at the college level? Here’s an idea of what to expect next season, regardless of where he ends up.

On offense

The big knock on Diallo is that he hasn’t refined his interior skill set, particularly with his back to the basket. The reality, though, is that most college teams don’t look to post their bigs nearly as consistently as they used to, instead using them more in pick-and-roll or catch-and-finish situations.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

A closer look at Cheick Diallo 

February, 23, 2015
Feb 23
9:00
AM ET
video The late signing period for the 2015 class is drawing near. In the coming weeks, we’re going to take a deeper dive into each of the uncommitted players in the top 25 of the ESPN 100.

Next up:

Cheick Diallo
6-foot-9, 225 pounds | Power forward
Centereach, New York | Our Savior New American School
No. 11 overall (No. 4 PF)

Recruitment so far

Potential schools
Pittsburgh -- Official visit: Jan. 26, 2014
Kentucky -- Official visit: June 27, 2014
Kansas -- Official visit: Sept. 19, 2014
Iowa State -- Official visit: Sept. 27, 2014
St. John's -- Official visit: Oct. 17, 2014

Diallo has had a fairly even recruitment thus far, especially the past year. The native of Mali really saw his stock boom after dominating the NBPA Top 100 camp after his sophomore year in high school, and high-majors from all over became involved. Diallo doesn’t talk to the media much, so there aren’t too many hints being given out about where he’s leaning. He’s been focused on Pittsburgh, Kentucky, Kansas, Iowa State and St. John’s for the past several months, but it’s hard to gauge a true leader.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

ESPN 60 power forward Omari Spellman made a verbal commitment Friday to Villanova, giving the Wildcats one of the premier power forwards in the 2016 national class.

Why he committed: Spellman has been to Villanova unofficially on multiple occasions, the last of which came two weeks ago when he and his mother attended the Georgetown game. His commitment Friday coincided with his mother's birthday.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

We recently caught up with ESPN 60 point guard Dennis Smith Jr. -- who is No. 4 overall in the class of 2016 and the No.-1 ranked point guard in the class -- for a chat about where he is at in the recruiting process as his junior high school season comes to a close.

The five-star Smith is a strong and physical true point guard with tremendous basketball instincts who has elite play-making ability that allows him to not only run the team and get teammates involved but score in variety of ways. The program that ultimately lands Smith will have an immediate impact player at the most important position on the court.

RecruitingNation: What schools have offered you so far that you are most serious about?
Dennis Smith Jr.: I have offers from North Carolina, Duke, Wake Forest, NC State, Kansas, Louisville, Miami, Ohio State, Florida and local Fayetteville State.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Two years before he was the NBA Rookie of the Year, Michael Carter-Williams had a hard time getting off the bench during his freshman year at Syracuse.

In fact, there were 11 games that season when he didn’t get off the bench at all, stuck in a deep and veteran-laden backcourt that included Scoop Jardine, Brandon Triche and Dion Waiters.

Not coincidentally, Syracuse won the Big East regular season championship and advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Duke and North Carolina wrote the latest chapter in their legendary rivalry on Wednesday night with the Blue Devils mounting a late rally to force overtime and ultimately steal a victory with five of the country’s top recruits sitting courtside.

ESPN 100 center Caleb Swanigan (No. 8) was in town for his official visit while No. 23 Luke Kennard -- who signed with Duke in November -- was on campus unofficially.

The Blue Devils also hosted three top ESPN 60 prospects, including No. 2 Harry Giles, No. 4 Dennis Smith Jr., and No. 11 Derryck Thornton, all of whom were on campus unofficially as well.

ESPN.com caught up with all four unsigned prospects, or their parents, before the day was out.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

While it might not have been the clear-cut announcement some were hoping for, Wednesday morning brought the next step in Thon Maker’s recruitment.

The elite high school prospect announced on Twitter that he was “on track to graduate this year” -- meaning he’s moving forward with the plan to reclassify from 2016 into the senior class.

Maker was one of the top prospects in the junior class, but the possibility of reclassifying has been a major story on the recruiting circuit for the past several months. Ed Smith, Maker’s guardian, came out multiple times throughout the process and said the plan was for Maker to reclassify and graduate high school in the spring.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Help is on the way for the American 

February, 18, 2015
Feb 18
9:30
AM ET
videoThe American Athletic Conference is in its second year of existence, and it is coming off a national championship with UConn leading the way. Now, the conference is looking to build on that momentum on the recruiting trail.

Help is on the way for next season as the conference's teams have secured seven ESPN 100 prospects and four top-40 classes.

Most impactful class: Memphis

The Lawson brothers Dedric and K.J. are the stars of this three-man class, which ranks at No. 11. These local prospects will bring both potential and productivity to the Tigers.

They each will bring high-level versatility that will give head coach Josh Pastner options in the press and in the half court. K.J. (No. 44) is the better shooter and rebounder while Dedric (No. 26) is more comfortable inside the arc shooting and finishing. Because of their length, athletic ability and scoring instincts, combined with Pastner's pressing style, expect this pair to make heavy contributions and an immediate impact in their first season.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

A closer look at Brandon Ingram 

February, 16, 2015
Feb 16
9:00
AM ET
videoThe late signing period for the 2015 class is drawing near. Over the coming weeks, we’re going to take a deeper dive into each of the uncommitted players in the top 25 of the ESPN 100.

We begin with:

Brandon Ingram
6-foot-8, 180 pounds | Small Forward
Kinston, North Carolina | Kinston High School
No. 12 overall (No. 2 SF)

Recruitment so far

Potential schools
North Carolina -- Official visit: January 26, 2014
Duke -- Official visit: August 7, 2014
UCLA -- Official visit: October 24, 2014
Kansas -- Official visit: October 10, 2014
Kentucky -- Official visit: October 17, 2014
NC State

For the early stages of his recruitment, most thought Ingram would end up staying home, at either North Carolina or Duke. The Blue Devils made an impression on him, while the Tar Heels had the pipeline: Former UNC wings Jerry Stackhouse and Reggie Bullock both went to Kinston, and Ingram also played on Stackhouse’s AAU team. Over the past few months, though, Kansas, Kentucky and UCLA have all gained ground -- as Ingram took visits to all three schools. North Carolina State is also in the mix.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

SPONSORED HEADLINES