Chris Collins shows recruiting prowess at Northwestern 

October, 23, 2014
Oct 23
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When Chris Collins was named as the new head coach at Northwestern in March of 2013, one of his first priorities was Victor Law, a four-star prospect from St. Rita (Ill.). At the time, Law was leaning elsewhere, but Collins knew he had to sit down with Law and make a final pitch.

He met with Law and Law's father, and the two sides immediately connected. The Wildcats were squarely back in the mix.

"Vic's biggest question the day he spoke to Chris was, 'Coach, do you believe in Chris Collins?'" said Gary DeCesare, Law's former coach at St. Rita. "I said, 'Absolutely. I believe he will get it done.'"

ESPN 100 big man Josh Sharma made a verbal commitment to Stanford on Tuesday, just two days after wrapping up his official visit. Sharma had previously narrowed his list to Stanford, Boston College, and Wisconsin. Here's a look at what Sharma brings to the Cardinal:

Why he committed: Sharma is a unique prospect who combines a high ceiling on the basketball floor with an already high academic profile. "I was definitely looking for a high academic school with great basketball," Sharma told ESPN.com. "So what other school than Stanford? They just have so much to offer." The fact that Sharma's game might actually be a better fit in the Pac-12 also wasn't totally lost on him, even if that wasn't the primary driving force behind his decision.

What he brings: He's 6-foot-11, runs the floor like a deer, and gets above the rim with extraordinary athleticism for a player his size. While he hasn't necessarily turned potential into production quite as quickly as some would like, that's not uncommon for big men, and he's made clear strides in recent years. His most immediate contribution will be as a shot-blocker, while he'll also add value as a rim-runner and finisher. Long term though, he's the type of prospect who could really blossom as he continues to develop his skills and establishes an identity to his offensive game.

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Defense might win championships, but the only way to get back and set your defense is to to score points on a consistent basis.

The best scorers in basketball can produce when the pace is frenetic or when it slows down against an organized defense. The best scorers create space for themselves by using dribble moves, jab steps, operating on ball screens, or by reading off-ball screens and cutting to get open.

When the scoreboard needs to change, these five prospects will deliver.


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Center Elijah Thomas, ranked No. 29 in the ESPN 100, committed to Texas A&M on Tuesday over finalists LSU, Illinois, SMU and Oklahoma State. Thomas gives Aggies head coach Billy Kennedy his fourth ESPN 100 prospect from the state of Texas in the 2015 class. Let's take a look at what Thomas will bring to the A&M program:


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Scout's Take: ESPN 100 SG Keith Stone to Florida 

October, 20, 2014
Oct 20
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It was clear several weeks ago that ESPN 100 small forward Keith Stone was zeroing in on Florida. From an outside perspective, it seemed like it was only a matter of time before the Zion Lutheran (Florida) product officially popped for the Gators. And that moment came on Monday night, as Stone chose Florida over South Carolina and VCU. Here is a look at what Stone will bring to Gainesville:


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Fresh off his unofficial visit to Virginia, ESPN 60 point guard Kyle Guy pulled the trigger and made a verbal commitment to the Cavaliers. The 39th-ranked junior chose UVa over Indiana, Butler, Purdue, Xavier and many other offers. Here is a look at what Guy will bring to Charlottesville:


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LAS VEGAS -- Here are five observations from Phase 1 Hoops Top 40 camp.


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Five observations: Pangos All-Midwest Freshman/Sophomore Camp 

October, 20, 2014
Oct 20
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CHICAGO -- Here are five observations from the Pangos All-Midwest Freshman/Sophomore camp.

1. Coming out party
When our rankings are next updated it will be very hard to keep 6-foot-10 2017 center Jeremiah Tilmon (East St. Louis, Illinois/H.S.) out of the rankings if he continues to improve and play as he did at the Pangos All Midwest Freshman/Sophomore camp which was held the past weekend in suburban Chicago. Tilmon has grown close to 2 inches since June and is really starting to put it all together. He was hands down the best player/prospect at the event. Tilmon has very good hands and feet. He has a solid touch in the paint and is a very capable rebounder and shot blocker. Jeremiah runs the floor very well for a big man, which makes him a factor in transition. He had dominant moments and has a chance at being a top-20 player in the 2017 class.

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Where is top-30 prospect Elijah Thomas headed? 

October, 20, 2014
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One of the more intriguing recruitments in the class of 2015 has been that of Elijah Thomas, the 6-foot-9 post player from Lancaster, Texas. Thomas has been on the national scene for a few years, and plenty of colleges have rotated in and out of his school list. Multiple schools have been considered the favorite at one point or another, even over the past month. That comes to an end this week.

Thomas will make his college decision on Tuesday afternoon, and five schools remain for his commitment: Illinois, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, SMU and LSU. He took official visits to each school, but the possibility of success is more important to the Dallas-area prospect.

“The deciding factor will be which school will win,” Thomas said. “That’s what I want to do my freshman year. My priority is to go in and win right away.”

Ranked No. 29 in the ESPN100, Thomas will likely find early playing time at whichever school he chooses, but let’s take a look at how he fits at each one.


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Weekly commitment update

October, 17, 2014
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The following is a list of commitments made to Division I schools from Oct. 10-16:

Big Ten
Northwestern
Aaron Falzon PF
HT: 6-7 WT: 190
Class of 2015
Positional Rank: 20
Stars: 4
ESPN 100: 91

Wisconsin
Charlie Thomas PF
HT: 6-8 WT: 245
Class of 2015
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: 3

Indiana
Ogugua Anunoby SF
HT: 6-8 WT: 215
Class of 2015
Positional Rank: 43
Stars: 3

ACC
Virginia Tech
Justin Robinson PG
HT: 6-1 WT: 178
Class of 2015
Positional Rank: 36
Stars: 3

Wake Forest
John Collins PF
HT: 6-8 WT: 221
Class of 2015
Positional Rank: 33
Stars: 4

SEC
Alabama
Dazon Ingram SG
HT: 6-5 WT: 183
Class of 2015
Positional Rank: 45
Stars: 3

Texas A&M
Admon Gilder SG
HT: 6-3 WT: 185
Class of 2015
Positional Rank: 17
Stars: 4
ESPN 100: 64

Georgia
E'Torrion Wilridge SF
HT: 6-6 WT: 190
Class of 2015
Positional Rank: 34
Stars: 3

Pac 12
UCLA
Kobe Paras SF
HT: 6-5 WT: 190
Class of 2016
Positional Rank: 21
Stars: 3

Washington State
Renard Suggs SG
HT: 6-2 WT: 165
Class of 2015
Positional Rank: Junior College

Utah
Gabe Bealer SF
HT: 6-5
Class of 2015
Positional Rank: Junior College

Big 12
Texas Tech
Jordan Jackson SG
HT: 6-3 WT: 175
Class of 2015
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: 3

American Athletic Conference
SMU
Shake Milton PG
HT: 6-4 WT: 190
Class of 2015
Positional Rank: 11
Stars: 4
ESPN 100: 71

Temple
Ernest Aflakpui C
HT: 6-10 WT: 220
Class of 2015
Positional Rank: 27
Stars: 4

South Florida
Jahmal McMurray SG
HT: 5-11 WT: 160
Class of 2015
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Tulio Da Silva PF
HT: 6-8 WT: 200
Class of 2015
Positional Rank: 38
Stars: 4

Central Florida
Tanksley Efianayi SG
HT: 6-6
Class of 2015
Positional Rank: Junior College

Cincinnati
Jacob Evans SG
HT: 6-6 WT: 215
Class of 2015
Positional Rank: 33
Stars: 4

Big East
Xavier
Kaiser Gates SF
HT: 6-8 WT: 185
Class of 2015
Positional Rank: 25
Stars: 4

Missouri Valley Conference
Missouri State
Ryan Kreklow SG
HT: 6-3
Class of 2015
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

MAC
Ball State
Tahjai Teague PF
HT: 6-8 Wt: 175
Class of 2015
Positional Rank: 34
Stars: 4

Northern Illinois
Austin Pauga SG
HT: 6-6 WT: 205
Class of 2015
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Colonial Athletic Association
Elon
Tyler Seibring PF
HT: 6-8
Class of 2015
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Atlantic Sun Conference
Florida Gulf Coast
Elijah Long PG
HT: 6-0 WT: 175
Class of 2015
Positional Rank: Canada

Stetson
Derrick Newton PF
HT: 6-6 WT: 210
Class of 2015
Positional Rank: Post Grad

MAAC
Manhattan
Vincent Eze PF
HT: 6-8
Class of 2015
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Akintoye Ojo PF
HT: 6-10 WT: 230
Class of 2015
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Marist
Brian Parker SG
HT: 6-3
Class of 2015
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: 2

Southland Conference
Sam Houston State
Ameer Jackson SG
HT: 6-4
Class of 2015
Positional Rank: Junior College

SWAC
Grambling State
Raekwon Harney PG
HT: 6-0 WT: 165
Class of 2015
Positional Rank: Junior College

Big South Conference
High Point
Alonzo Tyson PF
HT: 6-8 WT: 190
Class of 2015
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Gardner-Webb
Jamaal Robateau SG
HT: 6-5
Class of 2015
Positional Rank: Junior College

Ohio Valley Conference
SE Missouri State
Xavion Dillon SF
HT: 6-7 WT: 205
Class of 2015
Positional Rank: Junior College

MEAC
North Carolina A&T
Ramses Sandifer PF
HT: 6-8 WT: 200
Class of 2015
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Murray State
Cletrell Pope SF
HT: 6-6
Class of 2015
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Horizon League
Oakland
Xavier Hill-Mais PF
HT: 6-7 WT: 240
Class of 2015
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Valparaiso
Daniel Relvao PF
HT: 6-9 WT: 235
Class of 2015
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Summit League
South Dakota
Tyler Hagedorn PF
HT: 6-8
Class of 2015
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Big West Conference
Cal Poly
Hank Hollingsworth C
HT: 6-10 WT: 220
Class of 2015
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: 2

Kentucky welcomes high-profile prospects for Big Blue Madness 

October, 17, 2014
Oct 17
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Last weekend, Kentucky had about 90 NBA scouts on its campus for a practice that was televised on ESPNU -- yet this weekend will feature an even bigger event for the Wildcats.

Friday brings Big Blue Madness to Lexington, where the Kentucky faithful will pack Rupp Arena for their first look at the 2014-15 edition of the Wildcats, the likely preseason No. 1 team in the country. More important, it is also the biggest recruiting weekend of the year for John Calipari and Kentucky. Seven five-star prospects from the classes of 2015 and 2016 are expected on campus this weekend, in addition to four-star commit Charles Matthews.

Calipari and his staff haven’t tried to downplay the event to the prospective recruits, either.

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Shooting guard Admon Gilder Jr., ranked No. 64 in the ESPN 100, made a verbal commitment to Texas A&M on Thursday over finalists SMU, Oklahoma State and Baylor. Here is a breakdown of what Gilder will bring to the Aggies.

Why he committed: "I felt the most comfortable there when I visited," he told ESPN.com. "I could see myself there. I know I can come in and have an opportunity to fight for a starting position."

What he brings: The four-star shooting guard will bring efficiency to both ends of the floor. On offense Gilder will excel on the break by getting to the rim and finishing through contact. He can knock down the open three off the catch or rhythm dribble. He is a good passer, decision-maker and play-maker with the ball in his hands, which allows him to help at the point guard position. Defensively Gilder is capable of defending both guard positions at the college level.

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Scout's Take: Shake Milton picks SMU 

October, 15, 2014
Oct 15
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ESPN 100 point guard Shake Milton verbally committed to SMU on Wednesday, choosing the Mustangs and Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown over Oklahoma and Indiana. Now that the No. 11 point guard is off the board only two ESPN 100 lead guards remain available: Isaiah Briscoe and P.J. Dozier. Here's a look at what Milton will bring to Dallas:

Why he committed: Milton was looking for a coach who he felt could bring out the best in his game now and help him in the future. "I really want to be coached by Coach Brown because he can help me reach all the goals that I have athletically and academically," Milton told ESPN.com. "He has coached and developed so many players plus one day when the ball stops bouncing I want to work in a NBA front office and someday be a general manager. I feel coach brown can help get me in the right direction after my career."

What he brings: One of the most steady point guards in the senior class, Milton is more of a decision-maker versus a risk taker, one who values the ball and the possession. As a lead guard with passing vision, Milton emphasizes pushing the ball with a speed dribble or the hit-ahead pass to put pressure on the defense. Milton embraces major moments in a close game and shows the fortitude needed to shine in clutch situations. Being a big guard at 6-foot-5 with a long frame he can be a good defender. He is not the best leaper nor does he own blow-by speed, but his size and length cover ground to get him where he needs to be. If he commits to guarding he will be able to defend the small quicker opponent.

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Both the shooting guard position and small forward spot provide the senior class with great depth. Finding pure, knock-down shooters is always hard, as many players can make shots but few can do it on a consistent basis.

Let's take a look at the five best shooters in 2015 and examine what separates them from the rest.


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ESPN 100 combo forward Aaron Falzon made a verbal commitment to Northwestern on Monday morning, giving coach Chris Collins one of the best shooting forwards in the country. Falzon was recruited and ultimately offered by a variety of programs from high-major conferences but visited Harvard and Northwestern in recent weeks before making his decision.


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