NCB On The Trail: Basketball Recruiting

video ESPN 100 No. 7 overall and McDonald's All-American center Diamond Stone ended his recruitment on Friday by committing to the Maryland Terrapins and coach Mark Turgeon over his home state's Wisconsin, along with Oklahoma State and Connecticut.

A closer look at Ivan Rabb 

March, 23, 2015
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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: Ivan Rabb 6-foot-11, 210 pounds | Power forward Oakland, California | Bishop O'Dowd High School No. 6 overall (No. 3 PF) Recruitment so far Potential schools Arizona -- Official visit: Jan. 4, 2015 California -- Official visit: Feb. 27, 2015 Kansas Kentucky -- Official visit: Oct. 25, 2014 UCLA Rabb established himself as one of the elite prospects in the 2015 class a couple of years ago, and not much has changed. With nearly every big-time school in the country in pursuit, Rabb trimmed his list to five schools toward the end of October. Arizona, California, Kansas, Kentucky and UCLA made the list, with Georgetown and North Carolina getting dropped. Rabb has taken a few official visits, and while there doesn’t seem to be an actual timeline for a decision, people involved in his recruitment have indicated the process is weighing on him a bit.

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HOUSTON -- The RCS Sports 14th annual "Spring Ice Breaker" is one off the marquee events in the country, and it kicks off the spring travel basketball circuit. Director Jim Hicks does a great job of booking elite individual talent and teams from throughout the talent-rich state of Texas and bordering states.
[+] EnlargeJarred Vanderbilt
Courtesy Reggie RankinJarred Vanderbilt is ranked third in the Class of 2017.
1. Best player Jarred Vanderbilt (ESPN 25, No. 3) Class of 2017, PF, 6-foot-7, 195 pounds, Houston/Victory Prep Academy Offers: Kentucky, Texas, Texas A&M, Arizona, Oklahoma, Baylor, SMU, among others. Vanderbilt is a long and athletic lefty who has noticably added strength. His biggest asset is his ability to pass in the open and half-court set. His court vision, feel and touch, to go along with his unselfish attitude, are things of beauty. Vanderbilt not only hits the open man, but his passes led teammates into baskets. Vanderbilt is a monster on the glass on both ends and is an above-the-rim finisher with good touch in and around the lane. He also does a nice job of contesting and blocking shots on and away from the ball. Vanderbilt does a good job of positively making an impact on a game without scoring. He needs to continue to work on skill-development, but he is a special talent.

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Recruit and return: Texas Longhorns 

March, 19, 2015
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videoTo return to the NCAA tournament, a team needs contributions from both returning players and incoming recruits. Here's a look at Texas and its chances of dancing again in 2016. Quick references: 2014-15 roster 2015 recruiting Possible 2015-16 starting five G: Isaiah Taylor G: Demarcus Holland G: Kendal Yancy F: Connor Lammert C: Cameron Ridley

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Recruit and return: Baylor Bears 

March, 19, 2015
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videoTo return to the NCAA tournament, a team needs contributions from both returning players and incoming recruits. Here's a look at Baylor and its chances of dancing again in 2016. Quick references: 2014-15 roster 2015 recruiting Possible 2015-16 starting five: G: Lester Medford G: Al Freeman F: Taurean Prince F: Johnathan Motley F: Rico Gathers

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video It just keeps coming for Syracuse on the recruiting trail. The news earlier this month that Syracuse would be docked three scholarships per year over a four-year period was a huge blow to the Orange's ability to build program depth for the next few seasons -- and Wednesday's announcement that Jim Boeheim will retire in three seasons only furthers that impact. "It's unfortunate, of course," said Matthew Moyer, the No. 58 player in the ESPN 60 and Syracuse's only 2016 commit so far. "It's a bummer what the infraction committee has done. But it is what it is, and hopefully we send him out on a good note with a national championship." Boeheim has been the head coach of the Orange since 1976, leading them to four Final Four appearances and one national championship. He's clearly the face of the program and has built it into a consistent national power. Can the Orange continue to compete at a high level on the recruiting circuit without Boeheim at the helm?

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A closer look at Cheick Diallo 

February, 23, 2015
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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.


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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.


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video
When college coaches run out of good options in the senior class, they are forced to get creative.

They can mine the junior-college market, explore immediately-eligible transfers or look for overseas prospects who can make an impact.

Another increasingly popular strategy in recent years has been to look for juniors open to the idea of reclassifying, heading to college a year earlier than planned.

Top prospects such as Andre Drummond, Andrew Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns and Noah Vonleh are just a few of the most recent examples.


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Four star power forward Ted Kapita ended his recruitment on Thursday, committing to head coach Mike Anderson and the Arkansas Razorbacks over offers from Missouri, Memphis, South Florida and Kansas among others.

Here's a look at what the ESPN 100 prospect will bring to Arkansas.


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Heading into this season, Duke’s depth was supposed to be one of its biggest advantages -- especially on the perimeter. Discussions about whether Grayson Allen would get enough minutes and whether Rasheed Sulaimon would become one of the best sixth men in the country were commonplace.

Mike Krzyzewski had more options than nearly every other coach in the country when it came to adjusting his style or personnel. He could go small, he could go with two big men, he could use two point guards, he could flood the court with shooters.

[+] EnlargeJustise Winslow, Rasheed Sulaimon
Brad Penner/USA TODAY SportsThe dismissal of Rasheed Sulaimon (right) has left Duke with only eight scholarship players after a string of transfers and early departures to the NBA.
Yet as the stretch run nears, the Blue Devils are down to just eight scholarship players and won’t be making any additions moving forward. There are no players coming back from injury or suspension, no midseason players becoming eligible. It will be one of the biggest storylines over the next two months as Duke competes for a national title.

Of course, it hasn't really impacted the Blue Devils yet -- they are 3-0 since Sulaimon was dismissed, including a road win at Virginia and a home demolition of Notre Dame -- but it’s worth exploring nonetheless. How exactly did Coach K and Duke get in this position?


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PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- The 17th annual National Prep School Invitational spanned the course of four days and included more than 30 games of action. Here are some of the most notable storylines:

1. Rest easy, Ohio State fans:

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ESPN 100 shooting guard Tyler Dorsey gave Oregon a commitment on Monday. He chose the Ducks over Kansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Arizona State and California. Here's what the California native will bring to Eugene next year.


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When Kentucky landed a commitment from Tai Wynyard last week, it was met with mostly shrugs.

[+] EnlargeKansas/Temple
John Geliebter/USA TODAY SportsSviatoslav Mykhailiuk is coming off the bench at Kansas, and several other international players are vying to become impact players at the college level.
After all, not many people on American soil had seen the New Zealand native. At least Wynyard had gone on a visit tour of Kentucky, Villanova and Texas, so he wasn’t a complete unknown.

Take Kansas freshman Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk or Gonzaga freshman Domantas Sabonis, for example. They were McDonald’s All American-caliber players according to scouts, but nobody really knew what to expect when they arrived on campus. Moreover, recruitniks and analysts were left scrambling to find information on the players.

International prospects always bring intrigue – primarily because not much is known about them. There are the short YouTube videos and the stat lines from various FIBA and international competitions. Even the coaches recruiting the player have sometimes only seen the player live one time. As a result, it’s a complete mystery how the player will respond to the American style of basketball.


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videoNow that the rosters are set for the 38th annual McDonald’s All American Game -- featuring the top 24 senior high school basketball players in the country -- let's take a closer look at the East team and a few of the many strengths its players will bring when they take on the West team April 1 at United Center in Chicago (9 p.m. ET, ESPN).


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