NCB On The Trail: Pac-12

Shooting guard Prince Ali (Pembroke Pines, Florida/The Sagemont) School), ranked No. 44 in the ESPN 100, has committed to UCLA over finalists Louisville, Michigan, Georgia Tech, Maryland and Nebraska. Ali had committed to Connecticut last December before decommitting in May, which opened the door for a number of high-major programs to pursue him. That's exactly what happened.

Let's check out what the Bruins are getting in Ali:

Recruiting is a little bit like playing cards. You have to consider both your hand and your competition's before deciding how much you want to wager.

For high-profile college coaches, a scholarship offer is sometimes no more than a minimum wager to test the waters. Sean Miller is one head coach who tends to use his offers liberally, having extended 21 of them in the current 2015 class.

What’s undeniable is that once he decides he wants to go all-in, there aren’t many coaches who win more big hands. In fact, with Allonzo Trier becoming the latest ESPN 100 prospect to make an early commitment to Miller, you could argue that he has yet to miss on one of his top 2015 targets.

[+] EnlargeIvan Rabb
AP Photo/The Augusta Chronicle, Sara CaldwellIf the Wildcats get a commitment from Ivan Rabb, they might end up with the best class in the country.
The Arizona Wildcats hold additional verbal commitments from two other five-star prospects in Justin Simon and Ray Smith. They also held a commitment from Tyler Dorsey up until last June, and while the origin of that split is debatable, the bottom line for Arizona was that they thought they could get better, and they did. They never stopped recruiting Trier and Isaiah Briscoe, even after Dorsey committed, and so ultimately they had a good hand but chose to double down and ended up winning big.

Now, that’s not to say that Arizona has their pick of all the best prospects in the country. Not at all. Only that Miller plays his hands especially well, analyzing not only the talent of the player but also his ties to the situation and those of his competition before deciding how much time and resources he wants to invest.

Chase Jeter is the perfect example. The five-star big man from Las Vegas committed to Duke on Monday night. Sure, Arizona would have loved to have him. They offered, actively recruited him, and even made his final six. But make no mistake about it, they were never all-in. They knew they weren’t getting him long before he went on national TV and had prioritized another big man much earlier in the process -- namely Ivan Rabb.

Rabb was not only the top-ranked prospect in the ESPN 100 heading into the July evaluation period, he was also a product of the same AAU program, the Oakland Soldiers, that has supplied Arizona with arguably the biggest recent pipeline in all of college basketball recruiting in recent years with Nick Johnson, Brandon Ashley, Aaron Gordon, and Stanley Johnson among others.

Now, Rabb is the last remaining target left on Arizona’s big board and the exclamation point that could punctuate what could ultimately be the nation’s No. 1 ranked recruiting class.

Oakland Soldiers program director Mark Olivier doesn’t know where Rabb will ultimately decide to go to college. Rabb is currently in Dubai with Team USA's U17 team and hasn’t given indication of any favorites or time frames. In fact, Rabb’s high school coach at Bishop O’Dowd, Lou Richie, is far more involved in his recruitment. One thing Olivier does expect though is that Rabb will make his own decision.

“I look at Ivan and I don’t think he’s that type of kid in that he’s going to go there because somebody else went there,” Olivier said.

Nevertheless, it would be only natural for the player who first began wearing a Soldiers uniform when he was in the 7th grade to want to follow so many of the players that he grew up admiring, especially Johnson, who took Rabb under his wing during last year’s EYBL season.


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Five-star shooting guard Allonzo Trier has ended his recruitment by committing to the Arizona Wildcats while on his official visit. Trier gives Arizona head coach Sean Miller his third ESPN 100 five-star commitment in the 2015 class, along with point guard Justin Simon and small forward Ray Smith.

Here's how the No. 19-ranked senior will fit in Tucson:


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ESPN 100 forward will play for Utes

July, 29, 2013
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Class of 2014 power forward Brekkott Chapman (Roy, Utah/Roy) will play his college basketball in his home state after committing to the University of Utah on Monday, ESPN.com has confirmed.

Chapman, who is currently ranked No. 49 in the ESPN 100, chose the Utes over offers from Arizona, Arizona State, BYU, Colorado and Gonzaga, among others. He is the first recruit from the 2014 class for Utah.

Three-star PF Price-Martin picks USC

July, 28, 2013
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Class of 2014 three-star power forward Malik Price-Martin (Miami/Northeast) verbally committed to the USC Trojans on Sunday, ESPN.com has confirmed.

The 6-foot-9 Price-Martin held offers from Kansas State, UConn, Louisville, Memphis, NC State and Miami, among others. He is the first recruit for new Trojans head coach Andy Enfield from the 2014 class.

Georgia center commits to Oregon State

July, 23, 2013
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Oregon State coach Craig Robinson landed his first commitment from the 2014 class on Monday night with a pledge from center Isaiah Manderson (Alpharetta, Ga./Milton), multiple sources are reporting.

The 6-foot-10 Manderson chose the Beavers over Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi State, Tennessee and Auburn.

Arizona PG Casey Benson picks Oregon

July, 8, 2013
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Multiple outlets are reporting that Oregon landed a commitment from point guard Casey Benson (Tempe, Ariz./Corona Del Sol) on Sunday night.

The senior-to-be is the first commitment for head coach Dana Altman from the 2014 class. Benson chose the Ducks over Arizona State, Gonzaga, Colorado, Oregon State and Rice, among others.

Washington State lands PG for 2015

July, 1, 2013
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Point guard Tramaine Isabell (Seattle/Lakeside) verbally committed to Washington State on Monday, multiple sources are reporting.

The 6-foot-1 Isabell is entering his senior year but is expected to spend a post-graduate year before enrolling at Washington State in 2015. He also held an offer from Seattle University.

Isabell is the first recruit from the 2015 class for the Cougars.

SG Ahmad Fields picks Utah 

December, 21, 2012
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Shooting guard Ahmad Fields (Washington, D.C./Massanutten Military Academy) ended his recruitment on Friday with a verbal pledge to Utah, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

Fields chose the Utes over USC, Colorado, St. Joseph's and Drexel, among others.

"I felt comfortable on my visit," he told the paper. "I had a great visit, and family is an important thing. It's me and my mom, so I wanted to go where I felt I fit, and I felt it at Utah."

Fields is the fifth recruit for the Utes in 2013, joining guard's Parker Van Dyke (Salt Lake City/East), Brandon Miller (Salt Lake City/Brighton) and Delon Wright (Lawndale, Calif./City College of San Francisco) along with center Marko Kovacevic (Scottsbluff, Neb./Western Nebraska C.C.).

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Julian Jacobs signs with USC 

November, 21, 2012
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Senior point guard Julian Jacobs (Las Vegas, Nev./Desert Pines) signed his official letter of intent with USC this week after mulling offers from Santa Clara, St. Mary's and Utah, the school announced.

"We are happy to add JuJu to our class," said head coach Kevin O'Neill. "He can play multiple positions and is a lockdown defender. He is talented and has great athleticism."

Jacobs joins four other signees for the Trojans: ESPN 100 PG Kendall Harris (Richardson, Texas/Berkner), SF Roschon Prince (Long Beach, Calif./Poly), PF Nikola Jovanovic (Serbia/Arlington Country Day) and PG Kahlil Dukes (Hartford, Conn./Capital Prep).

"I'm really happy with our recruiting class," said O'Neill. "I feel really good about all of the guys and I'm looking forward to them joining the Trojan Family."

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Jabari Bird headlines Cal class 

November, 15, 2012
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ESPN 100 SG Jabari Bird (Richmond, Calif./Salesian) signed his official letter of intent with California, the school announced on Thursday.

"We have watched Jabari grow as a player for a long time," head coach Mike Montgomery said. "He is a legit size guy that can play both wing positions. He is a scorer. He is a winner. When the game is on the line, he makes a play. He is a player that is well recognized nationally. Everyone knew about Jabari and we are very happy to keep him home. He has a very solid family and a great group that he plays for at Salesian. Jabari is one of the top prospects in America and he is coming to Cal, we couldn't be happier."

Bird will be joined by guard's Jordan Mathews (Santa Monica, Calif./Santa Monica) and Sam Singer (Miami/Ransom Everglades) in Berkeley next season.

"We are really pleased with the three young men that have joined our program at this point for next year," Montgomery added. "We really shored up our perimeter position substantially. We have three really good men from three really good basketball backgrounds that are very skilled. The real positive for me is they are terrific individuals. They have great personalities and are going to be tremendous contributors to the University of California."

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Oregon hoops adds Calif. F Jordan Bell 

November, 13, 2012
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Jordan BellScott Kurtz for ESPN.comLong Beach (Calif.) Poly forward Jordan Bell committed to Oregon Tuesday, giving the Ducks their first commitment in the 2013 class.
After a weekend visit to Auburn to check out the Tigers' program, the No. 14 player in California, F Jordan Bell (Long Beach, Calif./Polytechnic) decided to announce his commitment at a small press conference at the school today. Choosing between life-long favorite Connecticut, Oregon and Auburn, the 6-foot-7, 200-pound forward announced that he will be heading to Eugene to play for Dana Altman and the Oregon Ducks.

Ranked as the No. 27 in the West region by ESPN, Bell is just what the Ducks have been in search of in recent years. His long frame, athleticism and untapped potential make him an ideal fit for the Ducks' style of play. Bell has yet to reach his potential on the offensive end, but the defensive end is where the Long Beach Poly standout has made his name.

Bell averaged 8.4 points, 8.8 rebounds and 4.7 blocks as a junior for the Jackrabbits, who at 29-3 overall, were among the top teams in California last season. Bell had three triple-doubles comprised of points, rebounds and blocked shots. Two of them came against Long Beach Jordan, including a game last January when he finished with 16 points, 14 rebounds and 16 blocks.

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Jordan Bell picks the Ducks 

November, 13, 2012
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Senior power forward Jordan Bell (Long Beach, Calif./Poly) announced his commitment to Oregon on Tuesday at Poly High School.

The 6-foot-7 Bell chose the Ducks over Auburn. Connecticut had also shown interest.

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Stanford lands 3-star PF Schuyler Rimmer 

November, 8, 2012
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Power forward Schuyler Rimmer (Orlando, Fla./Boone) announced his verbal commitment to Stanford on Thursday, according to multiple sources.

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UCLA adds SF Noah Allen 

November, 6, 2012
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UCLA landed a verbal commitment from three-star small forward Noah Allen (Salinas, Calif./Palma) on Tuesday. The news was first reported by www.scouthoops.com.

Allen originally committed to Harvard in July before recently reopening his recruitment. He was also considering Colorado, St. Mary's, San Diego State, San Francisco, Washington State and Northwestern.

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