NCB On The Trail: Stanford Cardinal

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.
Members of the Class of 2014 have (mostly) made their decisions. Which incoming freshmen should you get to know? Here is a look at the best rebounders -- and one name to know in 2015:

1. Jahlil Okafor, Duke
Okafor is as wide as a door and next to impossible to keep from a rebound that comes off the glass within reach of his suction-cup hands. Okafor is strong and physical and in the best shape I have seen him, and his motor is hitting on all cylinders.


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CHICAGO -- Wednesday marked the 37th Annual McDonald's All-American game featuring the top high school boys basketball players in the country. The game took place at the United Center, home of the NBA’s Chicago Bulls.

Best low-post player: Jahlil Okafor


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McDonald's game matchups to watch 

April, 1, 2014
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CHICAGO -- The prestigious McDonald's All American Game annually brings together the best talent in high school basketball, all on one stage. Here are a few game matchups to watch for this year's star-studded event, which can be seen live on ESPN Wednesday night at 9:30 ET.


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Recruit and return: Stanford 

March, 27, 2014
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In order to return to the NCAA tournament, a team needs contributions from both returning players and incoming recruits. Here's a look at Stanford and its chances of dancing again in 2015.

Quick reference
2013-14 roster
2014 recruiting

Possible 2014-15 starting five:
G: Chasson Randle
G: Christian Sanders
G: Anthony Brown
F: Reid Travis
C: Stefan Nastic


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Roundtable: Identifying 2014's sleepers 

March, 4, 2014
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As the 2014 class winds down its final season of high school basketball, the ESPN 100 has been analyzed in virtually every way possible. We’ve broken down the top prospects, picked out the best fits, projected both the immediate impact players, and even forecast those who are likely to show the most improvement over their college careers.

But now we are giving each member of the RecruitingNation team one last chance to go on record with a prospect they believe in, a sleeper they expect to be better than most are projecting, whether it's right away or over time.

Here’s a look at who the experts have their eyes on:


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Southern Cal recap: Standout players 

January, 21, 2014
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LOS ANGELES -- During the last couple of weeks, there have been a plethora of one-day showcases, including stops at the Cavalier Classic, Southern California Shootout and the MLK Shootout.

A year ago, names like Stanford signee Michael Humphrey (Phoenix/Sunnyslope) and Boise State signee Chandler Hutchison (Mission Viejo, Calif./Mission Viejo) were virtual unknowns. However, with their development, they're now national names and terrific prospects going forward.

Most versatile (post player)
Michael Humphrey (Phoenix/Sunnyslope)
2015, PF, 6-foot-9, 210 pounds
Status: Signed with Stanford

The Cardinal will be losing quite a bit of their frontline, but they'll have some reinforcements with Reid Travis (Minneapolis/De La Salle) and Humphrey. Strength is a concern at this stage, but Humphrey's bounce, lateral quickness, ball skills and touch are impressive.


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Scout's Take: Pickens to Stanford 

November, 21, 2013
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Dorian Pickens (Cave Creek, Ariz./Pinnacle), the nation’s No. 81 player, committed to Stanford on Thursday. His pledge gives the Cardinal four ESPN 100 recruits in the 2014 class. Why did Pickens commit to Johnny Dawkins’ crew and how will he fit? Let’s break it down:


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Scout's take: Travis picks Stanford 

November, 8, 2013
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Five-star power forward Reid Travis (Minneapolis/De La Salle) has committed to Stanford over finalist Minnesota and Duke giving coach Johnny Dawkins an immediate impact player at the power forward position and his third ESPN 100 performer.

Travis joins PF/C Michael Humphrey and PG Robert Cartwright in the Cardinal's class of 2014.

How will Travis fit? Here's a look at what his commitment means to the Cardinal:


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With seven ESPN 100 commitments in as many days, the last week has been incredibly busy on the recruiting wire, but the best could still be yet to come with Reid Travis, Cliff Alexander, Jahlil Okafor and Tyus Jones all likely to make decisions in time to sign during the early signing period, which begins next week.

In case you missed any of last week’s headlines, here’s a rundown: Devin Robinson chose Florida over Indiana on Wednesday; later that night, big man Michael Humphrey picked Stanford over Arizona; Devin Booker started a busy Thursday by picking Kentucky over Missouri; James Blackmon Jr. pulled a surprise by spurning Kentucky to recommit to Indiana; Kevon Looney’s commitment to UCLA was equally surprising, with most predicting Duke, Florida or Tennessee; former UCLA pledge Trevon Bluiett picked Xavier over Butler and Michigan State on Friday; and Trey Lyles chose Kentucky over Louisville on Tuesday.

That flurry of activity, along with the upcoming announcements, has brought more clarity to a lot of top national programs. Here’s a look at some of the implications:


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Class rankings analysis: Nov. 6 

November, 6, 2013
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We are one week away from the national signing period for men’s basketball. Seven of the top 17 recruits in the country are still on the board. Here's the latest on some schools rising and falling in the ESPN class rankings:


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Scout's take: Stanford lands big man 

October, 31, 2013
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Stanford earned an important commitment Wednesday night, adding 6-foot-10 Michael Humphrey, who emerged as one of the West Coast’s biggest risers during the recent AAU and grassroots season.

Why he committed: Humphrey is an outstanding student, and academics played a big part in his recruitment throughout the process. Ultimately, it proved to be one of the deciding factors as he picked Stanford over Arizona, having previously eliminated UCLA, Vanderbilt and Notre Dame from his final five. The opportunity for an immediate opportunity also played a role, as there’s little doubt he’ll challenge for consistent rotation minutes as a freshman.

Michael Humphrey
Joel Francisco/ESPNMichael Humphrey is a skilled big man who should pay immediate dividends on the defensive end.
What he brings: He’s a late-blooming big man who hadn’t made a name for himself before this spring. He sprouted up physically during his junior year and is consequently still growing into his body, and potentially still growing period. He already has good mobility and agility for a player his size, along with an excellent motor. His most immediate contributions will be on the defensive end, where his feet and timing will allow him to be valuable blocking shots and defending pick-and-rolls.

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USA developmental team camp recap 

October, 6, 2013
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- The USA Basketball Developmental National Team minicamp featured some of the nation's best high school talent representing the classes of 2014, 2015 and 2016. Head coach Don Showalter and his staff put the players through numerous intense and competitive drills, controlled scrimmages and game situations in this four-workout, two-day minicamp.

Note: ESPN 100 No. 1 overall player Jahlil Okafor didn't play on Day 1 after rolling his ankle during a one-on-one in the post drill.

Here are a few players who were impressive this weekend from the ESPN 100, 60 and 25 rankings.

ESPN 100 Standouts

Best Motor
Myles Turner (Bedford, Texas/Trinity)
C, 6-foot-11, 225 pounds
Considering: Kansas, Ohio State, Texas, Duke, Arizona, Kentucky, Louisville, Oklahoma State

Turner's talent and shot blocking is well-documented, but his consistent motor also makes the big fella special. Regardless of the outcome of the possession, Turner never stops playing. He runs, jumps and competes at a high level, which makes him stand out.


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Notes: Cartwright could be double value 

September, 6, 2013
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This time of the year, there's always something brewing. From campus visits to the value of Stanford's newest pledge, we've dumped out the notebook into a nice, tidy column to catch you up.

Cartwright's value could be two-fold


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Weekly Commitment Roundup

September, 6, 2013
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American Athletic Conference
Louisville
Jaylen Johnson | PF | Ypsilanti, Mich./Ypsilanti
HT: 6-9 WT: 210
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: 15
Stars: 4
ESPN 100: 62

Big Ten Conference
Illinois
Leron Black | PF | Memphis, Tenn./White Station
HT: 6-7 WT: 215
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: 6
Stars: 4
ESPN 100: 36

Big 12
Baylor
Mark Vital | SF | Lake Charles, La./Washington-Marion
HT: 6-4 WT 215
Class of 2016
Positional Rank: NA

West Virginia
Jevon Carter | SG | Maywood, Ill./Proviso East
HT: 6-2 WT: 180
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: 3

Big East
Marquette
Phillip Flory | SG | Wisconsin Rapids, Wis./Wisconsin Rapids
HT: 6-3
Class of 2017
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Conference USA
East Carolina
Lance Tejada | PG | Hollywood, Fla./Blanche Ely
HT: 6-1 WT: 175
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: 22
Stars: 4
ESPN 100: 96

Glenn Bryant | SF | Marietta, Ga./Kell
HT: 6-6 WT: 180
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Southern Miss
Willie Carmichael | PF | Apopka, Fla./Wekiva
HT: 6-7 WT: 195
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: 2

ACC
Virginia
Isaiah Wilkins | SF | Norcross, Ga./Greater Atlanta Christian
HT: 6-7 WT: 185
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: 2

Wake Forest
Isaac Haas | C | Piedmont, Ala./Hokes Bluff
HT: 7-1 WT: 275
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: 18
Stars: 4

Pac-12
UCLA
Trevon Bluiett | SF | Indianapolis/Park Tudor
HT: 6-5 WT: 205
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: 10
Stars: 4
ESPN 100: 41

Utah
Kyle Kuzma | SF | Burton, Mich./Rise Academy
HT: 6-8 WT: 200
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: 27
Stars: 4

Isaiah Wright | PG | Boise, Idaho/Borah
HT: 6-2 WT: 175
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: 2

Stanford
Robert Cartwright | PG | Pasadena, Calif./Flintridge Prep
HT: 6-2 WT: 165
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: 34
Stars: 3

SEC
Auburn
Sam Logwood | SF | Indianapolis/La Lumiere
HT: 6-7 WT: 205
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: 20
Stars: 4
ESPN 100: 78

Jack Purchase | PF | Melbourne, Australia/Carey Baptist Grammar
HT: 6-10 WT: 200
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Vanderbilt
Wade Baldwin | PG | Hillsborough, N.J./St. Joseph
HT: 6-2 WT: 180
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: 29
Stars: 4

South Carolina
TeMarcus Blanton | SG | Locust Grove, Ga./Luella
HT: 6-4 WT: 185
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: 37
Stars: 3

Atlantic 10
Virginia Commonwealth
Justin Tillman | PF | Redford, Mich./Pershing
HT: 6-8 WT: 175
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: 29
Stars: 4

George Washington
Paul Jorgensen | PG | Ramsey, N.J./Don Bosco
HT: 6-3 WT: 185
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: 45
Stars: 3

Horizon League
Illinois-Chicago
Tai Odiase | C | Chicago/Homewood-Flossmoor
HT: 6-9 WT: 195
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: 2

Ivy League
Pennsylvania
Mike Auger | PF | Hopkinton, Mass./New Hampton
HT: 6-6 WT: 205
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: 2

Cornell
Jordan Abdur-Ra'oof | SF | Rockville, Md./Gonzaga College
HT: 6-7 WT: 200
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: 2

Yale
Eric Anderson | PF | West Chester, Pa./The Haverford School
HT: 6-6 WT: 200
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: 2

Sun Belt
Georgia State
Jeff Thomas | SG | Norwalk, Ohio/Norwalk
HT: 6-5 WT: 185
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Jordan Session | SF | McDonough, Ga./Eagles Landing
HT: 6-9 WT: 190
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Colonial Athletic Association
College of Charleston
Evan Bailey | SG | Massillon, Ohio/Jackson
HT: 6-6 WT: 185
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: 3

Atlantic Sun
Mercer
Jestin Lewis | SG | Richmond, Va./Wallace State C.C.
HT: 6-2 WT: 170
Class of 2014
JUCO

Jacksonville
Tim Bond | SG | Baltimore/City College H.S.
HT: 6-4
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

MAC
Buffalo
Mory Diane | SG | Detroit/Country Day
HT: 6-3 WT: 170
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: 2

WAC
Cal State Bakersfield
Sadiq Inuwa | PF | Houston/La Lumiere
HT: 6-7 WT: 200
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

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