NCB On The Trail: USC Trojans

Roundtable: ESPN 100 commit predictions 

April, 15, 2014
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The ESPN 100 has just three remaining uncommitted prospects, and the competition remains furious for their services.

Myles Turner, No. 2 in the ESPN 100, leads the way, followed by No. 94 Elijah Stewart, who was released from his letter of intent to Loyola Marymount following the firing of coach Max Good, and No. 98 Josh Cunningham.

Devonte Graham wasn’t ESPN 100 eligible by virtue of his post-graduate status, but there is no denying he is a wanted man after receiving his release from Appalachian State. He will take official visits to Kansas and North Carolina State while also considering Virginia, Virginia Tech, Xavier and Providence.

So where are these remaining four prospects headed? No one knows for sure just yet, but here are a few educated guesses:


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Recruit and return: NCAA misses

March, 17, 2014
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While the 68 teams that made the NCAA tournament prepare for the madness, fans of teams on the outside must turn the page to next year. Thanks to a core of returning players and strong incoming recruits, here are five programs that could be dancing at this time next year.

Georgetown Hoyas


Quick references:
Georgetown's 2013-14 roster
Georgetown's 2014 recruiting class

Possible 2014-15 starting five:

G: D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera

G: Jabril Trawick

F: Paul White

F: Mikael Hopkins

C: Josh Smith

Georgetown


Who it loses: Four players will be gone for coach John Thompson III. Markel Starks and Nate Lubick have been starters since they were sophomores and were instrumental to last season's Big East championship team. Starks was first team All-Big East this season, scoring 17 points per game. Aaron Bowen played a big role as the sixth man and gave the team a spark off the bench. At times, he played starter's minutes. Moses Ayegba was a front-court presence off the bench and was a strong presence in the paint.

Who it adds: This four-man class is the nation's seventh best and it includes three ESPN 100 players. This class is loaded with versatility and scoring talent as the Hoyas will continue to cause matchup problems for opponents. Isaac Copeland's growth continues to impresses us, as he combines size and athletic ability with a very fluid set of skills. He won a championship at Brewster Academy in the New England Prep school league, which is some of the best competition in the country. Paul White is the consummate forward in the Georgetown system as he showed he could be a facilitator, bucket-getter or defender. L.J. Peak is a battle-tested and tough small forward who can score in different ways and someone who can play right away because he competes so hard. Tre Campbell was a first-team all-league performer as a point guard in the prestigious WCAC, an ultra-competitive Washington, D,C.-area high school conference. Georgetown predicates its system of having a high level of skill on the floor at all times and this class gives them that edge plus a whole lot more.

What it means for next season: Next season's team could be more gifted and athletic as the freshman class gives them a big boost. The one freshman who needs to be good early is Campbell, because of the departure of Starks. With Smith-Rivera returning as the team's leading scorer and best 3-point shooter, and Smith back controlling the inside, this team could be a contender for a Big East title. Georgetown has always played the game with many interchangeable parts and next season it will have plenty of pieces to choose from.

Trending: Up. The Hoyas return the strength of their roster and add a lot of talent. Under the guidance of JT3, that means more postseason appearances. - Paul Biancardi



For breakdowns of Indiana, Maryland, Seton Hall and USC, click here Insider.

Nike Extravaganza recap 

February, 3, 2014
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The 19th annual Nike Extravaganza was quite possibly the best collection of talent in its tenure. When you have Duke-bound Jahlil Okafor (Chicago/Whitney Young) going head-to-head with Arizona-bound Stanley Johnson (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei), that is about as good as it gets. Add in USC-bound Jordan McLaughlin (Etiwanda, Calif./Etiwanda) putting the St. John Bosco defense on skates and recent ESPN 100 entree Elijah Stewart (Los Angeles/Westchester) scorching the nets, it further solidifies the claim that the event was loaded.

A load in the paint

Jahlil Okafor (Chicago/Whitney Young)
2014, C, 6-foot-10, 270 pounds
Status: Signed with Duke
Okafor didn't get many touches because of Mater Dei's collapsing zone. Once teammate and Saint Louis signee Miles Stewart started draining 3s, it opened up some breathing room for him to operate. He gathered most of his stats on offensive rebounds and utilizing those magnetic hands he possesses. At this level, he can dominate with his length, strength, and post skills. However, Okafor has limited lift and he struggled at times corralling rebounds despite having a significant size advantage.


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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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Forty-six Division I schools came into the season with a new basketball coach. The vast majority of those changes were met with optimism and enthusiasm.

But with conference play now revving up, many first year coaches are dealing with the harsh reality that rebuilding isn’t going to happen overnight. And in those types of situations, sometimes your first year recruiting class can be more important than your win-loss record.

A coach’s first recruiting class is absolutely critical to his long-term success. It’s about more than just filling out next year’s roster. It’s about setting the tone for the way in which the staff and program will be viewed by prospects, high school coaches, and AAU coaches moving forward. And this time of year, when the product on the floor isn’t always something a coach can sell, making an initial splash on the recruiting trail is often times all it takes to develop the type of positive momentum to build on.

With that in mind, here’s a look at how seven first-year coaches are doing on the trail:

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Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation national recruiting director Paul Biancardi a question about basketball recruiting? Tweet it to @PaulBiancardi using the hashtag #AskCoachB.



Andy Enfield was enormously successful in his short time as head coach at Florida Gulf Coast. His style of play -- "Dunk City" -- was formed by recruiting the best athletes possible coupled with a few very good guards (Brett Comer, for example) who had a good feel for the game. He did a fantastic job implementing his system to his talent. Fast forward to him landing the USC job and now the question is can he sustain that success with that style of play? The first and most important move he made was hiring a strong recruiting staff in Jason Hart and Tony Bland, two former Los Angeles-area players who were both successful in the college ranks. They have a bead on the region and the state of California. They should be able to recruit the players Enfield needs to be successful at USC.

Can USC become a major recruiting power? That comes over time with strong recruiting, player development, a track record of success, academic progress and graduation, as of course, winning. It's always important to have a winning brand of basketball that kids can identify with.

Roundtable: Recruiting rivalries to watch 

October, 29, 2013
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Duke vs. North Carolina. Kentucky vs. Louisville. Connecticut vs. Syracuse.

Some of the greatest rivalries in sports play out on the college basketball court, but this season marks a changing of the guard in many of those rivalries as conference realignment has done away with annual matchups like UConn vs. Syracuse while carving out the potential for new ones.

Rivalries also exist in recruiting, and while they’re often an extension of natural rivalries on the court, that isn’t always the case.

Jim Calhoun and John Calipari had a huge recruiting rivalry when they were the head coaches at UConn and UMass, respectively -- despite the fact their teams never played -- stemming from the recruitment of Marcus Camby.

So whether it’s an extension of a conference rivalry, a personality clash between high-profile coaches or even the consequence of a particularly contentious recruitment process, recruiting rivalries can take shape in a number of ways.

Here’s a look at some of the most notable recruiting rivalries, whether historic or up-and-coming based on the implications of realignment, as chosen by our RecruitingNation experts:

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Stanley Johnson is in the process of figuring out his recruitment, as Arizona, Kentucky, USC, Florida and Oregon are all on his final list of schools.

Stanley Johnson
Courtesy of NikeStanley Johnson has always been a powerful presence, but it's his motor that has seen the biggest improvement.
Since his freshman season at Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei, he has been a bigger and stronger prospect than most players.

Under the tutelage of Gary McKnight and his staff, Johnson has made consistent strides as of one the best in his class. In our most recent rankings, he jumped up from No. 12 to No. 9.

Let’s break down what makes him special:

Power and motor: Johnson has always had a good frame and physique, but in this past year he has refined his college-ready body. He is more powerful than most players, and that becomes a factor on every finish, defensive stand and rebound. But his motor might be the area he has improved the most. He always showed up and played, but over the past year he is trying to dominate with a consistent effort, which is rare among top players. His effort is not just limited to scoring because he is also getting back on defense, being alert and active on each play and trying to own the glass. He credits former Oakland Soldier AAU teammate and current Arizona Wildcat Aaron Gordon for his motor. "Aaron set a great example of what it means to give it your all. I am thankful it rubbed off on me.”


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Hoops recruiting class analysis 

October, 23, 2013
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What do the commitments of Ahmed Hill and Marial Shayok mean for Marquette in the RecruitingNation class rankings? Which conference needs to step it up? What's the bold prediction for this week? We take a look at those questions and more.

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Under-the-radar recruiting powers 

October, 22, 2013
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When it comes to recruiting, there are certain superpower programs that are simply on a different playing field from everyone else in college basketball. Programs such as Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina and Kansas are the most obvious there. Those teams are national brands with Hall of Fame coaches, rabid fan bases and a history of success at the highest levels.

But there are always surprising teams that can rise up and compete with the big boys. Change and evolution are inevitable in the world of recruiting. Whether that’s thanks to a dynamic coach, a deep run in the NCAA tournament or an impressive crop of local prospects, teams can quickly establish themselves as forces on the recruiting trail.

With that in mind, we asked our team of RecruitingNation experts to predict which under-the-radar team could become a recruiting power in the next few years.

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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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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.
Momentum is a powerful thing in the world of college basketball recruiting. While it tends to be a constant for a select few national powerhouses like Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina and Kansas, virtually all other programs in the country are constantly competing for any edge that can push them to that next level.

In the wake of our initial 2014 ESPN 100 player rankings release last week and as we start a team-by-team breakdown of 2014 recruiting targets by conference over the next two weeks, here’s a look at five college hoops programs that are trending in the wrong direction on the momentum meter heading into the 2014 recruiting class.

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ESPN 100 G plans to visit Texas 

March, 9, 2013
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AUSTIN, Texas – As he walked off the Frank Erwin Center court Friday night, the high school basketball career for a standout player from Richardson (Texas) Berkner ended after a loss in the state semifinals. He received a tap on the shoulder from a fan.

“Hey, where are you going to college?” he was asked.


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Arizona nabs ESPN 60 Jackson-Cartwright 

February, 24, 2013
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ESPN.com has confirmed on Sunday that top 60 point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright (Los Angeles/Loyola) has verbally committed to Arizona.


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