NCB On The Trail: Arizona Wildcats

If you’ve noticed a sudden rush of recruiting information for 2016 prospects in the last few days, it's no coincidence.

Sunday was the first day that college coaches were permitted to contact prospects in the rising junior class, and for some prospects that literally meant the phone rang when the clock struck midnight.

Often times, those conversations are followed by some sort of offer. Here’s a look at some of the latest news for the Class of 2016:

In high school basketball, the best players usually concentrate on their offense because that’s how their teams win games. But there are several prospects who have the potential to be elite defenders. Let’s examine the five best defenders among the incoming freshmen and one from the Class of 2015.

1. Justise Winslow, Duke
Winslow has a college-ready body and mindset that will help him influence the game with his defensive prowess. His defensive versatility might be the best among the entire freshman class as the 6-foot-6 forward can defend point guards through power forwards. The athletic Winslow can be a factor in full-court pressure or trapping situations as well as in a straight-up man-to-man denial defense locking up, the opposing team's best offensive threat. What makes him a special defender is that he is always thinking about where he should be next on the floor. Winslow will be extremely important for Duke next season.

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Weekly commitment update

March, 14, 2014
Mar 14

Notre Dame
Matt Farrell SG
HT: 6-2 | WT: 170
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: 2

Big Ten

Trey Dickerson PG
HT: 6-2 | WT: 180
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: Junior college

Brandon Hutton
HT: 6-6 | WT: 205
Class of 2015
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation pending

P.J. Thompson PG
HT: 5-10 | WT: 155
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation pending

Big 12

Texas Tech
Devaugntah Williams PG
HT: 6-4 | WT: Not listed
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: Junior college

Justin Jamison PF
HT: 6-9 | WT: 240
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: Junior college


Bobby Frasco SF
HT: 6-5 | WT: 180
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation pending

Mountain West

Air Force
Dane Norman PF
HT: 6-7 | WT: 175
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: 1


Dusan Ristic C
HT: 7-0 | WT: 240
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: 15
Stars: 4


South Carolina
Shamiek Sheppard SF
HT: 6-6 | WT: 225
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: Post-Grad
Stars: 2

Jeff Roberson SF
HT: 6-6 | WT: 195
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: 47
Stars: 3


Central Arkansas
Jordan Howard PG
HT: 5-10 | WT: 150
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation pending

Thatch Unruh SG
HT: 6-4 | WT: Not listed
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation pending
Basketball is played right through the new year, so as we look back and plan ahead let’s take a look halfway through this season at which 2014 prospects have performed best in 14 categories.

1. Best in the low post: Jahlil Okafor (Chicago/Whitney Young), Duke signee
If a team needs to score a basket in the lower half of the painted area, Okafor is the one to pass it to. He has secure hands to catch almost any pass and a soft touch with superb footwork. He also has a wide mobile body to seal his man and the patience to throw the ball back out and re-post his 7-foot-3 wing span.

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Roundtable: Late signing period storylines 

November, 20, 2013
After an incredibly busy early signing period, there aren’t many top 2014 prospects left on the board as we head into the high school season. Conventional wisdom suggests that’s a recipe for a quiet late signing period, but the reality is that with so many national powerhouse programs still looking to add pieces to their classes, things could get very interesting in the next few months.

With that in mind, we once again polled our team of experts at Recruiting Nation and asked them what the biggest storyline will be in advance of the late signing period. Here’s what they had to say:

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Small forward Justise Winslow (Houston/Saint John's), who is ranked 14th in the ESPN 100, has scheduled his three remaining official visits after already taking official trips to Florida and UCLA, plus an unofficial to Texas A&M.

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#AskCoachB: Package deals?

September, 23, 2013
Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation national recruiting director Paul Biancardi a question about basketball recruiting? Tweet it to @PaulBiancardi using the hashtag #AskCoachB.

Maybe it's an aberration or maybe it will become a trend in college recruiting, but count Cliff Alexander and JaQuan Lyle as the latest who talk about going to school together. This talk all started when Lyle decommitted from Louisville.

A recent quote from Alexander on Twitter:

Another pair of top players, Jahlil Okafor and Tyus Jones, have been planning the same scenario and have been on the same page for months about their intentions and the recruiting process.

Lyle has visits set up with Arizona, Kansas and Memphis, and he visited UConn this past weekend.

Alexander and Lyle will be visiting Kansas and Memphis together, and it's worth noting that Alexander's girlfriend will be on the Jayhawks women's basketball team as a freshman this season, which is one reason why Kansas has been such a high mention.

Alexander already has visited Arizona and DePaul and will also be heading to Illinois for an official visit. Michigan State is still in the race, as Alexander has been there unofficially and includes them on his list.

Memphis is right in the thick of the race and they just made a home visit last Friday. Cliff told me that he and his mom love Tigers coach Josh Pastner.

Look for both to make their decisions after the early signing period to give Lyle time to sort things out and to let the dust settle after the early signing week. Alexander told me he should be ready sometime in December.

Aaron Gordon (San Jose, Calif./Archbishop Mitty) is the No. 1 player on the West Coast, the nation’s No. 2 power forward and the No. 7 overall prospect in the ESPN 100.

And what makes him one of the most coveted uncommitted recruits in the country -- he’s down to Washington, Arizona and Kentucky -- is that he can dominate opponents with both his physical ability and his versatility. One thing is for sure: You won’t outwork this 6-foot-8, 210-pound athletic marvel, who can influence the outcome of any game.

You can watch Gordon in action Monday at noon ET on ESPNU when his Archbishop Mitty squad takes on No. 3 Lone Peak (Utah) at the Spalding Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass. But to give you an idea of what to expect and what makes him so good, let’s break down the major parts of Gordon’s game.

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Aaron GordonScott Kurtz for ESPN.comAaron Gordon, the No. 6 player in the ESPN 100, visited Washington last weekend.

From a high school standpoint, San Jose (Calif.) Archbishop Mitty coach Tim Kennedy considers Aaron Gordon “as good as it gets.”

The 6-foot-7, 210-pound forward has the ability to take over a high school game, whether it is on the perimeter or in the post.

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