NCB On The Trail: #askcoachb
Answering this tomorrow! How do you see UNCs class of Jackson, Pinson, and Berry fitting in? How high could their impact be ? #AskCoachB— Paul Biancardi (@PaulBiancardi) April 23, 2014
North Carolina coach Roy Williams loses James Michael McAdoo to the NBA draft and Leslie McDonald to graduation. Between the two, that’s 24 points per game and a lot of game experience you can't replace, but you can try to help replenish what's returning. UNC's 2014 recruiting class finished the season ranked third in the nation with three players in the top 20 of the ESPN 100 – No. 8 Justin Jackson, No. 10 Theo Pinson and No. 17 Joel Berry. This class will be impactful both individually and as a collective unit. They all bring different elements to next year's team that will make the Tar Heels more talented and help UNC play better as a team. Jackson will score in a very efficient manner to help take the pressure off Marcus Paige, Pinson will be outstanding in the conversion game and from a defensive standpoint if he applies himself and Berry will be a good defender and lead guard who can finish drives and hand out assists. Berry will also lead by his work ethic in practice but in reality, all three of these guys are serious about the game and are high-quality people.
@PaulBiancardi Which under-the-radar point guard in the 2014 class could become an elite floor general (the next Shabazz Napier)? #AskCoachBShabazz Napier developed over a four-year period and delivered his best performance down the stretch as a senior in March.
— Sam Kovzan (@skovzan) April 21, 2014
The candidates who emerge four or five years later are the hardest prospects to project. Looking down the road, I'm seeking someone who has a balanced offensive attack, which include the ability to make shots, and a thirst to compete.
Dominique Collier is a true point guard who knows when to take over a game from a scoring standpoint. He has a great sense of what needs to be done in the clutch.
Collier controls the game and can create opportunities for teammates with his court vision.
Part of having success also stems from who surrounds you. Colorado coach Tad Boyle has continued to succeed in recruiting, which is vital because it takes some of the pressure off Collier right away and gives him the best chance to succeed later.
Collier has the mindset and skills to be a terrific player. He is a prospect who comes in underrated and could have that big breakout season as a senior.
If you were starting a team from scratch which player out of this class would you take? @PaulBiancardi #askcoachbWhat a great question! I believe it's important to select the one player who has unique size, skill and the physical tools to be special.
— Nike EYBL Stats (@eyblstats) April 16, 2014
And that player would be Jahlil Okafor, and here's why.
He possesses a combination of unique size with sure hands, and he has a fluid post move in which he uses his footwork to beat his defender. He is a special player who can make the opponent change its game plan. With his size and excellent low-post skills, you can count on him every night. Plus, he is extremely intelligent.
He dominates the game in the paint by producing consistently and working hard on the glass.
@PaulBiancardi Do you think Brandone Francis Will get a good amount of Playing Time next year for Florida? #AskCoachBRemember, playing time is earned!
— Ryan Deblois (@deblois_ryan) April 13, 2014
Because the Gators are losing PG Scottie Wilbekin and SF Casey Prather after a tremendous season, there is room for Brandone Francis.
He will come in and see some significant minutes as a freshman due to his scoring skills and strong frame. Francis has the unique ability to play the small forward and shooting guard, as well as the point guard spot in a pinch.
His season was up and down this year, but he looked good at the Nike Hoop Summit event last week. He really needs to work on his outside shooting as it will complement his drive game.
I see him playing early. The question will be can be hold on to his minutes.
@PaulBiancardi how do u feel about Isaiah whitehead #AskcoachB— AIM FOR THE SKY FLO (@teamfocus3) April 16, 2014
ESPN 100 guard Isaiah Whitehead is a prospect who could be a major factor in the resurgence of Seton Hall basketball. He has been up and down in terms of his consistency and production, but he owns all the tools to be a great college player. Whitehead has a strong body, a competitive spirit, potent scoring skills and great court vision.
Now the flip side to that is there are nights he doesn't move well without the ball to get open. And he sometimes displays poor shot selection and takes a high volume of attempts, which freezes his teammates out of the action.
At the Elite 24 game in New York last summer, Whitehead dropped 26 points in front of the home crowd and did it within the flow of the game. He is at his best when he is attacking the basket because he can take a hit and finish. His jumper is more than capable from distance, and he thrives in the transition game. When he plays the right way and within the team concept, he can be very good.
Whitehead is on the East roster for the Jordan Brand Classic (7 p.m. ET Friday on ESPN2) but may have to sit out due to a sore hamstring.
There is talk that his high school coach, Tiny Morton, will join the Pirates' coaching staff and have the chance to coach him again at Seton Hall. Whitehead certainly has the talent to make Seton Hall relevant again.
Parker decision alter Myles Turner's decisison ?!?!? #askcoachbI don't believe Jabari Parker's decision on whether to turn pro has any bearing at all on the college decision of ESPN 100 No. 2 overall prospect Myles Turner.
— brezinski (@nickbrezinski) April 15, 2014
Turner wanted to finish taking his visits and then try to figure out what his best option would be. He is done with visits; now it’s time for him to weigh all the pros and the cons. He is looking for a situation where he has a strong relationship with the head coach and the overall chemistry of the team. Furthermore, he wants a coach who has proven track record developing his players over the course of a year or over time, and preparing them for the next level will be important.
Whether Parker stays at Duke or declares for the NBA draft won't affect Turner's decision. His list of schools is still the same: Arizona, Duke, Oklahoma State, Ohio State, Texas, SMU and Texas A&M. Look for him to make his decision sometime after the Jordan Brand Classic game, which is at 7 p.m. ET Friday on ESPN2.
@PaulBiancardi Who is the one kid outside the top 100 who will have the biggest impact next year? #AskCoachB— Sam Sternberg (@ssternberg21) April 14, 2014
Shooting guard Javon Bess, who is heading to Michigan State, is a sleeper and should have a very good freshman season. Michigan State is losing point guard Keith Appling, and on Monday, shooting guard Gary Harris declared for the NBA draft. Bess will now have a chance to work his way into the rotation and be a factor next season.
Bess plays on the wing and possesses point-forward abilities, as he is long, athletic and constantly making plays with his high motor. Bess can be productive not only in statistical areas but also in other facets of the game that don't show up in the box score. He's a great teammate, he brings energy to the game, gives energy to his teammates and handles the ball against pressure in the full court.
When it comes to scoring, I like the way he attacks the rim, finishes and makes shots when he has time to set his feet. Versatility is what makes him special, as he is also a good passer who finds an open teammate quickly and unselfishly from the wing spot. He brings a many talents to the offensive end and probably could be equally effective on defense, where he shows good lateral quickness with long arms and nice anticipation in the passing lanes.
As his skills improve, he will contribute even more. Tom Izzo and his staff have a long and extremely successful history of winning -- and player development.
@PaulBiancardi @nikehoopsummit who was the best looking prospect in your opinion? #AskCoachB
— Hunter Coleman (@hunterc30) April 13, 2014
The two best prospects were Jahlil Okafor for the USA Team and Karl Towns Jr. for the World Team.
Okafor displayed his dominating low-post game and was virtually unguardable. He produced double- figure points (14) and rebounds (10) in only 27 minutes of play. If he gets into optimal physical condition, he can decide his future.
Towns was the only player on the World Team who could score with either hand. Okafor made it difficult for him to score because of his franchise size. He was in foul trouble most of the game so he had to sit and lost some of his aggressiveness.
Towns' future at Kentucky and beyond is extremely bright.
When you look ahead to the college game next season, Okafor should be battle-tested and ready to produce at a high level at Duke.
Towns has all the upside you could ever want in a big man. When you combine his size, shooting skills and impressive basketball instincts -- along with his defensive upside -- he could be really good at Kentucky.
With plenty of hard work and sacrifice in the offseason, they could be two of the better players in college basketball next season.
@PaulBiancardi How good is Elijah Stewart ? Does UNC have a good shot with him ? #AskCoachBWhen our final rankings came out the other day Elijah Stewart came in at No. 94.
— Allen Burns (@TNcoach4UNC) April 5, 2014
Stewart can play, as he has a rangy frame and is a terrific jump-shooter. He’s an explosive athlete who can compete and perform in any conference. He loves to attack the rim in combination with his jumper, which makes him hard to guard. An area of improvement would be his ball handling, as he attacks with speed more than control.
UNC has inquired, as have USC, UCLA and many other programs.
If Tar Heels go after him hard, they will get a visit. His quick-trigger jumper is just what they need.
PaulBiancardi scouting report on Bates-Diop?#AskcoachB— Mark (@govolx) April 9, 2014
The Buckeyes have the nation's No. 5 class, and it is loaded with versatility. ESPN No. 22 Keita Bates-Diop leads this class and is a combination of a power forward/small forward. His shooting touch extends to the arc, and he has the size to produce in the paint, which makes him hard to defend.
He scores in the low post with turnaround shots off the glass and faces the basket with quick drives along the baseline. He can pass and has good length to block shots, which is a strength.
Ohio State coach Thad Matta does a great job of helping his players find success by moving them to different spots on the floor. Matta can play Bates-Diop at the power forward spot and play small ball or put him at the small forward position and have a big lineup. He's comfortable defending a couple of different positions and is a very valuable piece to the Buckeyes' future success.
The Tigers lose four seniors who played a significant role, including Joe Jackson, Michael Dixon, Geron Johnson and Chris Crawford.
Memphis does add ESPN 100 prospect Dominic Magee and three other junior college players. What's important to know is that redshirt freshman combination guard Markel Crawford will be ready to go for the 2014-15 season.
Memphis still has plenty of talent in the frontcourt, as Kuran Iverson, Austin Nichols, Nick King and Shaq Goodwin can produce at a high level. The Tigers might struggle at the point guard spot, but there is enough talent there to have a good season.
Also don't forget coach Josh Pastner and his staff already have a verbal commitment from ESPN 60 prospect K.J. Lawson in 2015. He is a stud.
What school is josh cunningham leaning towards? #askcoachB— Downtown Funktystuff (@NoahWhyde) April 2, 2014
The race is getting quite interesting for ESPN 100 forward Josh Cunningham. He had plans to make a decision this week but now will wait another week. Cunningham is going to take his last official visit to South Carolina this weekend. He told me last month that he likes coach Frank Martin because he is a top defensive coach and Cunningham likes to play defense.
Cunningham has taken official visits to Iowa State, Creighton, Oklahoma and Northwestern. He's also still considering Indiana, Bradley, DePaul and Minnesota.
It looks like he will make his announcement on April 18 so stay connected here with Recruiting Nation for all of the latest on his recruitment.
@PaulBiancardi @ESPNRNHoops which tourney team will get the biggest lift, if any, on the recruiting trail? #AskcoachB
— Kyle MacDonald (@kylemac) April 1, 2014
Now that we have reached in the championship game, I would definitely say Connecticut. When Kevin Ollie took over this program on a full-time basis, there was a bit of uncertainty about him as a coach and as a recruiter because he was new to both fields. Anytime you have on-the-court success it opens doors for the next line of recruits. They now consider you and your program and will listen to you. This magical run for Ollie solidifies to the public and -- more importantly -- to the UConn program that he and his staff should get some nice residual benefits from future recruiting classes.
@Trealo_G: @PaulBiancardi what u think about Brandon Jennings younger brother Terrance Phillips as a prospect I think he a mid-major PG #askcoachB
Currently a junior, Terrence Phillips was inserted into the starting line up this season when Shelton Mitchell went down with an injury.
Phillips led his team to a No. 6 seed in the Dick's Sporting Goods High School National Tournament. I like Phillips' quickness in the open floor and his ability to drive and kick in the half court. He needs to become better at scoring, especially at making open 3-pointers.
Right now his recruiting interest is coming more from the mid-majors. He lives in Atlanta, and Georgia State has been on him hard. Virginia Tech was interested before its recent coaching change. At this point he is a mid-major point guard with the ability to play high-major basketball if the jump shot and decision-making improve. He does bring energy, which coaches love.
Looking into the future, I really like Chase Jeter, a 6-foot-9 power forward from Las Vegas Bishop Gorman. At a young age he understands how to use his body inside on the blocks and is not afraid of contact. He has good hands and shows solid footwork to get angles to make post moves inside. Jeter keeps improving and plays the game with a constant energy level. He runs very well in transition, can finish with a powerful dunk and has a keen understanding of rebounding on both ends. I think the team that lands this ESPN 60 prospect will be getting an extremely productive and hardworking forward.
It's still early in the recruiting process as he owns dozens of offers, including the likes of Duke, Kansas, Arizona, Harvard, Gonzaga, Connecticut, North Carolina, Oregon and Louisville.