NCB On The Trail: Devin Robinson

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:

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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The high school basketball season is in full swing and some of the nation’s best are playing well and leading their teams. Others are extremely productive and having great individual performances.

There's also a small group of players who are good now with a chance of big-time growth.

As top-ranked players, they have talent. It's what they do with it that will determine their ultimate success. To reach their potential, it’s a matter of two important questions. Does the prospect have the necessary tools to perform at a high level? And will he do what is necessary from an effort standpoint to be great?

Let's take a look at players who are playing at a high level now and who have plenty of potential to be even better down the road.

ESPN No. 2 Myles Turner
The Texas native has a combination of size and skill, and he's a shot blocker with mobility. Turner was one block shy of a triple double, as he had 29 points, 15 rebounds and nine blocks last week against Homeschool Christian.


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Florida adds flexibility 

December, 11, 2013
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It’s as easy as 1,2,3 because that’s what Florida coach Billy Donovan has put together in the nation’s No. 11 class -- a trio of prospects who play point guard, shooting guard and small forward. This group brings a unique blend of positional players who certainly are not married to one position. They are extremely strong on the perimeter and demonstrate interchange parts in their performances.


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Florida announces signing class

November, 21, 2013
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Florida coach Billy Donovan announced his 2014-15 recruiting class on Thursday as the early signing period came to an end.

Signing with the Gators were three ESPN 100 prospects: SG Brandone Francis (Jacksonville, Fla./Arlington Country Day), SF Devin Robinson (Chesterfield, Va./Christchurch) and PG Chris Chiozza (Memphis/White Station). Donovan also will welcome SG Zach Hodskins (Alpharetta, Ga./Milton) as a preferred walk-on.

"We are really excited about these guys and their future at the University of Florida," Donovan said. "They all have tremendous potential, and we're glad they're Gators."
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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Small forward Devin Robinson (Chesterfield, Va./Christchurch School), the No. 28 player in the ESPN 100, has committed to Florida over Indiana, Notre Dame and Oklahoma State. His pledge gives coach Billy Donovan a third ESPN 100 performer in the Class of 2014, alongside No. 27 Brandone Francis and No. 42 Chris Chiozza.

Why did Robinson commit to Florida and how will he fit with the Gators? Let's break it down:


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Class rankings analysis: Oct. 30 

October, 30, 2013
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As we come down to the wire for basketball's early signing period in November, many of the best players in the nation have finished their visits and are ready to make their decisions. Here’s a look at how some of the recruiting classes are shaping up as we get closer to the signing period:

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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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#AskCoachB: Hoosiers have a chance

October, 22, 2013
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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.



As we get closer to the national signing week, these two players should be ready to make to their college decisions.

When it comes to James Blackmon (Marion, Ind./Marion), he is a one-time Indiana commitment who recently decommitted from the Hoosiers, but they are still in the mix. There has been talk that he might go back and visit IU before he makes his final decision. Blackmon just recently visited Kentucky for Big Blue Madness. His final list includes Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan and Michigan State.

For Devin Robinson (Chesterfield, Va./Christchurch School), the Hoosiers are in there strong and have an excellent chance of landing him. He is down to Indiana, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State and Florida. It looks as though the Hoosiers' chances are better with Robinson.

We are looking at two of the better long-range shooters in the class. Blackmon is, I believe, the best shooter in the class when it comes to range and accuracy. He can also play some point guard in a pinch, as he has good knowledge of the game. Robinson has great size and length with the ability to make jumpers from anywhere on the floor. He is a promising prospect whose best basketball is in the future.

Blackmon will make an impact right away and Robinson will need time for his body to fill out before he makes an impact in the college game, but make no mistake about his high level of talent.

Inside the rankings: ESPN 100 review

September, 27, 2013
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When we analyzed the 2014 ESPN 100, we found upside in the front court as eight of the top 10 players in this class played the center or power forward position.

When we look at the top of those respective positions it’s easy to be impressed. Jahlil Okafor (Chicago/Whitney Young) continues to hold the top spot because he is the best and most polished low post player in this class. Okafor has transformed his body; he is lighter on his feet and now possesses more stamina than ever before. In the lower half of the paint, he has perfected a jump hook over his left shoulder and he is improving his up-and-under move as counter. He demands double teams inside and reads where the help is coming from and has the vision to find the open man.

Other standouts in the class include Cliff Alexander (Chicago/Curie), the No. 3 overall player and No. 1 power forward, who won us over with his high motor and tenacity on the glass and paint scoring. When it comes to putting points on the board, the shooting guard and small forward positions are deep and talented. North Carolina commit Justin Jackson scores the ball at a high level and is lethal from mid-range. Seton Hall commit Isaiah Whitehead (Brooklyn, N.Y./Lincoln) has improved his approach to the game and had a breakout performance at the Elite 24.

At this point, the class lacks a true superstar, but it has plenty of talent and potential. Here's a look at players who made the biggest moves in our rankings:

Five who moved up
  • Myles Turner (Bedford, Texas/Trinity) went from No. 10 to No. 2 because of his play this summer. Turner is the best long-term prospect and the best shot blocker in the high school game. Offensively, he possesses a soft touch and an impressive 3-point shot.
  • Stanley Johnson (Fullerton, Calif./Mater Dei) climbed his way inside the top 10 to No. 9 with his effort and productivity. A power driver with a much improved jumper, Johnson is a consistent rebounder. Summer is a grind but Johnson got stronger as it went on.
  • Kelly Oubre (Fort Bend, Texas/Findlay Prep) made a significant move, shooting up 10 spots to No. 10, because he consistently makes highlight reel-worthy plays. Ourbe is a dynamic blend of athletic ability, skill and versatility.
  • D'angelo Russell (Louisville, Ky./Montverde), the No. 12 overall player, is dangerous with and without the ball. If you leave him alone, the future Buckeye will make you pay.
  • No one made a bigger jump than Devin Robinson (Chesterfield, Va./Christchurch), whose ranking went from No. 74 to No. 28. A good 3-point shooter and a playmaker, he exudes potential.
Five who moved in
  • No. 44 Robert Johnson (Richmond, Va./Benedictine) is a true combination guard who competes and displays poise. The Indiana commit can run the point is good enough from deep to keep you honest.
  • No. 68 a href="http://espn.go.com/college-sports/basketball/recruiting/player/_/id/124498/tadric-jackson">Tadric Jackson (Tifton, Ga./Tift) will bring speed and scoring on the perimeter to Brian Gregory and Georgia Tech. An off-the-charts athlete, he is constantly in attack mode and is talented enough to play the point. Jackson is a perfect fit, as Georgia Tech wants to push the ball and he can lead or finish the fast break.
  • No. 70 Jonah Bolden is a long, athletic forward brings size and skill to the floor. The Australian is more of a finesse player than physically imposing, beating opponents with his long and mid-range shooting and impressive passing ability.
  • No. 72 Lourawls Nairn (Bel Aire, Kan./Sunrise Christian) has the ability to create and push the tempo, which may be unmatched in his class. Nairn loves to go fast -- in fact, the faster the pace the more he thrives.
  • No. 86 Isaac Haas (Piedmont, Ala./Hokes) has a massive body that is made to bang inside, set screens, rebound and be a physical presence in the painted area. The Wake Forest commit runs well for his size.

It was an incredibly busy weekend of action on the recruiting front, not just because of the series of high-major commitments, but also because of trimmed lists, scheduled visits, and scholarship offers, all of which have the potential to create multiple ripples on the pending domino effect.

Commitment Catch-Up

• ESPN 100 PF Craig Victor (New Orleans, La./Findlay Prep) commits to Arizona: The 31st-ranked prospect and 5th best PF in the country announced on Saturday he was heading to Arizona, giving coach Sean Miller his third high level combination forward in as many years.


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The best performers of July 

August, 2, 2013
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In basketball recruiting, the July recruiting period is a chance for college coaches to zero in on their top targets. And for us here at RecruitingNation, it is likewise a chance to attend July’s biggest events and watch the nation’s top players.

To wrap up the hottest evaluation time of the year, let’s hand out some superlatives to the biggest standouts from the entire month of July.

Biggest difference-maker: Jahlil Okafor
When you play with and against older, more experienced competition and win a gold medal while being named to the all-tournament team, you make a massive difference. Okafor represented USA Basketball at the U19 World Championships in Prague at the beginning of the month and was one of only two high school prospects on the team (Justise Winslow was the other). Okafor impacts every game because you have to have a plan and then a back-up plan to stop him or at least contain him. He operates in the low post better than anyone in the 2014 class as he works for deep position and knows how to move his feet to gain an advantage. He can score with a jump hook or drop step, and he can and will also throw it back out of the post and reestablish himself for better position. If he’s on your team, the offense should go through him as much as possible.

[+] EnlargeMyles Turner
Courtesy of Kelly Kline/Under ArmourNo. 10 recruit Myles Turner continues to raise his stock and has almost every major program in the country after him.
Hottest prospect: Myles Turner

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Elite recruits and sleepers star in Orlando 

July, 27, 2013
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- The action has been fast and furious at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex, as the AAU Super Showcase is heading into the Sweet 16 and elite rounds while the AAU Nationals are just warming up.

On Friday at the Super Showcase and Nationals, a good mixture of elite prospects, rising stars and sleepers continued to stand out, including ESPN 100 prospects Kelly Oubre, Jae'Sean Tate and Devin Robinson, ESPN 60 recruit Skal Labissiere and ESPN 25 phenom Malik Monk.

Here were some of the top performers from Friday in Orlando.

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PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia University gym was alive Wednesday evening as the Reebok Breakout Classic opened to a wave of big-name college coaches, including John Calipari, John Thompson III, Larry Brown, Mike Brey, Jay Wright, Scott Drew, Kevin Ollie and Steve Alford.

Once the clock struck 5 p.m. and the doors opened to release a jammed lobby full of coaches, a full set of games highlighted Reebok's most recent successful national camp. Among the players who put on their best effort in front of the litany of elite coaches was Class of 2014 top-25 recruits Emmanuel Mudiay, Rashad Vaughn and Josh Perkins along with surging three-star PF Malik Price-Martin.

Here’s a look at Day 1 of the event.

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