NCB On The Trail: Diamond Stone

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When you go to a Final Four, your legacy changes as a coach and a player. However, the way you recruit should not change because that philosophy is what got you to a Final Four and that should stay intact. Far too often I have seen coaches change their methods and try to go after higher-profile kids, thinking they can now land bigger fish. In the case of Wisconsin, coach Bo Ryan has a style when recruiting: He goes after skilled players with toughness and solid basketball IQs. He likes to find interchangeable players who can hurt a defense from different spots on the floor (think Nigel Hayes). The staff looks for big men with ball skills who can also produce inside and guards who like to score inside as well as behind the arc.

Making the Final Four won't instantly land Wisconsin better recruits, but the actual benefits come down the road with future classes, especially in 2016 and 2017 because it will be fresh in their minds when they start to think about schools. Going to the Final Four builds recruiting momentum for the upcoming years by opening doors and getting people's attention. When the Badgers want to pursue top 2015 prospects such as Diamond Stone, who is No. 5 in the ESPN 60, or Henry Ellenson, who is No. 47, it will certainly help. Wisconsin was already involved with these two prospects, but now they will get an even better look.

#AskCoachB: Future for Kansas

March, 31, 2014
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Freshman center Joel Embiid has yet to officially announce his NBA draft decision, but it looks like fellow freshman phenom Andrew Wiggins will do so on Monday. The school released a statement that the 6-foot-8 freshman from Canada will make an announcement at 3 p.m. ET. When you have an announcement set up, it usually means you are going somewhere, not staying.

Looking ahead to 2015, Naadir Tharpe will be graduating next year, which makes point guard an absolute need in the 2015 class. Everyone will also be keeping tabs on returning wing Wayne Selden and incoming freshmen Cliff Alexander and Kelly Oubre next season.

The Jayhawks' needs in 2015 could be many depending on which players declare for the NBA draft next year. Here is an early peek at their wish list in 2015. On the perimeter there's Malik Newman, Jalen Brunson, Jalen Adams, Antonio Blakeney, Montaque Gill-Ceasar and P.J. Dozier. Dozier, who has been sidelined with a knee injury this year, will be back and has already shown the talent to be a high-major prospect.

The main targets for the frontcourt are ESPN 60 No. 1 Ivan Rabb, Diamond Stone, Stephen Zimmerman, Chase Jeter and Carlton Bragg.

This is an early, fluid list of recruits Kansas has targeted. There is a very good chance this list will change after the spring evaluation period.
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Now that the Blue Devils have secured a commitment from ESPN 60 shooting guard Luke Kennard, their focus in the 2015 class will be on landing some size to blend in with their strong perimeter talent.

Jahlil Okafor could certainly be on his way to the NBA draft after next season, and that would just leave Amile Jefferson and Marshall Plumlee in the post for Duke.

Besides Chase Jeter, other top 2015 frontcourt targets include ESPN 60 No. 1 recruit Ivan Rabb, Diamond Stone and Skal Labissiere.

That group of players possesses the size, rebounding, shot blocking and scoring Duke needs inside.

The Blue Devils are also still in the running for ESPN 100 center Myles Turner, the No. 2 prospect in the 2014 class. Turner will make his college decision sometime in the late signing period this spring.

And as we look down the road at the Class of 2016, Duke's priorities are in-state prospect Harry Giles and Jayson Tatum from Missouri.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski and his staff are landing some of the nation's premier talent in hopes of keeping Duke in contention in the powerful ACC.

#AskCoachB: Better fit for Wisconsin

February, 20, 2014
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The simple and best answer for the first question is: both. They are each outstanding big men in the Class of 2015.

Henry Ellenson is a strong and skilled post player with excellent shooting range and plenty of upside. The Badgers have been on him and are making him a priority. He was in attendance at the Kohl Center when Wisconsin recently beat Michigan State.

Diamond Stone is in the Badgers' back yard and his name has been on our boards since his freshman season. He is a legit 6-foot-10 post who has the skill to face the basket with post moves. That's rare at such a young age. He still needs to learn how to give maximum effort all the time, however.

Both fit extremely well in Bo Ryan's system because the Wisconsin coach has been successful utilizing big men who face the basket.

I believe Stone has the better chance of staying in state. He has two outstanding options in Marquette and Wisconsin.
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The Michigan Wolverines are having another strong season on the court this year, despite losing a pair of NBA players in Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. They are on top of the Big Ten standings playing without one of their main weapons in Mitch McGary, who had back surgery.

One thing that is evident under John Beilein and staff: They put effort into their evaluations and it pays off because most of their recruits fit their system.

Projecting needs for the 2015 class could vary based on who departs for the NBA, transfers and, of course, graduation. Their class for 2014 is ranked at No. 39. This is not a complete list, but here are some main targets for the Wolverines in the Class of 2015:

Stephen Zimmerman (Las Vegas /Bishop Gorman) Jalen Brunson (Chicago/Stevenson), Luke Kennard (Franklin, Ohio/Franklin) Carlton Bragg (Cleveland/ St. Joseph's), Diamond Stone (Milwaukee/ Dominican), Eric Davis (Saginaw, Mich./ Arthur Hill), Henry Ellenson (Rice Lake, Wis./Rice Lake).

#AskCoachB: Duke's 2015 priorities

February, 12, 2014
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Recruiting never stops, and coaches are always working on classes one or two years down the road. While Duke currently holds the top recruiting class in 2014, coach Mike Krzyzewski and his staff are diving right into the Class of 2015 and beyond.

In the Class of 2015, size is a big need for Duke. The biggest name on the Blue Devils’ board is ESPN 60 No. 1 overall player Ivan Rabb (Oakland, Calif./Bishop O'Dowd), an extremely athletic post who scores, rebounds and blocks shots.

Other names on the list are Diamond Stone (Milwaukee/Dominican), a skilled low- and high-post player; Thomas Bryant (Rochester, N.Y./Huntington Prep), a wide yet mobile big with a soft touch; and Chase Jeter (Las Vegas/Bishop Gorman ), a fundamentally sound inside and outside threat.

Some names to know on the perimeter are ESPN 60 No. 2 Malik Newman (Jackson, Miss./Callaway), Luke Kennard (Franklin, Ohio/Franklin), Brandon Ingram (Kinston, N.C./Kingston) and Charles Matthews (Chicago/St. Rita).

If you are a Duke fan, the biggest thing to remember right now is that the Blue Devils are still in the running for ESPN’s No. 2 2014 prospect Myles Turner (Bedford, Texas/Trinity), who is expected to make a decision when his season is over. While the Duke staff has 2015 targets on the board, wrapping up the 2014 class comes first.
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First of all, that's a great question because the Blue Devils will -- in all likelihood -- lose Jahlil Okafor after one season. I would not get caught up as to who can play the 5-spot. You can win in college basketball with elite power forwards if they do their job by defending and showing the ability to defend bigger players and rebound. It's important they display the skill to score both inside and away from the basket. Duke will need size in 2015.

In addition to ESPN No. 5 Diamond Stone (Milwaukee, Wis./ Dominican) who the Blue Devils have made deep inroads with, Duke is involved with the big man from Texas -- ESPN No. 6 Elijah Thomas (Lancaster, Texas/Lancaster) and super shot blocker and ESPN No. 8 Skal Labissiere (Memphis, Tenn. Evangelical Christian).

Speaking of elite power forwards, the Blue Devils are in the mix for ESPN No. 10 Carlton Bragg (Cleveland, Ohio/ St. Joseph) and ESPN No. 37 Chase Jeter(Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman), who is an above average post up player and rebounder.

We are a long way from 2015, but for college coaches who are recruiting, the early period is when you begin your evaluations and show attention to the ones you want to get.

Event showcases Wisconsin’s best 

December, 16, 2013
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MEQUON, Wis. -- The seventh annual NY2LA Sports Classic was held on Saturday at Homestead High. The event featured the best teams in Wisconsin and is the top high school event in the state. Here are some of the top performers and performances.


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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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Breaking down the new 2015 ESPN 60 

September, 25, 2013
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Malik NewmanAP Photo/Charles SmithCallaway, Miss., shooting guard Malik Newman might be No. 1 in the 2015 ESPN 60, but a deep class of big men will challenge him for that spot over the next 18 months.
We’ve processed a full summer worth of action and now our updated ESPN 60 includes the top national prospects in the 2015 recruiting class. Here’s 10 things every college basketball fan should know as this class heads into its junior season:

1. A battle for the top spot

There’s a new No. 1 in town, and while Paul Biancardi breaks down why Malik Newman (Jackson, Miss./Callway) is the new top dog, I’m here to tell you this race is far from over. The previous No. 1 Ivan Rabb (Oakland, Calif./Bishop O’Dowd) is going to want his title back, and no one is making a more aggressive charge to the top of the rankings than Stephen Zimmerman (Las Vegas/Bishop Gorman) who has been coming on strong all spring and summer. Ben Simmons (Melbourne, Australia/Montverde Academy), Diamond Stone (Milwaukee/Dominican), and Elijah Thomas (Lancaster, Texas/Lancaster) are three other guys who will challenge in the coming 18 months as the top spot is still very much up for grabs moving forward in the 2015 class.


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MILWAUKEE -- ESPN 60 center Diamond Stone (Milwaukee/Dominican), who is running with the Young Legends 16U team this week at the Under Armour Summer Jam presented by NY2LA Sports, has had a number of dominating performances, including a 31-point, 12-rebound, five-block outburst on Saturday morning against the LV Prospects.

And there have been plenty of college coaches on hand to take in his strong play.

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Alexander dominates Day 2 at LeBron 

July, 8, 2013
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Editor's note: This is the latest entry in Dave Telep's July Road Trip blog. Throughout the month, Dave will check in each day he's on the road while covering some of the biggest basketball recruiting events in the country. He'll let you know where he's at, offer some highlights of the day and give a quick look at what's next.

LAS VEGAS -- Everyone was assembling. The stage was set for No. 10 rising senior Myles Turner (Euless, Texas/Trinity) to take on No. 2 Cliff Alexander (Chicago/Curie). Unfortunately, the much-anticipated matchup didn’t happen after a leg injury for Turner put this titanic tilt on ice.

Still, a long Day 2 at the LeBron James Skills Academy on Sunday and the first day of games allowed ample time to evaluate and gather intel on many premier players. Here are some nuggets from Day 2.

[+] EnlargeCliff Alexander
AP Photo/Damen Jackson via Triple Play New MediaDay 2 at the LeBron camp belonged to No. 2 recruit Cliff Alexander, who dominated both games he played.
No Myles, but plenty of Alexander

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We’re back with another edition of the #AskCoachB Twitter mailbag. Once again, ESPN National Recruiting Director Paul Biancardi is on hand to answer fans' questions regarding the recently released ESPN player rankings, and other recruiting inquiries.

In this week’s mailbag, we tackle the hotly contested decision to move Cliff Alexander ahead of Tyus Jones, behind top senior recruit Jahlil Okafor in the top three; break down Ohio State’s current four-man class; and discuss UNLV recruit Dwayne Morgan’s drop in the ESPN 100. You can have your recruiting questions answered by Biancardi on Twitter at any time using the hashtag, but only the best questions make this blog.

Now on to your questions.



I love their quartet of committed players because they’re different but all high-level prospects. Keita Bates-Diop has a prototypical small forward body along with great shooting ability, touch and range. And when he’s not facing the basket, he can post you up and get buckets in the low and midpost.

D'Angelo Russell is a finesse scoring guard who can slide over to the point because of his ability to facilitate, utilizing his hoops acumen and vision. He’s already a good 3-point shooter and can get to the rim with ease, but he needs to work on his middle game to complete his game. Jae’Sean Tate is a physically imposing player for his size (6-foot-5, 190 pounds) and is a relentless rebounder and terrific finisher. He’s probably the most physical perimeter player we’ve seen this spring/summer. David Bell, a big man with a lot of upside, rounds out the Buckeyes’ 2014 class.


Karl Towns has extraordinary touch and range as a shooter and he’s an above-average passer -- all that at 7-feet tall. Like most big guys, who often blossom later in their careers, he’ll need extra time to develop. Right now he stands out on offense when facing the basket, but his low-post game is evolving. Towns will have to get his body in optimum physical condition for him to maximize his potential.

As for his future, guys with his combination of size and skill usually don’t stay in college very long. He’ll be at Kentucky in the near future, where he should significantly impact the game whenever he’s on the floor. The only question is, will he impact contests on a consistent basis, or just when he feels like it?

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10 things to know about the 2015 class 

June, 13, 2013
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video

The new player rankings are out and the 2015 class of rising juniors has expanded from the ESPN 25 to the ESPN 60. With these prospects halfway through their high school careers, here are 10 things you need to know about the Class of 2015.

1. There’s a big man invasion

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