NCB On The Trail: Jae'Sean Tate

As the NCAA tournament moves on to the Sweet 16, here's a look back at five former ESPN 100 players who helped their teams advance -- and five members of the 2014 ESPN 100 who could play a similar role next season:

[+] EnlargePatric Young
Mike Ehrmann/Getty ImagesPatric Young and the Gators cruised by Pitt and Albany.

1. Patric Young, Florida

ESPN 100 rank: No. 13 in 2010
Young was the most physical player on the floor for Florida in its wins against Albany and Pittsburgh. Young knows he can dominate the game in the paint and on the glass. He is the type of player who produces double-doubles regularly. He's relentless on the glass, is a terrific position defender and is a shot-blocker.
The next Patric Young: No. 3 Cliff Alexander, Kansas. The most physically imposing player in the high school game, Alexander will be a difference-maker in the paint. Both Alexander and Young make their presence in the paint felt by being more powerful and explosive than their opponents. Alexander will give the Jayhawks an anchor in the middle.



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Recruit and return: Ohio State 

March, 20, 2014
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videoIn order to return to the NCAA tournament, a team needs contributions from both returning players and incoming recruits. Here's a look at Ohio State and its chances of dancing again in 2015.

Quick references:
2013-14 roster
2014 recruiting

Possible 2014-15 starting five:
G: Shannon Scott
G: D'Angelo Russell
F: Sam Thompson
F: LaQuinton Ross
C: Amir Williams


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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.



I asolutely love Jae'Sean Tate's game, his approach at competition and his demeanor during adversity.

From the moment he steps on the floor to the moment he is finished playing, you never doubt Tate's effort or agenda.

He originally caught our attention with his intense motor, defensive mindset, rebounding and post game. He stood out because he is not afraid to cover the opposing team's best player and make defensive stops.

Over the summer, his 3-point shot improved to the point where it became a real threat. He improved and kept his edge and rebounding focus, which helped him make a big jump in our rankings.

The Buckeyes have an outstanding class coming in next year, featuring skill, scoring prowess and athletic ability. (Tate's dad Jermaine played at OSU in the 1990's). Tate gives Ohio State a player who will bring toughness and improving skills to the court. He is someone who is never satisfied with his performance. He will help coach Thad Matta sustain his winning ways in Columbus, and as a coach, you can't ask for anything more than that.

Clark Kellogg Tip Off Classic recap 

December, 9, 2013
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The Clark Kellogg Tip Off Classic has become the No. 1 event to start the High School basketball season in Ohio. Hosted by one of Ohio's best players ever, Clark Kellogg, many of Ohio's best teams come to Columbus to open their seasons. Here are a few of the best performers at the event.


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Buckeyes ink three ESPN 100 prospects

November, 14, 2013
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Ohio State officially landed a RecruitingNation Top 40 class on Thursday with the announcement of four student-athletes signing letters of intent.

Joining the Buckeyes in 2014 will be ESPN 100 SG D'Angelo Russell (Louisville, Ky./Montverde), ESPN 100 SF Keita Bates-Diop (Bloomington, Ill./University), ESPN 100 SF Jae'Sean Tate (Pickerington, Ohio/Central) and three-star center David Bell (Garfield Heights, Ohio/Garfield Heights).

Ohio State head coach Thad Matta landed a verbal commitment from ESPN 100 C Payton Dastrup (Mesa, Ariz./Mountain View) last week, but Dastrup changed his mind on Wednesday and signed with BYU.

The early signing period arrives Wednesday, marking the first time 2014 prospects can officially sign their national letters of intent, turning previously unbinding verbal commitments into contractually binding scholarship agreements.

Here are 10 storylines to watch for during the eight-day signing period:

Jahlil Okafor
AP Photo/Damen Jackson via Triple Play New MediaJahlil Okafor is hoping to sign during the early signing period. Where will he end up?
1. Package-deal decision day
Word is that Jahlil Okafor and Tyus Jones are both hoping to sign during the early period, and that means the country’s biggest package deal should have a decision within days. All indications are that the duo still intends to go to school together, but the final destination has become unclear of late. Duke has long since been considered the front-runner, but there’s been growing chatter for Kansas, especially as it pertains to Okafor. Baylor is the dark horse, and while nobody seems to be talking about the Bears anymore, neither prospect has said they’re out of the running just yet.

2. Awaiting word from Alexander
We’re anticipating an announcement from Cliff Alexander, the nation’s third-ranked prospect. The 6-foot-8 big man took the nation by storm during the recent EYBL season and picked up offers from some of college basketball’s most prestigious programs in the process. Four of those remain in the hunt for his services. While Illinois and DePaul have been the perceived favorites, Kansas and Memphis are in the mix as well. Look for Alexander to trim one of those four off his list before his announcement -- and ultimately make his choice from a list of three final schools.

3. Early or late? That is the question
While Okafor, Jones, and Alexander are all expected to make their decisions in time to sign during the early signing period (that is, on or before Nov. 20), there is another group of prospects we still don’t know what to expect from. Justise Winslow just took his last visit, and he could be ready to decide. William Lee is another ESPN 100 prospect who could very well be ready in the coming days. Stanley Johnson was once targeting a January decision, but he now appears to be on the fence, as there has been mounting speculation that he could abandon those original plans in time to sign early.

4. What’s left for the spring?
With 87 players in the current ESPN 100 already committed and at least four more expected to make their decisions in time to sign early, we’re expecting over 90 percent of the current ESPN 100 to officially be off the board within the next 10 days. That’s an almost unprecedented percentage, leaving very little left on the table for the spring’s late signing period. The big prizes for those playing the waiting game are likely to be Myles Turner, Rashad Vaughn and JaQuan Lyle, along with any of the previously mentioned top prospects who ultimately decide against early signatures.

5. Care for a contingency plan
With so few prospects remaining on the board following this period, the major question is what happens to the programs that have gone the distance with top remaining prospects -- only to end up missing out on them. The best examples are Duke and Kansas. The Blue Devils and Jayhawks have gone head-to-head for Okafor and Jones and have passed on other talented guys as a result. Now they’re in a spot where the consequences of losing out on Okafor and Jones could be especially high, with no good contingency plans left on the board unless they’re able to score Turner, who isn’t likely to be excited about being perceived as anybody’s runner-up.

6. Competition for Kentucky
Kentucky currently has the top-ranked recruiting class in the country. If the Wildcats can hold on to that spot, it would be the fifth time in John Calipari’s six years in Lexington he has secured that distinction. The reality, however, is that it may be unlikely. And while Kentucky’s class is undeniably loaded, the 2014 group will be remembered as much for the guys who passed on the Wildcats -- Okafor, Alexander, Jones, Emmanuel Mudiay, Kelly Oubre and James Blackmon Jr. among others -- perhaps signaling a decline in what has been one of the most dominant recruiting periods for any program in recent history.

7. The Big East is back (or never left)
If this season's recruiting class is any indication, the demise of the Big East has been somewhat exaggerated. While conference realignment might have forever changed one of the country’s most historic conferences, it apparently has not done much to hurt the brand. Xavier, Seton Hall and Georgetown have all put together top-10 classes, and Marquette and Providence are not far behind. With five different programs among the top-20 classes in the country and a total of 15 ESPN 100 prospects having already popped for the Big East, the league is recruiting as well as any in the country.

8. What’s the Matta with this class?
Ohio State has the second-ranked recruiting class in the country, a group loaded with four ESPN 100 prospects and another big man who is just on the cusp of that list. Yet nobody seems to be talking about the Buckeyes. With so much attention being paid to the potential classes at Kansas, Duke and Kentucky, Ohio State has flown under the radar. The reality is that coach Thad Matta did his work early and did it well. D’Angelo Russell, Keita Bates-Diop and Jae’Sean Tate are all coming in next year, and Payton Dastrup is essentially joining the Class of 2016 after he takes a two-year Mormon mission. The Buckeyes have solidified their future as well as any program in America.

9. Talking about the Tar Heels
Roy Williams and North Carolina are in a similar situation. They have a trio of ESPN 100 prospects on board for next season, all ranked among the top 15 prospects in the country. However, because all three were already committed by last May, the Tar Heels haven’t been at the forefront of any recent recruiting headlines. It’s a mistake to sleep on them, though, as they have one of the country’s best scorers on the wing in Justin Jackson, a swingman with elite athleticism; an alpha-male mentality in Theo Pinson; and one of the most dependable point guards in the country in Joel Berry.

10. Mid-major impact
A quick glance at the class rankings will show that the mid-majors are once again well-represented among this year’s top recruiting classes. San Diego State, VCU and UNLV have all asserted themselves as national recruiters. Steve Fisher’s four-man class is headlined by a trio of ESPN 100 products in Malik Pope, Trey Kell and Zylan Cheatham, while Terry Larrier and Mike Gilmore lead a similar four-man group for Shaka Smart and VCU. Dave Rice and the Rebels have one of the best incoming frontcourt tandems in the country in Goodluck Okonoboh and Dwayne Morgan.

Buckeyes land ESPN 100 C Dastrup

November, 7, 2013
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Ohio State landed its fifth recruit from the 2014 class on Thursday evening when ESPN 100 center Payton Dastrup (Mesa, Ariz./Mountain View) announced his pledge to the Buckeyes.

Dastrup chose Ohio State over BYU and Virginia. He joins a Buckeyes class that ranks No. 2 in the nation and features ESPN 100 prospects D'Angelo Russell (Louisville, Ky./Montverde Academy), Keita Bates-Diop (Bloomington, Ill./University) and Jae'Sean Tate (Pickerington, Ohio/Pickerington Central) along with 3-star center David Bell (Garfield Heights, Ohio/Garfield Heights).

Ohio's best come together in Columbus 

October, 28, 2013
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Every fall the state of Ohio sends most of its elite players to Columbus, Ohio, for the All Ohio Battle of the Cities. The event has all of the major cities put together teams in each age group (8th grade through 12th grade) and come to the capital of the state to play to see which city is the king of basketball. Every year the event is competitive. It is one of the best events of the fall in the Midwest. Here are some of the best Division-I prospects who were in attendance.

2016

Seth Towns (Columbus, Ohio/Northland)
2016, SF/PF, 6-7, 190
Towns is a skilled combo forward whose game is moving more and more to the perimeter. He has a solid handle for his size and is a good face-up shooter (though his release is a little low). He is already a priority for Big Ten schools.


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We’ve been talking a lot about class rankings in recent weeks. North Carolina and Ohio State have both been in the lead at various points this year while strong finishes from Duke, Kentucky, Kansas and even Baylor could put them all in contention for the top spot before it’s all said and done.

With that in mind, we took a speculative look at those six programs, breaking down what they would likely need to get to the top of the mountain.

Duke
Probability of finishing on top: 45 percent

ESPN 100 SG Grayson Allen might be the only prospect currently in Mike Krzyzewski’s incoming recruiting class, but the Blue Devils have as many top prospects left on the board as anyone. They’ll host Jahlil Okafor and Tyus Jones this weekend, along with Justise Winslow, leading to speculation that they could be on the verge of a massive package deal. They also remain in the mix for Myles Turner, Kevon Looney and Reid Travis. If they land Okafor and Jones, they’ll have a good chance of finishing in front. If they can add Winslow, Looney or Travis, their chances will be even better. If they could ever put Okafor, Turner and Jones in the same group, the rest of the class would be gravy. Suddenly we’d be talking about one of the best recruiting classes ever.


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On Thursday, we examined the last 10 national champions in order to determine if recruiters put too much emphasis on potential one-and-done prospects.

What we found was that unless those prospects were once-in-a-generation talents like Carmelo Anthony or Anthony Davis, the answer may be yes.

So if college coaches shouldn’t be investing so much time on potential one-and-done prospects, who should they be focused on?

Recent history tells us that NBA-caliber talent should still be put at a premium, but likely the type of talent that needs two, or ideally three years of seasoning in the college ranks first. Experience is especially true in the backcourt where there is a clear correlation between championship caliber teams and experienced ball-handlers/decision makers.

With those findings in mind, we went through the current ESPN 100 and looked to see who could possibly be among the best juniors in the country three years from now:


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#AskCoachB: Can Tate be a five-star?

September, 18, 2013
9/18/13
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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.



Every time we watch Jae'Sean Tate (Pickerington, Ohio/Pickerington) he has impressed us with his physical style of play from defense to rebounding. He has improved immensely in scoring. When you look at our grading scale 90-100 is a high-major plus prospect (5 stars) and to go along with this would be a brief description to earn that lofty reputation. "A player who demonstrates rare abilities along with the traits that only champions possess. He should have an immediate impact at a national program with the potential for early entry into the NBA."

Usually every year in the top 100 there is anywhere from 15-25 5-star players and of course it solely depend on their performances, production and potential. Currently Tate is ranked No. 29 in the ESPN 100 and carries a grade of 89 which is the high end of the 4-star rating scale. He is not polished enough from an offensive standpoint to be a 5-star prospect but is working himself in that direction. He is on the cusp of being a five-star, but regardless of his ranking or grade it's equally important to read his evaluation as well.

He has earned that praise because he affects the outcome of a game with his defense, rebounding and tenacity on each play. He is looking to take on the opposing team's best player and working to shut him down. He is committed to the glass and scores by driving and posting up. Recently he has added a open three-point shot when he has time, space and his feet are set. When we discuss the word "motor" he is one of the best in the class at playing hard all the time, which is a huge separation point when ranking a player.

Our updated rankings will be out next week so be sure to check in on Tate and all the other players in the 100, 60 and 25.
The small forward position is probably the most diverse in basketball, with many different types of players performing in different locations on the floor.

What defines the position is to perform by scoring and defending outside and inside the arc as well as within the paint. Versatility becomes paramount as the small forward should be able to score in different fashions.

A small forward will guard many different players with a multitude of talents, so to be athletic enough, strong enough and tough-minded will be vital. Defensive versatility is important factor.

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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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video

ORLANDO, Fla. -- For five days in Orlando last week at the AAU Nationals and Super Showcase, a wide array of elite prospects, sleeper recruits and surprise players had an opportunity to shine. The play was excellent and the lessons learned were plentiful.

With so much talent at various levels on display, here are five things we learned from the 2013 AAU Nationals and Super Showcase.

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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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