NCB On The Trail: Josh Perkins

Recruit and return: UCLA 

March, 28, 2014
In order to return to the NCAA tournament, a team needs contributions from both returning players and incoming recruits. Here's a look at UCLA and its chances of dancing again in 2015.

Quick references:

2013-14 roster
2014 recruiting

Possible 2014-15 starting five:

PG Bryce Alford
CG Isaac Hamilton
SG Norman Powell
PF Tony Parker
C Thomas Welsh

Recruit and return: Gonzaga 

March, 23, 2014
In order to return to the NCAA tournament, a team needs contributions from both returning players and incoming recruits. Here's a look at Gonzaga and its chances of dancing again in 2015.

Quick references
2013-14 roster
2014 recruiting

Possible 2014-2015 starting five:
G: Kevin Pangos
G: Gary Bell, Jr.
F: Kyle Dranginis
F: Kyle Wiltjer
C: Przemek Karnowski

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Roundtable: Spalding Hoophall Classic 

January, 14, 2014
Held each year during the Martin Luther King Day holiday weekend, the Spalding Hoophall Classic annually is one of the best high school basketball events of the year. Many of the nation’s top teams and individual prospects are converging on the birthplace of basketball in Springfield, Mass.

ESPN will again have wide-ranging coverage, with daily recaps and analysis from our Recruiting Nation team. Four games will be televised live Monday on ESPNU.

With such a wide variety of intriguing storylines set to play out in the next five days, here’s a look at what our experts are most looking forward to this weekend:

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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.

From @maxbballdaily on Twitter: @PaulBiancardi how will Josh Perkins fit in with Pangos and Bell at Gonzaga next year? #AskCoachB

With the departure of senior point guard David Stockton, the timing for Josh Perkins (Denver/Huntington Prep), the No. 7 point guard in Class of 2014, is perfect. He will be part of a backcourt that will also consist of Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr., who are juniors this season. Perkins will be a primary ball-handler who can lead a fast break or organize the team and set up the offense.

Perkins, who is No. 38 in the ESPN 100, thinks like a true point guard and does a good job of making teammates better. He shows good energy and has the talent to score when he is not distributing .

The 6-foot-3, 180-pound Perkins needs to be better a leader from a vocal standpoint, especially if he is going to play the the point, and a more respected outside shooter.

As he learns the nuances of being a floor leader from head coach Mark Few, look for Perkins to emerge over time as one of the better point guards in the West Coast Conference.
Conference realignment has had lasting implications on every major conference in college basketball, but the group that might have been affected more than anyone else were the mid-major schools.

Annual powerhouses like Xavier, Memphis, Butler, Temple and several others have now been elevated to “high-major” conferences, leaving a void for other mid-major programs to establish their recruiting superiority at their own level.

So after grading the ACC, American, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Pac 12, and SEC last week, it’s now time to examine the best of the rest. Grading mid-major classes can be subjective, meaning there’s a little bit of a curve in order to account for the fact that recruiting at this level is tougher than ever before given the unprecedented number of competing programs who can now leverage their high-major conference affiliation.

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Kentucky should be just fine 

September, 12, 2013
Six months ago, John Calipari seemed virtually invincible on the recruiting trail. He was riding a wave of momentum fueled by his 2012 national championship, incredible recent success in the NBA draft, and being on the verge of delivering one of the top recruiting classes in the history of college basketball.

But then, unexpectedly, a few breaks went against Kentucky. Top-ranked Andrew Wiggins capped the 2013 class by picking Kansas, and then Calipari lost out to his former mentor, Larry Brown, as his top point guard target of 2014, Emmanuel Mudiay (Dallas/Prime Prep Academy), picked SMU last month.

So have Calipari and Kentucky lost a step?

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Weekly Commitment Roundup

August, 30, 2013
Ronnie Suggs SG (Washington, Mo./Washington)
HT: 6-4 WT: 17
Class of 2015
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Big 12
Damiyne Durham SG (Oakwood, Texas/Oakwood)
HT: 6-4 WT: 175
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

American Athletic Conference
Emmanuel Mudiay PG (Dallas/Prime Prep)
HT: 6-5 WT: 190
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: 2
Stars: 5
ESPN 100: 5

JaQuel Richmond PG (Greensboro, N.C./Wesleyan Christian)
HT: 6-1 WT: 170
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: 26
Stars: 4

Big East
Paschal Chukwu C (Westport, Conn./Fairfield College Prep)
HT: 7-1 WT: 220
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: 5
Stars: 4
ESPN 100: 58

West Coast Conference
Josh Perkins PG (Denver/Huntington Prep)
HT: 6-3 WT: 185
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: 6
Stars: 5
ESPN 100: 24

Big West Conference
UC Santa Barbara
Gabriel Vincent SG (Stockton, Calif./St. Mary's)
HT: 6-2 WT: 180
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: 2

Ivy League
Aaron Young PG (Lynchburg, Va./Virginia Episcopal)
HT: 6-1 WT: 170
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Jason Massey SG (Plantation, Fla./American Heritage)
HT: 6-5 WT: 180
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: 2

Tyler Nelson SG (Lawrence, Mass./Central Catholic)
HT: 6-0 WT: 165
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: 1

Missouri Valley Conference
Missouri State
Chris Kendrix SG (Willard, Mo./Willard)
HT: 6-5 WT: 180
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Big South
Ryan Badowski SG (Brunswick, Ohio/Brunswick)
HT: 6-3 WT: 165
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Atlantic 10
St. Bonaventure
Idris Taqqee SF (Ashburnham, Mass./Cushing Academy)
HT: 6-3 WT: 180
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Jahlil Okafor, Tyus JonesESPN, Icon SMIJahlil Okafor and Tyus Jones have discussed going to school together and the ESPN 100 prospects have scheduled several official visits as a tandem.
One of the lasting themes of the Class of 2014 has been the perpetual rumors of package deals, and yet as we get closer to and closer to November’s early signing period we’re still waiting for the first to come to fruition.

With that in mind, we examined the most rumored potential package deals in the country and set the odds in order to determine which have the best chance of actually happening.

First though, it’s necessary to define what a “package deal” is. In it’s purest form, it would be a situation where two or more prospects are recruited in unison and make one collaborative decision. But there really aren’t many situations currently like that in the 2014 class, with one notable exception.

Instead, most of the recent talk around “package deals” really reflects prospects that could potentially end up at the same school, even if they don’t go through the recruiting process together. As such, that is the definition which we’ll operate under for the purposes of this article and projecting the likelihood of such deals actually happening.

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Starting 5: Point guard debate 

August, 20, 2013
Editor's note: Every week in "Starting 5," we'll roll out five stories, themes and nuggets from the basketball recruiting world to set the table with the stories that need to be told and give you a leg up on the watercooler conversations around the office.

This week we look at three point guards using different lenses, what plans KU has for Late Night in the Phog, the recruiting revivals at UConn and Minnesota plus reduced lists from bigs Paul White and Makinde London.

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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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Analyzing recent ESPN 100 PG news 

August, 13, 2013

Reading through the typical recruiting jargon can be a difficult task, especially for the untrained eye, but suffice it to say that things aren’t always what they seem.

Some of the most misleading statements often include sayings like, "He has offers from," or "He chose school X over," or "He decommitted from," primarily because they consider only one side of the process.

The fact of the matter is that schools choose prospects as much as prospects choose schools, and the former is no less fluid than the latter.

What does that mean? It means that sometimes when a tweet or recruiting article says Player X committed to School Y over offers from Schools A, B, C and D, what it can really mean is that Schools A, B, C and D offered Player X at some point in the past, but are no longer recruiting him, so he decided to commit to School Y.

Now, why would a school suddenly stop recruiting a prospect? Because they suddenly realized he wasn't good enough? Possibly, but more likely it's because they have since received a commitment from, or feel like they are on the verge of a commitment from, someone else at the same position whom they hold in a little higher esteem.

So, with that in mind, we're going to rewind through a particularly busy few weeks in the national point guard market and make an attempt to translate the real story. Whether it was a prospect who made a commitment or cut his list, we'll tell you which schools are in, which are out, the real story behind whose decision it was, and the bottom line for each prospect. Then we'll circle back and tell you which two ESPN 100 point guards are still uncommitted and open to new suitors.

[+] EnlargeTyus Jones
AP Photo/Damen Jackson No. 1 PG Tyus Jones recently reaffirmed his desire to play college hoops with No. 1 overall recruit Jahlil Okafor.
News: Tyus Jones (Apple Valley, Minn./Apple Valley) reaffirms his intent to go to school with Jahlil Okafor (Chicago, Ill./Whitney Young)
In: Baylor, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State, Ohio State
Out: Minnesota
Real story: Minnesota is still on Jones' list of seven, but the Gophers aren't on Okafor's list. That, in addition to the fact Richard Pitino and his staff could be seen prioritizing other targets this summer, is indication enough that Jones isn't likely to be staying home next season. The latest twist in the story is Okafor's AAU coach, Mike Irvin, going on record saying there is a great chance Duke lands Jones, while Okafor's camp has denied the Blue Devils are the leader for the package deal.
Bottom line: Jones and Okafor do want to go to school together, but they don't yet agree on where. Jones appears pretty set on Duke, but Okafor not quite as much at this point. ESPN 100 SF Justise Winslow (Houston/Saint John's) is also part of the conversation, making this potentially one of the biggest package deals in recent history.

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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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10 things learned at NBPA 100 Camp 

June, 17, 2013
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- The NBPA Top 100 Camp wrapped up this weekend and while my colleague Paul Biancardi highlighted the top performances from the event, I’ll delve into some other recruiting observations from the star-studded event.

Among the takeaways was the continued emergence of 2015 center Cheick Diallo , Isaiah Whitehead's improving shot selection and Derrick Jones' bounce-back performance.

Here are the 10 things I learned while attending the NBPA 100 Camp.

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Top performers from NBPA 100 Camp 

June, 17, 2013
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – This year’s NBPA Top 100 Camp was littered with skilled prospects from top to bottom and was overall a very strong and deep collection of talent. Former NBA coach John Lucas served as the director of scouting at the camp, which annually attracts high-level prep prospects from all over the country.

The contests were extremely competitive as the players really took pride in their performances. Making the most noise at the camp were the event’s big men, who stood out due to their length in blocking and altering shots, overall efforts in rebounding and ability to run the floor and finish. Several, like center Stephen Zimmerman and Thon Maker, also displayed advanced passing and ballhandling skills.

Let's take a look at the final impressions from the NBPA 100 Camp.

Best performers

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- There have been a number of terrific performances at the NBPA Top 100 Camp, but here are quick-hitting scouting impressions on more than 30 players who have caught my eye on a consistent basis outside of P.J. Dozier, Elbert Robinson and Jordan McLaughlin, whom I already did individual blogs on.

2014 PF/C Payton Dastrup: Attacks the rim with great energy and urgency, finishing and competing at a high level. He simply didn't take plays off.

2015 PG Jalen Brunson: He runs the team, distributes the ball, has feel and court vision, and when you back away he can drain the jumper. He might not make the play to win the game, but he won't make the play to lose it either. He’s rock solid and learning on the job.

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