NCB On The Trail: Phil Cofer

ESPN 100: The players who just missed 

January, 30, 2014
Here are 12 players who our scouting staff discussed in great detail as we assembled our updated ESPN 100 rankings. These players have played well and have had some outstanding performances but just missed the cut.

Kobe Eubanks
SG, 6-foot-5, 185 pounds
Centereach, N.Y./Our Savior
Recruiting Interest:
George Mason, Missouri State, Pittsburgh, South Florida, Central Florida

Eubanks has very good size for a wing. He is a terrific athlete, an excellent all-around scorer that also makes his presence known as a perimeter rebounder. He has played well this fall and winter, which earned him Top 100 consideration.

Cofer headlines Tennessee class

November, 15, 2013
Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin landed four letters of intent on Thursday evening, including ESPN 100 power forward Phil Cofer (Atlanta/Whitewater).

Joining Cofer in Knoxville will be four-star point guard Larry Austin (Springfield, Ill./Lanphier), four-star center C.J. Turman (Madison, Ga./Morgan County) and three-star shooting guard Jordan Cornish (New Orleans/Brother Martin).

"I'm really excited about this signing class," Martin said. "We've signed four great kids who bring a combination of athleticism, skill and toughness to our program. I know all of them are eager to get here and get to work."

Top 10: Potential risers outside 100 

August, 28, 2013
After reviewing the July notes, a number of players popped onto the radar. Whether they make any top 100 lists is to be determined, but they are candidates. Frankly, this summer could yield more change than usual in a list of this nature. I’d pay close attention to the next 100 list because I’d bet the ESPN staffers shake it up and you see a host of new faces.

If the new list had PF Michael Humphrey (didn’t see him in July), SG Matthew Fisher-Davis, SG Bryant McIntosh, PF Yante Maten, F Bonzie Colson, PG Lamonte Bearden or SG B.J. Stith, it wouldn’t be met with much resistance as those prospects each put together strong summers; some are better players than prospects and that’s a factor.

Ten Non-100 Potential Risers

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Top 10 player accolades from July 

August, 21, 2013
The worst time to write a column about what you saw in July is right after July. The month needs to marinate on your mind so one can process what we just lived. So, nearly three weeks out from the month that was, I sat down to recall a few of the top players of July.

In the spirit of Telep's top 10, we give 10 categories and a plethora of players of influence from the most important month on the circuit.

1. Best motor big/guard: We’ll entertain motions to rename this the inaugural “Reid Travis” award and therefore hand out the overall best motor title to ... forward Reid Travis. Pac-12 aficionados close your eyes and picture the second coming of Jon Brockman, because that’s whom Travis reminds me of most. On the guard side of the ledger for the best motor, Lourawls Nairn impressed me from start to finish. There was a noticeable chip on his shoulder and he went hard at LeBron and continued through Peach Jam. The guy has no off button.

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Center C.J. Turman commits to Vols

August, 18, 2013
Tennessee landed its fourth recruit from the 2014 class on Sunday when four-star center C.J. Turman (Madison, Ga./Morgan County) committed to the Vols, has confirmed.

Alabama, Georgia, Houston and Miami were among the schools to offer Turman.

Turman joins a class that features ESPN 100 point guard Larry Austin (Springfield, Ill./Lanphier) along with four-star prospects Phil Cofer (Atlanta/Whitewater) and Jordan Cornish (New Orleans/Brother Martin).

Tennessee lands ESPN 100 PG Austin 

August, 1, 2013
ESPN 100 point guard Larry Austin (Springfield, Ill./Lanphier) committed to Tennessee on Thursday over offers from Bradley, DePaul, Iowa, Kansas State, Missouri, SMU and Oklahoma State, among others.

Austin, the No. 68 overall prospect in the ESPN 100, is a great get and a great fit for Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin in what is already an impressive recruiting class that is now ranked No. 7 in the country.

[+] EnlargeLarry Austin
Kelly Kline/Getty ImagesESPN 100 PG Larry Austin was a priority recruit for Tennessee.
Austin is the Vols’ first ESPN 100 prospect in the 2014 class, but Tennessee also has commitments from four-star power forward Phil Cofer (Atlanta/Whitewater) and four-star shooting guard Jordan Cornish (New Orleans/Brother Martin). Cofer will bring rebounding, shot-blocking and finishing at the rim, while Cornish adds shooting. And now they have a lead guard in Austin who can get them the ball.

So why did Austin pick Tennessee and what will he bring to the Vols?

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Top 10 lessons learned in July 

July, 31, 2013

To understand what just happened in college basketball recruiting, let me use a golf analogy. In golf majors, Saturdays set the players up for the final round and determine the pairings for the homestretch.

In college basketball, the month of July is like that Saturday of a golf major. Coaches fly coast to coast, some to evaluate and others simply to babysit prospects. It’s a grueling 15 days on the road -- separated into three different five-day open evaluation periods -- and even the seasoned veterans will tell you that. Technology has made it easier to keep track of the recruits, but travel is travel, and so much time in different cities is rough on the bodies of the players and coaches.

Still, July remains the single most important month on the recruiting calendar. It sets the tone for in-home and official visits. It helps set up the final round and determines the pairings for the homestretch.

For the better part of July 6-28, I was on the road. Every day was something new and an opportunity to gather intelligence on players and pay attention to the world of college basketball recruiting. If you didn’t learn something daily, you weren’t doing your job.

Here are 10 key things I learned this month on the recruiting trail, from package deals to the loaded 2016 class and everything in between.

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Future Volunteer shines in Florida 

July, 26, 2013
ORLANDO, Fla. -- While the nationally televised contest between Houston Hoops and Each 1 Teach 1 offered fans highlights of some of the nation’s top talent at the AAU Super Showcase on Thursday, there were plenty of other stellar performances at both AAU Nationals and Super Showcase that didn’t make it on air but still deserved some notoriety.

Performances like that of shooting guards Antonio Blakeney and Robert Johnson and Tennessee pledge Phil Cofer had coaches gushing,

Here’s the lowdown on whose game stood out on Thursday in the Sunshine State.

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Top 10 lessons learned in Georgia 

July, 24, 2013
Last week, the second of July’s three open evaluation periods took me to three events in Georgia, where it was time to do work on players from the Southeast. The Best of the South, Elite 32 and All-American Juco Showcase had my full attention. The juco thing was fun, but I found that high school and grassroots hoops is more my speed.

Of course, that’s not the only thing I learned from my time in the Peach State. Here are my top 10 takeaways from July’s second evaluation period.

Juwan Durham
Dave Telep/ESPNESPN 25 center Juwan Durham is one of the nation's top recruits in the Class of 2016.
1. Durham is not taking this summer lightly

During July, the challenge is seeing as many of the rising seniors enough times so you can feel good about the evaluation and create reasonable expectations for them. However, your head is always on a swivel, pivoting just enough to see the next wave of underclassmen backing up the current crop.

ESPN 25 center Juwan Durham (Tampa, Fla./Tampa Prep) is one of the nation’s top prospects in the 2016 class and is thus two summers away from taking center stage. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take him seriously.

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Hunting HS gems and jucos in Georgia 

July, 21, 2013
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 is, offer some highlights of the day and give a quick look at what's next.

ATLANTA -- The only goal I had on Saturday was to end my pursuit of 2015 point guard Jawun Evans (Simpsonville, S.C./Legacy Charter). We live in bordering states, yet for whatever reason our paths hadn’t crossed yet. Saturday afternoon, they finally did as I skipped over to the Elite 32 in Atlanta after a couple days at the Best of the South in Suwanee, Ga.

Elsewhere on Saturday, we often talk about players getting out of their comfort zone. Well, I stepped out of mine for a few hours and dipped my toes into the junior college pool at an event back in Suwanee. It was kind of like jumping into a lake in the middle of winter in Wisconsin.

Here are some nuggets from Saturday’s action across Georgia.

Evans will rocket up the charts

[+] EnlargeJawun Evans
Dave Telep/ESPN Jawun Evans is on his way to establishing himself as one of the best point guards in the 2015 class.
Evans is on a short list of top point guards in the 2015 class. He’s that good, and he’ll be in contention for highest honors as this position plays out over the next two years.

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There are always tough omissions when compiling any list, and more so when it’s a list of the top hoops prospects in the country. Our staff agonized over several players in deliberations for the Class of 2014’s ESPN 100 rankings, which we released today, and several quality players just fell short of making the list. Here’s a look at 12 fringe top 100 guys, keeping in mind some of them may eventually sneak in the next edition of the rankings or at some point before the end of their senior year.

Note: Schools involved is a combination of programs that have offered and others with interest in that particular recruit.

Tre Campbell (D.C./St. John’s College)
PG, 6-2, 160
Committed to Georgetown

Dishing out assists is this future Hoya's calling card. He is stellar at penetrating and kicking, attacking defenders in transition and knowing when to call his own number in the half-court set.

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Vols land ESPN 60 PF

June, 11, 2013
According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, Tennessee nabbed a verbal commitment from ESPN 60 junior forward Phil Cofer (Fayetteville, Ga./Whitewater) on Tuesday.

Cofer, ranked No. 56 in the 2014 class, chose the Volunteers over Alabama, Auburn, Cincinnati, Georgia, Georgia Tech and Ole Miss, among others. He joins shooting guard Jordan Cornish (New Orleans/Brother Martin) in Tennessee's 2014 recruiting class.