NCB On The Trail: Stephen Zimmerman

#AskCoachB: Future for Kansas

March, 31, 2014
Mar 31
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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.

Roundtable: Must-get prospects for 2015 

February, 25, 2014
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With the vast majority of the top prospects in the ESPN 100 now off the board, the focus of the recruiting world is now rapidly shifting to the 2015 class where programs from all levels of college basketball are looking to position themselves for a successful recruiting cycle.

Some are already ahead of the curve. LSU landed a huge early score in Ben Simmons (Melbourne, Australia/Montverde Academy), Arizona has its next big-time guard in Tyler Dorsey (Los Angeles/St. John Bosco) and Syracuse has a pair of ESPN 60 products in Malachi Richardson (Hamilton, N.J./Trenton Catholic) and Tyler Lydon (Pine Plains, N.Y./New Hampton).

Memphis, Michigan State, Marquette, and Illinois have early commitments from ESPN 60 products as well, while the Fighting Illini are joined by Connecticut, Washington, Villanova, New Mexico, Rutgers, and Mississippi State in already having two verbal commitments.

With the 2015 dominoes beginning to align, we asked our team of Recruiting Nation experts to pinpoint which programs have already established their top priority, or “must-have recruit,” in the coming year.


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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).
video
Rankings week is here, and Wednesday our focus in on the 2015 class. Here are 10 things you need to know about the newly updated ESPN 60:


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#AskCoachB: Top recruit in 2015

January, 7, 2014
Jan 7
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I have recently seen some of the top players in the Class of 2015. At the very top of the class is No. 1 prospect Malik Newman (Jackson, Miss./Callaway), who is special as a scoring guard as he continues to grow as a player. No. 2 prospect Stephen Zimmerman (Las Vegas/Bishop Gorman) is extremely skilled and gifted and No. 3 prospect Ivan Rabb (Oakland, Calif./Bishop O'Dowd) has great size, mobility and athletic ability at the rim. All three have lived up to their billing and will continue to fight for the top spot in the class.

But the one guy I believe could have the brightest future is No. 4 prospect Ben Simmons (Melbourne, Australia/Montverde Academy). He has power forward size, bounce, speed, ball skills and an innate passing ability. He is learning to play hard on every possession, and having Kevin Boyle as his coach expedites that process.

Loaded with versatility, Simmons can be a dominant factor scoring from inside the paint, at the high post and beyond the arc. Because he is fluid handling the ball and has outstanding vision to see the open man, he could be used to lead or finish a break and be part of press offense to break pressure. As a rebounder, he could be a monster if he applies himself.

If Simmons becomes more focused and consistent, all the natural talent is there for greatness.

Cancer Research Classic recap 

January, 6, 2014
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WHEELING, West Va. -- The Cancer Research Classic is known as the nation’s premier Catholic high school event and includes very successful programs and highly-ranked prospects.

[+] EnlargeEmmanuel Mudiay
Kelly Kline/Under ArmourPG Emmanuel Mudiay had two impressive showings at the Cancer Research Classic.
Players from all over the country came in with big reputations, and they did not disappoint. The nation's No. 1 player Jahlil Okafor, No. 5 Emmanuel Mudiay and No. 12 D'Angelo Russell all shined bright. Under the direction of Doc Merrick, this event continues to grow and is recognized as a main attraction after the new year.

Best Point Guard
Emmanuel Mudiay (Dallas, Texas/Prime Prep)
2014, PG, 6'4", 195
Signed with SMU

Mudiay is known for his ability to take over games when he is plugged in. He was on in both of his performances at the CRC. He had 25 in a loss to Wheeler and 16 -- with a nice floor game -- in a loss to Whitney Young. It was a tough weekend, but Mudiay showed why he is rated as one of the top-5 talents in the 2014 class.


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Roundtable: Looking ahead to 2014 

December, 31, 2013
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As we close the door on 2013 and look forward to the year to come, there are a variety of things to look forward to in college basketball recruiting.

The potentially intriguing storylines and trends are perhaps best reflected in our team of Recruiting Nation experts, who seem to have their eyes set on something different heading into the new year.

Paul Biancardi: In the 2014 class, the point guard position is strong at the very top, but there is not a lot of depth or promise after some of the elite players.


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Tarkanian Classic recap 

December, 23, 2013
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The second annual Tarkanian Classic provided fans with an epic championship game as well as a glimpse into the future with talented college prospects. The Mater Dei Monarchs, led by McDonald's All-American candidate Stanley Johnson, made enough plays in overtime to overcome the feisty Bishop O'Dowd Dragons and ultra-talented big man Ivan Rabb 63-59.

Man among boys

Stanley Johnson (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei)
2014, WF, 6-foot-6, 220 pounds
Status: Signed with Arizona
At this level, Johnson has been unstoppable in all facets of the game. Converting inside and out, playing all five positions and performing in the clutch have been part of the package. Similar to Shabazz Muhammad in terms of his physical impact on the game, but Johnson has more wiggle, feel, and he's a smoother shooter than Muhammad.

Best motor


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Roundtable: Best event of holiday season 

December, 10, 2013
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Jahlil Okafor, Mike Krzyzewski, Tyus JonesGetty Images, USA TODAY Sports, AP PhotoBefore they become teammates at Duke under Mike Krzyzewski, Jahlil Okafor and Tyus Jones will face off on Thursday in a game televised on ESPN2.

The holiday season is a busy time for college basketball recruiters. About a month into the season, and only a couple of weeks removed from the early signing period, recruiting lists tend to be regenerated as coaches learn new things about their team and move on to new prospects.

Combine that with a variety of holiday events that feature several teams in a single location, coupled with a temporary pause in many college schedules for final exams, the next couple of weeks could very possibly be the busiest recruiting period of the high school season, and those tournaments continue past the holiday season.

With coaches out in full force, we asked our team at RecruitingNation what they were most looking forward to in the coming weeks:


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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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Elite 24 lives up to its name

August, 23, 2013
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Emmanuel MudiayKelly Kline/Under ArmourThe Under Armour Elite 24 has always had top-level talent and this weekend's edition is no different, as ESPN 100 No. 5 player Emmanuel Mudiay is part of star-studded cast.
BROOKLYN, NY -- The 8th annual Under Armour Elite 24 game and dunk/skills competition will feature some of the nation's most outstanding basketball prospects. Previous games included top prep players such as Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers), Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves), Kemba Walker (Charlotte Bobcats), Brandon Jennings (Detroit Pistons), Jrue Holiday (New Orleans Pelicans) and Lance Stephenson (Indiana Pacers) participated in this famed event.

This two-day event will take place at the Tobacco Warehouse in Brooklyn Bridge Park under The Brooklyn Bridge.

Catch all the action live on ESPNU, with the Dunk and Skills competition Friday at 7pm ET and the Elite 24 game Saturday at 7 p.m. ET.

5 Reasons to watch

1. Stars will be shining bright

The Elite 24 has been known for its star power, and this year's roster is stronger than ever. From top to bottom this game has the best players in the country regardless of class and position. This game has an abundance of gifted prospects, which is going to make it exciting and entertaining to witness as the best high school players go head to head.

The Elite 24 has 13 of the top 25 players in the 2014 ESPN 100 and 5 of the top 10, led by ESPN No. 3 Tyus Jones, No. 5 Emmanuel Mudiay and No. 7 Chris McCullough (Syracuse). The game also has a bevy of underclassman phenoms such as 2015 ESPN 60 prospects No. 1 Ivan Rabb, No. 2 Malik Newman and No. 7 Stephen Zimmermann, along with 2016 ESPN 25 No. 2 Thon Maker.

2. It's all about the matchups

Point guard: Jones vs. Mudiay
Jones is a pure point guard who has tremendous vision and makes great decisions. He is outstanding in handing out the assist in transition or when the game slows down. Mudiay brings outstanding size and athletic ability along with excellent penetration and passing skills. They're not only two of the best players in their respective positions, but two of the best in the nation.

Shooting guards: Rashad Vaughn vs. D'Angelo Russell
All-star games are about scoring points and these two guys do it as well as anyone in the 2014 class. Vaughn is always on the attack and can score with a long jumper or a finish at the rim. Russell is smooth and under control, always ready to launch his deadly long-range jumper. They are two of the best at creating their own shot when there is no offensive flow.

Small forwards: Kelly Oubre vs. Justin Jackson
Teammates for the AAU Houston Hoops, the battle between these two will be electrifying, as both are high-level scorers with great length, athletic ability and skill. Oubre is a dynamic finisher and will mix in some jumpers. Jackson is perhaps the best scoring small forward in the class, possessing touch and instinct from anywhere on the floor. Can Oubre contain Jackson's lethal mid-range jumper?

Power forwards Myles Turner and Zimmermann are two of the best frontcourt players in the country. Turner might be the best shot blocker in his the 2014 class and Zimmermann has tremendous skill for his age.

3. The college game looks better than ever

When this roster of players enters the college game it will bring with it excitement, skill, superior athletic ability and plenty of potential to the college game.

All of the players participating in this year's event are being recruited at the highest level. Turner is the hottest prospect in the nation and Jones being pursued by the likes of Baylor, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State, and Ohio State. Some have already made their pledges, with Jackson, Joel Berry and Theo Pinson committed to North Carolina, Romelo Trimble and Dion Wiley pledging with Maryland, Chris Chiozza headed to Florida, McCullough at Syracuse and Russell to Ohio State. For the ones not committed yet their lists have been trimmed down, with college coaches and their fanbases will be closely watching.

The college game will continue to be extremely healthy. This list of prospects will influence and impact their future schools as well as the landscape of college basketball.

4. History lesson

This event has had numerous players go on and be successful in the NBA. When looking at the numbers, 37 Elite 24 players have become first-round NBA draft picks, with 23 ending up in the lottery, over the past eight years.

Three have become no. 1 overall picks: 2011 alum Anthony Bennett, 2009 participant Kyrie Irving and 2008 prospect John Wall. This year participants should add to that impressive list in the near future.

5. Last event of the summer

It seems as if the summer basketball circuit flies by each year, with so many players making a mark by competing and traveling around the country. As the summer season comes to an end, the Elite 24 gives players, college coaches, fans, and postseason all-star game voting members one last opportunity to view some of the best players in the nation on a national stage until their high school seasons begin. Many of the senior prospects will be candidates for postseason accolades and as the fall rolls around, so this makes the Elite 24 a special game.

Top Elite 24 position matchups

August, 22, 2013
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Tyus Jones, Emmanuel MudiayIcon SMI, Courtesy of Andrew ShurtleffTyus Jones, left, and Emmanuel Mudiay are the top two point guard recruits in the Class of 2014.

The 2013 Under Armour Elite 24 will be held at the Tobacco Warehouse in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Friday and Saturday. The game airs live on ESPNU at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday, Aug. 24, while the Slam Dunk Contest and Skills Competition will air on Friday, Aug. 23 at 7 p.m. on ESPNU.

Here are the game's best matchups to watch by position:

Point guard matchup
Tyus Jones vs. Emmanuel Mudiay
Jones will attack the lane off the dribble or from ball screens, and Mudiay will return the favor when he is not getting to the rim on the break. It will be interesting to see who will do the better job containing penetration and which one will shoot the ball better, in addition to seeing which one will be better when they are eye-to-eye at end of shot-clock or game situations. Jones and Mudiay are elite playmakers and finishers in the lane. It will be exciting to witness which one imposes his will first and sets the tone from the most important position on the court.

Shooting guard matchup
Malik Newman vs. Rashad Vaughn
Newman will put Vaughn's on-ball defense to the test right from the first touch, and Vaughn will attack Newman off the bounce and go right at him. Which one of these scoring machines will get off to the better start and set the rules? Their won't be any time to relax on offense or defense because both can create and make tough, contested shots and acrobatic finishes.

Small forward matchup
Justise Winslow vs. Stanley Johnson
This power wing matchup brings strength, toughness and competitiveness at the highest level of high school basketball. Can Johnson beat Winslow off the dribble and finish against a wing who is just as big and strong as he is? Winslow, who is one of the best defenders in the class, will have Johnson's full attention in many areas of the game. Winslow not only defends, he rebounds, facilitates and can score in the post, facing up and attacking with straight-line drives. It will be fun to watch these two big-bodied wings compete for advantages all over the court.

Power forward matchup
Ivan Rabb vs. Chris McCullough
This matchup is between two long, athletic, explosive quick-off-the-floor forwards. Who will miss the first block-out and give up a tip dunk and get the crowd fired up? Which one will display his much improved ball skills and shooting and get off to a quick start? Expect rim-level rebounds, blocked shots and poster-like, above-the-rim finishes early in this one.

Center matchup
Myles Turner vs. Stephen Zimmerman
These two skilled centers will surely make each other compete at high level because both have great face-up games and ball skills for their size, not to mention their ability to finish above the rim. Will Zimmerman's offensive package have an answer for the shot blocking ability of Turner? Both run the floor extremely well. Who will beat the other down the floor for the most easy scores and attack the glass for put-backs and defensively rebound to start the break? It will be fun to see which player will have to adjust his game the most, and which gives the other the most difficulty when defending one-on-one in the post or on the perimeter.

Elite 24 player breakdowns

August, 22, 2013
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Chris McCulloughDustin Snipes/Icon SMISyracuse forward commit Chris McCullough is looking to put his athleticism and skillset on display this weekend at the Under Armour Elite 24 in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Breakdowns of the key prospect competing at Under Armour Elite 24 showcase. The 2013 Under Armour Elite 24 will be held at the Tobacco Warehouse in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Friday and Saturday. The game airs live on ESPNU at 7 p.m. ET Saturday, while the Slam Dunk Contest and Skills Competition will air Friday at 7 p.m. ET on ESPNU.

2014

Tyus Jones
Point Guard
Apple Valley, Minn./Apple Valley
6-foot-2, 180 pounds
College: Undeclared

Jones is a true point guard that pushes the pace, runs his team and makes great decisions off the ball screen in addition to being an excellent finisher for his size. He has an an all-business approach and is a winner.

NBA Comparisons: Tony Parker/Ray McCallum/John Stockton

Emmanuel Mudiay
Point Guard
Dallas/Prime Prep
6-5, 198
College: Undeclared

Mudiay is a scoring point guard with great size and athletic ability that plays in full-attack mode and can also facilitate. He can take over the game offensively at times and is great at making plays at end-of-clock situations.

NBA Comparison: Tyreke Evans

Chris McCullough
Power Forward
Bronx, N.Y./Brewster Academy
6-9, 210
College: Syracuse

McCullough is a extra-long athletic forward that excels on the break and finishes above the rim on all clear paths. He rebounds and blocks shots to go along with being a capable multiple-position lockdown defender as well with great upside.

NBA Comparison: Taj Gibson

Justin Jackson
Small Forward
Tomball, Texas/Homeschool Christian Youth Association
6-8, 190
College: North Carolina

Jackson is a long and lean wing with a great feel for the game and a sweet shooting stroke and floater that is money from deep in the lane and along the baseline. Capable of scoring big numbers with a scoring package that extends to the arc.

NBA Comparisons: Jeremy Lamb/Tayshaun Prince/Reggie Miller

Myles Turner
Center
Bedford, Texas/Euless Trinity
6-11, 225
College: Undeclared

Turner is a post that is long with a great motor. He has an advanced face-up game with range to the arc. He can also put it on the floor and pass with accuracy in addition to being an elite shot blocker with off-the-charts upside.

NBA Comparisons: Anthony Davis/LaMarcus Aldridge/ Tim Duncan/Theo Ratliff

Rashad Vaughn
Shooting Guard
Golden Valley, Minn./Findlay Prep
6-6, 206
College: Undeclared

Vaughn is an attacking wing that excels on the break and can make scoring plays off the bounce in a variety of ways He is a tough matchup at the shooting guard position because he has range out to the arc and is relentless at attempting to make high-level scoring plays.

NBA Comparisons: Jamal Crawford/Jerry Stackhouse

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Top 10 player accolades from July 

August, 21, 2013
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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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Notebook: Potential pair for Providence 

August, 9, 2013
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This week’s Friday recruiting notebook includes a look at a potential ESPN 100 package deal for Providence, handicapping the race for ESPN 100 point guard Kaleb Joseph, the final eight for No. 10 recruit Myles Turner, and plenty more recruiting news and notes.

Abdul Malik-Abu
Dave Telep/ESPNESPN 100 PF Abdul-Malik Abu is down to Providence, Florida, NC State and UConn.
Abu, Terrell and Providence?

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