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Posted on: March 8, 2012 8:25 pm
 

Maryland nabs third top-100 commitment

By Jeff Borzello

It was a good day for Maryland basketball. The Terrapins hammered Wake Forest in the first round of the ACC tournament, but Mark Turgeon’s program picked up some more momentum on Thursday morning.

Charles Mitchell, one of the dozen top-100 prospects still on the board, committed to Maryland.

Mitchell, a 6-foot-7 big man from Wheeler (Ga.), chose the Terrapins over Tennessee, Florida State, Georgia, Seton Hall and Cincinnati.

He doesn’t have ideal size for a post player, but he has great hands and length in the low block. Mitchell does most of his damage around the basket, but he can find teammates out of the post and uses his 250-lb. frame to overpower opponents at the rim. If he streamlines his body and improves his athleticism, Mitchell can certainly make an impact in the ACC.

Mitchell is Maryland’s third top-100 commitment, joining fellow big man Shaq Cleare and long forward Jake Layman. Area prospects Seth Allen and Damonte Dodd are also in the fold for the fall. 

Posted on: March 7, 2012 3:11 pm
 

Ex-Arkansas signee Aaron Ross pops for Texas Tech

By Jeff Borzello

Despite recruiting taking a back seat to conference play, Texas Tech has made a killing on the recruiting trail in recent weeks. In mid-February, the Red Raiders nabbed two commitments from top-100 forward Wannah Bail and strong guard Michael Carey.

On Wednesday morning, Billy Gillispie picked up another commitment, from former Arkansas signee Aaron Ross.

The news was confirmed to CBSSports.com by St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy (Wisc.) assistant coach Bryan Clayton.

The 6-foot-6 small forward from Little Rock, Ark. was expected to play for the Razorbacks last fall, but a hang-up with ACT results forced him to prep school. Because he has a learning disability, he needs to take his tests under special circumstances. While at Parkview (Ark.), he never took the untimed and verbal test. At SJNMA, Ross has received the proper accommodations and is on track to be cleared for next season.

Ross is a combo forward who can score in a variety of ways. He has a nice mid-range jumper and uses his strength to get points around the basket against smaller defenders. Ross absorbs contact effectively, and has a good feel for the game.

He chose the Red Raiders over Dayton, Alabama and others. 

Posted on: March 2, 2012 10:08 am
 

Derby Festival Classic announces rosters

By Jeff Borzello

In a game that is quickly becoming a national staple of the all-star game season, the Kentucky Derby Festival Classic is quite popular in the region. The game will take place at Freedom Hall in Louisville on April 6. 19 players were chosen, with two spots still available.

Team One

  • Steven Adams, Pittsburgh
  • Semaj Christon, Xavier
  • Sam Dekker, Wisconsin
  • Jeremy Hollowell, Indiana
  • Ron Patterson, Indiana
  • Hanner Perea, Texas
  • Terry Rozier, Louisville
  • Jakarr Sampson, Uncommitted
  • T.J. Warren, North Carolina State

Team Two

  • Jordan Adams, UCLA
  • Robert Carter, Georgia Tech
  • Phil Forte, Oklahoma State
  • Amile Jefferson, Undecided
  • Tyler Lewis, North Carolina State
  • Devonta Pollard, Uncommitted
  • Winston Shepard, San Diego State
  • Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State
  • D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Georgetown
  • Andrew White, Kansas
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 2, 2012 10:07 am
 

All-American Championship releases rosters

By Jeff Borzello

The All-American Championship started up last year, and it includes four teams and two games, separated by region. This season, 31 seniors and seven juniors were selected, with two spots still available. The games take places in New Orleans during Final Four weekend.

East

  • Nate Britt, North Carolina*
  • Omar Calhoun, Connecticut
  • DaJuan Coleman, Syracuse
  • Jerami Grant, Syracuse
  • Ricardo Ledo, Providence
  • Mitch McGary, Michigan
  • Nerlens Noel, Uncommitted
  • Chris Obekpa, Uncommitted
  • D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Georgetown
  • Kaleb Tarczewski, Arizona

West

  • Willie Cauley, Kentucky
  • Shaq Cleare, Maryland
  • Keith Frazier, Uncommitted*
  • Aaron Harrison, Uncommitted*
  • Andrew Harrison, Uncommitted*
  • Matt Jones, Duke*
  • Cameron Ridley, Texas
  • L.J. Rose, Baylor
  • Gabe York, Arizona

North

  • Cameron Biedscheid, Notre Dame
  • Sam Dekker, Wisconsin
  • Yogi Ferrell, Indiana
  • Mike Gesell, Iowa
  • Jeremy Hollowell, Indiana
  • Ronnie Johnson, Purdue
  • Marc Loving, Ohio State*
  • Hanner Perea, Indiana
  • Glenn Robinson, Michigan
  • Adam Woodbury, Iowa

South

  • Robert Carter, Georgia Tech
  • Javan Felix, Texas
  • Ricardo Gathers, Baylor
  • Shaq Goodwin, Memphis
  • Joel James, North Carolina
  • Shaq Johnson, Auburn
  • Evan Nolte, Virginia
  • Braxton Ogbueze, Florida
  • Derek Willis, Kentucky*
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 1, 2012 4:47 pm
Edited on: March 1, 2012 4:48 pm
 

Five-star junior Al Freeman down to two: KU, Nova

By Jeff Borzello

In October, five-star junior Allerik Freeman “trimmed” his list to a top 12. After a couple quiet months on the recruiting front, Freeman cut his list on Thursday afternoon.

Freeman, ranked No. 14 in the class of 2013, is down to two: Villanova and Kansas.

“Great coaches, great programs,” Freeman told CBSSports.com. “They’re recruiting me the hardest and I feel the most comfortable with these two.”

Freeman is a strong 6-foot-4 guard from Olympic (N.C.) who improved drastically last spring and summer. He uses his body to score around the rim, and he’s a good playmaker with the pass or when running the break. Freeman also expanded his game to include a more consistent jump shot and 3-point shot.

Right now, ‘Nova and Kansas are neck and neck -- and he doesn't have plans to make a decision.

"I don't have a timetable," Freeman said. "Just whenever the time is right. 

“They are both even."

Posted on: February 16, 2012 3:14 pm
Edited on: February 16, 2012 3:20 pm
 

No. 1 prospect Nerlens Noel talks recruitment

By Jeff Borzello

Nerlens Noel's recruitment has heated up since he reclassified to 2012. (MassLive.com)

Since Nerlens Noel announced a few weeks ago that he was reclassifying to the class of 2012, he’s been the most talked-about recruit in the country.

Noel, a 6-foot-10 Massachusetts native who plays at Tilton (N.H.), immediately moved to the No. 1 ranking in the nation. Moreover, the schools pursuing him have really turned up the heat.

“Recruiting has gone crazy all of a sudden,” Noel told Jeff Goodman on SiriusXM’s Inside College Basketball on Thursday afternoon. “I just need to plan out some visits to get out to all these schools. Keep talking to coaches, build better relationships with them.”

Noel is currently considering Kentucky, Syracuse, North Carolina, Florida, Georgetown and Connecticut. He later tweeted that Providence was also on his list, but did not mention them during the interview with Goodman.

He visited Syracuse this past weekend for the Orange’s win over Connecticut, and he will trip to Kentucky this coming weekend.

“I’m talking to a few more coaches to get down to their campuses during vacation,” Noel said.

Noel is the best shot-blocker in the country, and would immediately be the best in the college game too. He has tremendous dexterity defensively, able to cover a lot of ground and alter shots with either hand. Noel’s offensive is constantly getting better, and he is developing post moves and is taking defenders off the dribble as well.

He would dominate defensively wherever he ends up.

“Just a good program where I can go and play and be comfortable with the coaching staff, the whole program,” Noel said. “I know I can develop as long as I’m there, as a player and a person.”

Noel maintains that he is wide open among the six schools he mentioned, and he is still a long way from making a decision.

“I don’t really have a timeframe,” Noel said on the show. “I just want to make sure I get in all my visits to these schools. However long that takes.”

Posted on: February 16, 2012 1:22 pm
 

San Diego State lands top-50 Winston Shepard

By Jeff Goodman and Jeff Borzello

San Diego State got arguably the nation's best on-ball defender in Winston Shepard. (Adidas Nations)

Looking ahead to next season, San Diego State was missing just one key ingredient: a lockdown defender on the wing who could guard multiple positions.

The Aztecs got what they needed on Thursday, as top-50 senior Winston Shepard committed to Steve Fisher’s program, a source told CBSSports.com.

Shepard is a 6-foot-8 small forward from Findlay Prep (Nev.) and one of the best defensive players in the country. He has terrific athleticism and is very difficult to contain in the open floor. Shepard has improved his jumpshot over the past year, and he loves to crash the offensive glass for tip-ins and putbacks.

After his performance against Jabari Parker at the Hoop Hall Classic in January, Shepard’s stock rose in the eyes of many. He has limitless energy, and was not afraid to chase Parker and force him into bad shots from the perimeter.  Shepard’s size, length and athleticism enable him to guard players at different positions. We’ve seen him guard everyone from point guards to post players – and be effective at it.

Shepard saw recent interest from teams like Connecticut, St. John’s and Oregon, while New Mexico, UNLV, Oklahoma State and UTEP have all been involved for a long time.

He joins guard Matt Shrigley and forward Skylar Spencer in San Diego’s 2012 recruiting class. Transfers Dwayne Polee (St. John’s), J.J. O’Brien (Utah) and James Johnson (Virginia) are also sitting out this season for the Aztecs. 

With the stud backcourt of Jamaal Franklin and Chase Tapley also returning, the future looks very bright for Fisher’s program.

Posted on: February 13, 2012 11:17 am
 

Wannah Bail & Michael Carey headed to Texas Tech

By Jeff Borzello

It’s been an exciting couple of days for Texas Tech basketball. On Saturday, the Red Raiders finally won their first game of the Big 12 season, beating Oklahoma by 18.

Things got even better on Monday, as Billy Gillispie picked up commitments from Wannah Bail and Michael Carey.

Bail and Carey are seniors from Lamar Consolidated (Texas), and were being pursued by Houston, Oregon, Florida State and others in the past few months. The two Bahamas natives had said they would announce their decisions back in October, but it seems that scholarship issues prevented them from committing to Houston.

Bail, a 6-foot-8 power forward, is ranked in the CBSSports.com Top 100. He has the physical tools to dominate, given his strength and ability to run the floor effectively. Bail gets solid position for post-ups on the offensive end, and just needs to refine his back-to-the-basket moves and finishing in traffic. Defensively, he’s a very good shot blocker and rebounder.

Meanwhile, Carey is a talented 6-foot-5 point guard who has been playing more off the ball lately. He has very good size for his position, and is explosive off the dribble. Carey is difficult to keep from getting to the rim, and he also has improved his mid-range and pull-up jumpers. He is also a very good defender due to his strength and athleticism. He has recovered from a toe injury that limited him during the summer.

The two join guards Dusty Hannahs and Daylen Robinson in Texas Tech’s 2012 recruiting class.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com