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Tag:Kentucky
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 1, 2012 11:07 pm
 

Nerlens Noel reclassifying to class of 2012

By Jeff Borzello

It’s been a possibility for awhile, but it became official on Wednesday night: Nerlens Noel is reclassifying to the class of 2012.

Noel, a 6-foot-10 center from Tilton (N.H.), has been a member of the class of 2013, but he is heading back to his original graduating class, according to Dave Telep of ESPN.com.

Noel told Telep he would take his first official visit the weekend of February 11, to Syracuse. He also said Providence, Connecticut, Kentucky, Florida, Georgetown and North Carolina are in the mix.

“I’m ready to do it,” Noel told ESPN.com. “It’s a short window of time to pick a school.”

Noel will become the No. 1 player in CBSSports.com’s class of 2012 rankings, ahead of Shabazz Muhammad. He is the best shot-blocker not currently in the NBA, and one of the best to pass through the high school ranks in years. Moreover, his offense is rapidly improving and his dexterity is impressive.

Syracuse and Kentucky have long been considered the favorites to land Noel, and we expect them to battle it out in the coming months. 

Posted on: January 27, 2012 12:26 pm
Edited on: January 27, 2012 1:17 pm
 

Shabazz Muhammad keeps everyone guessing

No. 1 prospect Shabazz Muhammad has not given any hints as to where he's headed next year. (US Presswire)

By Jeff Borzello

Everyone wants to know where Shabazz Muhammad will play his college basketball next season. As the consensus top prospect in the class of 2012, his decision has the attention of fans, casual observers, recruitniks, coaches – everyone.

Muhammad’s classmates at Bishop Gorman (Nev.) are no different.

“Probably 10 times a day in school,” Muhammad said last week when asked how often he hears the question. “Everyone wants to know. I don’t mind it. I just say I don’t know yet.

“I’m still looking at all my schools.”

Muhammad, a 6-foot-5 small forward, has had a pretty static list for the past year. UCLA, Kentucky, UNLV, Duke, Arizona, Kansas and USC are the ones jockeying for his services right now.

He’s taken his time throughout the process, only taking official visits to Kentucky and Texas A&M so far. He won’t make a decision until he’s taken all five of his officials.

“Probably when I’m done with my visits,” Muhammad said. “I have three more officials, and I’m definitely going to take them. I’ll have them scheduled in a month or so.”

For now, he said he’s looking at Duke, Kansas and Arizona for the remaining visits. Because they’re so close to home, UCLA and UNLV likely won’t receive official visits.

“It’s worthwhile to go to a farther school for an official, since they’re paying,” Muhammad said.

UNLV seems to be gaining some traction in his recruitment, especially after picking up Pittsburgh transfer Khem Birch. Moreover, the hometown school has been on Muhammad as long as anyone, and the Runnin’ Rebels performance this season is just proving that the program is on the rise.

They’re certainly in the mix for Muhammad.

“The program is really coming along,” he said. “They got Khem Birch, some other recruits. They’re a great program, they’re going to be a great team. I’m really looking forward to getting more involved with the recruitment.”

Muhammad also said he would be OK staying at home in Las Vegas.

John Calipari and a couple of assistants were in attendance for Muhammad’s game at the Hoophall Classic against DeMatha Catholic (Md.). The Wildcats are continuing to turn up the heat on Muhammad.

“The interest level is high,” Muhammad said. “Coach Cal was at my game. I talked to them a week ago. I just think I fit really well in their style of play.”

Another school that sent a head coach and two assistants was Duke, as Mike Krzyzewski was front-and-center for Muhammad’s nationally-televised game.

“Coach K is just a mastermind,” he said. “I’m really getting excited about going down there.”

The school that has been associated with Muhammad’s recruitment for most of the past two years was UCLA. The Bruins are squarely in the mix for him, and the addition of top-five prospect Kyle Anderson in the fall can only help.

“Who wouldn’t want to play with Kyle?” Muhammad said. “How he sees the floor is just remarkable.”

Another school in the running for an official visit from Muhammad is Arizona. The Wildcats have the top recruiting class in the country right now, and adding the No. 1 prospect would cement its spot atop the rankings.

Moreover, Sean Miller would have one of the most talented rosters around.

“I think I would fit really well,” Muhammad said. “They run a high-tempo style.”

Style of play is Muhammad’s most important factor in his recruitment. He prefers a mostly half-court style where he could use his tremendous scoring ability to his advantage, but he also wants some fast-break opportunities where he can get out in transition.

Muhammad won’t let the pressure get to him; he’s set on taking his time and making an informed decision after his season ends.

“It’s kind of weighing on me, but I’m still weighing my options out.”

Posted on: January 20, 2012 4:36 pm
 

Derek Willis is Kentucky's first 2013 commit

By Jeff Borzello

Derek Willis’ recruitment has had several twists and turns over the past six months, and he wasn’t expected to make a new decision just yet. Last week, though, the former Purdue commit said he was ready to make an announcement.

During a press conference at Bullitt East High School (Ky.), Willis made his pledge to Kentucky.

“Kentucky was just the best fit for me and that’s why I chose them,” he said.

Willis chose the Wildcats over Purdue, Indiana and Louisville. It was reported that he narrowed his list to two schools – Purdue was the other – recently, and made up his mind a week ago.

Willis is a top-50 recruit in the class of 2013. The 6-foot-9 forward is extremely skilled and he has good inside-outside ability. He has not reached his full potential just yet, but is one of the more versatile offensive players in the class when he brings it consistently.

He is Kentucky’s first commitment in the class of 2013.

Posted on: January 20, 2012 3:58 pm
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Posted on: January 18, 2012 1:38 pm
 

Kuran Iverson hearing from plenty of suitors

By Jeff Borzello

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Kuran Iverson has been one of the most hyped players in the class of 2013 for several years. His 6-foot-9 size and versatile skill set have had onlookers drooling over his potential.

Over the summer, though, he put on pounds and it slowed him down. To his credit, though, he realized it and has made adjustments.

“I carried a lot of weight and it started to hurt my knees,” Iverson said. “So I cut down on my eating, worked out more.”

Iverson looked significantly slimmer over the weekend at the Hoophall Classic, but he struggled against DeMatha Catholic’s BeeJay Anya due to Anya’s size and length inside. Iverson finished with four points and three rebounds, hampered by foul trouble the entire game.

The Northwest Catholic (Conn.) prospect hopes to be a small forward at the next level. Which school he ends up at is still up for grabs.

So far, he is hearing from Connecticut, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, North Carolina, Rutgers, St. John’s, Oklahoma and Florida. Iverson wants to visit North Carolina, Florida and Rutgers. He has been to Connecticut, and would like to take another trip. The Huskies are one of the schools standing out to him right now.

Kentucky is another school getting plenty of play with Iverson. Head coach John Calipari went to one of his games at Northwest Catholic, and the Wildcats are showing interest. They have not yet offered, but they would move into the forefront of his recruitment should they extend a scholarship.

Iverson is not ready to make a decision just yet.

“I’m not thinking about it until after the season,” he said.

Photo: Southington Sports

Posted on: January 18, 2012 10:21 am
 

Julius Randle begins taking unofficial visits

By Jeff Borzello

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Julius Randle is still about a year from making his college decision, but that hasn’t stopped him from taking steps in the recruiting process.

Earlier this month, the No. 3-ranked prospect in 2013 spent some time on Tobacco Road, visiting North Carolina, North Carolina State and Duke.

“They’re three programs that have great tradition,” Randle said. “It was just an honor to visit. It was a lot of fun.”

Randle, a 6-foot-8 power forward from Prestonwood Christian (Texas), is not tipping his hand as to which visit was the best – or to which specific schools are recruiting him.

“I don’t have a list,” he said. “If you name a team, they’re probably recruiting me.”

However, Randle did say he wants to take unofficial visits to Texas and Kentucky in the near future.

“I like the versatility of the players they have,” he said.

In addition to the aforementioned five schools, Ohio State, Kansas, Baylor are also among the colleges heavily pursuing Randle. He won’t make a decision until after he takes his five official visits, which will happen next fall.

While academics rank high on the priority list for Randle, coaching style is also going to be a major factor when he eventually makes a decision.

“A coach that will push me,” he said. “He’s not going to always tell me what I want to hear, but what I need to hear. Someone that will make me the best player I can be.”

Photo: Bleacher Report 

Posted on: January 17, 2012 2:20 pm
 

Ricardo Gathers has four favorites

By Jeff Borzello

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Since Ricardo Gathers decommitted from St. John’s in early November, several new schools have tried to get involved in his recruitment.

While he doesn’t seem to be in a rush to finish the process, Gathers has shed some light on his suitors.

After his Riverside (La.) team lost to Gonzaga (D.C.) on Saturday at the Hoophall Classic, the No. 52-ranked player in the class of 2012 said he had been hearing from Baylor, LSU, St. John’s, California, North Carolina State and Florida.

His four favorites are: Baylor, St. John’s, Florida and North Carolina State.

The Red Storm remain in the mix despite parting ways two months ago.

“I like their style of play,” the 6-foot-8 power forward said. “How they go so hard.”

Two schools mentioned recently with Gathers are Kentucky and Duke, but he said neither is showing consistent interest.

Duke contacted him once. “Not frequently,” he said.

As for Kentucky, head coach John Calipari came to one game, but the Wildcats have yet to contact him directly or offer him a scholarship.

Gathers plans to make a decision after the season, but he wants to take trips to North Carolina State, Duke, Florida and Baylor before announcing his final commitment.

Photo: New Orleans Times-Picayune

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