Tag:Memphis
Posted on: January 16, 2012 1:40 pm
Edited on: January 16, 2012 1:45 pm
 

Connecticut joins race for Tony Parker



By
Jeff Borzello

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – It seems every time Tony Parker discusses his recruitment, another school enters the picture.

This time, it’s Connecticut.

“[Jim] Calhoun called me recently,” Parker said after his team’s loss to St. Anthony (N.J.) at the Hoop Hall Classic. “I’ll sit down with my dad. They’re one of his favorite schools.”

Parker, a 6-foot-8 big man from Miller Grove (Ga.), is one of the top uncommitted players left in the class of 2012. He still has Kentucky, Duke, UCLA, Ohio State and Memphis on his list, with Kansas showing recent interest.

Parker said he plans to make a decision during the spring.

“It’s getting closer, it’s starting to get hectic,” he said. “But I don’t really feel any pressure.”

Parker struggled against the swarming defense of St. Anthony on Monday, finishing with just six points and three rebounds. Duke and Kentucky had three representatives each to watch Parker, with Mike Kryzewski and Jim Calhoun both in attendance. Kevin Ollie from Connecticut also took in the game.

Parker enjoys the eyeballs watching him.

“The light is on me,” he said. “I don’t feel any added pressure because if I choose them, I’m going to play in front of them everyday. It’s kind of fun.”

Kentucky recently began showing more interest in Parker, and the Wildcats are in the mix for his final official visit. The Wildcats have already secured a commitment from Alex Poythress, Parker’s friend and AAU teammate on the Georgia Stars.

Poythress has been helping Kentucky recruit Parker.

“Their interest is good,” Parker said. “I get the Kentucky calls everyday from [Poythress], making sure I’m watching the game. It’s a great place.”

Although several teams are trying to jump into the process late in the game, Ohio State is one of the programs that have been involved since the start. Assistant coach Drew Dickerson represented the Buckeyes on Monday.

If Jared Sullinger leaves early, Parker would be the ideal replacement.

“They’re a great program,” he said. “They do a lot with their bigs, which really works in my favor. They really recruit good around their bigs. I have a deep relationship with the coaching staff.”

Parker plans to take his final official visit before making a decision. He said Kentucky, Kansas and Connecticut are all in the mix for it, but it will likely come down to Kentucky or Connecticut for his last trip.

Unless another team enters the picture, of course.

Photo: Five Star Basketball 

Posted on: January 10, 2012 10:37 am
Edited on: January 10, 2012 12:13 pm
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Posted on: December 22, 2011 9:36 am
Edited on: December 22, 2011 9:56 am
 

Isaiah Lewis ready to commit, leaning toward KU



By
Jeff Borzello

While it’s not even halfway through junior year for 2013 prospects, the dominoes are beginning to fall for several top-50 guards.

Brannen Greene popped for Kansas on Tuesday, Anton Gill went with Louisville on Wednesday – could Isaiah Lewis be next?

“I may commit this month,” Lewis said. “I’m weighing all my options.”

Right now, there are five schools on Lewis’ list, in order: Kansas, Louisville, Georgia Tech, Memphis and Florida. All have offered.

While he’s not ready to make a commitment just yet, he’s leaning toward one school in particular: Kansas.

“I like how coach [Bill] Self lets his guards play,” Lewis said. “It starts with the guards. The tradition is great and coach Self knows how to win.”

With Greene announcing for the Jayhawks on Tuesday, one might expect Lewis would be afraid to go to a place with a star guard already in place. Not so – his friendship with Greene only helps Self’s chances with the New York native.

“Everyone is expecting me to go to Kansas because of Brannen,” Lewis said. “Everyone knows we are best friends, so it doesn’t matter to me.”

Moreover, Lewis said he has been playing on the ball more this season at Christ the King (N.Y.), as opposed to primarily a shooting guard role last year. So far, he is averaging 18 points, six rebounds and five assists, and Christ the King – where he plays alongside Connecticut-signee Omar Calhoun – is off to a 2-1 start.

Lewis had to transform his body and his game over the summer in order to prepare for his new role.

“I think I’ve gotten a lot stronger,” he said. “I’m playing the point now, so getting strong was a big part of my summer. I think I’ve had to give up some shots for guys, but if that’s what I need to do to win, I’m in for it.”

Lewis, a 6-foot-3 prospect, is ranked No. 40 in CBSSports.com’s Top 100. Lewis is a high-level scorer who is very good in the mid-range. He has a good floater and pull-up jumper, and also knows how to get into the lane. Lewis has good athleticism, and has been developing into more of a facilitator than a scorer since moving over to the point. He said he is working on his 3-point shot.

While he’s not rushing into a decision, he is looking forward to finishing up the recruiting process.

“Just to have all the weight off me,” Lewis said. “I think it’s going to help me focus more on basketball and school.”

Photo: Nation of Blue

Posted on: December 6, 2011 11:26 am
 

Jarnell Stokes to enroll in college in January?



By
Jeff Borzello

Jarnell Stokes was expected to provide a boost to whichever school he committed to for 2012. However, could that boost be coming in one month?

According to Jason Smith of the Memphis Commercial Appeal, there is a “good chance” Stokes will enroll at a college in January. Stokes was ruled ineligible to play at Southwind (Tenn.) this season after transferring in from Central High (Tenn.) over the summer. His hardship appeal was also denied, meaning he won’t be able to play at all this season.

Moreover, Stokes said he is on pace to graduate this month from Southwind.

“I’ve set myself up to go to college midyear,” Stokes told Smith. “I really don’t know yet, but that’s definitely an option. I have other options that me and my dad don’t want to reveal.”

Stokes is currently considering six schools: Memphis, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky and Tennessee. According to Stokes’ father, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida and Tennessee have scholarships available for January.

Smith also wrote that Stokes could qualify for an academic scholarship at Memphis, thereby becoming a walk-on for a semester.

Stokes is apparently not ready for a decision.

“I wish I could just choose right now and get it all out the way, but I don’t think I’m ready to make a decision right now,” Stokes said. “Maybe I will be next week, but I can’t give you a timetable right now.”

Stokes, a 6-foot-8 power forward, is ranked No. 16 in CBSSports.com’s Top 100. He is tough to matchup with, given his strength and the improvement on his perimeter game. He has the ability to outmuscle smaller defenders, and beat slower opponents to the rim. Stokes can score effectively in the paint, and is also adept at getting to the foul line. He is also one of the best rebounders in the class.

With a college-ready body, there is little doubt Stokes could help out a school in the second semester.

Photo: Wildcat Blue Nation

Posted on: November 8, 2011 12:45 pm
 

Shaq Goodwin chooses Memphis over UCLA



By
Jeff Borzello

If a five-star prospect is uncommitted the day before the early signing period begins, chances are he will wait until at least the next day to announce his decision.

Not Shaq Goodwin – he couldn’t hold out any longer.

“#memphisbound,” Goodwin tweeted around noon on Tuesday.

A source confirmed the news to CBSSports.com.

Goodwin, a 6-foot-8 power forward from Southwest DeKalb (Ga.), chose the Tigers over UCLA, with Florida, Georgia and Arizona also in the mix. The Bruins were assumed to be in the driver’s seat for much of the last few weeks, especially after Goodwin visited this past weekend. Moreover, Goodwin’s former AAU coach, Korey McCray, is now an assistant coach with the Bruins.

Despite that, the commitment to Memphis is a major get for Josh Pastner. The two-sport star – he also wants to play football in college – is athletic and tough around the rim. He loves drawing contact around the rim, and is not afraid to bang in the paint. Goodwin gets to the free-throw line as well as anyone in the country, and is also adept at running the floor. He can also pass effectively and has good hands down low.

Goodwin ranks No. 21 in CBSSports.com’s Top 100. He joins Damien Wilson in Memphis’ 2012 recruiting class.

Photo: Memphis Commercial Appeal

Posted on: November 1, 2011 2:59 pm
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Posted on: November 1, 2011 2:59 pm
 

Jonathan Williams III more focused on improving

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By
Jeff Borzello

Most five-star prospects love the attention and recognition that comes along with being ranked among the top players in the country.

Jonathan Williams III, however, has no problem avoiding the spotlight.

“I don’t really care about any of that stuff,” Williams III said. “I’m just trying to stay focused. It gets you a big head, gets you slacking off.”

Williams III, a 6-foot-8 forward from Southwind (Tenn.), is ranked No. 8 in CBSSports.com’s Top 100 for the class of 2013. Naturally, he holds a host of high-major offers.

Among the schools that have extended a scholarship offer to Williams are Florida, Tennessee, Memphis, Texas, Oklahoma State, Marquette, Georgetown, UCLA, Arkansas, Virginia and Kentucky. All of them have also come by his high school to watch him work out.

“It’s going pretty good,” Williams III said of his recruitment. “I know I’m being recruited highly, but I’m more worried about staying focused and staying humble, working hard.”

He took a trip to Tennessee this past weekend, and has also been to the campuses of Kentucky and Ole Miss.

Williams III visited Lexington during his freshman year, when the Wildcats hosted North Carolina.

“The fans were just so crazy,” he said. “The gym was packed, everything was live. It was a nice arena, but I haven’t really visited the campus. I’ll do that when I go back up there this year.”

As for Ole Miss, Williams III was very impressed with the dedication to academics from the athletic department.

“They really focus on your education,” he said. “If you go to Ole Miss and you’re an athlete, you should not fail. I also watched them practice; they have a nice practice facility. Everything is brand new, and they’ll have a new arena built in the next two years.”

Williams III has no plans to cut down his list or even plan more visits in the coming months; he’s more focused on winning a state championship and wading through Southwind’s difficult schedule.

However, his versatile skill set will play a factor in the school he eventually chooses to attend.

“I’m looking at how they play; will I be able to play the one through the four?” Williams III said. “I’m not a position player, I can play any position on the floor. I can post, shoot the 3, run the fast break, do a little bit of everything.”

However, he’s not yet content with his all-around game.

Said Williams III: “I’m trying to be unstoppable.”

Posted on: September 30, 2011 10:56 am
Edited on: September 30, 2011 11:14 am
 

Ishmail Wainright happy with move to Montrose

By Jeff Borzello

When Ishmail Wainright made the move from Raytown South (Mo.) to Montrose Christian (Md.), a lot of things changed.

Wainright was suddenly nearly 1,000 miles from home, with new friends, new teammates, new style of play and more pressure. But the biggest difference for Wainright?

“The weather,” he said. “It rains too much.”

Not surprisingly, Wainright is extremely happy with his decision to leave home and go to the vaunted private school near Washington D.C.

“This was one of the best moves by far,” he said. “The only move, really. It’s a great education.”

Although the season has not yet started, Wainright has already noticed a difference in the attendance at the preseason workouts. The door leading to the gym is a revolving door of high-major head coaches and some of the best recruiters in the country.

UCLA, Texas, Kansas State, Alabama, Providence, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, UMKC, Georgetown, Maryland, Villanova have all stopped by. St. John’s, Texas A&M, Baylor and Missouri were there on Wednesday. Louisville is expected to come soon, while Memphis set up a date to check out Wainright as well.

“I didn’t know it was going to be like this,” Wainright said. “I was just thinking in my head, ‘I don’t know who is going to see me, I don’t know who likes my game.’

“When I got there, coach [Stu] Vetter sat me down and said, ‘Now you know you will be hearing from coaches that you’ve never heard from, right?’ I just giggled. I thought he was playing, but it was for real.”

Wainright has had an interesting recruitment so far. He committed to Missouri in May, becoming new head coach Frank Haith’s first big-time recruit since taking over the Tigers. In late June, though, but suddenly decommitted and reopened his process.

After a few underwhelming performances with Memphis YOMCA on the Nike AAU circuit in the spring, Wainright won back his reputation with the KC 76ers in Las Vegas. He led his team to a surprising Fab 48 title, outplaying No. 1 prospect Jabari Parker in a head-to-head battle.

Wainright currently holds offers from Syracuse, Baylor, Missouri, Kansas, Kansas State, Texas, Texas A&M, Colorado, St. John’s, UMKC, Florida, Nebraska and Louisville.

While he doesn’t have any specific visits planned, he wants to attend Louisville’s Midnight Madness festivities.

“I don’t have [a favorite] right now,” Wainright said.

Wainright, a 6-foot-5 small forward, is ranked as a five-star prospect in CBSSports.com’s Top 100 rankings for 2013. He is No. 17 in the country.

Photo: STLToday

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