Tag:Alabama
Posted on: December 2, 2011 11:19 am
  •  
 

Unselfish Troy Williams ready for big year

INTERESTED TEAMS:



By
Jeff Borzello

Junior Troy Williams has lofty individual goals for the upcoming season – but the unselfish five-star prospect doesn’t want it to revolve around his personal offensive exploits.

“I want to get Player of the Year this year, but not by just scoring – but how I involved my teammates on the floor with me,” Williams said.

The 6-foot-6 small forward from Pheobus (Va.) is ranked No. 8 in CBSSports.com’s Top 100 for 2013. He doesn’t mind being the go-to-guy for his high school team, but he prefers getting his teammates shots too.

“Definitely [going to] have a bigger role this year, and again this year, I have players around me who can ball, so I’m looking for their help too,” Williams said.

Williams is one of the best scoring wings in the class. He has good range on his jump shot, and he is tough with his mid-range game as well. Defensively, he uses his athleticism and tremendous length to be a factor in passing lanes. The nephew of famed AAU coach Boo Williams has one of the higher ceilings in the class.

Not surprisingly, Williams isn’t settling, working to expand his game in the offseason.

“Shooting, defense, ball-handling and being a better leader on and off the court,” he said when asked what he improved in the fall.

A slew of colleges stopped by his Hampton, Va. high school during the fall to check him during workouts. Villanova, Georgetown, Florida, Texas, DePaul, Virginia Tech, North Carolina and Louisville all came through.

In addition to those schools – besides the Tar Heels – Kentucky, Alabama and Miami (Fl.) have also offered him a scholarship.

As for North Carolina, they continue to eye Williams but have yet to pull the trigger on an offer.

“They were ready to offer but they either offered too many people or are just holding off,” he said. “But they do have high interest.”

Williams has already taken trips to North Carolina, Duke, Kentucky and Louisville.

“They were great,” he said. “I learned a lot of history about the schools, and met some of the players and coaches.”

Villanova, Georgetown and Virginia Tech are next on his unofficial visit list, although no dates have been set. There are no favorites for Williams, but he knows what he’s looking for in a prospective school.

“High graduation percentage of the players that went there,” he said. “Great relationship with the coach, and a school that can shape me into an NBA player.”

Don’t expect a decision anytime soon from Williams; he’s going to wait out the process.

“I probably won’t commit until next summer.”

Photo: 247Sports.com

Posted on: October 5, 2011 12:50 pm
 

Alabama commit Jaren Sina reopens recruitment

By Jeff Borzello

When Gill St. Bernard’s (N.J.) product Jaren Sina committed to Alabama midway through his sophomore year of high school, it came as something of a surprise. It’s not often a player from central Jersey treks down to Tuscaloosa for college.

Last night, nine months after originally giving his pledge to Anthony Grant and the Crimson Tide, Sina announced he was decommitting from Alabama.

“We went down there a few more times, and I think it was a good thing we did,” said Mergin Sina, Jaren’s father and coach. “Something started changing with him. A few days ago, he came to us and said, ‘I’m not sure.’

“He just wasn’t 100 percent sure that’s where he wanted to be. It didn’t have anything to do with anything on Alabama’s part. It was just pretty much a feeling we had. It wasn’t the same.”

Sina, a 6-foot-2 point guard, is one of the best scorers in the class of 2013. He has tremendous range and can knock down shots with consistency from behind the arc. Sina can get his shot off in a variety of ways, absorbing contact and making tough baskets over defenders. As a point guard, he has a high basketball IQ and is a very good passer.

Mergin Sina said Alabama is still in the mix.

“They’re still under consideration,” he said. “We’re going to take it a little bit slow. We actually went down there four times, so we had a better opportunity to really research it. We’re just going to look and see if there’s anything else he wants. If it ends up being Alabama, that’s fine.”

When Sina originally chose Alabama, he also held offers from Seton Hall, Rutgers, St. John’s, Florida, La Salle and many others.

He and his father have yet to develop a list for his second go-round on the recruiting trail.

“It was a long day,” Mergin sina said. “I didn’t really answer the phone, I was bombarded with out-of-state numbers. I just started to listen to some of the stuff. He’s really going to take his time. We’re going to go through the process, let Jaren go through it naturally.”

Sina ranks No. 41 in CBSSports.com’s Top 100 in 2013.

Photo: MyCentralJersey.com

Posted on: October 3, 2011 10:36 am
Edited on: October 3, 2011 10:45 am
 

Willie Cauley dominating on gridiron, too

INTERESTED TEAMS:



By
Jeff Borzello

The idea of lining up across from a 7-foot center in basketball is scary enough, but what about a 7-foot wide receiver on the football field?

That’s what opponents of Olathe Northwest (Kan.) have had to deal with all season.

Willie Cauley, the No. 47 player in the class of 2012 for basketball, has been tearing it up on the gridiron this fall. Due to his size, speed and athleticism, he is a nightmare matchup for opposing cornerbacks. Over the weekend, Cauley had 11 catches for 223 yards and a touchdown. Through five games, he has racked up 38 receptions for 695 yards and nine touchdowns.

“I’ve played since I was in fourth grade,” Cauley said.

While he hasn’t really thought about playing both sports in high school, Kansas State has mentioned it. The Wildcats have attended multiple football games, while Kentucky has also been to one.

On the basketball recruiting front, Cauley is making progress. He cut his list to four schools last month, and has scheduled all his visits. Cauley will take a trip to Alabama this weekend, Kentucky for Big Blue Madness and Kansas State the following weekend.

Alabama has visited Olathe Northwest (Kan.), Kansas State is coming today, while Kentucky has also made a stop at the school.

The fourth school on his list is Florida; he visited the Gators in mid-September.

“[I liked] the coaches and people,” Cauley said.

Interestingly, Cauley isn’t sure what he’s looking for in a school. He is heading into each visit with an open mind in order to get a complete feel for what the school offers.

Cauley was one of the fastest-rising big men in the country during the spring and summer. He is extremely long and runs the floor better than most players at his position. Cauley is capable of knocking down mid-range jumpers, but is also active on the offensive glass and around the rim. He is also a very good shot-blocker.

“I’m working on 14-16-foot jumpers and ball-handling,” he said. “I’m still trying to figure out what I do bring to the table.”

There are some people who think Cauley is a Kentucky lean, and while that might be true, he claims there are no favorites.

Either way, the end is in sight for Cauley’s recruitment.

“I want to sign in November,” he said.

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

Posted on: August 17, 2011 12:18 pm
 

Brannen Greene begins the recruiting process

By Jeff Borzello

Given his 6-foot-6 size and versatile shooting ability, it was only a matter of time before Brannen Greene truly blew up.

Greene, a scoring wing from Mary Persons (Ga.), took his game to a new level in the spring and summer, catapulting into potential five-star status in the class of 2013.

“I thought I played some really good ball,” Greene said. “I just enjoyed myself and played hard. It feels great and it makes me want to work that much harder.”

Greene is ranked No. 16 in the latest CBSSports.com Top 100, due to his ability to knock down shots from behind the arc and create matchup problems for most defenders. While he needs to move better without the ball, Greene has a smoothness about his game that is impressive.

Prior to the summer, Greene had offers from plenty of schools in the South, but his recruitment certainly picked up in the summer.

“I just had regional high-majors on me before,” he said. “Now I have just about everybody from the West Coast to the East Coast.”

Greene now holds offers from Georgia Tech, Connecticut, Florida, Florida State, Alabama, Marquette, UCLA, Kansas, Ohio State, Louisville, North Carolina State, Memphis, Tennessee, Georgia and others. There are no favorites at this point, although Greene plans to start going through the process in November.

“I’m considering anybody and everybody, but I’m looking to slim down my list pretty quickly so they better jump in,” he said.

Right now, Greene has unofficial visits planned to Florida (August 27), Harvard (September 20) and Kansas (Midnight Madness).

He briefly discussed what he likes about each school on the visit list.

Florida: “I like Florida’s style of play, coaching staff and proximity to home.

Kansas: ”I like Kansas’ tradition and coaching staff.”

Harvard: “The academics and the opportunities I have outside of basketball.”

Overall, Greene – an excellent student in the classroom – is looking both on and off the court when he chooses his future destination.

“Just the opportunity to get better physically and also get a great education,” he said.

Photo: Recruiting Spotlight

Posted on: August 16, 2011 4:19 pm
 

Jarrell Martin's recruitment taking center stage

By Jeff Borzello

Jarrell Martin would prefer to keep his attention on improving his all-around skills on the court.

Instead, Martin’s impressive summer on the AAU circuit with Brandon Bass Elite has thrust his recruitment squarely into the picture.

“It’s still really early, but the mail keeps coming,” said Jeff Jones, Martin’s coach at Madison Prep (La.). “He wants to be more focused on getting better in the gym.”

Martin, a 6-foot-7 forward ranked No. 48 in CBSSports.com’s 2013 rankings, is a very long and active prospect. He is able to score from the perimeter or in transition, and is very aggressive when attacking the offensive glass.

There’s always room for improvement, according to Martin.

“I think I played well, I could’ve played better though,” Martin said. “I could’ve knocked down wide-open shots, attacked the basket more, played better defense.”

Despite his supposed deficiencies during July, plenty of schools made their interest clear.

Martin has offers from Oklahoma State, Arizona, Tulane, Marquette, UTEP, New Mexico, West Virginia, St. John’s, Mississippi State, Baylor, LSU, Georgetown and Texas A&M. A few more could be on the verge of offering.

“Texas hasn’t offered yet, but they send a lot of mail everyday,” Jones said. “Georgia is another one, Florida State is another one. Alabama sends a lot of stuff too.”

Martin will trip to Tuscaloosa for the Crimson Tide’s elite camp on August 20, and unofficial visits are being planned for Baylor, Texas A&M, Texas, Mississippi State and LSU.

Although it’s early, a few schools are standing out to Martin: Texas, Arizona, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State and Marquette, with West Virginia also in the mix.

A top five? “I guess you can say that,” Jones said.

Already going through the process, Martin’s recruitment seems to be taking center stage – not bad for someone who would rather focus on his game.

Posted on: August 9, 2011 1:41 pm
 

Chris Walker has five schools standing out early



By Jeff Borzello

Coming off an outstanding spring and summer, Chris Walker was running out of opponents to dominate.

Walker ranks No. 6 in CBSSports.com’s Top 100 in 2013, using his athleticism and length to go from a very good prospect to a can’t-miss recruit.At Adidas Nations, Walker went up against Steven Adams, the New Zealand native who was drawing rave reviews for his play out in Harbor City, Calif. The 6-foot-10 Walker didn’t back down, though, racking up 24 points and 10 rebounds, once again proving he is one of the best prospects in the country. He also went for 15 points and seven boards against Andre Drummond in the Championship game.

“It was just me playing hard,” Walker told me in June. “I tried to show everyone what I could do. I put in the work. I improved my game tremendously.”

Not surprisingly, plenty of schools are in the mix for the Holmes County (Fla.) forward.

More on Recruiting

Alabama, Louisville, Baylor and Tennessee called him immediately after the July live period ended, while Ohio State, Florida, Kansas, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Connecticut, Texas, Texas Tech and others have all offered.

One school noticeably absent from that list of offers is Kentucky. The Wildcats have offered juniors Kasey Hill and Malik Price-Martin, who also play in the Florida Rams AAU program.

“They may offer soon,” Walker said.

Although it’s still early in the process, five schools are standing out for the rising junior.

“I’m really feeling Florida, Kentucky, Ohio State, Kansas and Florida State,” he said.

With Adidas Nations over, he plans on taking trips to Kentucky, Ohio State, Florida, Kansas and Alabama.

“I want to get a feel, for now,” Walker said.

While he is only entering his junior season, Walker did not say he planned on waiting until his senior campaign to make a college decision.

“I don’t know yet,” he said. “Whenever I feel comfortable, I will commit.”

Photo: Five-Star Basketball

Posted on: July 28, 2011 12:17 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2011 1:27 pm
 

Five-star Alex Poythress adds Duke offer

By Jeff Borzello

ORLANDO, Fla. – As Alex Poythress continues to expand his game, his recruitment is also widening.

On Tuesday night, after the AAU Super Showcase, the 6-foot-7 Northeast (Tenn.) forward picked up an offer from Duke and head coach Mike Krzyzewski.

“It felt pretty good,” Poythress said Thursday morning. “It was pretty exciting to talk to Coach K. He said he saw me play at the Super Showcase and Peach Jam, and he liked what he saw.”

More on Recruiting

Poythress has spent much of the month looking to become more of a perimeter-oriented player, showing off his range and shooting ability. He sees himself as a small forward at the next level, and the improvement in his ball-handling and off-the-dribble game are prime examples.

“I’ve played pretty decent,” Poythress said. “I was trying to get better as player overall.”

Poythress, who ranks No. 15 in CBSSports.com’s Top 100, is also hearing from Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Florida, Memphis, Louisville, Connecticut, Ohio State, Texas and Alabama.

He said there is no favorite right now, despite the new offer.

"There's no pecking order," Poythress said. “I’ll probably cut my list in a week or two."

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