Tag:Marcus Smart
Posted on: December 15, 2011 2:56 pm
 

Six players make Naismith watch list



By
Jeff Borzello

The Atlanta Tipoff Club announced on Thursday the preseason watch list for the Naismith High School Player of the Year.

On the boys’ side, six players made the cut: Shabazz Muhammad (uncommitted and ranked No. 1 in CBSSports.com’s Top 100); Kyle Anderson (UCLA, No. 4); Brandon Ashley (Arizona, No. 3); Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State, No. 9); Isaiah Austin (Baylor, No. 7); and Alex Poythress (Kentucky, No. 12).

“We’re extremely excited to watch this year’s nominees battle it out for the right to be called the best high school basketball player in 2012,” said Eric Oberman, Executive Director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club.

The players ranked in our top 10 who weren’t recognized were Mitch McGary (No. 2), Kaleb Tarczewski (No. 5), Archie Goodwin (No. 6), Cameron Ridley (No. 9) and DaJuan Coleman (No. 10.

The Naismith Awards national voting academy, comprised of basketball writers around the country, made the selections. The winner will be announced on March 22.

Last year’s winner was Austin Rivers.

On the girls’ side, the seven players were: Breanna Stewart (Connecticut), Moriah Jefferson (Connecticut), Alex Jones (Duke), Jewell Loyd (Notre Dame), Jordan Adams (USC) and junior Diamond DeShields (undecided).

Photo: Las Vegas Sun

Posted on: September 10, 2011 4:20 pm
 

Oklahoma State gets Marcus Smart and Phil Forte

 

By Jeff Borzello

In the class of 2011, Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford made waves when he picked up a commitment from top-10 recruit LeBryan Nash.

It looks like he’s doing the same in 2012.

On Friday night, Ford nabbed commitments from two players, Marcus Smart and Phil Forte, teammates on both the high school and AAU circuits.

“Me and Phil just wanted to stay together,” Smart said.

Both players are from Flower Mound High School (Texas) and run with Texas Assault during the spring and summer.

Smart, ranked No. 12 in CBSSports.com’s Top 100, is one of the best all-around players in the country. The 6-foot-4 prospect is strong and active, and is one of the best on-ball defenders around. He has steadily improved his ball-handling and shooting, and can play multiple positions. Forte, a 5-foot-11 guard, is simply one of the best shooters in the class.

“We just felt that we started together, so we should finish together,” Smart said.

Both players were on the Stillwater campus on Friday night, and the entire visit won them over.

“Just the whole atmosphere,” Smart said.

Forte held offers from Oklahoma, Kansas State, Iowa and others, while Smart’s finalists were North Carolina, Oklahoma, Kansas State, Texas and Kansas.

Even if Nash doesn’t stay for more than one season at Oklahoma State, it seems the Cowboys will be in good hands. Smart is confident that he and Forte can make an impact.

“A good one, no doubt,” Smart said.

Photo: Adidas Super 64, ESPN

Posted on: August 11, 2011 1:53 pm
 

Top 100 analysis: Who's up, who's down?



By Jeff Borzello

July is normally the most important month when it comes to determining where a player ends up in the recruiting rankings. The high school season has inconsistent levels of competition, while the spring AAU circuit has so many events that players can go up and down with every week. On the other hand, July is a chance for every player to be seen multiple times in a three-week span, against the other top players in the country – in game settings. The NBPA Top 100, Nike Skills Academies and Pangos All-American Camp all gather tremendous amounts of talent, but it’s often difficult to truly scout a player in a camp setting. As a result, the evaluations made in July are often the ones that stick for the rest of the year.

CBSSports.com and MaxPreps released their updated Top-100 rankings for 2012 on Thursday morning, and there are plenty of changes since the pre-July rankings. Which players increased their stock the most in July, and which ones went the same direction as the real stock market?

Rising

Marcus Smart (No. 12): The ultimate winner, Smart (above) can play any perimeter position and is a terrific defender.

Kris Dunn (No. 26): Dunn (right) moved up to become the No. 1 point guard in the country after yet another impressive month.

Brice Johnson (No. 29): Johnson really broke out at the Peach Jam, demonstrating a vastly improved offensive game.

Alex Caruso (No. 55): One of the breakout players of June, Caruso is surprisingly athletic and excels at scoring in unconventional ways.

Jake Layman (No. 57): He’s long, athletic and can score in a variety of ways. Layman creates havoc with his perimeter defense.

Georges Niang (No. 70): Niang has always been productive, and it was finally time to reward him with a top-100 spot.

Semaj Christon (No. 80): The Xavier-commit won over all onlookers in July, demonstrating his excellent penetration ability.

Dominic Artis (No. 84): Artis, who committed to UCLA in late July, has terrific handle and knocked down threes with consistency.

Josh Scott (No. 86): The bottom line is that Scott is a different player with his AAU team; he scores effectively around the rim.

Grant Verhoeven (No. 91): Our first look at Verhoeven was a good one. He blocks shots very well, and can score in different ways.

Jordan Loveridge (No. 92): One of the biggest risers in Las Vegas, Loveridge is versatile and proved to be a match-up problem.

Tyrone Wallace (No. 96): A long point guard with great size (6-foot-4) for the position, Wallace has a great feel for the game.

Falling

D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera (No. 39): His scoring ability is impressive, but Smith-Rivera (left) is not a true point guard and has a limited ceiling.

Adam Woodbury (No. 40): This isn’t really Woodbury’s fault – we overrated him after an MVP performance at NBA Camp.

Daniel Ochefu (No. 43): Ochefu is an excellent defender but doesn’t have much of a back-to-the-basket game. High upside, though.

Torian Graham (No. 48): Graham can fill it up with the best of them, but he doesn’t bring effort consistently and is somewhat out of control.

J.P. Tokoto (No. 66): Tokoto continues to spiral down the rankings after peaking in the top five two years ago.

Damien Wilson (No. 75): Wilson is athletic and can really defend, but he lacks the ability to create his own shot.

Tyler Lewis (No. 76): Lewis is fun to watch and doesn’t back down from everyone, but his size and lack of defense could hinder him.

Nino Jackson (No. 81): He is only 6-foot, but is more of a scorer than a point guard. Jackson also disappears from the circuit on occasion.

Steve Taylor (No. 89): It was a down summer for most Chicago prospects, to be honest, and the Marquette-commit was inconsistent.

A.J. Hammons (No. 98): It just doesn’t seem like Hammons really enjoys himself out there. Has to improve conditioning.

Fred Thomas (No. 100): Again, probably not Thomas’ fault that we saw him for the first time when he couldn’t miss from 3-point range.

Jordan Hare (Unranked): This is simply a case of not seeing him. If anyone can remember the last time Hare suited up on AAU, let us know.

Photos: Adidas Super 64, MaxPreps, Indy Star

Posted on: July 26, 2011 2:07 pm
Edited on: July 27, 2011 11:36 am
 

Las Vegas Wrapup: Top Performers, Notables


By Jeff Borzello

LAS VEGAS – For five days, Las Vegas went from being the gathering place for various vices to the epicenter of AAU basketball (during the day, at least). With the Adidas Super 64 and the Fab 48, the majority of the best players and teams in the country descended on the desert for two of the summer’s best tournaments. The individual match-ups that took place at the Super 64 were unparalleled, while the Fab 48 featured plenty of top talent as well.

At the Super 64, the final four consisted of Indiana Elite, Dream Vision, Utah Pump N Run and Texas Assault. Behind the play of Jordan Loveridge, Utah Pump N Run defeated the Atlanta Celtics, Compton Magic and Michigan Mustangs in the tournament. EBC Elite made a run to the Elite Eight with upsets over Family First and DC Assault, while the Nor Cal Pharaohs also made a surprising run.

The Fab 48 was marred somewhat by two brawls, but the Cinderella stories by Wisconsin Swing and Team Breakdown to reach the Final Four were fun to watch. In the end, though, Ishmail Wainright and the KC 76ers rolled to the championship, dispatching of anyone in their path. The favorites heading into the event included the Oakland Soldiers, Belmont Shore, NJ Playaz and Mac Irvin Fire – all three were gone by the final eight, with the Soldiers and Playaz getting shocked in the playoff opener.

Top Performers

More on Recruiting

Ishmail Wainright, 2013, KC 76ers: Arguably the most impressive overall performer of the week, Wainright led his team to a surprising Fab 48 title. The muscular junior has always been a great defender and energy guy, but he carried the 76ers offensively, including getting the upper hand on Jabari Parker in a head-to-head battle.

Shabazz Muhammad, 2012, Dream Vision: Muhammad had his slow games, but overall, he again showed why he is the best player in the class. He carried Dream Vision to the title game, getting baskets in a variety of ways. Simply unstoppable when going to the rim.

Andre Drummond, 2012, Connecticut Basketball Club: When Drummond is motivated or goes against another top player, he is outstanding. He beat Kaleb Tarczewski head-to-head, adding to his hit list amongst the top big men in the country.

Javan Felix, 2012, New Orleans Elite: With the point guard class down this year, the demand for someone like Felix becomes much higher – especially when he plays like he did this week. He was knocking down shots off screens and was also getting to the rim.

Chris McCullough, 2014, Team Scan 15s: Although many people got their first glimpse of McCullough this week, he is certainly a top-10 player in his class. He is long and athletic, and has a ceiling that is simply through the roof. Raw for now, but his name will be heard for a long time.

Brandon Ashley, 2012, Oakland Soldiers: Ashley has consistently been one of the most impressive players this summer, and this week was no different. He scored around the rim, ran the floor and showed a willingness to handle the ball and knockdown face-up jumpers.

Kaleb Tarczewski, 2012, New England Playaz: Didn’t get the upper hand against Andre Drummond, but he played well the rest of the week. Most of his points come on dunks or layups around the rim, but his defense, work ethic and rebounding ability bode well.

Buddy Hield, 2012, Kansas Pray and Play Players: Overshadowed slightly by Perry Ellis, Hield was the one that shined throughout the week. Hield is a big-time offensive player that can knock down shots from behind the arc or drive the lane and finish in impressive fashion.

Denzel Valentine, 2012, Michigan Mustangs: He wasn’t that impressive at the NBPA Top 100 camp in June, but Valentine has looked good in the two Adidas events in July. He knows how to handle the ball in traffic and uses his body exceptionally well when driving the lane.

Marcus Smart, 2012, Texas Assault: Smart consistently put the Assault on his back at both ends of the floor, and his energy and nonstop motor permeated the rest of the team en route to the semifinals. Smart is an outstanding defender who has steadily improved his shooting and ball-handling 

Other Notables:

Indiana Elite made a run to the Final Four, but no one in particular stood out overall. D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera had his moments, while Jeremy Hollowell was also solid . . . Kuran Iverson is supremely talented, but his lack of interest on defense make some question his work ethic . . . With Drummond on the inside, Kris Dunn was able to make plays in transition and on the perimeter . . . For Belmont Shore, Katin Reinhardt continued to improve his point guard ability, while Grant Jerrett showed his versatile offensive game . . . New York guard Isaiah Whitehead knows how to make tough shots, plain and simple . . . Joe Rahon, the younger brother of San Diego State guard James Rahon, continues to impress. He can hit shots and run a team . . . Going up against Drummond, Coreontae DeBerry held his own defensively . . . Nate Britt again looked good, initiating offense and showing great body control in the lane . . . Kentucky native Taylor Barnette is fun to watch when his shot is falling; his range is unparalleled . . . Got my first glances at Grant Verhoeven and Christian Wood. Verhoeven is a very good defender and scores in the lane, while Wood needs room to grow but is certainly talented . . . One coach told me Chris Walker reminds him of a young Antonio McDyess . . . Charles Mitchell doesn’t have ideal size for a big man, but his hands and length make up for it . . . Mitchell's teammate, Chris Bolden, showed off an improved driving game to go with his knockdown shooting . . . 2013 forward Jordan Bell had 17 blocks in one game. That’s ridiculous . . . The attacking ability of Montay Brandon is impressive; if he gets a jumper, look out . . . One of the breakout players of the event was Jordan Loveridge, who led the Utah Pump N Run team to the semifinals – he knows how to score . . . Double Pump Elite’s Tyrone Wallace is quickly rising up the point guard ranks – he is 6-foot-4 and long . . . Texas shooter Phil Forte simply doesn’t miss . . . Team Breakdown didn’t have too many studs, but guard Brandon Channer used his strength and finishing ability to provide a boost . . . Slightly overshadowed by Chris Thomas’ antics, but Colorado commit Wesley Gordon is a big man who moves well without the ball and can finish . . . Sanjay Lumpkin is a tough matchup for guards at 6-foot-6, and also held his own against forward Gavin Thurman.

Photos: Kansas City Star (Wainwright), 247 Sports (Felix), Utah Pump N Run (Loveridge)

Posted on: June 28, 2011 10:12 am
Edited on: June 28, 2011 10:20 am
 

Marcus Smart gets defensive

TEAMS INTERESTED:



By Jeff Borzello

In a camp setting or on the AAU circuit, the mindset of several players revolves around impressing scouts and coaches with offense.

For Marcus Smart, he is far more likely to garner attention for being arguably the best perimeter defender in his class.

“With my school team, we’ve been the No. 1 defense for the last few years,” Smart said. “Defense wins games; you have to be able to play defense.

Smart is a 6-foot-4 swingman from Marcus, Texas, with a strong build and a physical brand of basketball. At the NBPA Top 100 camp last week, Smart took Duke-commit Rasheed Sulaimon completely off his game by bodying him throughout the contest.

He is not all defense, though. Smart is a big-time athlete who can finish in transition and even showed some perimeter skills by knocking down 3-point shots. He has a non-stop motor and is one of the fiercest competitors in the country. Smart can also rebound fairly well and is capable of handling the ball.

While Smart is going to be an immediate fan favorite at whichever school he attends, the Gatorade Player of the Year in Texas isn’t too far along in his recruitment.

He listed offers from the entire Big 12, and he also recently picked up an offer from North Carolina.

Smart also added that North Carolina, Texas and Oklahoma were the three schools standing out.

“I don’t know when I want to decide,” he said. “It depends on school.”

Smart, who hasn't taken many visits, knows what he is looking for in a school.

“It has to have a good educational program, first,” Smart said. “And how I get along with the players and coaches.”

Photo: The News Connection

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