Posted on: June 24, 2011 12:46 pm
Edited on: June 25, 2011 5:36 pm
Posted on: June 23, 2011 5:52 pm
Edited on: June 23, 2011 6:08 pm
Posted on: June 23, 2011 11:19 am
Edited on: June 23, 2011 1:29 pm
By Jeff Borzello
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Jerami Grant has been overshadowed for much of his basketball career. Besides being the younger son of Harvey Grant and younger brother of former Clemson forward Jerai Grant, Jerami has always played second fiddle at DeMatha (Md.) and on the AAU circuit with Team Takeover.
That all changed this spring, though, as Grant played a major role in leading Takeover to an undefeated record in the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League.
“My confident has shot up,” Grant said. “I had no other choice. My coaches had been telling me I had to play like that.”
The 6-foot-7 small forward is long and athletic, and he has improved his passing and ball-handling skills. Throw in his ability to knock down jumpers and attack the rim, and Grant is become more and more difficult to defend.
“I bring mismatches to the table,” he said. “I’m a playmaker.”
While being the son of an 11-year NBA veteran might add some pressure, Grant said having someone who has made it to the NBA giving advice is a huge asset.
“It definitely helps because my dad is a guy that pushes you,” he said. “Even if I played good, there’s always something I can improve.”
In terms of recruiting, Grant is hearing from Virginia Tech, North Carolina State, Syracuse, Maryland, Virginia, Georgetown, Clemson and Rutgers.
“I’m visiting Syracuse sometime soon,” he said.
Grant, who likes Virginia Tech, NC State and Syracuse right now, said he wants to decide before his senior season.
Robert Upshaw looks to improve
Robert Upshaw was one of the most impressive players at the NBPA Camp in the workouts. He has plenty of post moves and a soft touch in his jump hook.
The 6-foot-11 big man from San Joaquin Memorial (Calif.) struggled at times to bring his whole repertoire into the games, though, and he was visibly frustrated.
“Coach [Tony] Allen and Coach [Michael] Peck talked to me,” Upshaw said. “They said, ‘Cut the bull out, just work 100 percent. If you don’t score, but get a rebound or a block at the other end, it’s all good.”
Upshaw has a simple goal for the rest of the summer: “I want to be a beast.”
While he doesn’t talk much about recruiting, he did say he took a visit to UCLA.
Ricardo Gathers has four standing out
Ricardo Gathers is a physical specimen. If he showed up at a football camp, no one would bat an eye.
For now, though, Gathers is doing just fine on the hardwood.
“I want to prove I’m just as good as they are,” he said.
The 6-foot-7 forward from Riverside Academy (La.) has four schools at the top of his list: St. John’s, Texas, Arizona and LSU. Other schools in the mix include Baylor, Oregon, California and Syracuse.
Gathers plans on visiting Arizona in August, and he also wants to see Oregon and Syracuse.
A.J. Hammons determined to make an impression
A.J. Hammons has had a wild ride around the rankings in the class of 2012. He was once considered one of the top big men in the class, but injuries and sitting out hindered his reputation.
This summer, Hammons is looking to show everyone he is still the player he once was.
“I need to get back in shape,” he said. “I took off too long.”
Several schools are courting the 6-foot-10 Oak Hill Academy (Va.) big man, including Texas, Minnesota, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Purdue and Maryland.
“I want to come in and play,” Hammons said. “I don’t have to start, but I want to play.”
Mitch McGary remains mum on school list
Despite being the fastest-rising player in the country, Mitch McGary isn’t talking much about potential schools.
“I’m not at liberty to discuss schools right now,” McGary said.
The 6-foot-10 Brewster Academy (N.H.) product did take trips to Maryland, Connecticut and Kansas recently, though.
-- Former Texas Tech commit Mervyn Lindsay signed a grant-in-aid agreement Wednesday night with Kansas.
-- 2013 guard Jalen James went to the Illinois team camp Wednesday with his high school, Hope Academy (Ill.). While there, Fighting Illini coach Bruce Weber offered James a scholarship, and James quickly committed.
Posted on: June 22, 2011 1:08 pm
Edited on: June 22, 2011 1:28 pm
The 6-foot-5 guard is no longer just a 3-point gunner, though. At the NBPA Top 100 Camp in Virginia last week, Reinhardt showed the ability to handle the ball effectively and set up teammates for open shots.
“I’m working on all aspects of my game,” he said. “I’m just trying to get better, playing really well on the defensive end.”
Reinhardt had committed to USC on New Year’s Eve, but the two schools parted way in May. Since then, his recruitment has picked up in a major way.
He holds offers from Arizona, Baylor, Arizona State, Gonzaga, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, North Carolina State and Colorado, with interest coming from Syracuse, Florida and Kentucky.
Reinhardt can’t point to a specific reason as to why his recruitment is heavier now than it was before his commitment to USC.
“I don’t really know,” he said. “They’re starting to see I’m playing hard.”
There is no timetable for a decision from Reinhardt, but he does plan on trimming his list.
“I don’t have any favorites, I’m wide open,” he said. “But I’m going to cut it down to five.”
There are no leaders this point, but the schools that are coming after him the hardest will get the longest looks.
“The schools that offered will be looked at right away,” Reinhardt said.
Posted on: June 22, 2011 12:26 pm
Edited on: June 22, 2011 1:24 pm
By Jeff Borzello
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- With a relatively weak point guard group in the class of 2012, Gabe York could establish himself as one of the best -- if he is able to handle the position full time.
“I’m trying to be a point guard, still getting the hang of it,” York said. “The biggest thing is learning the position.”
York, a 6-foot-1 prospect from Orange Lutheran (Calif.), is one of the best scorers in the country. He has tremendous range and lift on his 3-point shot, and he finishes effectively at the rim.
York doesn’t want to change his scoring prowess.
“I want to be a scoring point guard,” he said. “I don’t want to take away that part of my game.”
Recently, York trimmed his list to 10 schools: Marquette, Notre Dame, Kansas, Louisville, Washington, Oklahoma, UNLV, Arizona, Memphis and Connecticut.
Recently, he took a trip to Washington, and he went to Chicago after the NBPA Top 100 Camp to check out Marquette and Notre Dame. York also plans on going to Arizona at the end of the month.
“I’ll have a better feel for what I want after that,” he said.
Poythress feels pressure to stay home
Playing alongside Tony Parker and several other high-major players on the Georgia Stars this spring, Alex Poythress stood out.
The 6-foot-7 forward from Northeast (Tenn.) made an impact with his athleticism and length. He can power around the rim and is one of the better rebounders in the class. Poythress also has the ability to face-up and knock down jumpers.
“I didn’t do anything different,” he said. “I just played hard and tried to show what I could do.”
Plenty of schools were impressed, as Poythress currently boasts a long list. Vanderbilt, Memphis, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Georgia Tech, Alabama, Stanford, Duke, Kentucky, Louisville and Ohio State are all on him.
While Poythress has no favorites, three schools are on him the most, and they all have something in common.
“The in-state schools are probably coming at me the hardest -- Memphis, Vanderbilt, Tennessee,” he said.
Howard has a future in two sports
For all the athletes at the NBPA Top 100 Camp, Twymond Howard might be the best overall athlete.
The 6-foot-6 Howard is a star on the hardwood -- and on the gridiron. As a result, he is being pursued in both sports.
Howard, a small forward from Pearl (Miss.), wanted to prove himself on the basketball court last week in Virginia.
“Just to show I’m one of the top players,” Howard said of his goals. “I feel like I’m one, so I have to play hard. I want everybody to know who I am.”
For now, Howard is hearing from Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Mississippi State, West Virginia, Alabama and Auburn.
“I’ve taken unofficials to Tennessee, Mississippi State and Ole Miss,” he said.
Tags: 2012, Alabama, Alabama, Alex Poythress, Arizona, Arkansas, Auburn, Connecticut, Duke, Florida, Gabe York, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, Louisville, Marquette, Memphis, Memphis, Mississippi, Mississippi State, NBA Camp, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Recruiting, Stanford, Tennessee, Tennessee, Twymond Howard, UNLV, Vanderbilt, Washington, West Virginia
Posted on: June 21, 2011 7:29 pm
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – It doesn’t take long to notice Zena Edosomwan is not your average high school basketball recruit.
First, he attends Harvard-Westlake (Calif.), a high school that two people have said has the most rigid academic standards “west of the Mississippi.” He holds a 3.4 GPA at that school and has nearly every Ivy League school on his tail.
Then, Edosomwan begins speaking. Aside from the fact he is one of the more well-spoken recruits in the country, his mindset is different than most top-100 recruits.
“People say college is not a four-year decision, it’s a 40-year decision,” Edosomwan said. “That’s how it is for me.”
Yes, a 40-year decision. Not one year and the NBA, not two years and then go pro – 40 years.
With the way he has been playing, though, basketball could certainly be in Edosomwan’s future.
“I worked a lot harder, was focused on getting better,” he said. “I started becoming more competitive.”
At the NBPA Top 100 camp in Virginia last week, the 6-foot-7 power forward more than held his own against higher-rated players. Edosomwan runs the floor exceptionally well and knows how to finish in transition. He has good hands and uses his length and athleticism to make plays above the rim. Given his strong frame, Edosomwan also has the ability to get position in the paint and score.
He went into the camp with the goal of hanging with the top of the class.
“I want to show I can compete with the best players,” Edosomwan said. “It’s the perfect place to do that, with players that are taller and more athletic than me.”
More and more colleges are beginning to notice the student-athlete on the court, as Edosomwan mentioned Harvard, Georgia Tech, Washington, Washington State, UCLA, USC and Virginia Tech.
He took an unofficial visit to UCLA last Monday.
“It was great,” Edosomwan said. “The tradition there is unbelievable, with [John] Wooden and everything he did.”
There doesn’t seem to be much of a timetable for his decision – Edosomwan is focused on his game.
“I just want to keep getting better,” he said. “It’s my time to prove that I can play.”
Posted on: June 21, 2011 3:29 pm
Edited on: June 21, 2011 3:43 pm
Posted on: June 21, 2011 9:41 am
Edited on: June 21, 2011 3:45 pm
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Despite standing 6-foot-10 and hovering around the 300-pound mark, Joell James knows he won’t dominate against other big-time players on size alone.
“I have to hustle,” James said. “You can have no talent, and still be a better player than someone else just by hustling.”
James, a rising senior from Dwyer High School (Fla.), certainly has talent. For someone so big, he runs the floor and moves around without the ball effectively. James can face-up and knock down shots inside the arc, and he is also adept at scoring around the rim. Because of his size, he is a presence defensively and on the glass.
Rising up the rankings in the spring, James went to the NBPA Top 100 Camp to prove he wasn’t all hype.
“It’s not about your name, it’s about what you do out there,” he said. “I need to show I can do it.”
Because of his stellar play over the last few months, James has been hearing from Florida, Florida State, West Virginia, Ohio State, North Carolina, Maryland, Louisville and Miami the most.
He said Florida, Florida State, West Virginia, Ohio State and North Carolina are standing out to him as a top five, with the Gators currently on top.
“It’s a state school, and coach [Billy] Donovan is a great guy,” James said. “It’s a great program, and they’re known for putting out big men.”
The Floridian has taken trips to in-state schools Florida, Miami (Fla.) and UCF in the past.
A decision does not appear to be on the horizon for James, although he does have more immediate goals for the summer.
“I’m too heavy, I want to lose about 20 pounds,” he said. “And I just want to improve.”
Photo: Pack Pride