Tag:Oklahoma State
Posted on: January 23, 2012 4:18 pm
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Notebook: Amedeo Della Valle taking his time

By Jeff Borzello

Amedeo Della Valle didn’t emerge on the scene until about four months ago, but he’s still managed to cement himself as one of the best available guards in the country.

Della Valle, a 6-foot-5 native of Italy, has been starting for Findlay Prep (Nev.) this season. Getting a chance to play alongside top-10 guys like Brandon Ashley and Anthony Bennett has given him an opportunity to get seen by plenty of schools.

He is currently hearing from Gonzaga, UCLA, Arizona, Connecticut, Georgetown, California, Oklahoma State, Saint Mary’s, Utah and Portland.

The only school he has visited so far was Arizona.

“It was a game against San Diego State, which they lost,” Della Valle said. “But I got to walk the campus, see the facilities.”

Della Valle is a natural point guard, but with Dominic Artis and Nigel Williams-Goss entrenched in the Findlay backcourt, he’s been playing out of position a bit. Moreover, with Bennett injured, Della Valle has been defending bigger players.

It’s given him the chance to demonstrate his versatility.

“I can play the one and the two,” Della Valle said. “I can defend combo guards.”

Della Valle is taking his time with a decision, and said he will likely choose a school until April. There are no favorites, and no other visits planned just yet.

“I want to play right away,” he said. “I also want a great coach. And style of play is important.”

Other Findlay notes:

- Five-star forward Anthony Bennett said he hasn’t talked to any coaches in awhile, instead focused on recovering from injury and the season. He plans to take all five visits and will wait until after the end of the season. Washington, Kentucky, Florida, UNLV and Oregon are the five schools on his list.

- Winston Shepard saw his stock rise a bit since the Hoophall Classic, getting an offer from Connecticut in the past two weeks. New Mexico, San Diego State, UNLV, Oklahoma State and UTEP were his final five, with St. John’s and Oregon also sniffing around. Shepard doesn’t have any visits planned, but he has already tripped to New Mexico.

- Former UNLV commit Nigel Williams-Goss hasn’t narrowed things down yet. The junior guard still has the Runnin’ Rebels in the mix, but Washington, Oregon, Harvard, Arizona and UCLA are coming at him the hardest.

Photo: Findlay Prep

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: November 1, 2011 2:59 pm
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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 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: July 28, 2011 4:31 pm
 

Christian Sanders stands out from most prospects

By Jeff Borzello

ORLANDO, Fla. – It took barely three minutes to figure out Christian Sanders is not your normal high-major prospect.

During interviews, the majority of high-major prospects discuss playing time and winning at the next level. Sanders, on the other hand, didn’t mention either.

“I’m looking for a coaching staff with integrity,” Sanders said. “And good academics.”

And you believe him about both – he has a 3.5 GPA, great test scores and plans to go into business.

More on Recruiting

Sanders, a 6-foot-3 shooting guard from Saint Thomas (Tex.), played a major role in the Houston Defenders winning the AAU Super Showcase championship. He is a knockdown shooter who is also highly effective pulling up in the mid-range after a pump-fake and dribble. Sanders has a high basketball IQ, knows how to handle the ball and has good vision.

“I shot the ball well early, struggled a bit lately,” he said. “But my goal is to win. If we win, we all get what we want or what we need.”

Playing with the Harrison twins, Shaq Cleare and Derrick Griffin has undoubtedly helped his stock – and Sanders isn’t afraid to admit it.

“It forced me to raise my level of play,” he said.

In terms of recruiting, Sanders has offers from Maryland, Texas, Oklahoma State, Harvard and Colorado, with Stanford and Kansas on him as well.

Whichever school gets him better get prepared for an atypical player and person – in a good way.

Posted on: July 27, 2011 11:57 am
Edited on: July 27, 2011 1:59 pm
 

Isaiah Lewis loading up on college offers

By Jeff Borzello

ORLANDO, Fla. – The July AAU circuit is normally the pinnacle of a top prospect’s season, considering all the high-profile events they attend and big-time coaches they see.

For Isaiah Lewis, improving his all-around skillset takes precedence.

“I mean, the tournaments are cool, but working on my game is more important,” Lewis said. “This year, I’m going to play the point guard in high school, so I’m learning how to be a passer and still score at the same time.”

Lewis, a 6-foot-3 junior from Christ the King (N.Y.), shares the spotlight in high school with Connecticut-bound Omar Calhoun, but he is receiving plenty of notice on his own.

So far, Lewis claims offers from Miami (Fl.), Florida, Florida State, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Oklahoma State, Kansas, Arkansas, Oregon State, West Virginia and Memphis. Other schools showing interest include Kentucky, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Syracuse and Villanova.

He said Kansas, Memphis and Florida are showing the most interest right now.

“Grades are a big factor in the school I chose,” Lewis said. “Also, the fan base and whether I think the coaching staff can get me ready for the next level.”

He plans to visit Florida, Florida State and Memphis during August, and could trip to Kansas for the Jayhawks’ Midnight Madness in October.

Two schools are currently standing out for Lewis: Kansas and Memphis.

More on Recruiting

“Coach [Josh] Pastner, I just liked the way he talked to me and my father,” he said of Memphis. “He told from the gate, he thinks I can come in, play and contribute. He also told me what he likes about my game.”

Kansas offered Lewis during his sophomore season, and the Jayhawks remain near the top of his list.

“The tradition there is crazy,” Lewis said. “Coach [Bill] Self loves winning. He also compared me to a similar version of Deron Williams, being a big guard who can score and pass.”

While it may seem like the New York City product is going through the process pretty quickly, Lewis has no plans on making a decision anytime soon.

“I’m going to take my time with everything,” he said. “I mean, I’m not saying I’m going to wait, but I may commit after my junior year.”

As we’ve seen with Lewis, getting better is more important than anything.

Photo: The Shiver

Posted on: July 23, 2011 9:04 pm
 

Ikenna Iroegbu hopes to join Oak Hill greats

By Jeff Borzello

LAS VEGAS – Oak Hill Academy (Va.) has been a point guard factory throughout its history, producing the likes of Nolan Smith, Quinn Cook, Rajon Rondo, Ty Lawson, Brandon Jennings and Steve Blake in recent years. The lineage goes all the way back to Rod Strickland, who spent 17 seasons in the NBA.

Ikenna Iroegbu hopes to be the next stud lead guard for the Warriors.

“I just wanted to play on the national stage, get more looks,” Iroegbu said. “They’ve produced a lot of good point guards, and I want to join the history.”

More on Recruiting

Iroegbu, a 6-foot-1 junior from California, certainly has the talent and potential to be a factor when he arrives in Virginia, currently ranking No. 66 in CBSSports.com's Top 100. He is extremely fast with the ball, and has the quickness to beat defenders off the dribble. Iroegbu knows how to finish in the lane and can also knock down jumpers. 

While he has some of the tools necessary to be a big-time player, there are some areas he needs to improve.

“I could handle the ball better, take care of the ball better,” Iroegbu said. “I need to step it up.

“I want to show everyone that I’m a good player and one of the best point guards in my class. I think I stack up well, but I could do better.”

Currently, he holds offers from Arizona, USC, Colorado, Oklahoma State and Washington State, with interest coming from Virginia Tech and most of the Pac-12. Iroegbu said Washington State and USC are coming at him the hardest.

He wants to play in a fast-paced offense where his speed and ability to push the ball in transition will be a huge asset.

“I’m also looking at how the coaching staff treats the players,” Iroegbu said.

If he stands out at Oak Hill as the next great point guard, though, one can only assume he will be a favorite amongst the coaches at whichever school he chooses.

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