Seven quick offers for Pope

Malik Pope

2014 forward Malik Pope has quickly gone from zero offers to seven. Where did he come from and who is recruiting him now?

No 2014 prospect has emerged on the scene out west this spring quite like 6-foot-7, 183-pound Elk Grove (Calif.) Laguna Creek forward Malik Pope.

A relatively unknown player a week ago, Pope was very impressive this weekend at the Pangos Spring Spectacular, drawing the following evaluation from Scout.com after his first game on Friday night:

There are two full days in Vegas to go, but Pope is going to be tough to beat for breakout player of the tournament. The 6-foot-7 forward is long, athletic, can handle it in the open court, has terrific vision, plays hard and has a very good feel for the game. Pope is just 15 years old and looks like he's still growing. He wasn't even on the radar 24 hours ago and now he's one of the top prospects out west in 2014.

Over the last few days, Pope has picked up scholarship offers from Arizona State, Baylor, Boise State, Colorado, UNLV, USC and Washington, while Kansas and Arizona have also called his Team Superstar AAU coach, LeRohn Dodson.

According to Dodson, the fact that Pope was so under the radar until now has a lot to do with the lack of exposure in his area.

"I just think Sacramento is an untapped market," Dodson said. "I've always thought there were some really good players but playing on a smaller team in Burbank and not really getting outside the area, nobody really knew about the kid outside of Sacramento.

"When some of the coaches came out and saw him, they were like, 'Wow'. There aren't too many guys with his size, ball skills, shooting and passing at his size and age."

Despite all the offers, Pope is far from jumping into the recruiting process.

"He has no idea," Dodson said. "Obviously he likes Kentucky because they just won the championship and he likes North Carolina and Kansas, some of the schools he's seen on TV. But he has no idea as far as style of play or anything like that. He's definitely taking his time with his recruitment."

Pope's family is trying to keep him grounded, which should delay this recruitment evolving any time soon.

"They don't want too much pressure on him yet," Dodson said. "At the end of the day, he's 15, he's young, and his mom wants him to stay focused on his books. I told her I'll let them know if a school contacts me and keep them updated on who has offered and who wants to recruit them.

"He's very humble and wants to make it all the way and I think he's going to do whatever it takes to make it. He's an absolutely great kid."


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