Oregon State faces serious catch up
On Monday, Craig Robinson was dismissed as head coach of Oregon State following a 93-104 record and no NCAA tournament appearances in six years with the Beavers.
While Robinson struggled to win games in Corvallis, he also wasn't able to get enough quality talent in the program, an obstacle he definitely hasn't been the first Oregon State coach to fail to overcome. The Beavers' new coach will have that same challenge, but he's being put at an immediate disadvantage.
Oregon State's roster needs a serious overhaul but with the spring evaluation period already over, the Beavers new coach will have to wait until July to be on the road evaluating again.
That means Oregon State's athletic director had better hire a head coach with West Coast ties and/or a coach who can bring in some sharp evaluating assistants who already know the region well. If the head coach and assistants already know the area, they can begin seriously recruiting from day one. If not, there's only so much they can really do until July, and that's a big chunk of time that the rest of the league will be using to their advantage.
Oregon State athletic director Bob De Carolis doesn't have too much time to act, but he has a tough and important decision in front of him. If he makes the wrong hire, succeeding at a tough job becomes that much more difficult.
— Josh Gershon
Three make statement at Gibbons
I spent this past weekend in Atlanta covering the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions at the Suwanee Sports Academy. The event proved to be a success and gave me an opportunity to evaluate a host of players in the south that we as a staff needed to get a better feel for.
What were the revelations from Gibbons?
Looking back on the event, what Jawun Evans accomplished was pretty impressive. The last three games of the event, Evans helped the SC Raptors Elite team to double-digit wins over the Georgia Stars, Each One Teach One and Atlanta Xpress. All four of those teams have multiple high-major players and rosters full of Division I prospects. Evans has elite speed and it translated on both ends of the floor. He got out in transition, lived in the paint and disrupted things on the defensive end.
Deng Adell is for real. I saw Adell at the John Lucas Midwest camp back in October and left wanting see him again in a team setting. That time arrived this past weekend and he left a lasting impression. A 6-foot-7 forward, Adell is a very good athlete that has versatility. He's a good shooter off the catch to three, but he's also a strong driver and finisher. His motor stays running, he takes pride in defense and he rebounds his area. Expect Adell to move in and quickly up the 2015 rankings once they are updated.
By now, if you follow basketball recruiting, you've probably heard or seen Antonio Blakeney's dunk from this past weekend. If you haven't seen it: CLICK HERE. While that dunk was remarkable, it was his overall game that caught my eye at Gibbons. Blakeney played with a level of efficiency that I hadn't seen from him previously. He took good shots, looked to make play for his teammates and made shots within the Each One Teach One offense. On top of that, he appears more athletic, which he said was due to extra pool workouts. Blakeney's game is maturing and it's been fun to watch.
— Evan Daniels
Ohio is a basketball state?
The state of Ohio has always had a national reputation for producing high caliber football prospects, but in the Class of 2016 that reputation might be put to the test because of all the talent coming out of the state on the basketball floor.
Five-star wing V.J. King leads the way, but there are a ton of other high quality prospects behind him. Derek Funderburk and Omari Spellman already have four-star ratings, and then prospects such as Tervell Beck, Jon Teske, Jarron Cumberland, Seth Towns, Matthew Moyer, Derrick Daniels, and Willie Jackson have all pulled in significant accolades this spring, and that is just the tip of the iceberg.
Ohio has produced some other very impressive classes in the past such as 2008 with B.J. Mullens, Yancy Gates, Delvon Roe, Kenny Frease and William Buford, but that class didn't have the depth that this one does. Heck the best pro from that class might turn out to be Chris Johnson.
Overall, colleges in the Midwest have been flocking to Illinois and Indiana the past few years to fill their needs, but in 2016 I expect them to be making their home in Ohio as the Buckeye State not only has big time star power at the top, but strong depth through the ranks as well.
— Brian Snow
Mitchell's change of heart creates opportunity
Of the senior signees who have obtained releases from their letters of intent, many have been under-the-radar recruits or otherwise less heralded than the national upper crust.
Rare is the top 100 senior who remains available in May, and the fact that Mitchell is a point guard bestows him with even greater value.
Almost immediately, a trio of schools have emerged as the frontrunning group. In an interview with ShowMeMizzou.com, Mitchell said he'll visit Missouri officially on May 18 and then make officials to California and Vanderbilt as well.
Given the tumult suddenly invading Mitchell's recruitment and the late date, it's hardly a coincidence that two of his three most ardent suitors feature brand new head coaches.
He finds himself in precarious situation. Mitchell committed to the Demon Deacons long ago, before his recruitment truly could blossom. For that reason, then, he barely has relationships with any other college coaching staffs. When the fit with Wake failed to materialize upon Danny Manning's arrival, he faced the specter of starting from scratch at a time when nearly all of his high-majors peers have cemented their collegiate destinations.
Fortunately for Mitchell, a player with his talent for commanding a team can rest easy knowing that he'll be no afterthought wherever he lands. All three of his pursuers would be happy to land the country's No. 75 senior in any class, irrespective of the present timing and circumstances.
— Rob Harrington
Evan Daniels, Brian Snow, Josh Gershon and Rob Harrington contributed to this report