NATIONAL (Dave Telep)
Typically, the McDonald’s All-American Game answers most of the remaining questions in regards to the exiting senior class. This year, that may not be the case. The game features a pair of unsigned seniors who, because of circumstances, aren’t exactly close to ending their recruitments.
Patrick Patterson and Jai Lucas, from a basketball standpoint couldn’t be more different. Patterson is 6-foot-8 and Lucas doesn’t crack 6-feet. However, they’ve got a major common denominator: each lists Kentucky prominently and that’s where it gets a little crazy.
The Wildcats, presently without a head coach, need to land one or both of them. Will they wait until a new skipper is named? Both would like to but their timetables aren’t married to what UK is doing.
Lucas told Scout.com that had Tubby Smith been the coach “they would have had a great shot.” Now its back to UK, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Maryland for Lucas. Meanwhile, Patterson still lists the Cats, Duke, Florida, Virginia, Wake Forest and hometown West Virginia.
Speaking of the McDonald’s game, the pre-game stud has been none other than O.J. Mayo. During the practice sessions and scrimmages, Mayo created a gap of separation between himself and his peers.
Anyone see what Xavier is doing since Sean Miller squashed any rumors about his status as coach? In the last 10 days the Musketeers have added guards Mark Lyons and Brad Redford. Then, on March 27, the big piece fell into place.
Center Kenny Frease, an in-state score, went ahead and ended his recruitment. Wow, big time recruiting class for the Musketeers!
WEST (Greg Hicks)
Spring is the time for the Final Four, but it’s also the time for a less joyful part of college basketball – the time when coaches get fired. There have been a number of coaches fired already in the west, which means that several incoming freshman may have decisions to make. In the past, high school seniors who signed with a school generally stuck with their commitment, even if the coach they signed with was no longer with the school. But that’s not always the case these days. Now it’s not uncommon for players to ask for a release from their Letter of Intent.
Ty Abbott, a 6-foot-2 senior shooting guard from Desert Vista High in Phoenix, Ariz., signed with New Mexico last fall. But when the Lobos fired head coach Ritchie McKay, Abbott asked for, and received, his release from the Letter of Intent. Now Abbott is going through the recruiting process once again and he’s hearing from Washington State, Vanderbilt, Illinois, UConn and Virginia Tech. One source told us that Tony Bennett and Washington State might have an edge with Abbott.
One player who won’t be asking for a release is Scott Thompson, a 6-foot-10 senior center from Meridian High in Mountain View, Idaho. We spoke with Thompson’s mother recently and she informed us that Scott will stick with his commitment to Santa Clara, despite the fact that Bronco head coach Dick Davey has retired.
Utah head coach Ray Giacoletti has left the Utes to be an assistant coach at Gonzaga, leaving top Utes recruit Morgan Grim undecided about his future. Grim, a 6-foot-8 senior power forward from Riverton High in Riverton, Utah, is taking a wait-and-see approach after Giacoletti left the Utes. Grim is expected to meet with new head coach Jim Boylen before deciding if he’ll attend Utah next year.
EAST (Mike Sullivan)
It's likely over the next year many college coaches will once again made the trip to Centereach, New York to watch the Our Savior New American high school basketball team. The big reason is 7-foot-2 center John Riek Suas, a surprisingly polished sophomore from Africa.
John is one of the best big men in the East and should likely have some serious looks by D-I programs this upcoming spring and summer.
John is wide open in his recruiting process. But the staff at Our Savior New American have already indicated that he has interest from Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh, St. John's, DePaul, and Arizona. "He is open in his recruiting," said Our Savior New American assistant coach Eric Jaklitsch.
One of the few remaining players available in the 2007 class in the New York area recently made a verbal commitment. Devon Peterson, a guard for Dwayne "Tiny" Morton's Lincoln High School (Brooklyn, N.Y.) program, decided to play college basketball for Hofstra University on Long Island.
It's been a big month for Peterson. He recently helped Lincoln claim another title -- the New York State Federation championship. And the opponent was no easy foe -- Rice High School of New York City. Peterson dropped in 23 points to help Lincoln defeat Rice in the title game.
Peterson was one of the seniors that impressed us the most this season. Devon, according to Morton, had improved quite a bit over the past year. When points were needed, Peterson stepped up. "He just does the things you need to win a game," Morton said. "He does the little things well too."
Hofstra also picked up a commitment this week from former Manhattan Center forward Darren Townes. But Peterson will give the Hofstra staff more options in the backcourt. He plugs away and is around the ball a lot. "He gets to the basket," Morton said. "And his three-point shooting has improved."
The future of the Rice basketball program is in terrific shape for the next couple of seasons. Despite the loss to Lincoln High School in Glens Falls, N.Y. last week, the Raiders under Maurice Hicks are coming back next season with several quality underclassmen. Among them -- Kemba Walker, Lamont Jones, Chris Fouch, and Durand Scott.
Scott, a long-armed 6-foot-4, 175-pound guard/small forward, racked up 28 points recently in the semifinal playoff battle with Christ The King High School of Middle Village, N.Y. Scott is a player that could see his recruiting process elevated if he has a big spring and summer. He possesses the long arms and can probably fill his frame out another 20-25 pounds. At 6-foot-4, he is still growing both physically and with his basketball IQ.
Providence, Seton Hall, Rutgers, St. John's are just a few schools that have already expressed interest in Scott's skills. But it's early in his recruiting process. How he fares this spring and summer will determine the level of interest from division one schools for the 2009 prospect.