Natyazhko Takes Visits
One of the best available big man – Kyryl Natyazhko – hit the road again this weekend.
Since arriving in the United States from Ukraine, Natyazhko, a standout at Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy, has worked his way into Scout.com’s Top 100 and has earned a number of high major scholarship offers.
Lately the four-star big man has been hitting the road. He’s visited Ohio University and Xavier in recent weeks, then this past weekend he made his way to Pittsburgh and took in the Panthers game against Connecticut.
To go with Ohio, Xavier and Pittsburgh, Kentucky, Florida State, Miami, Arizona State and Charlotte are also in the mix for Natyazhko.
Natyazhko is ranked No. 64 overall and No. 10 on the Scout.com’s 2009 center list.
UNC Welcomes Big Time Visitors
Tickets weren’t easy to come by for North Carolina’s match up with Duke on Sunday, but seven recruits managed to work their way into the game.
Sitting courtside, just behind the Tar Heels bench was a handful of commits and underclassmen that North Carolina has targeted over the past few months.
John Henson was the lone 2009 recruit in attendance, but he wasn’t the only committed prospect there, as 2010 commits Reggie Bullock and Kendall Marshall also made the trip for the game.
2010 wing Travis McKie was in the building, as was a trio of 2011 standouts – Mike Gbinije, P.J. Hairston and James McAdoo. Each of the three were making return visits to Chapel hill.
Weekend Commitment Catch Up
This was a big weekend for commitments.
Jalen Courtney, a 2010 standout, was the first to pop, as he gave LSU a verbal commitment on Friday. A 6-foot-7 power forward out of Jackson (Miss.) Provine, picked LSU over offers from Arkansas and Missouri.
Next on the commitment list this weekend was DeMarcus Cousins, who gave the Memphis Tigers a verbal commitment Sunday morning prior to leaving their campus.
Cousins, as you may remember, has had a dramatic recruitment. Originally he committed to UAB because of his relationship with Mike Davis, but UAB wouldn’t put a clause in his Letter of Intent, so Cousins moved on, and it’s certainly Memphis’ gain.
Then Sunday afternoon Jamil Wilson announced his intentions to play for Ernie Kent and Oregon at a press conference at Racine (Wisc.) Horlick. The 6-foot-6 combo forward picked the Ducks over Michigan State and Texas.
Spring Rapidly Approaches
High school seasons are ending, and that means the spring is rapidly approaching.
In just two and a half weeks, we’ll be planted in a gym in Raleigh (N.C.) kicking off our spring at Dave Telep’s Carolina Challenge, which should be absolutely loaded as guys like Reggie Bullock, C.J. Leslie, P.J. Hairston and plenty of others will take the floor.
Shortly following the Challenge, we’ll cover our last senior-laden event, as Scout.com will head to the McDonald’s All-American practices and game, which goes from March 29th through April 1st.
After a weekend of Final Four action, we’ll prepare to hit the road aggressively throughout April and May, traveling city to city in search of the nation’s top players at AAU tournaments.
We’ll kick off our AAU coverage from Hampton (Va.) at the Boo Williams Invitational.
Mater Dei Falls
The team that many thought was the best in high school basketball finally stumbled.
Entering the Southern Section Division I-AA championship, Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei was undefeated, but Saturday night there record was no long unblemished, as they fell to Riverside King.
Led by Kawhi Leonard's line of 11 points, 20 rebounds and six blocks, Riverside whipped Mater Dei 71-56 to improve their record to 27-2 on the season.
Riverside now is the No. 1 seed in the Division I Southern California Regional. Westchester took the two seed, while Mater Dei grabbed the third seed and Taft took the four.