September 5, 2006

Sun Devils chasing numerous elite 08 targets

With Clint Chapman's recent decision to commit to Texas over Arizona State and Oregon, the overall recruiting picture becomes a lot clearer as it relates to the 2007 and 2008 recruiting classes for Herb Sendek's program.

At roughly two months away from the start of the fall signing period, the Sun Devils are in the final stages with the 2007 class, and a lone legitimate high value target remains on the board, North Hollywood (Calif.) Campbell Hall wing forward Justin Holiday.

Holiday's parents, Shawn and Toya, both played basketball at Arizona State for a period of time before transferring to Cal State Los Angeles, and the Sun Devils have intrigued the family in part because of that and also due to the way ASU coaches have been actively involved in the recruitment.

Though it appears no date has been set, Holiday and his family are expected to host Sendek for an in-home visit sometime in the coming month and he'll also almost assuredly trip to Tempe officially before the end of October as well.

The competition for Holiday appears to be Washington and Nevada, though it is currently unclear if the Huskies have a scholarship available to offer Holiday based on the number of expected returning players and committed prospects. He is expected to visit one, or both, of those programs officially and the Huskies reportedly have an in-home set up for Sept. 9.

At 6-foot-6 and 200 pounds, Holiday is an active, athletic wing forward who moves extremely well and has long arms and a skill set that continues to improve. He reminds us a bit of former ASU player Donnell Knight, but with more consistent energy and a more assertive disposition. He has a chance to be a tremendous defensive player at the Division I level, and he can handle the ball and move well off the ball in his hands.

Regardless of whether or not the they land Holiday, unless the Sun Devils are able to pull a big surprise and somehow land 6-foot-10 Orono (Minn.) High big man Jon Leuer -- a player that currently as a top five that does not include ASU -- they'll likely be done with recruiting the 2007 class.

If Holiday and Leuer go elsewhere, it will probably lead to the Sun Devils electing to hold over the available scholarship for the 2008 class. If that happens, the staff would figure to have at least three scholarships to award in that class, and potentially more if there is an early-NBA entry from the squad or other unanticipated departure.

By not landing Chapman, the Sun Devils will have an easier time selling 2008 post players on the availability of frontcourt minutes on a team that will feature elite guard James Harden, the top point guard in the west, Jamelle McMillan, and the state of Arizona's top skilled big man, Taylor Rohde.

It would appear the Sun Devils would like to add at least one more post player in the 2008 class, and several guards. Here is a look at some of the top players we expect the program to target:

Drew Gordon, 6-foot-8, 235 lbs -- This San Jose (Calif.) Archbishop Mitty forward is on just about every elite college program's wish list including Duke, North Carolina, Texas, Connecticut and Arizona. He's very athletic and moves extremely well for his size with an ever-developing skill set. When he gets it all together, he's going to have the potential to be a future NBA lottery selection, especially if he grows another inch or two. Gordon is expected to narrow down his list of schools in the coming month or so and the Sun Devils will attempt to make that list.

Clarence Trent, 6-foot-7, 200 lbs. -- A very athletic, explosive combo-forward in the mold of a young Shawn Marion, this Gig Harbor (Wash.) star attacks the glass with a vengeance offensively, is a natural shot blocker and tremendous rebounder on both ends, and he's a more successful shooter than often given credit for. He's the best looking combo-forward we've seen in the West in the class and everyone from Arizona to Louisville to Illinois is involved in Trent's recruitment. The Sun Devils are making a run at him as well though it may be too early to know exactly where they stand.

Angel Garcia, 6-foot-10, 210 lbs. -- Extremely skilled Puerto Rican native with a face up game, the ability to shoot it out to the stripe, handle it like a wing and move well without the basketball. Garcia is a natural fit for a system that uses skilled forwards in an open half court environment. He has attracted wide-ranging interest from many of the upper echelon college programs around the country and that will only increase in the coming year. Arizona State is always going to be recruiting this type of player as long as Sendek is in Tempe and it figures to make a strong attempt with Garcia.

Luke Fabrizius, 6-foot-9, 205 lbs. -- This skilled Arlington Heights (Ill.) combo-forward started to pick up mid-major-plus offers over the summer and if he continues to develop he'll likely start being heavily recruited by many top programs in the country that are already aware of him and waiting in the wings. His school list is a little all over the place as a result but that's because it's early. We expect a lot of refinement through the winter months and a better idea of where he's at following the high school season or at least by the spring evaluation period. We expect the Sun Devils to be involved when it all shakes out.

Jrue Holiday, 6-foot-4, 200 lbs. - If anyone in the country reminds us of NBA superstar Dwayne Wade, it's Holiday, the younger brother of ASU 2007 prospect Justin. Holiday is extremely dynamic athletically and he's capable of doing just about anything he wants on the basketball court. We consider him to be the best overall basketball prospect we've seen on the west coast in years at this stage of his development (heading into junior year of high school). He is unquestionably a Top-5 caliber player nationally and every elite program in the country will offer him a scholarship. ASU is currently in his top five.

Matthew Humphrey, 6-foot-5, 175 lbs. -- Left handed shooting guard out of Chicago (Ill.) Hales Franciscan who made quite an impression with the MeanStreets AAU club team this summer. He's a high-IQ guard with skills, the ability to really shoot the ball well and a lot of length that he's able to use to his advantage at both ends of the floor. In the last couple years Fransciscan has had several Division I players come through the program and Humphrey may wind up being the most heavily recruited of all of them. Illinois and Georgia got a lot of mentions this summer and others including ASU will try to break into his list of favorites.

Elston Turner, 6-foot-5, 210 lbs. -- Strong-bodied guard with length and versatility. Turner gets a lot done at both ends of the floor, natural scorer who can put the ball in the hoop from anywhere on the court. He has a full compliment of skills and he plays well without the ball and has a high basketball IQ. Turner's father, Elston Turner Sr. is an NBA assistant coach who played eight years in the league with Dallas, Denver and Chicago. Turner has said that ASU is among his top four programs along with other Pac-10 schools Arizona, UCLA and USC.

Rotnei Clarke, 5-foot-11, 175 lbs. -- A combo guard that averaged 34.2 points per game as a sophomore in high school in Oklahoma and is considered to be one of the best shooters in the country. Clarke has the rare ability to make a very high percentage of his attempts from long range not only as a catch-and-shoot player, but also off the dribble, the one-dribble pull-up, the step-back three. Basically he's lights out and in the ASU offense -- and pretty much any offense -- that is a desired characteristic. While he's not a great athlete, Clarke has a great understanding of the game. ASU has been on him for quite some time.

Willie Warren, 6-foot-3, 190 lbs. - Considered by some to be the top overall guard prospect in the state of Texas, this North Crowley High star is a combo-guard who is AAU teammates and best friends with Clarke on the Team Texas. Both players have said that they may become a package deal in their recruitment. Warren is a physically imposing guard who can do it all offensively and he's being recruited accordingly. Kansas, UConn, Florida, Michigan, Arkansas, Georgia Tech, Texas, Baylor, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, and others, including Arizona State will be vying for his services.

While this is by no means a comprehensive list, it does provide a very good idea of which prospects are the top targets for Sendek's staff in the 2008 class.

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