September 17, 2008

Weekly Wrap: Keeping up with commitments

MORE: VOTE: Your pick for commitment of the week | Arizona makes a big move in team rankings

It has been a huge week for high school basketball players to make commitments.

How huge is huge exactly? Try more than 40 by our count in the last seven days.

FIVE SCHOOLS CLIMB IN RANKINGS

COMMITMENT OF THE WEEK
There were plenty of choices for this after a busy week of commitments. Making the pick wasn't easy. So whose pledge has the most significance in the grand scheme of things?

Aaric Murray to LaSalle. That's who.

The 6-foot-10 center is the sixth ranked player at his position nationally. There hasn't been a center ranked that high to commit to a school in the Atlantic 10 since Martin Iti, who committed to Charlotte in 2003. He was seventh at the position coming out of high school.

Murray gives the Explorers a true presence in the post and could be the player that takes the program to the top of the always-competitive Atlantic 10. Add the 6-foot-10, 210-pound center from Concordeville (Pa.) Glen Mills High School to the roster and LaSalle could be a tournament contender.

Murray was a top target for St. Joseph's, Temple, West Virginia, Villanova, Rutgers, Marquette and Pittsburgh.

The Atlantic 10 as a whole had a great week. Xavier landed a significant commitment from New Yorker Kevin Parrom. Point guard Carl Jones of Garfield Heights (Ohio) pledged to St. Joseph's. Murray, Parrom and Jones are all the highest ranked players at their respective positions that have committed to an Atlantic 10 program.

There have been several notable commitments that shook up the top 15 team recruiting rankings.

Arizona made a significant jump in the team rankings with the addition of once-committed point guard Abdul Gaddy. The Wildcats climb No. 12 to third in the early class of 2009 team rankings.

Gaddy, a five-star prospect and the No. 2 point guard in the nation, is a major commitment for the Arizona basketball program. The Wildcats have an immediate need at the position, and Gaddy will likely step into the starter's role from Day One.

Gaddy's commitment is the best news the program has received since Olson returned full-time to his head coaching position at the school.

UAB continues to steadily climb up the team rankings, too. The Blazers are now ranked No. 7, moving up a spot from last week. Unranked three-star guard Adrian Coleman committed to Mike Davis on Sunday after officially visiting the Conference USA school.

With the addition of Indianapolis (Ind.) Lawrence North big man Stephen Van Treese, an unranked three-star forward, Louisville climbs up a spot to No. 8 overall in the team rankings.

Oklahoma State enters the list this week at 13 overall. Texan Roger Franklin is a major pledge for Travis Ford and the Cowboys. He is a big-time forward that gives the team vocal leadership and high energy.

Junior college prospect Brad Reese also committed to the Big 12 school. However, numerous sources have told Rivals.com that Reese may not be a solid commitment to Oklahoma State. He is reportedly visiting Texas Tech this weekend and is also considering LSU.

Pittsburgh moved to No. 14 overall after Missouri City (Texas) Hightower forward J.J. Richardson gave a pledge to the Panthers. Pittsburgh was No. 15 in the last rankings.

HIGH-MAJOR DECISIONS

Duke is off to a strong start in the class of 2010. The Blue Devils played host to Washington D.C. area stars Joshua Hairston and Tyler Thornton last weekend for unofficial visits, and received commitments from both.

Hairston, a top-20 prospect, is a skilled four man that blended in well with an immensely talented D.C. Assault 16-and-under team on the grassroots circuit. Thornton, a top-60 prospect, is a heady and coachable point guard that should make a seamless transition at the college level.

The duo joins Andre Dawkins, a Virginia native, in the 2010 recruiting class for the Blue Devils.

Everyone that was recruiting Apex (N.C.) Middle Creek wing Garrius Adams knew it would be hard to lure the Rivals150 guard out of his home state. Leave it to a Tar Heel State native to work his magic to secure a commitment from Adams. Miami coach Frank Haith worked hard to land Adams, and did so on Monday.

Since Darin Horn took over the South Carolina job in the spring, one of his main objectives was to lock up a point guard in the class of 2009. West Palm Beach (Fla.) Dwyer guard Ramon Galloway ended the point guard search for Horn and his staff. The Rivals150 guard committed to the Gamecocks after visiting last weekend.

Having a chance to return home was too good to pass up for Boston native Kadeem Batts. The 6-foot-8 forward from Powder Spring (Ga.) McEachern committed to Providence.

Texas Tech has done a good job of identifying talented guards in the Lone Star State in the past, and it looks like they did it again with Mike Davis. The Houston (Texas) Wheatley product committed to the Red Raiders after visiting the Big 12 program last weekend.

MID-MAJOR MADNESS

There seemed to be a surge of big time mid-major commitments this week. Several programs landed players that can be difference-makers.

Florida Air Academy point guard Ben Eblen was one of the best mid-major guards on the recruiting board in 2009. As it turns out, Eblen committed to Virginia Commonwealth last week. He is a fast guard that knows how to facilitate a team.

Conference foe Georgia State continues to make a statement on the recruiting front. Coach Rod Barnes and staff made it a point to lock up Columbus (Ga.) Northside center James Vincent. The 6-foot-9 pivot man could have waited until the spring to sign and go high-major. Instead, he found a comfort zone in downtown Atlanta and has a size that is unmatched in the CAA.

Utah is putting together a fine class in 2009 and went back to Texas, a state that has been awfully kind to the Utes since Jim Boylen took over the program, and scored a steal in Cedar Hill (Texas) forward Shawn Glover.

Southern Illinois will likely piggy-back a great 2008 recruiting class with a great start in 2009. Junior college forward Jeremy Felton is a bouncy forward that will be a nice compliment to last year's recruiting steal Anthony Booker. Late Monday night, the Salukis struck again when Memphis (Tenn.) Christian Brothers wing Drew Barham committed to the program. He's a long shooter with great range.

Glendale (Ariz.) Deer Valley wing Marcus Ruppel was overlooked by the high-major programs and should prove to be a steal at UTEP. The 6-foot-7 senior is a smooth scorer on the perimeter.

Bedford (Ohio) point guard Randall Holt will stay in-state and play at Kent State.

Saint Louis (Mo.) Oakville shooting guard Keith Pickens committed to Missouri State.

Speaking of Saint Louis, Rick Majerus landed big man Jonathan Smith of Grove City (Ohio) High School.

Long Beach State was a big winner last week, securing three important commitments. Jules Montgomery, a 6-foot-9 forward from West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade, is one of the top sleepers in the West. He's very thin and will need time to develop but some have compared him to Gonzaga star Austin Daye. The 49ers also landed junior college big man Lin Chang, a 6-foot-9, 240-pound center from Mira Costa Community College (Calif.) and Kyle Richardson, a 6-foot-7 power forward from Lakewood (Calif.) Mayfair.

Lehigh double dipped last week, securing commitments from Holden Greiner, a 6-foot-7 forward from Traverse City (Mich.) St. Francis Catholic and Gabe Knutson, a 6-foot-7 forward from Waukee (Iowa).

Wisconsin-Green Bay went for two, too. Matt Smith, a 6-foot-7 wing from Whitewright (Texas) and Troy Snyder, a 6-foot-6 wing from Bolingbrook (Ill.), both popped for the program.

Chattanooga (Tenn.) Grace Academy big man Patrick Shaughnessy made the call to Charleston Southern this week.

Boise State locked up junior college guard Westley Perryman, a 6-foot-2 prospect from Monroe Community College in the Bronx, N.Y.

Denzel Yard, a 5-foot-11 point guard from Philadelphia (Pa.) Franklin, is off to Siena.

Rogers (Ark.) forward Aaron Howley gave a commitment to Drake.

Wolfeboro (N.H.) Brewster Academy wing Luke Apfeld committed to Vermont.

Eau Claire (Wis.) power forward Tyler Brown made a commitment to Central Michigan.

Belmont added skilled forward Trevor Noack, a 6-foot-7 big man from Keller (Texas) Central.

Federal Way (Wash.) point guard Jeffery Forbes committed to Eastern Washington.

Jordan Brickman, a 5-foot-11 point guard from San Antonio (Texas) Tom C. Clark is off to the Navy.

Class of 2011 big man Christian Robbins committed to Southern Miss. He's a 6-foot-9, 225-pound post from Foxworth (Miss.) West Marion High School.




 

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