football

Fastbreak Friday: Dominoes about to tip

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If the commitments weren't already happening at a quick pace of late, buckle up. Things are about to get real interesting.
Sixty-six players in the Rivals150 remain uncommitted as of Friday afternoon. That number could shrink by the weekend's end. Come October 1, that list could be as small as 20.
Why?
It is official visit time and the dominoes are beginning to fall in the class of 2008. With schools hosting prospects for official visits this over the next two months, prospects are bound to make their decisions known in the near future.
Perhaps the position to watch the closest is the point guard spot. Already a thin class in terms of talent, teams are scraping hard to find out who will be the best fit for their program this year.
Lewis Jackson recently verbally committed to Purdue. Sean Mosley announced for Maryland on Wednesday. Cincinnati landed Cashmere Wright on Thursday. Alabama scored Andrew Steele on Thursday, too. Friday brought us a pledge from Dashan Harris, who picked Texas A&M.
Look for Tennessee to move harder on Long Island (N.Y.) native Terrell Holloway, who has long made his desires to play at the SEC known. The Vols were in it until the end with Wright.
Clemson originally had a commitment from Wright but has looked around for another point guard in the 2008 class. Georgia seemed to be the logical destination and the Tigers are hosting Andre Young and Tanner Smith (who can play minutes at the position when needed) next week for official visits.
Rotnei Clarke has a long list of suitors and his decision could spark a number of programs to look elsewhere. Oklahoma, Kentucky, Gonzaga and Kansas are looking like potential visit stops, he told Rivals.com last week.
New Jersey guard Tyshawn Taylor says he likes Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and a long list of others. Other players to watch at the position include Courtney Fortson, Frankie Sullivan, Verdell Jones and Demetri Goodson.
Who holds the biggest domino?
Alabama does with the big men. JaMychal Green could be the next player to commit to the Tide. Steele, Green's close friend and AAU teammate, announced on Thursday that he would follow his brother, Ron, at the University of Alabama. Green has long stated that he would like to play with Steele in college. Ole Miss and Georgia Tech are still in the mix with the five-star forward.
The Tide are also involved with J'Mison Morgan and Xavier Gibson, who has Alabama and Florida State on his list.
Morgan, a 6-foot-10 center from the Dallas, Texas area, may hold the biggest domino at his position. His recruitment is spread across four conferences and he's a top priority for the likes of the Tide, Kansas, UCLA, Kentucky and LSU. But Morgan reached out to Rivals.com and said he'll dive deeper into his recruitment next week.
LSU is in it for the long haul with the nation's top prospect, Greg Monroe, regardless of what Morgan, or any player for that matter, does. Monroe is the top target for a number of schools. Duke, Georgetown, Kansas, Louisville, Southern Cal, Texas, North Carolina, Baylor, Kentucky and Connecticut all have a hat in the race right now. Monroe said he's taking his time with his recruitment. His domino doesn't appear to tip any time soon.
The guards are an interesting bunch because of the over lapping of a handful of players. Elliot Williams has his list down to Memphis, Tennessee, Virginia and Duke. Sylven Landesberg is looking at Virginia, Georgia Tech, St. John's and Kentucky. Iman Shumpert is down to Marquette, Georgia Tech and North Carolina.
The prospects overlap each other and Virginia could essentially take both Williams and Landesberg while Georgia Tech is hoping to land Landesberg and Shumpert. Neither program has a commitment in the 2008 class yet.
The picture will become clearer over the next couple of months. September should help focus up the final pieces to the overall puzzle in the class of 2008. The class of 2009 remains wide open. Expect things to really get started with the juniors, too.
West Coast Conference shaping up nicely
Make no mistake about it, the Pac-10 will be exciting next year. Odds are, it will be the best overall conference in the country next year. The elite level players are looking west and the top local products are staying in the Pacific Time Zone.
The same thing is happening in the West Coast Conference. The WCC is only an eight team league and it has traditionally been a single NCAA tournament team conference. Those days might be changing. Gonzaga has a couple of schools giving close chase on the recruiting trail this summer.
Pepperdine and Santa Clara have upped its efforts on the recruiting trail over the last couple of years. Pepperdine went to Oregon and landed a dynamic 1-2 punch in Paul McCoy and Brad Tinsley, who committed last Sunday.
The two teamed up on the AAU circuit with Team Jones and had success on the national scene. McCoy, an athletic point guard, makes perfect sense for Pepperdine's up-tempo style of play. The two commitments in 2008 piggy-pack nicely with the 2007 recruiting haul.
New Santa Clara head coach Kerry Keating has wasted little time locking up quality players from Southern California. He scored a good one when Paul George, a 6-foot-7 combo forward, committed to the Broncos.
A week later, San Diego native James Rahon jumped on board, too. Two of Keating's assistants have deep San Diego ties. Guards Kevin Foster and Troy Alexander have also committed to the WCC program in 2008.
Gonzaga isn't losing its grip on the national scene. The conference powerhouse has a pair of commitments already. Rivals150 guard Grant Gibbs and center Andy Poling are on board for the Bulldogs.
Odds & Ends
Cal added a big addition to its 2007 recruiting class. Tall might be the better way of putting it. The Bears announced the signing of 7-foot-3 center Xu Zhang on Friday.
Zhang played with the California Supreme at the Arizona Cactus Classic in May was amongst the top rebounders and shot-blockers at the event.
"It is very rare to have a skilled student-athlete with Max's size," Cal head coach Ben Braun said. "He has improved significantly over the past two years and is still developing physically. Max has the ability to change games and alter opponents' shots, and he has the potential to score inside and outside. He can run the floor and is an adept shot blocker."
Illinois landed a verbal commitment from Mike Davis and the TC Williams (Va.) product will be on campus on Friday, according to multiple sources close to the situation. The athletic 6-foot-8 forward is waiting to be cleared by the NCAA Clearinghouse before his addition to the team can be official. Davis, a three-star recruit, will likely redshirt this year if cleared. He shined for Team STAT on the AAU circuit this year and showed off his athleticism and productivity around the basket.
Top 10 class of 2009 guard Kenny Boynton won a state championship last year at Pompano Ely in Florida and led the Sunshine State in scoring. In 2007-08, he'll try it again but he'll do it at American Heritage. Boynton joins his AAU teammate Eloy Vargas, a top 10 player in the class of 2008.
Ohio State commitment Anthony Crater is leaving Flint, Mich., for Brewster Academy (N.H.), citing a desire to get more prepared for college.
Want to know where the talent is coming from in the class of 2008 and 2009? Look no further than California and Georgia. Between the two states, 57 players are counted amongst the 250 players in the Rivals.com ranked players in the two classes. That is 22.8 percent of the talent nationally.
Fastbreak Friday returns to Rivals.com National Basketball Recruiting next week. The feature looks at all of the official visitors across the country each weekend.
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