Fastbreak Friday: Pure madness
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It is a star-studded weekend all around the country as a large number of colleges and universities are having some sort of celebration to usher in the basketball season.
The season will officially open as teams start the season as practice opens up. Some teams are going low key and diving right into the year. Some are bringing out the fireworks and the recruits.
The weekend has traditionally been one of the biggest recruiting weekends of the year. This year is no different.
Last weekend's Midnight Madness events yielded a pair of important commitments. Kentucky picked up Daniel Orton, a five-star prospect, and West Virginia added Deniz Kilicli.
Who will commit after this busy and exciting weekend? The college basketball recruiting world will soon find out. The pledges are sure to happen.
N.C. State fans have been waiting for this weekend for a long time. Two of the top basketball prospects in the class of 2009 will be on campus this weekend for a visit.
South Atlanta (Ga.) center Derrick Favors, the No. 4 overall player in the country, will be in town for a much anticipated official visit to see the Wolfpack's program a little deeper. He will also have a chance to get to know John Wall, who will make the quick trip over to campus to get a quick peek at the Pack's first practice.
Wall's Word of God teammate Bishop Daniels, a class of 2011 guard, will join the party along with AAU teammate Melvin Tabb, a forward from Raleigh (N.C.) Enloe and 2010 commitment Ryan Harrow from Marietta (Ga.) Walton.
Maryland always knows how to do it big the weekend of Midnight Madness. Why not? That is where the first pre-season party started. College Park will be buzzing as a host of underclassmen will visit with the Terps.
Roscoe Smith of Baltimore (Md.) Walbrook, Albany (N.Y.) Bishop Maginn point guard Taran Buie, Baltimore (Md.) Calvert Hall big man Jonathan Graham, Plainfield (N.J.) Plainfield Isiah Epps and Jordan Goodman, a 2011 forward from Bowie (Md.) Seneca Valley, will all be on Maryland's campus.
The future of Duke's program will be in Durham for a visit. Fresh off of his commitment last week, Ryan Kelly will make the quick trip over to the land of Blue Devils to see his future teammates.
Class of 2009 commitment Mason Plumlee and 2010 pledges Joshua Hairston and Tyler Thornton are both expected to be in town.
Virginia is taking advantage of the talent nearby. Mychal Parker from the Miller School (Va.), Travis McKie from Richmond (Va.) John Marshall, John Manning, a 2011 center from Chantilly (Va.) and Brian Richardson from Wilson (N.C.) Greenfield are all coming to Charlottesville for a visit.
Clemson will welcome class of 2010 forward Marcus Thornton from Atlanta (Ga.) Westlake, David Williams, a junior wing from Jacksonville, Fla., 2011 point guard Roger Hubbard from Southwest Atlanta Christian (Ga.) and 2009 commitments Milton Jennings and Donte Hill for "Rock the 'John."
Georgetown has always taken advantage of the Midnight Madness festivities for a major recruiting tool. This year is no different.
Class of 2009 commitments Hollis Thompson from California and Dashonte Riley from Michigan will be in town. So will class of 2010 commitments Markel Starks and Nate Lubick.
Class of 2010 wings Roscoe Smith of Baltimore (Md.) Walbrook and Jalen Kendrick of Southwest Atlanta Christian ( Ga. ) will make a return trip to the Big East school. Also in town will be Rod Odom, a 6-foot-8 sleeper wing from Concord ( Mass. ) Middlesex School .
The class of 2011 will be well represented as Christchurch ( Va. ) wing Michael Gbinije, Danville ( Va. ) George Washington forward C.J. Barksdale, Chantilly ( Va. ) center John Manning, Washington (DC) St. John's College High guard Chris Martin and Quinn Cook from nearby DeMatha will all be on campus for an unofficial visit.
Talented class of 2012 prospect Kyle Anderson will make a trip down to Washington D.C. from Paterson (N.J.) Catholic, too.
Louisville will entertain commitment Seattle (Wash.) Franklin guard Peyton Siva will try to win over Aaron Dotson of Seattle (Wash.) Rainier Beach.
Connecticut is welcoming commitments Alex Oriakhi and Jamal Coombs to Storrs for the season tip-off festivities.
The Huskies always have some sleepers on campus this weekend. The biggest one both literally and figuratively is Andre Drummond, a 6-foot-10 big man from Capitol Prep in Hartford. Drummond is a class of 2011 prospect. Also expected in town is Mike Buffalo, a junior from Wings Academy in New York.
C.J. Fair, a 2010 forward from Baltimore, is visiting Syracuse unofficially.
It is a five-star party this weekend in Lawrence, Kansas. The Jayhawks are using "Late Night at the Phog" as the big recruiting weekend of the year as four five-star prospects will be in town and on campus as well as a host of other talented recruits.
Class of 2009 five-star prospects Xavier Henry of Oklahoma City (Okla.) Putnam City, Dominic Cheek of St. Anthony's (N.J.) and Michael Snaer of Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde are all scheduled to be on campus for the weekend. The trio makes up three of the best pure scorers in the entire country at the high school ranks.
Ames (Iowa) wing Harrison Barnes, a top five junior nationally, is the fourth five-star prospect in town for the festivities.
The five-stars won't be alone. Las Vegas (Nev.) Cheyenne point Elijah Johnson will hit the road for his first official visit of the year. Class of 2010's Ray McCallum, a point guard from Detroit (Mich.) Country Day, will be in town unofficially.
Bradley Beal, a guard from the class of 2011, hails from St. Louis (Mo.) Chaminade and he's quickly emerging as a hot prospect in the Midwest. Kansas will get a chance to wow him this weekend.
Perry Ellis, a talented class of 2012 wing from Wichita (Kan.) Heights will make a return trip to KU for the weekend.
Texas will tangle with Missouri on the gridiron on Saturday night in a nationally televised game between two of the premiere football teams in the nation. A number of talented basketball players won't be watching at home.
Instead, Daniel Bejarano, a five-star junior from Phoenix (Ariz.) North, Mike Shaw, a five-star sophomore from Chicago (Ill.) De La Salle and Wayne Blackshear of Chicago (Ill.) Currie will see the game live and in person in Austin. The trio of studs will be in Austin for an unofficial visit.
Duncanville (Texas) teammates Roger Franklin and Reger Dowell are slated for a visit to Oklahoma State this weekend. Franklin is committed to the Cowboys and Dowell, a one-time commitment to Alabama and Arizona, is high on the school, too, according to sources close to the situation.
Class of 2009 commitment Raymond Penn and Marianna (Fla.) Chipola J.C. forward Justin Brownlee will also be in Stillwater. Class of 2011 forward LeBryan Nash and Columbus (Ga.) Kendrick big man Tim Dixon are expected for an unofficial visit, too.
Commitments Torin Walker of Columbus (Ga.) Northside and Fred Gulley of Fayetteville (Ark.) will also be in town.
Making the trek up to Stillwater with Franklin and Dowell is 2010 guard Jamison Sterns, also of Duncanville. Sterns is a Baylor commitment but sources indicate that the two parties may be splitting ways after this weekend.
Arlington (Texas) Grace Prep guard Nick Russell is looking to put the final touches on his visit tour this weekend as he trips to Kansas State.
Class of 2010 point guard Will Spradling, an in-state prospect, will visit unofficially.
Chicago (Ill.) Whitney Young point guard Chris Colvin will travel to Iowa State for a weekend visit. He is one of the top uncommitted point guards left in 2009.
Wolfeboro (N.H.) Brewster Academy big man Andrew Fitzgerald will travel to Oklahoma to see the sights in Norman and spend time with the Sooners.
Ray Turner, a Rivals150 forward from Houston (Texas) Jesse Jones, will make the quick trip up to Texas A&M for a visit.
Indiana's Midnight Madness is appropriately called "Hoosier Hysteria." This year's event certainly lives up to the name because of the huge number of prospects that will file into Assembly Hall on Friday night.
For starters, all of the class of 2009 commitments will be in Bloomington. Christian Watford, Maurice Creek, Derek Elston, Jordan Hulls and Bobby Capobianco are all scheduled for a visit.
Class of 2011 commitment Matt Carlino will make the trek in from Gilbert, Ariz., too.
Muscle Shoals (Ala.) guard Ralston Turner, a four-star class of 2010 prospect, is scheduled for a visit this weekend. Making his third trip to Indiana is Aaron Cosby of Jeffersontown (Ky.). The class of 2010 is thought to be a heavy Hoosier lean at this stage of his recruitment.
Savannah (Ga.) Windsor-Forest big man Brandon Mobley, another 2010 prospect, played for new assistant Roshown McLeod on the AAU circuit. Mobley will make his first trip to Bloomington.
Bowling Green (Ky.) Warren Central wing George Fant, an emerging prospect from the class of 2011, visited Kentucky last week. This weekend, he'll be at IU.
Muncie Central (Ind.) point guard Jeremiah Davis is a hot prospect already in the class of 2011 and the Hoosiers are high on his young list. He'll be in the gym on Friday night at IU.
Making the short trip to campus is Bloomington (Ind.) South guard Spencer Turner, a teammate of Hulls. Turner is a class of 2011 prospect with several Big Ten schools in the mix early on.
Washington (Ind.) forward Cody Zeller continues the Zeller line of Division I prospects. The 6-foot-7 forward from the class of 2011 will be the third Zeller to consider the Hoosiers. Older brothers Luke (Notre Dame) and Tyler (North Carolina) looked hard at Indiana during the recruiting process.
Isaiah Hill, a mammoth center from Howe Military (Ind.), is also expected to be on campus for the weekend. He is a class of 2011.
A host of other young prospects have been invited for Indiana's Hoosier Hysteria.
Michigan State's Midnight Madness, a.k.a. "Friday Night Flashback", will honor the 1978-79 National Championship team as well as usher in the season. The next day, the Spartans will play host to Ohio State on the gridiron.
Needless to say, it is a huge weekend in East Lansing.
That's why Tom Izzo and his staff are bringing in a number of prospects for the weekend.
Class of 2009 commitments Garrick Sherman and Derrick Nix as well as 2010 pledge Keith Appling will be on campus.
Rivals150 juniors Justin Martin from Lawrence North (Ind.), Alex Gauna of Eaton Rapids (Mich.) and Trey Zeigler of Mount Pleasant (Mich.) will all be on campus unofficially.
Fort Wayne (Ind.) Blackhawk Christian wing Russell Byrd, also a Rivals150 junior, continues his visit tour, this weekend stopping at MSU.
The class of 2011 will be well represented as Paul Honigford of Garaway (Ohio), Brandon Kearney and Percy Gibson of of Detroit (Mich.) Southeastern, LaDontae Henton of Lansing (Mich.) Eastern, Jon Horford of Grand Ledge (Mich.), Tommy McCune from Saginaw (Mich.), Patrick Lucas-Perry from Flint (Mich.) Powers and Matt Pooches of Heartland (Mich.) will all be on campus unofficially.
Class of 2012 prospect Denzel Valentine from Lansing Sexton will also be on campus.
Purdue will welcome all of it's commitments on campus for "Mackey Madness" this weekend.
South Medford (Ore.) wing E.J. Singler will travel up Interstate 5 to Oregon's campus this weekend for a visit.
AROUND THE NATION
Xavier is hosting a pair of important underclassmen for an unofficial visit. J.D. Weatherspoon, a 2010 forward from Columbus, Ohio, will make the in-state trip while Naadir Tharpe, a 2011 point guard from Wolfeboro (N.H.) Brewster Academy are both expected to be on campus.
UNLV has class of 2009 commitments Anthony Marshall and Carlos Lopez, both Vegas area stars, and Justin Hawkins of Los Angeles (Calif.) Taft on campus.
Three of Lopez's Findlay Prep class of 2010 teammates Isaiah Grayson, Cory Joseph and Godwin Okonji and Moses Morgan, a Rivals150 prospect from nearby Palo Verde, are all on the list for a visit.
The Charlotte, N.C. area is one of the budding hot beds for talent and the 49ers have done a great job of trying to circle the wagons around the Queen City prospects.
Class of 2010 guards Daryl Traynham, who played at Vance last season, and Ian Miller, a Rivals150 prospect from United Faith, will be on campus. Class of 2011 guards Jacoby Davis and Marquis Rankin, both from Vance, are also expected on campus.
Hassan Whiteside, a sleeper center from Charlotte who is now at the Patterson School, could make a return trip to the Atlantic 10 school. Canadian guard Jason Calliste from Quality Education in Winston-Salem is high on the recruiting board fro Charlotte and he's scheduled for a visit.
Greg Gantt, a guard from Gainesville (Fla.) High, is visiting Jacksonville.
Mike Dixon, a 6-foot point guard from Johnsburg (Ill.) High School, will trip to Davidson for an unofficial visit.