Fastbreak Friday: Taking in the madness

The majority of college basketball teams can be practice today, meaning the season is officially under way.
Almost ever team in the country is taking advantage of that from a recruiting standpoint.
In our biggest Fastbreak Friday of the year, breaks down this weekend's visits.
Top dogs
There isn't a better collection of overall talent on any campus this weekend than USC. The Trojans will have two top ranked players on campus at the same time. Renardo Sidney, the top dog in 2009, and Jeremy Tyler, the top player in the class of 2010, are making unofficial visits this weekend.
Joining the fun are commitments Demar DeRozan, the No. 2 overall player in the nation from the class of 2008, and 2010 pledge Dwayne Polee, who is impressing SoCal hoops observers this fall at various showcases. Mix in Rivals100 junior Brendan Lane, and you have an amazing group of prospects in town all at the same time.
Healthy helping of Hoya fun
There is always a buzz down on M Street in Washington D.C. On Friday night, the buzz will be up the hill at Georgetown as John Thompson III and staff play host to more than a dozen high-level prospects.
The nation's top prospect, Greg Monroe, makes his way to the nation's capitol to see the Big East program. The 6-foot-10 forward from Louisiana has a plan and sticking to it. He visited LSU last weekend and has Texas up next.
Monroe will have a chance to meet the class of 2008 commitments Jason Clark, Henry Sims and Chris Braswell, all of whom hail from the Baltimore-D.C. area.
The list doesn't end there. The Hoyas have a number of nationally ranked players coming, too. California natives Hollis Thompson, a five-star junior, and Renaldo Woolridge, a top-50 senior will make the cross-country trip.
Local product Augustus Gilchrist, a former Virginia Tech commitment, is scheduled to be on campus for the weekend, sources told He's looking at joining a team at the semester break.
The class of 2009 is well represented, as four top 20 prospects will be in town. Locals Isaiah Armwood and Terrell Vinson of nearby Montrose Christian will be joined by Karron Johnson and Detroit center DaShonte Riley.
Youngsters Jason Morris, a 2010 Georgia native, and Derrick Wilson, a 2011 Alaska product, are teammates at the Hotchkiss School in Connecticut. They will also make the trip down to Georgetown. While there, they will meet Tyler Thornton, a 2010 point guard from nearby Gonzaga College Prep, and Kyle Rowley, a 7-footer from Chicago.
True Madness at Kentucky
Fans have been lining up for days to get into the sold-out Midnight Madness event at Kentucky. Luckily for the near dozen prospects that will attend, they won't have to stand in line to see the midnight gala.
Wildcat fans will have a chance to see a number of the future UK players: DeAndre Liggins and Darius Miller of the 2008 class and K.C. Ross-Miller and Dakotah Euton of the 2010 class.
The quartet won't be alone. Billy Gillispie and staff are hosting seniors Chris Singleton, Ralph Sampson III, Garrett Stutz and Verdell Jones.
John Wall, the nation's top point guard in the class of 2009, is making his second trip to Lexington in the last month. He'll be in town with AAU teammate J.T. Terrell, a 2010 prospect.
In-state prospects Jon Hood (2009) and Chad Jackson (2010) will also be in town.
Hood also visited Duke and Florida unofficially this week during his fall break from school.
Hoosier Hysteria has Northeast flair
Indiana is jumping in the five-star fun. The Hoosiers have four top-25 prospects in Bloomington for the weekend. And there is a Northeast flair to the visitors.
Devin Ebanks was the first Northeastern to commit to Indiana earlier in the summer. Is he the first of many? With Lance Stephenson, a top five prospect from the class of 2009, and Dexter Strickland, a top 25 junior, and Rivals150 senior Kevin Jones all in town, too, the chances are good.
Texas native Nolan Dennis, also a five-star junior, is making the trek to Indiana for midnight madness.
Naturally, the local ties are strong for the Hoosiers, too. Indianapolis big man Stephan Van Treese will be on hand along with Hoosier commitment Derek Elston. Ray McCallum, the son of Indiana assistant coach of the same name, will be at Assembly Hall.
Also making the trip is Kentucky shooting guard Jacob Jenkins, Illinois big man Jordan Prosser, in-state center Travis Carroll (2010), Illinois point guard James Kinney and Ohio guard PeShon Howard (2010).
Monumental weekend in Memphis
Memphis is pulling out all of the stops this year for midnight madness.
Elliot Williams, one of the few elite level players left on the 2008 recruiting board, is making his final official visit of the year as he makes a stop to the home school. Duke, Tennessee and Virginia are also in the mix with Williams.
Making his second consecutive trip to the national power for midnight madness is Xavier Henry, the No. 2 player in the class of 2009.
Alabama junior Christian Watford, a 6-foot-8 Rivals100 wing, will be joined by New Yorker Durand Scott, also a Rivals100 wing.
There is a strong local flair to the event this year as John Calipari and staff play host to a number of Memphis prospects. Ferrakohn Hall, a Rivals100 junior, and Joe Jackson, a top 10 sophomore nationally, lead the charge.
Also in attendance are Gentry Hines, Tim Peete, Greg Wooten, Bobby Parks, Jr. and Mardracus Wade.
Marquette Madness
Marquette is joining the fun for the Midnight Madness festivities. Tom Crean and his staff are hosting a number of key targets and hoping to hear good news in a week's time.
Five-star guard Iman Shumpert is making his final visit of the fall to the Big East school. The third best uncommitted point guard in the country has visited Georgia Tech and North Carolina already, and will likely announce his decision sometime next week.
Shumpert will be joined by Jared Swopshire, a 6-foot-8 forward from IMG Academy in Florida. Swopshire has a visit to Louisville up next.
In-state prospects Jeronne Maymon (2009) Luke Russell (2009) and top-10 sophomore Evan Anderson will all be in Milwaukee for the weekend festivities. Making the trip from Houston is class of 2009 four-star wing Erik Williams.
Tall order of action at UConn
None of visitors on Connecticut's are seeing the Storrs campus for the first time. In fact, the weekend is more of a reunion tour for all five visitors. Commitments Kemba Walker, of the 2008 class, and Jamal Coombs and Alex Oriakhi, both of the 2009 class, are certainly familiar with each other.
Also coming into town is five-star center John Riek and three-star under-the-radar forward Assane Sene. The two participated in Connecticut's elite camp earlier in the summer.
New era in Kansas
Times are changing in the state of Kansas. The Kansas Jayhawks (5-0) have a better record in football than the cross-state rivals at Kansas State (3-2), and for the first time in recent memory, Midnight Madness means something to both programs.
The numbers aren't overwhelming, but this weekend might be the most important weekend for Bill Self and the Kansas Jayhawks. Why? Simple. The Morris twins are coming to town. The Rivals150 prospects and former Memphis commitments pack a punch at the forward positions and nearly every major school that was in search for athletic and versatile players jumped in the mix for Marcus Morris and Markieff Morris. Kansas gets first crack at the duo this weekend.
Class of 2008 commitment Travis Releford will be on campus, a familiar face in Lawrence by now, and he'll be joined by Michael Dixon, the next talented guard from K.C, who will be there on an unofficial visit.
Kansas State is clearly making a pipeline to the Washington D.C. area, as we mentioned in our pipelines piece, and it is certainly evident by the line of players finding a way to Manhattan for the weekend.
Four-star junior Wally Judge leads the way. He has transferred to Arlington Country Day in Florida and looks to be the next high-level prospect to come from the D.C. Assault program.
Judge will be joined by Rodney McGruder, a top 75 wing from the 2009 class, as well as Terrence Boyd, James Stewart and 2010 guard Daryl Traynham.
Dean Dome will be rocking
Late Night with Roy has become a staple since Roy Williams took over the North Carolina program. This year's event has some star power to it.
Outside of commitments Ed Davis (2008) and Kendall Marshall (2010), the Tar Heels are hosting one of the most deadly offensive weapons in the country in Dominic Cheek out of the famed St. Anthony's in New Jersey.
Cheek has made no secrets about his liking of the ACC powerhouse. There is some speculation that he will likely give a nod to Williams and company shortly after a visit to Chapel Hill.
Five-star twins David Wear and Travis Wear will make the cross-country trip from California to Carolina for the festivities. The juniors have a strong West Coast feel to their recruitment outside of UNC.
South Carolina native Milton Jennings, another 2009 prospect, will also be in the Dean E. Smith Center on Friday night. He'll be joined by 6-foot-7 forward Julian Royal, who some have argued that he is the best freshman in the loaded Peach State this year.
Icy hot weekend at Michigan State
Delvon Roe and Draymond Green, two-thirds of the 2008 recruiting class for Michigan State, will be in East Lansing on Friday night. They won't be alone.
Georgia native Richard Howell, a four-star prospect from the class of 2009, will make his first trip to Michigan State. The Spartans went to the Peach State last year for Chris Allen. Shortly after identifying Allen as a target, Tom Izzo and staff made it a point to check in on Howell. They were the first high-major to heavily recruit him.
Also at Michigan State are in-state prospects James Still (2009) and Keith Appling (2010) and Indianapolis native Justin Martin.
Illinois striking while the iron is hot
After a three-player commitment day on Thursday, Illinois is riding high on the recruiting front. All three pledges – D.J. Richardson, Joseph Bertrand and Brandon Paul – will be on campus along with 2010 gem commitment Jereme Richmond.
The quartet will certainly be in Stan Simpson's ear this weekend. The 6-foot-8 big man from Chicago Simeon is visiting. He has also visited Arkansas.
Anthony Johnson, one of the top class of 2010 guards in Illinois, will also be on campus. He'll be joined by class of 2009 prospects Jordan Walker and D.J. Cooper, both in-state prospects.
Rounding out the visitors is sharp-shooter Nik Garcia, a rangy guard from Niles West High School from the class of 2009.
Texas A&M looking to crank up the fun
The Texas A&M basketball is having its version of football's yell practice on Friday night as Mark Turgeon and staff have College Station buzzing for Maroon Madness.
The Aggies have 2008 commitment Dashan Harris coming in for a visit. The charismatic leader will certainly be wearing his recruiter's hat. The Aggies have a number of talented young players on campus for the festivities.
Julian Washburn, a 2010 forward from Dallas, Jamal Branch, a talented class of 2010 guard from Houston, Julien Lewis, a 2011 prospect, J-Mychal Reese, a 2012 prospect, Anthony Collins, a 2010 prospect, Toby Oyedeji, a 2010 prospect, Jemal Outler and Stephon Smith all on campus this weekend.
• Maryland has a trio of key visitors in College Park. Jin Soo Kim, a fast-rising junior at South Kent (Conn.), will be in town and the Terps are high on his list. Former Baylor commitment Ater Majok, a Sudanese native who is fine tuning his game in Australia, will also be in town. Baltimore big man Andrew Fitzgerald, a class of 2009 prospect, is also scheduled to visit Gary Williams and Co.
• Georgia Tech is hoping for some big news in the next week. Tyshawn Taylor, one of the top uncommitted guards in the nation, is making his first visit to the Atlanta school this weekend. He's one of the top targets for the Yellow Jackets in the 2008 class. Other top target Iman Shumpert will decide in a week's time, too.
• Boston College, no strangers with national sleepers, is bringing in Florida forward Evan Ravenel. The visit marks the last for the 6-foot-7 grinder. He is expected to announce his decision soon.
Javon Farrell, a talented class of 2009 wing, is making an unofficial visit to Virginia Tech.
Big East
• Getting back on the visit trail is five-star center Tyler Zeller. The Indiana native is visiting Notre Dame, where his brother, Luke, is a junior.
• Louisville is getting a visit from Terrence Jennings, a former Maryland commitment.
Mookie Jones, one of the most recruited wings in the nation, is off to Syracuse this weekend and the Orange have been sitting pretty with the Peekskill prospect for a long time.
• Texan J'Covan Brown is making a trip up to Cincinnati, according to sources within the network.
• Rutgers is playing host to New Yorker Patrick Jackson, and the Scarlet Knights are looking good with the three-star guard at this juncture.
• DePaul commitment Jeremiah Kelly returns home to Chicago for his official visit. Kelly is prepping at American Christian in Philadelphia.
Big 12
• Texas is keying in on a pair of talented wings from the class of 2009. California native Jordan Hamilton, a top 10 national prospect, will see Austin along with in-state wing Shawn Williams, an in-state Rivals100 prospect.
• Oklahoma will play host to Williams's high school teammate Roger Franklin, a 2009 forward. Also in town is Atlanta guard Ray Willis. Five-star guard Willie Warren has a visit scheduled with the Sooners, but since his departure from Oak Hill the trip may be up in the air.
• Texas Tech is inducting Jeff Taylor's father into its Hall of Fame this weekend and the Red Raiders were understandably the first school to recruit the Swedish import since moving to New Mexico last year. Taylor won't be alone. He'll be joined by 2008 commitment Corbin Ray.
• Class of 2009 guard D.J. Dickson, a 6-foot-6 wing from Colorado, is scheduled for an unofficial visit to Nebraska.
Big Ten
• Michigan is expected to play host to in-state junior forward Ben Simons.
Diamond Taylor, one of the few high-major Illinois guards that did not commit on Thursday, is slated for an unofficial visit to Wisconsin.
• Iowa will host junior college combo guard Jermain Davis from in-state program Kirkwood Community College.
• Arizona State has a pair of class of 2009 unofficial visitors on campus this weekend. Minnesota wing Trent Lockett and California big man Anthony Stover are scheduled to spend some time in the sun in Tempe.
• Cal is playing host to Rivals100 junior guard Michael Snaer, a talented in-state prospect.
• Arkansas will play host to Louisiana big man Brandon Moore and recently open forward Andre Clark indicated he may unofficially visit this weekend, too.
• South Carolina is hosting North Carolina guard Tyree Graham and Georgia sleeper DeMario Mayfield, a 6-foot-3 junior guard from Franklin County High School.
• For the first time ever, UAB is hosting three five-star prospects on the same weekend. DeMarcus Cousins, one of the top juniors in the nation and local Birmingham product, is making the short drive over to see Mike Davis and company. Also coming into town are Georgia prospects Lorenzo Brown, a combo guard, and Ari Stewart, an athletic forward.
• Rhode Island is hoping for a strong weekend. Jim Baron and his staff have a number of talented local products on campus - most notably Erik Murphy, who has offers from nearly every elite high-major school in the country. The class of 2009 prospect will be joined by high school teammate Nate Lubick, a class of 2010 prospect.
Also in town are AAU teammates Dartaye Ruffin and Austin Carroll, both juniors, and prep school big man Genesis Marciel.
Rotnei Clarke, a top 100 guard, is making the short trip to Oral Roberts, where his father is on the basketball staff. Clarke's AAU teammate Chris Babb will also be in town to check out the Golden Eagles.
• Making a long trip from New Jersey, Quintrell Thomas is off to Las Vegas to see Lon Kruger's program at UNLV.
• Pepperdine is bringing in its Oregon steals, Paul McCoy and Brad Tinsley, for their official visits.
• Junior forward Bobby Capobianco and sophomore guard DeAndre McCamey will unofficially visit Southern Illinois.
• Marshall is bringing in Damier Pitts, a North Carolina native that is spending a year at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia.
• Louisiana Tech is hosting athletic Houstonian Scott Farrington, a 6-foot-7 forward.
• San Diego State will reportedly have top 100 junior point guard Jared Cunningham on campus.
• George Mason continues its search for another talented big man. New Yorker Ryan Pearson is this weekend's visitor.
• Northfield Mount Hermon (Mass.) teammates Mike Marra and Derrick Thomas, both class of 2009 prospects, will be on the UMass campus for the weekend.
• VCU will entertain in-state forward Bradford Burgess for a visit.
Mike Maczko, a guard from Baltimore's John Carroll School, has a full plate ahead of him. He is visiting Radford, Wofford, Gardner-Webb, USC-Upstate and High Point.