Starting Five: Key dominoes fall
During travel weekends, it is a bit tougher to give commitments the attention that they deserve. In today's Starting Five we catch up on a few of the weekend's major commitments and talk about what has turned out to be a pretty wild Monday for the state of Oregon's two Pac-12 programs.
Grandstaff joins Buckeyes
There must be something about schools that go by O-S-U that is attractive to Austin Grandstaff. The 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Rockwall (Texas) High made his second commitment to a program with those initials when the former Oklahoma State commitment made a verbal pledge to Thad Matta and Ohio State to finish off a weekend visit Sunday.
Currently ranked No. 30 in the class of 2015, Grandstaff had become one of the most desired shooters in the junior class when he opened his recruitment a few months ago. It was initially expected that he would take a bit of time with his decision, but his visit to Columbus over the weekend was enough to win him over and make him end his recruitment.
Grandstaff is known as a shooter and for good reason. He has deep range and is a very good mid range guy off the dribble. He has very good size for a two and is also a competitor with a serious mean streak in him. A member of his father Wes Grandstaff's Team Texas Elite program, it turned out Grandstaff wasn't the only high level shooter in his program making a commitment.
McQuaid picks SMU
Less than 24 hours after his longtime summer teammate Austin Grandstaff took himself off the board, shooting guard Matthew McQuaid from Duncanville (Texas) High ended his recruitment. A 6-foot-5 sniper who ranks No. 75 in the class of 2015, McQuaid is a four-star prospect.
The Mustangs have been on the prowl for a guy who can consistently strip the nets from deep and McQuaid looks to be the guy. He gets good elevation, has a quick release and gets good extension on his jump shot. Though on the skinny side, McQuaid is also a good leaper and finishes alley oops and transition opportunities with slams whenever he can.
McQuaid is the second four-star prospect to commit to SMU from the class of 2015. He joins point guard Sedrick Barefield as an early pledge.
Graham a big pickup for Kansas
Last Thursday, Kansas announced that rising senior point guard Naadir Tharpe was leaving the program. Friday afternoon, they helped to replace his production by picking up the best remaining point guard in the class of 2014, Devonte Graham.
Graham isn't a run of the mill spring desperation pickup or reach either, he projects as a player capable of making a significant early impact. The No. 36 player in the class of 2014, Graham is a four-star prospect with good size, athleticism and a solid feel for the game.
Kansas is returning sophomores to be Conner Frankamp and Frank Mason who each showed good flashes during the season, but Graham will push them and is a potential starting level point guard as a freshman. Adding Graham to a class that already includes No. 4 Cliff Alexander and No. 6 Kelly Oubre will move the Jayhawks 2014 recruiting class into the national top five.
What is happening in Oregon?
Both Oregon State and Oregon were in the news for different reasons on Monday. The Beavers fired head coach Craig Robinson out of the blue while the Ducks announced that three players were no longer participating with the program and presumably transferring.
That Robinson lost his job isn't that big of a surprise. Rumors swirled throughout the 2013-14 season that his job was in jeopardy. But, when he made it through March and April without being fired/bought out it appeared that Robinson was safe for another year. The loss of Eric Moreland to the NBA and transfer or Hallice Cooke hurt, but the Beavers did add a nice spring piece in California big man Cameron Oliver.
Regardless of whether or not Robinson deserved to lose his job, the Oregon State athletic department looks totally foolish today. Not because of the action they decided on, but for their lack of timing. Making the move is fine, but it is one that they could have made almost two months ago. Is somebody asleep at the wheel? Did something that has gone unreported happen? There has to be more right?
Because as things stand, the decision to wait until now to go in a different direction looks plain dumb. A new coach will be tough to find because of how Robinson's firing was handled and most of all because the new coach will have missed an opportunity to recruit players during the spring. The Oregon State job is hard enough, but until more info about why they made this move now the Beavers look like they are volunteering to enter a tail kicking contest with just one leg.
Meanwhile in Eugene, the Ducks announced that three players -- sophomores Dominic Artis and Damyean Dotson along with freshman Brandon Austin -- are no longer participating with the program. Early chatter is that they could be transferring but that they are listed as no longer participating and not announced as transferring so time will tell what the story is.
Artis was in some trouble with the team at the beginning of the season and Austin had yet to play a game at Oregon after leaving Providence (where he hadn't played) so they had documented issues at one time or another. Dotson was a surprisingly productive freshman whose production tailed off some as a sophomore but he figured to play a major role next season.
The good news for Ducks fans is that it isn't as if Altman has no experiece with this. The Ducks have always been a haven for transfers whether they be division one or junior college and Altman is adept at replacing and refiguring rosters after turnover. However,if this is a transfer situation, five transfers in one year isn't the norm and Altman and Oregon fans would surely like to see a little more stability down the road.
Bill Hensley Run-N-Slam remains must see
Over the weekend, Rivals.com was in Ft. Wayne, Ind. at the Spiece Fieldhouse for the Bill Hensley Memorial Run-N-Slam tournament. Spiece has become an annual first weekend of May stop and it doesn't look like that will be changing anytime soon. The event features teams from all walks of shoe companies and those without sponsorship going against each other.
The concentration of mid to upper midwest talent allows scouts to see several regional talents and the format of the event allows for plenty of scouting of players in the 16 and 15U divisions. It is well run, in a good location and should be considered a must stop event.
Eric Bossi is the national basketball recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. You can click here to follow him on Twitter.
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