Sunday, July 13, 2008

Bruin Recruiting: Prep News Roundup (7/14)

By Bruin Basketball Report

Prep News Roundup is published every Monday.


Other players are watching Jennings. One of the top players in the class of 2009 is Lance Stephenson, who has led Brooklyn’s Lincoln High School to three consecutive New York City championships. Stephenson is considering a conventional list of colleges — Texas, U.C.L.A., Southern California, Memphis, Texas and St. John’s — but is expected to only spend one season in college before heading to the N.B.A. Stephenson’s father, Lance Sr., said Monday in a telephone interview that he and his son would be following Jennings’s decision closely. “For me and my wife, we just get the information and talk to Lance and let him make the decision on that,” he said. “We’re looking at it and we’re interested just like anyone else.” NY Times 7/8

According to, Xavier Henry had narrowed his finalists to Kansas University and Memphis and was to announce his decision at last weekend’s LeBron James Skills Academy. “I was going to make an announcement this week about where I’m going to college, but then I found out I’m still not sure,” Henry told CBSSportsline. “I talked it over with my mom and dad, and now I’m not really sure where I want to go.” Henry, a 6-foot-6 guard, now plans to visit Texas and UCLA, too, before deciding between his now-four finalists. KU Sports 7/8

*Xavier Henry, 6-6 senior G/F, Oklahoma City, OK: A kid you’ll be hearing much more about in our magazine very soon. Henry is still playing on a bum ankle, and you can tell the way he limps around pre and postgame. On the court, the injury’s not obvious, but you can tell he’s not quite himself. Still, his size and athleticism—he’s probably the only non-big man in the HS ranks who could physically fit right in with the college campers—makes him tough to match. Offensively, he does pretty much whatever he wants. Great kid, too. SLAM Magazine 7/9

it was the second half outburst of five-star perimeter player Jordan Hamilton that sealed the victory for his team. On 9-13 shooting Hamilton scored 21 points while also grabbing seven rebounds. It is difficult to come up with another player in this class who can impact a game in as many ways as Hamilton. Besides being able to score anywhere on the court, he defends, rebounds, handles and passes the basketball at a high level. Hamilton is making a strong argument to be included in the top ten of the Rivals150. CaliHiSports 7/9

*Daniel Orton, 6-9 senior PF/C, Oklahoma City, OK: A big, big dude with legit NBA size, but between that big knee brace and his body language, I’m guessing he’s got some college coaches feeling nervous. SLAM Magazine 7/9

In some ways, the decision by Bob McKillop and the USA Basketball selection committee to cut Lance Stephenson of Lincoln from the U.S. 18-and-under team for the FIBA Americas Tournament might seem like a shocker. Stephenson is one of the great young talents in the country and we absolutely love his individual talent and his winner’s mentality. But we kept hearing whispers all week Stephenson was struggling to blend in on the court with four other teammates and pick up the system and the coaching staff was unsure how he’d react if the team did not revolve around him. It’s a shame. Hopefully, it will be a good life lesson for the future NBA lottery pick. NY Daily News 7/9

Renardo Sidney, 6-9 combo forward, Fairfax (CA), 2009: The pros (unbelievable skills) and cons (questionable motivation) of Sidney’s game are obvious to anyone who’s ever seen him play, but yesterday the big fella played hard for the most part, scored on the inside and outside at will, rebounded well and showed off his guard-like ability–when conditioning wasn’t a factor. SLAM Magazine 7/9

While scoring is fine, Renardo Sidney prefers assists over baskets. "I think after Magic Johnson, I have the best no-look pass for a big man ever," he said. "I just do it for no reason. It will be a two-on-one [fastbreak], and I will just do a no-look." For much of his career, his no-look passes have come with numerous college recruiters watching from the stands. Sidney said he had narrowed his list of potential destinations to the University of Southern California, Texas, Arizona State, Memphis, and Texas A&M. His stay in college could be short, though. Sidney does not hide his desire to enter the NBA draft in 2010. "If I just go to college and do what I'm supposed to do, I'll be out of there in one year," he said. "That's my goal." 7/9

With the rumors swirling around star point guard Brandon Jennings and his decision whether to attend Arizona as a freshman next year or fly off to Europe to play professionally in preparation for the NBA, Renardo Sidney is drawing some unwanted attention. Many believe that if Jennings makes the move to Europe and bypasses college, Sidney - a naturally gifted 6-9, 250-pound power forward/center - will follow suit. When Sidney was asked if he would indeed consider skipping college to play overseas, Chris Rivers, Reebok's Director of Basketball Sports Marketing, immediately interjected. "It would be too early for him to answer that with the high school year coming forth," Rivers said. "Until he gets with his family, we shouldn't have that discussion right now. Him going to college, then hopefully a career after that, is probably the traditional path that they're looking at right now." Sidney, who has been ranked as high as No. 1 in the Class of 2009, lists Texas A&M, Texas, Arizona State, Memphis, Southern California and UCLA among his possible destinations. "Right now, I'm just focusing on losing weight and conditioning," he said. "So, I'll make that decision after my senior year." The Bulletin 7/10

Michael Snaer, 6-5 wing, Rancho Verde (CA), 2009: Snaer’s usually reliable J was a bit inconsistent, but his relentless aggressiveness, playmaking ability, rebounding from the perimeter and intense D more than made up for it. SLAM Magazine 7/11

On the wing, the Huskies are also high on 6-foot-7 small forward Jordan Hamilton of Compton, Calif. There are a number of centers on the Huskies' radar, including 6-9 Daniel Orton of Oklahoma City, Okla.; 6-8 Dante Taylor of White Plains, N.Y.; 6-10 Anthony Stover of La Canada, Calif.; 6-10 Derrick Favors of Atlanta; and 6-10 Aaric Murray of Concordville, Pa. Conn Sports 7/11

It's interesting to see what facet of basketball draws the interest of players. Usually it's scoring or shooting or dunking. For big man prospect Daniel Orton, it's making the outlet pass. ”I like to outlet,“ he said. ”Get the ball out and push it. ... I'm good at making other guys look good. It's something I really pride myself on.“ To develop the skill, Orton said he'd pass a medicine ball with a coach standing about 15 feet away. Gradually, the coach moved farther away. Eventually, Orton and coach switched to a basketball and made full-court passes. Orton, who lists UK among his options, said he thinks of former UCLA one-and-done Kevin Love as a role model. By the way, Love's father played in the NBA with the master outlet passer, former U of L All-American Wes Unseld. Herald Leader 7/13

Simply put, there wasn't a better passer in the building during the first session of games than big man Daniel Orton. The five-star prospect shined like he always does in a high-low set but also found cutters with precision passing. Gator Bait 7/13

Senior point guard Avery Bradley had the best overall performance in a winning effort for Finish. With the senior's lanky 6-foot-3 body along with his pinpoint precision passing to teammates like Karron Johnson for alley-oop dunks contained the ability to play lockdown defense when prompted. Playing against fellow star point guard Brandon Knight, Bradley displayed a willingness to accept the tough challenge put in front of him. Though he lost the assist battle to Knight eight to six, he outscored him 14 to 12 and was more accurate from the field shooting a solid 5-for-11. NBA 7/13

(photo credit: NY Daily News)



At Jul 13, 2008, 6:06:00 PM, Anonymous Bee said...

REPOSTING late post last week, apologies to those who read it already:
Heads up on the recruiting front:
According to
"Smith and Wroten are attracting huge crowds in Cincinnati. Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski, UCLA boss Ben Howland, Washington's Lorenzo Romar, and Tennessee head man Bruce Pearl all made it a point to track Seattle Rotary. Not to be outdone, schools like Louisville, Memphis, and nearly every school on the west coast dispatched assistants to track them."
The 'Smith' is referring to is Josh Smith, who reportedly did well against Derrick Favors. I saw Derrick Favors' game vs. Jrue at Pangos, and he is really a legit PTP. No one from Campbell Hall could come close to matching up with Favors, even with double/triple teams. Favors game that day was eerily similar to Michael Beasley's style of play. That game was a classic thriller, with Jrue putting up monster stats in a very tight loss.
"At the end of the game it was the Atlanta Celtics that were celebrating, but Smith more than cemented himself as an elite big man by slightly outplaying Favors. Smith finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds while Favors countered with 21 points and 10 rebounds, with some of those points coming once the game was decided late."
Josh Smith is 6'9", 265. What's interesting about the Coach Ben sighting and tracking him at the Adidas event is that maybe (just a maybe) Jeremy Tyler may not be priority #1 for the Bruins in the 2010 class. Jeremy has been listed as a possible top 3 2010 prospect for some years now, but lately his game has been inconsistent. One game against Renardo Sidney he scored 0 points(!).
Anyhow, just maybe this gives us an alternative in 2010, and someone else for BBR to track. It's always fun to see what Coach Ben has up his sleeve! Wouldn't it be great if we got him AND Jeremy Tyler!
Still remaining on my 2009 wish list:
1a. Xavier Henry
1b. Lance Stephenson
3. Avery Bradley
4. Daniel Orton
5. Anthony Stover

At Jul 14, 2008, 6:47:00 AM, Anonymous JD said...

Getting down on Renardo and Lance --- I don't really want these guys. They seem very selfish players. BBR, thanks for all the updates as always.

At Jul 14, 2008, 7:18:00 AM, Anonymous BruinFan said...

One and dones...we don't need any..we are looking good....I'll put my faith in Coach BH as he has done a lot of winning with the talent the last 3 years....

At Jul 14, 2008, 8:33:00 AM, Anonymous GEORGE said...

Boy, Sidney keeps managing to outdo himself. I just can't wait to see what gradiose egocentric idiocy comes out of his mouth next!

At Jul 14, 2008, 12:18:00 PM, Anonymous Brew In said...

Let thenm go to the Trojans. They would be one&dones and then we would probably find out what violations SC would be hit with because of these guys. Not saying so, but Coach Howland knows how to pick the "proper character" types for his team!

At Jul 14, 2008, 12:49:00 PM, Anonymous Rob said...

I have to agree with everyone above. I love seeing our players go on to the NBA and be successful. But we are a college basketball program, not a farm system. More than that, we are UCLA. A place of high standards and high morals. A place where excellence and achievement are the goals of everyone who is a Bruin. What we are not is shady, ethically challenged school that alternates between national championships and years of probation. I wish all these recruits the best, but I think a few could really benefit from having Uncle Howland and Grandpa Wooden around them for a couple of years.

At Jul 16, 2008, 9:56:00 AM, Anonymous BruinFan said...
Keith Gallon 6'9 290lbs Big Baby body...can we get more articles on this guy????

At Jul 17, 2008, 3:52:00 AM, Anonymous Bruin 2005 said...

Should we really be expecting much more from the 2009 class? From what I see at this point it will be difficult for us to pick up top flight recruits. Where will they play. Our 2008 back court will be lasting us most likely through the 2009-2010 season. The only spots to be filled are at the forward positions and we have the guys we are looking for in 2009 class. At the center position it looks like Bobo will be it for quite some time. How is Ben going to talk top guys into coming to a program where playing time will be so limited?

At Jul 17, 2008, 1:50:00 PM, Anonymous Rob said...

Bruin 2005: Exactly right. We are pretty much set at this point. It would be nice to know who is going to leave early, but these are variables both coaches and recruits have to deal with. All in all, we are about as set going forward as anyone in the country.

At Jul 17, 2008, 6:09:00 PM, Anonymous Parkman said...

Agreed, but still like to get all the top flight recruits. Just want to become an even more formidable basketball factory than we are. As mentioned previously wish all the top 5 recruits were required to got to Ucla. Just a dream of mine:))

At Jul 18, 2008, 9:25:00 AM, Anonymous clyde said...

Certainly we have what we have for next year ... but the recruiting game has to be played continuously. You have no idea who is going to opt out for the pros or transfer or get hurt.
Not so interested in Stephenson or Sidney anymore but I would like to land one of the elite small forwards. Xavier Henry is a long shot but somebody like him.
Avery Bradley is another that seems like he would be a great overall fit since he works both sides of the ball.
Keep winning Howland and the recruiting level will keep rising.
Fun times.

At Jul 18, 2008, 3:26:00 PM, Anonymous george said...

I'm probably in the minority here and I'm going to go out on a limb with this one but I had a hell of a lot of fun the past three years watching BH turn several hard working players a handful of excellent players and one or two top-flight players into superb cohesive and highly competitive teams. I have enjoyed watching these teams evolve and the individuals progress. In fact, I have to say that I am sure I have gotten more of a thrill the past three years watching that than I would have say if we had Rose, Beasley, Mayo, Love and a couple other five star players on the team who went undefeated and brought home #12. Don't get me wrong - I was hoping for #12 last year as much as anyone and am hoping for it again next year. But I still am thrilled by the journey to that goal even more than I would be thrilled by watching a group of spoiled one and done's bring another banner to Pauley. Again, for me, that would not be nearly as meaningful as seeing Collison, Shipp, Roll, Aboya, et al celebrate at mid-court.
Just one likely unpopular opinion.

At Jul 19, 2008, 1:03:00 AM, Anonymous bruin66 said...

I'm with you, George. Building a team and winning against the odds is more exciting than if you start with 5 x 5 stars. The Alcindor/Walton years were great, but Hazzard/Goodrich/Wicks/Marquis were more thrilling.

At Jul 19, 2008, 2:56:00 AM, Anonymous BruinFan said...

Bruin Nation, looking at the recruits on the right side, which guys put points on the board??? Are we going to be ok offensively??? Westbrook was an athletic scoring machine and I am curious if any of these recruits are scoring machines.
Just a question....

At Jul 19, 2008, 4:19:00 AM, Anonymous kdl1984 said...

You pretty much summed up what a lot of us True Blue fans love about what's happening lately. It reminds me a lot of the old days with the many Wooden teams that didn't have "great" players, but ones that played as a team. Too much one on five nowadays for my taste. A true team is what I like to see, unselfishness and doing what's needed for the team to succeed. Guys like Lorenzo Mata should be praised for doing what was right, not what so many spoiled kids are doing nowadays. I mean, to willingly give up his starting role to a Freshman who was going to leave after a year? Now, that's sacrifice! He probably hurt his chances at getting drafted, but he did it anyways. I hope for nothing but the best for him, whether in the NBA or in Europe. He showed a lot of class.
Guys like Brandon Jennings make me sick. It was only about the almighty buck. All he did was set a precedent that many others will follow. And in the end, most of them probably won't make the NBA, but end up playing in some dark gym with 150 people in the stands. Sad when you think about it. He did what he had to do, but at what cost to himself?
I sure feel bad for Lute Olson for losing two 5 stars. But, better them than us! One and dones don't have your school's success in mind. IMO, they shouldn't be getting all the hype that they do. Give me a four star guy who stays for four years and I'll take him before they perennial All Star!
And comment to today's kids...
Do what's right, not what's popular! Listen to your elders and not from people who blow sunshine up your rear ends!
Geez, how did I go from talking about the old Bruins teams to preaching to kids?!!! ha ha!

At Jul 19, 2008, 5:15:00 AM, Anonymous george said...

Agree kdl1984! The one disagreement I have is that I applaud what Brandon Jennings did. Rather than perpetuate the mockery and travesty of the "one and done" idiocy by pretending to be an "academic athlete" (barf barf) he said screw it and heads to Europe to play professional ball which is what he should indeed be doing. someone like him, Derozan, Mayo - they don't belong in college. The fact that D. Stern et al have decided to use the most prestigious Universities in this country as their own personal farming system is a complete disgrace. So, for that reason, I applaud the trend Brandon Jennings has set. Perhaps if more follow suit and the NBA suffers (Maybe some of these 17 and 18 year olds might be intrigued with foreign play and stay awhile? Could it eventually strengthen some of the foreign teams and leagues? Might these foreign teams with the strength of the Euro begin offering somewhat competitive salaries? Who knows.) they will eventually eliminate this ridiculous rule. What sense does it really make that a youngster is old enough to go the war but too young to play in the NBA?

At Jul 20, 2008, 11:37:00 AM, Anonymous Rob said...

I think everyone is making great points. I tend to agree with George regarding Brandon Jennings. He's just a kid (I was lucky not to be in a Turkish prison at his age), and what he is doing is not illegal but is totally logical. We don't seem to apply the same standards to golf or tennis or fighting Al-qaeda in Afghanistan, as George has pointed out. I do strongly agree with the sentiment about 4-star athletes vs. 5-star one and dones. How many one year players did Kansas have? Continuity counts. I think the Bruins are very well positioned.

At Jul 20, 2008, 2:27:00 PM, Anonymous DB said...

Now now lets not make a mockery of the kdis who wants to opt to make money right away. I can pretty much say 99% of 18 year olds given the chance to make a million dollars a year next year would do so instead of going to college.
I mean that is a lot of money really and you really cant blame them for wanting to do so. The real people who are at fault here arent the kids, but really the NCAA, Alumnis, and school.
Come on now, there has long been a pressure for teams and coachs to win. When there is that much pressure to do so, the innocence of the game is long gone. It is very unlikely to find a kid who is a great player, team player, good GPA, and want to stay in college. You just wont find them anymore.
For majority of us, going to college is inevitably to find a decent job and for these kids, they can make more money than majority of the phd people so of course they will do so.
The kids arent the ones to blame here, its the institution, the NCAA, and the people behind it trying to make money off these kids. In reality, its really the school benefitting from these kids and not the other way around.
These kids make a lot of money for the schools and provide more alumnis to want to make contributions. Yes back in the days of Wooden it was different. The game wasnt as big as it is today, and the exposure wasnt either.
Lets be honest, if these kids dont have the skills would the schools offer them a scholarship? Of course not. The kids do not owe the school a thing really.
As much as a Bruin fan I am, the reality of things is that the kids have a slim shot to hit their dream and of course would do so if they have a shot at it. Let us just enjoy the game as it is and the players we have.

At Jul 21, 2008, 6:38:00 AM, Anonymous KDL1984 said...

Good comments one and all. I appreciate what you've said. And after thinking about it more, I think you're right. Because, hopefully, in the end, college basketball will be played the way it was supposed to be played, as a team, with heart and not with dollar signs in your eyes! We've already seen the one and dones basically kill the continuity of college basetball. Let's let them all leave. Leave me with guys who maybe aren't the most athletic or most gifted and let coaches like BH sculpt them into a cohesive team.
For me, it just isn't fun to hear that this player or that player is thinking about leaving for the NBA. It always leaves people wondering what the guy's gonna do next. In fact, if you ask me, I think the kids know this and play it up, even if they aren't seriously thinking about leaving. To them, it's all about the attention they would get. Believe me, I don't blame the kids for wanting the money. I would too. But I'm a college basketball purest who wants to see the game played the way it used to be. I know, I know. It'll probably never be that way again, when you have kids that just enjoy the sport so much that they stick around for four years. But, I can dream, can't I?
In recent years, the only one I can think of that had that type of attitude was Tyler Hansbrough. He stuck around, even when the lure of NBA contracts was waved in his face. I respect a guy like that. He loved the sport and stayed because of it. It was more important for him to win an NCAA championship than it was to get paid oodles of money on a scrub NBA team!! He was more concerned about what he could brag about to his grandchildren- winning an NCAA championship! How many can actually say that? It's an achievement that can't be bought.
Playing in Europe can wait. Go through college and experience it all. You'll never have the same chance again!

At Jul 23, 2008, 7:20:00 AM, Anonymous george said...

Devil's Advocate -
If Hansbrough shatters his knee in his senior year of play will he still be satisfied with his decision? I'm sure his children might love his maudlin and sentimental stories of his fight for the collegiate national championship but will they more thrilled by these stories than the security and comfort and even college education that those missed million$$ might have bought?
I too admire folks like DC who decide to stay and play for their final year/s - in fact DC has become one of my all time favorites partly due to this - but I also realize the gravity of these kids' decisions.
Gotta ask you KDL - in all honesty - if you could trade your college education for tens of millions of dollars and a career utilizing your talent and fulfilling your passion would you keep your college education at the risk of losing the rest?

At Jul 24, 2008, 2:08:00 PM, Anonymous Brew In said...

I'll answer that... Just let me make a decent wage but be able to drink whilst I work! Ahhhhh, that'll do it!

At Jul 26, 2008, 9:05:00 AM, Anonymous KDL1984 said...

I don't fault the kids that opt for the cash. I would probably do it too. What I'm trying to say is the same as what you're trying to say, that the ones who do stick around are high on my appreciation list. They're the ones who are willing to accept the consequences should something happen during their senior years for the chance at glory. Gotta love those guys. Money is not the answer to everything. Case in point- Channel 5's "Athlete Arrest of the Week(or day, I can't remember)" feature. Self explanatory. Rich athletes who get arrested for just about everything! Cedric Benson...Pac Man Jones...the list is endless. And look at the ones that go bankrupt because of listening to their so called "handlers". Mike Tyson comes to mind!
Bottom line: I just happen to respect guys who come back to help their teams win a championship and have less respect for the kids that listen to people who just want a piece of them or parents that are trying to live vicariously through their children. That's all. I'm not saying that it's not a risk. I'm just saying that I like those types.


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