Sunday, August 03, 2008

Bruin Recruiting: Prep News Roundup (8/4)

By Bruin Basketball Report

Prep News Roundup is published every Monday.


For what it's worth, I spoke briefly to Moreno Valley Rancho Verde guard Michael Snaer this afternoon, and he continues to list UCLA as a school he's considering in addition to Washington, Florida State, Missouri, Marquette and a host of others. The senior-to-be said he will start paring down his list next week and still hopes to have a decision by the end of August. As I've reported previously, the primary stumbling block for UCLA with Snaer is he wants to go to a school where he can play immediately, something that is not a sure thing if he chooses the Bruins. The UCLA coaching staff may be sensing Snaer's a long shot at this point because they did not spend much time watching the Inland Reebok team in Las Vegas last week. Snaer emphatically shot down the idea that he has already decided on Missouri, but there is reason to believe the Tigers could have a good shot at him. Not only was Missouri one of the first schools to offer Snaer a scholarship, his AAU coach, Elvert Perry, is also close friends with Tigers assistant Melvin Watkins. Press Enterprise 7/28

If UCLA is unable to land seniors-to-be Michael Snaer and Avery Bradley, it appears Anthony Marshall from Las Vegas Mojave High may be next on the shooting guard wish list. Marshall does not have a UCLA scholarship offer yet, but the coaches have evaluated the 6-foot-2 guard extensively the past few weeks and could make an offer soon if they feel neither Snaer nor Bradley are likely to accept."I explained to Anthony, 'Don't take it as a knock," said Anthony Brown, Marshall's AAU coach with the Las Vegas Prospects. "They've been recruiting those guys for a long time and it makes sense they would want to wait for them. Russell Westbrook was their fourth option too and now he's a lottery pick." A versatile guard with long arms and a 35-inch standing vertical, Marshall has a quick first step to the basket and enough of a jump shot to keep defenders honest. Press Enterprise 7/28

Renardo Sidney, Lance Stephenson and Jeremy Tyler? It’s too early to write these kids off, simply because they possess far too much natural ability, but we might one day see them listed in the “too much hype too soon” category. 7/28

Abdul Gaddy is the steadiest, most cerebral point guard out there, but judging from his serious struggles against Wall and the Boynton/Knight duo, he needs to take his game to another level before he can be mentioned in that elite group. His teammate Avery Bradley is an explosive scorer, but about 3-4 inches too short to be an ideal 2-guard. 7/28

Avery Bradley, 6-3, SG, Bellarmine (Wash.); Bradley and teammate Abdul Gaddy were outstanding in Las Vegas and complement one another extremely well. Bradley is arguably the top perimeter defender in the country, but he is a versatile offensive player as well. Bradley was the top player on the court for the first half against Team Breakdown. Recruiting Buzz: Word is that Texas is in the best shape. Fox Sports 7/29

Moser could have company on the front line if Anthony Stover of the Renaissance Academy in southern California opts for UA. The 6-10 Stover likes Arizona, UCLA and ASU, but as of now the Cats are his leader. Other players considering UA include combo-forward Andy Brown of Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei, point guard Michael Dixon of Lee's Summit, Mo., and Franklin, who seems the furthest away from narrowing his list of schools. Although Gaddy's teammate Avery Bradley is still trying to get to the Elite Camp, UA seems to be slipping, with Texas being the slight leader at this point. Guard Michael Snaer of Moreno Valley, Calif., and forward Tyler Honeycutt of Sylmar, Calif., do not seem to be headed for UA. Tucson Citizen 7/30

Keith Gallon, 6-9 post, 2009: “Tiny” could still use some conditioning work, but his guard-like quickness, ballhandling and passing, ability to utilize his wide frame in the post and on the boards, soft touch and solid athleticism make the Tractor Traylor (think the Michigan version) clone near-unstoppable when motivated. SLAM 7/29

Xavier Henry, 6-7 wing, 2009: The newest SLAM diarist got buckets at will in Orlando and while I wish the outrageously-talented lefty didn’t take so many degree-of-difficulty shots, it’s hard to argue with the results (his team won the chip), as the 230-pound (at least; no way he’s still at his listed 215) monster scored in the post, on the break, from deep and going to the rack. SLAM 7/29

Daniel Orton, 6-10 post, 2009: Orton has always looked the part of a high-major player, but the flashes of potential are starting to turn into production, as the strong and athletic Oklahoma native’s rebounding, shotblocking and finishing ability kept improving as the games went on. SLAM 7/29

Harrison Barnes may be considered a small forward by recruiting Web sites because of his 6-foot-6, 196 pound frame. But ask him what “position” he plays and the Ames (Iowa) High junior-to-be has a better answer. “I’d just describe myself as a basketball player,” Barnes said. “Position-wise, I can bring it up, I can be on the wing and sometimes I can post up the small guys. I think that will help me in college because I’ll be put in different situations and have to play different positions. I’m already doing that now, so I can get used to it.” It’s that versatility that has Barnes ranked No. 6 overall in the class of 2010 by LJ World 7/30

Bill Self, Kentucky’s Billy Gillispie and Memphis’ John Calipari were in Las Vegas on Tuesday to watch Oklahoma Athletes First players Xavier Henry and Daniel Orton compete in the National Youth Basketball Championships. Henry, a 6-6 senior guard from Putnam City (Okla.) High, told he will choose either KU, Memphis, Texas or UCLA after visiting all four schools this fall. Orton, a 6-10 center from Oklahoma City McGuinness, told the Web site he’s considering KU, UCLA, Texas, Oklahoma, Connecticut, Ohio State and Kentucky. LJ World 7/30

Jeremy Tyler is using the AAU circuit to work on his mental game. “I just see it as a chance to play hard,” he said. “It doesn't matter who's in the stands watching me. This is just for me. I need to keep my temper, keep my cool just for me. I'm not staying calm for anybody but me. I already know the pressure of performing, the kind of people who are going to come at me.” Franklin said Tyler has done a good job of handling the accompanying pressure, of staying within himself and not letting his frustration – or the hype – get to him.
“I think he's responded to it well,” Franklin said. “For the most part, when other people try to look at it as he's trying too hard or he wants it too bad, I don't even think it's that. I think it's him, himself, wanting to compete.” Union Tribune 7/30

Except for Raymond Penn, who is slotted for our No. 1 slot for Top Surprises, no one scored at as high a level as Avery Bradley over the course of the week. Before faltering with a 12-point performance against Team Breakdown in the quarterfinals of the Reebok Summer Championships, Bradley hit for 40 points in one game and had three games with over 35 points to end the tournament as the second leading scorer with an average of 29.4 points per game. Not only is Bradley a scoring machine with the ball in his hands, he is also a terrific defender. As one of the top talents in the tournament, his competitive fire right out of the gate propelled all the other competitors in the event to a higher level. Gator Bait 7/30

Talk about consistent scoring, in six games Michael Snaer scored at least 20 points in each of them to finish the Reebok tournament with an average of 24.3 points per game, placing him third in scoring for the tournament.
Snaer, however, did a lot more than just score the ball. Playing for an undersized squad, he was a beast on the defensive boards and displayed a creativeness and explosiveness off the dribble that caught us by surprise. Bottom line: Snaer made a strong statement to make a sizeable jump in the Rivals150. Gator Bait 7/30

Tyler Honeycutt headlined a talented team that made it to the semifinals of the adidas Super 64 before running into a juggernaut from Canada. Along the way, Honeycutt impressed with his high skill level and feel for the game. If the long wing wasn't draining threes, he was making high basketball IQ plays with his movement without the ball and savvy passing. He also demonstrated an ability to make plays inside despite his thin frame. Gator Bait 7/30

Keith “Tiny” Gallon had a much more inspired outing in this AAU setting than he did the last time we saw him—in an (extra extra large) Oak Hill jersey at the Spalding HoopHall Classic. Gallon is still the incredibly big, out of shape, super long and strong big man he was back then, but he was able to be a lot more productive than he was last time out. Gallon is a true load in the low-post when he puts his mind to it, as he has very nimble feet, the ability to finish with either hand, good footwork, enough girth to establish position deep in the post, great hands, and excellent scoring instincts. He’s very quick off his feet, dunks absolutely everything around the rim, and is a force on the offensive glass at this level. Gallon struggles to get up and down the floor due to his terrible conditioning, and therefore will at times spend entire possessions back on the defensive end just to conserve any energy he can. He looks a bit lazy out on the floor and plays absolutely no defense as you can probably imagine. Gallon has some perimeter skills even-- he can knock down a catch and shoot 3-pointer and is even a pretty good passer. Draft Express 7/30

When Oseye Gaddy placed down the phone at her desk, she was unable to contain her excitement. She had just gotten off the phone with the CEO of her company. Out of 190,000 employees throughout the world, FedEx Express president and CEO David Bronczek, one of the company's most influential executives, had chosen to reach out to an ordinary customer service representative, working across the country in Tacoma, Wash. But Gaddy is hardly your average customer service rep these days. She's also the mother of one of the most highly-sought-after and uncommitted basketball recruits in the country, Abdul Gaddy. And Bronczek is not merely a CEO. He is also a booster of the University of Memphis basketball program. FedEx Express President and CEO David Bronczek is a member of the University of Memphis' 32-member Ambassador's Athletic Foundation. And according to an NCAA source, their brief conversation has led to an NCAA investigation. Memphis athletic director R.C. Johnson told on Thursday afternoon he was "unaware of the call" but acknowledged that Bronczek was a booster and said "we'll absolutely look into it."They won't be the only ones. "We're aware of the issue," said Stacey Osburn, NCAA associate director of public and media relations. Fox Sports 8/1

At 7 feet, Bawa Muniru, who came to the United States from Ghana five years ago, has a body that has been compared to Hakeem Olajuwon -- and has landed on many college coaches' speed dials."Because of the lack of quality post prospects available, Bawa has become a popular name," analyst Evan Daniels said. Numerous coaches, including several from the University of Louisville, watched Muniru last week at the Nike Main Event. U of L head coach Rick Pitino saw several games, as did assistants Richard Pitino and Steve Masiello. Oklahoma State, Louisiana State, UCLA, Duke, Southern California, Tulane and Tulsa were also represented. Courier Journal8/1

Daniel Orton is one of the top big men in the Class of 2009 and has drawn plenty of interest from UConn. He said Sunday that he's unsure about returning to Storrs for an official visit but does include the Huskies on his seven-member list of potential schools. He's also considering UCLA, Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Ohio State and Kentucky. Many have speculated that Orton will leave early for the NBA after he arrives on a campus, and the 6-foot-10, 265-pound, 17-year-old confirmed that idea. "Right now I'm looking to stay one year. Two years isn't bad," said Orton, who will turn 18 this week. "But I'm looking for a college where I can see myself for four years. You never what can happen." ConnPost 8/2

“I’ve talked to a lot of the coaches, really just about recruiting and stuff,” said Daniel Orton, who attends Bishop McGuinness High School. “They told me they’re really interested in my game and really interested in what I do. The development of the big men, I really like that (about UConn). I take bits and pieces, from Charlie Villanueva, Emeka Okafor, Hilton Armstrong, just a bunch of them.” Orton — the No. 10-ranked prospect in his class and No. 2 center, according to — has pared his list of suitors down to seven, including UCLA, Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Kentucky and, of course, UConn. He’s aiming to make a final decision in the spring, in turn bypassing the early signing period in November. But Orton, 17, said he’s unsure if he’ll include the Huskies on his short list of official visits. Norwich Bulletin 8/4

(photo credit Courier Journal)