Sunday, August 10, 2008

Bruin Recruiting: Prep News Roundup (8/11)

By Bruin Basketball Report

Prep News Roundup is published every Monday.


Tyler Honeycutt, SF, Sylmar, Calif. So nobody is ever found on the recruiting circuit? The college coaches are only out there baby-sitting and cheerleading? Well, then -- how does one explain Honeycutt? In a junior season at Sylmar High that Honeycutt describes as "passive," during which he "passed the ball too much" and averaged only 11.8 points, he didn't receive a single phone call or scholarship offer from a college coach. Now, having grown to 6-9 and adopted a more aggressive approach to offense with the Los Angeles-based Pump N' Run Elite, he's one of the hottest recruits along the Pacific Coast. Honeycutt has the frame and fluid movement that catch a scout's attention immediately upon walking into a gym. He looks like a player, though recent basketball history featured several wings of his skill set and body type (Gonzaga's Micah Downs, UConn's Stanley Robinson, USC's Davon Jefferson) who lacked the aggressiveness to be consistently great. Sporting News 8/4

Renardo Sidney, PF, Los Angeles. The precocious prospect who arrived at Sonny Vaccaro's ABCD Camp fresh out of junior high hasn't grown much taller in the years since (he's 6-10), but he has gotten wider (listed at 260, but who's buying that?). Sidney is not in the kind of condition we now expect from elite basketball players. Much like that of guard Lance Stephenson of Brooklyn, whose attitude led him to be cut from the U.S. U-18 team, Sidney's rep is a product of his boundless potential and long-standing fame. But he plays with little apparent interest or passion. Sidney is more gifted than Derrick Caracter, who has managed to play himself into oblivion during two years at Louisville, but that's scant justification for any program bringing him to campus for what likely would be one tumultuous year. Sidney's list: Still wide-open. And good luck to the program that lands him. Sporting News 8/4

Moreno Valley Rancho Verde guard Mike Snaer is visiting UCLA today along with his AAU coach Elvert Perry. Snaer's biggest concern about UCLA has always been whether he would have the chance to start as a freshman, so this will be a key visit for the UCLA coaching staff to try to convince the senior-to-be that he could have that opportunity despite a potentially crowded 2009-2010 Bruins backcourt. The key to that question could be the future of Jrue Holiday, the centerpiece of UCLA's 2008 recruiting class and a potential one-and-done player. Rancho Verde coach Travis Showalter said Tuesday that UCLA coach Ben Howland has told him he expects Holiday to be one-and-done, but Showalter isn't certain whether that's just a recruiting ploy."It's certainly a large issue," Showalter said. "Jrue is obviously one of the best kids in the country. He's probably going to start next year, and he'd almost certainly start as a sophomore too if he comes back. That's something that's probably going to play a role in Mike's decision." Press Enterprise 8/5

Spend a day in Memphis and it won’t take long before you realize the influence of shipping giant, Federal Express. From their SuperHub at Memphis International Airport to buildings erected in its namesake, FedEx has an omnipresent feel. Not only is the arena inhabited by the Tigers, called the FedEx Forum, but the majority of the carrier’s executives are courtside commonplace. One in particular, however, took things a bit far. Company President and CEO, David Bronczek decided to place a phone call to one of the more than 190,000 FedEx employees worldwide; a call that was made to the western American outpost of Tacoma, WA. On the other line sat customer service representative, Oseye Gaddy, delighted, surprised, and confused as to why her company’s BIG BOSS MAN was calling her. When the discussion immediately turned to her son, the city of Memphis, and Coach Cal’s program, Gaddy knew something was fishy. Her son, mind you, is point guard, Abdul Gaddy, one of the last remaining uncommitted stars of the prep class of 2009. SLAM 8/5

Xavier Henry, the No. 2 prospect in the college basketball recruiting Class of 2009, on Monday told he will visit Kansas University for the Oct. 17 season-opening Late Night in the Phog. Henry, a 6-foot-6 guard from Putnam City (Okla.) High, has yet to set dates for his visits to Memphis, Texas and UCLA. “Kansas and Memphis still lead, but I want to take a couple more visits just to make sure,” Henry told LJ World 8/5

Lance Stephenson,’s No. 7-rated prospect, is believed to favor KU, USC, UCLA and St. John’s over Tennessee and Texas, according to
Stephenson, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Lincoln High in Brooklyn, N.Y., already has visited St. John’s, UCLA and USC. He told Zagsblog he will not sign with a school until the April signing period. Stephenson was supposed to attend last spring’s Jayhawk Invitational, but did not make it to the event. He has not ruled out playing in Europe a year before entering the NBA Draft. “I think I want the education, so I think I would go to college,” Stephenson told Zagsblog. “I’m looking at Brandon (Jennings) right now, see how he’s doing. If he goes there (to Europe), then I’ll see how it is. ... Right now I’m thinking about college.” LJ World 8/5

Last year, Caron Butler and Ray Allen spoke at the elite camp, which is instructional but also a recruiting opportunity. UConn is interested in about eight of the players, most notably center Daniel Orton from Oklahoma City, guard Dominic Cheek from St. Anthony's in New Jersey and guard Durand Scott from New York. The Connecticut Elite Camp is one of several these players attend, so having NBA players on hand is important for recruiting. Hartford Courant 8/5

UCLA and Florida offer better weather, North Carolina and Duke boast more national titles and Kansas and Memphis have had better recent success. But no other program can match UConn in one very important area — current alumni in the NBA. The Huskies had no fewer than 13 former players in the NBA last season, three of them All-Stars. When dealing with young recruits whose lifelong dream is to someday make it to “The League,” that’s the kind of recruiting tool that can trump the allure of California sun, Tobacco Road or John Calipari’s advances....Over the past two days, Scott, Dominic Cheek (a 6-5 shooting guard) and Daniel Orton (a 6-10 center) each sat down individually with the UConn staff, which reiterated its strong interest in them. New Haven Register 8/5

I had a very interesting, 20-minute conversation with Michael Snaer on Tuesday morning and the senior from Rancho Verde had plenty to say about how crazy this summer has been. I got the impression that between the elite camps, tournaments and constant calls from the recruiting services, things were a bit overwhelming at times. His one escape was the gym. Go figure, right? When life was most hectic, the 6-foot-4 shooting guard hit the hardwood to work on his game. Perhaps that explains how he's been able to emerge as one of the country's most sought-after prospects over the past couple of months despite the never-ending chaos surrounding him. "Basketball, basketball, basketball, that's been my life,'' Snaer said. "I've been working hard. I'm never satisfied. I think you can always improve. My goal is to work harder than anyone else out there. I'm hungry. I want to eat. I want to be the best and that means getting stronger, faster, quicker. I'm going to do whatever it takes." Doing whatever it takes also means deflecting some of the rumors circulating on the Internet. Click here to see the most recent talk about Snaer possibly committing to Florida State. "That's not true, I haven't made any decisions,'' he said. Arizona, UCLA and USC are among the 10 other programs offering scholarships. LA Times 8/6

Xavier Henry, a 6-foot-6 senior guard from Putnam City (Okla.) High, told on Thursday he’ll be making an unofficial visit to KU that weekend, then make his official campus visit for the Oct. 17 Late Night in the Phog. “I don’t have any other visits planned right now,” Henry said. He is down to a final four of KU, Memphis, Texas and UCLA. “I just know that I’ll be taking a visit to Kansas in September and October.” Henry might witness one of the best-ever Late Nights, considering the Jayhawks are coming off their first national title in 20 years. A national championship banner will be unveiled at Late Night 2008. KU Sports 8/8

FMP-Serbia 74, Team USA3 73 - FINAL. Nike Global Challenge. This game was easily the best of the afternoon so far, and it even provides an Oregon angle as Portland's own Mike Moser (6'7, 179) is playing for Team USA3 as they take on FMP-Serbia....Daniel Orton especially was a handful inside where Uros Lukovic (6'11, 209) was trying to guard him, but to no avail. Every time Orton touched the ball it was either a foul by Lukovic to stop the play, or two easy points on a short jumper. Oregon Live 8/8

Coach Rick Barnes is still working on the mega-score in the class of 2009 that he and his staff hoped to make on the coattails of Kevin Durant, national player of the year in 2006-07. Texas is reportedly well positioned with Jordan Hamilton, a 6-7 forward from Los Angeles, and Avery Bradley, a 6-2 guard from Tacoma. Hamilton is ranked 12th in the senior class by Rivals and 14th by Scout. Bradley is rated 16th by Rivals and 21st by Scout. Statesman 8/9

Team USA2 81, Puerto Rico 72 - FINAL. Nike Global Challenge. Another USA team stacked with talent including Washington prospects Abdul Gaddy (6'3, 174) and Avery Bradley (6'3, 175) of Bellarmine Prep and Oregon's very own Terrence Jones (6'6, 210) of Jefferson High School. This game started off slower than a jar of molasses with both teams missing everything from outside. The first quarter ended with Team USA2 leading, 14-9. Not a good showing for either team. Terrence Jones only had 7 minutes of playing time in that first half where he went 0-2 from the field. Abdul Gaddy hasn't been as prolific as we've seen in the past as he shot 1-4 in the first two quarters of play. However, his partner in crime, Avery Bradley has been hot as can be, shooting 4-6 with 8 points a steal and a blocked shot. The second half wasn't much of a show either, Abdul Gaddy did manage to pick things up and he had a couple of nice drives to go with a few outside jumpers that looked pretty going in. Even with all the speed this Puerto Rican team has, they can't even come close to touching the kind of quicks Gaddy possesses. With 5:24 to go, Team USA2 leads this one by 20 while showing no signs of letting up. Oregon Live 8/9

Harrison Barnes picked up an offer from UCLA and has received increased attention from North Carolina, Louisville and Georgetown. It looks like he will be a prospect who can truly choose his school. He also noted that he is not leaning any one direction and has no leader at the moment. Gator Bait 8/9

(photo credit: ESPN)