Full recruit roundup story

31 07 2010

Sorry I didn’t post this yesterday, but I had an off-day (weird, right?).

In any event – here’s the story that ran in Friday’s Daily News in its entirety.

NICK BAUMGARDNER

The Daily News

nbaumgardner@bgdailynews.com/783-3239

With the academic year approaching, the cross-country summer blitz that is Amateur Athletic Union basketball is winding down.

And although August is, by rule, a “quiet period” in college basketball recruiting, don’t expect to hear crickets chirp in the Western Kentucky men’s basketball office at E.A. Diddle Arena.

The early signing period for the class of 2011 is roughly four months away, and the Hilltopper coaching staff is preparing to enter crunch time in terms of filling its recruiting wish list.WKU already has one commitment for ’11 in New Jersey shooting guard Derrick Gordon.

Gordon – who currently plays with the nation’s top-ranked ’11 recruit, Kentucky commit Michael Gilchrist, at St. Patrick High School in Elizabeth, N.J. – gave his verbal commitment to WKU in 2009 and is currently ranked No. 126 in Rivals.com’s Top 150 for 2011.

Meanwhile, one player who could soon join Gordon in giving a verbal commitment to WKU is local power forward George Fant, who is entering his senior season at Warren Central High School.

At 6-foot-7 and 230 pounds, Fant has been on WKU’s radar since his freshman season. Now on the cusp of his final run as a Dragon, the Hilltoppers still seem to be strong contenders to land Fant’s talents.

“Western has been there the longest with him – they’ve recruited him very hard and they’re still very much involved,” Warren Central coach Tim Riley said earlier this week. “I think when push comes to shove, it’ll be hard for George to say no to Western.

“But it all comes down to the fact that his parents both really understand the game and it’ll be a family decision and what all of them are comfortable with.”

On the other hand, while WKU was one of Fant’s earliest suitors, his stock has risen dramatically over the last few years.InsideHilltopperSports.com – a Rivals.com member site – lists Akron, Arkansas, Cleveland State, Colorado State, Murray State, Ohio and Seton Hall as schools that have offered Fant.

Fant also told the Daily News recently that both Clemson and Missouri State could be added to that list.

Riley said Fant has long wished to make a decision and sign a letter of intent during the early signing period this November. But that’s hardly a guarantee.

“He’s talked about making his decision in the fall, but I don’t think that’s a concrete thing just yet,” Riley said. “He’s talked about getting it over with, but I’m not really sure right now. We’ll have to sit and talk about it more. But he has expressed before that he’d like to be a part of the early signing period in November.”

Another in-state player in WKU’s sights is Christian County senior point guard Anthony Hickey.

The 5-10, 160-pound speedster from Hopkinsville earned Region 2 Player of the Year honors as a junior last season, as well as a second-team all-state nomination, along with Fant.

Christian County coach Kerry Stovall calls Hickey one of “the fastest (players) with a basketball” who he’s ever seen, and Hickey’s offer sheet includes Lipscomb, Murray State, Oklahoma State and WKU, at least according to InsideHilltopperSports.com.

Stovall expects that list to lengthen after the summer AAU session ends. He says Hickey has been keeping his eye on the Hilltoppers for quite some time.

“He really likes Western, I’m not going to lie to you about it,” Stovall said. “He’s gotten to know the staff really well and he really does like Western a lot. But right now with AAU, those guys are everywhere – Orlando, Indianapolis, Las Vegas – they travel so much that their heads start to spin pretty much throughout the whole summer.

“So we’ll have to sit and talk later this week about what he’s got on his mind – whether he wants to commit early or wait. But that’s a decision that he and his mom and his dad will all three make together, and that’s the best way to do it.”

WKU’s wish list isn’t solely focused in the Southeast, however. Players from all corners of the country have fielded interest from the Hilltopper coaching staff recently.

One of those players is Castro Valley (Calif.) High School forward Juan Anderson. The 6-7, 200-pound Anderson averaged 13 points, seven rebounds and three assists last season as a junior and currently holds offers from WKU and a slew of other programs. According to InsideHilltopperSports.com, those schools include Arizona State, Cal, Creighton, Murray State, San Francisco, SMU, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara and Utah State.

Anderson says he’s wading through his offers and trimming the list, although he remains open-minded.

“Location really isn’t a factor for me,” Anderson said. “(Leaving the West Coast to play) really does interest me a lot, I’m definitely open to it.“I haven’t done my research on WKU yet, but I’m really looking forward to checking them out and seeing what they’re all about.”

Among the biggest fish in WKU’s crosshairs is Rivals.com four-star point guard Myles Mack.Mack, who will be a senior for famed prep coach Bob Hurley at St. Anthony High School in Jersey City, N.J., this season, is currently listed at No. 74 on Rivals.com’s Top 150 for 2011.

Aside from WKU, InsideHilltopperSports.com lists Boston College, DePaul, Fordham, Penn State, Providence, Rice, St. John’s, Virginia and Virginia Tech as schools that have offered Mack.

“It’ll be a process for him,” said Jimmy Salmon, director of the New Jersey-based AAU Playaz Basketball Club, of which Mack is a member. “I think he’d like to make his decision before the high school season. I think after the live period, he’ll probably sit down and recognize who is really offering him and who is just recruiting him and then narrow things down to 10 or under.”

Other players who InsideHilltopperSports.com lists as holding offers from WKU are Bowling Green High School five-star forward Chane Behanan (6-7, 250); three-star point guard Trey Burke (6-1, 170) of Columbus, Ohio; Newark, N.J., guard Kelvin Amayo (6-4, 200); Norcross, Ga., small forward Josiah Moore (6-5, 200); Jonesboro, Ga., small forward James White (6-6, 171); and Newark, N.J., power forward Ramon Johnson (6-8, 220).

The early signing period begins Nov. 10 and runs through Nov. 17.

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2 responses

1 08 2010
DeeCee

Mack would be great but KMac needs to reestablish recruiting in KY. He needs to get Fant and Hickey (Behannen would be nice, too).

8 08 2010
What we’ve missed and why «

[…] July 31: Nick B’s basketball recruiting roundup […]

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