This Past Week In Recruiting
While some prospects made commitments, others backed away from theirs because of coaching changes.
by Franklyn Calle
The Chicago Tribune reported on Monday that Darius Smith gave UConn a verbal commitment. Considered one of the top unsigned senior point guards in the nation, at 6-2 and 170lb, the Chicago native picked the Huskies over Arizona State and Cincinnati. Missouri, Purdue, Kentucky, Indiana, Marquette and Oregon State offered scholarships while UCLA, Memphis and Duke showed interest lately but none put an offer on the table. “UConn’s style of play is my style of play-up and down the court,” Smith told the paper. “With A.J. Price a senior, this was a good fit for them and for me. I pride myself on doing it at both ends of the court, just like him.”
“I like the program and get along real well with the coaching staff. I will be a true point guards there.” Smith attended Marshall Metropolitan HS where he averaged 23 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 7 steals for the season. He was selected to the first-team All-State. According to the report, he will be the first Public Leaguer to play for Connecticut since Young’s Marcus White back in 2002. He ranks #12 among all senior point guards according to ESPN.com. Smith now joins Jamal Trice- a 6-5 shooting guard from Mount Zion Christian Academy in North Carolina, Jamal Coombs-McDaniel-a 6-6 small forward from The Tilton School in New Hampshire and Alex Oriakhi- a 6-8 forward also from The Tilton School, as part of the Huskies’ 2009 recruiting class.
On Thursday, Penn State received a verbal commitment from Taran Buie. The 6-3 junior shooting guard ranks among the top in the nation at his position. He attends Bishop Maginn HS in Albany, New York. Buie chose Penn State over Maryland, Marquette, Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh, Miami, Notre Dame and Rutgers. According to the Albany Times Union, the New York guard committed to coach Ed DeChellis moments after his team defeated Baylor University at Madison Square Garden to capture the NIT title on Thursday night. “He called me (at 11:45 p.m. Thursday) and told me he gave Coach DeChellis his commitment,” Bishop Maginn coach Rich Hurley told the paper. “I told him, ‘If that is where you want to go, I support you 100 percent.’ He is a Nittany Lion.” Buie becomes the first commit for Penn State’s 2010 recruiting class.
Terrell Stoglin verbally committed to the University of Maryland on Wednesday while on the phone with Maryland coach Gary Williams, according to the Arizona Daily Star. The nationally ranked junior point guard averaged 27 points and 7.5 assists per game this past season. “He told me they put a lot of trust in me to help the team get back to the Sweet 16,” Stoglin told the paper. “It feels real good. I’m just trying to get there and contribute to the team.” His high school coach at Santa Rita HS, Jim Ferguson, told the paper the following: “They’ve been watching him and they like what they see,” Ferguson said. “They have a point guard who’s graduating and he can move right in. I don’t know if Tucson’s ever sent a player to play in the ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference).” Stoglin reportedly was also considering USC, UCLA, Arizona, Texas A&M, Georgia Tech, Northern Arizona and San Diego. He becomes the first commit for the Terrapins’ 2010 recruiting class.
John Calipari’s arrival at the University of Kentucky on Wednesday as head coach has developed a mass exodus from recruits who have committed to the Wildcat’s program. According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, six prospects have backed away from their commitment. Texas point guard G.J. Vilarino, who signed a letter of intent in November, has asked for a release and will be getting it soon. He was the first commitment for the former Kentucky head coach, Billy Gillispie, when getting hired two years ago. According to ESPN.com, Vilarino chose the Wildcats over Memphis, Kansas, Texas A&M, Illinois and Baylor. Juniors Dakotah Euton- a 6-7 power forward from Scott Country HS in kentucky and K.C. Ross-Miller- a 6-1 point guard from God’s Academy in Dallas, Texas, also have decided to open-up their recruitment once again. Konner Tucker, a 6-4 guard who is currently playing junior college ball at Lon Morris College in Texas, also de-committed on Wednesday after Calipari’s announcement. Freshmen Michael Avery de-committed on Thursday. The 6-4 shooting guard who currently attends Crespi Carmelite HS in California gave Kentucky a verbal commitment last April while still in the 8th grade. Then as the weekend began, Dominique Ferguson announced he was also going to open up his recruitment. According to the Courier-Journal, he will be looking at Louisville and Indiana as options. “Calipari is a great coach, and he could fit into that system and excel,” Deon Ferguson (Dominique’s father) told the paper. “Now he has to recruit him. Just because he’s the coach there doesn’t mean he just has to go there. He’s going to look at other options.” Ferguson was the highest-ranked player that coach Billy Gillispie was able to receive a commitment from. He is one of the top ranked juniors in the nation according to every scouting service. Right here at SLAM, we have the 6-9 forward from Lawrence North HS in Indianapolis as #20 in his class. With six of the nine players that committed to Gillispie and the Kentucky Wildcats now looking elsewhere, sophomore Vinny Zollo still hasn’t backed away from his verbal commitment to the program while seniors Jon Hood- a 6-6 small forward from Madisonville North Hopkins HS in Kentucky and Daniel Orton- a 6-10 center from Bishop McGuinness HS in Oklahoma, both of which have signed letters of intent to the program, still remain committed.
The Lawrence Journal-World reported on Saturday that Xavier Henry’s father, Carl Henry, told the paper that his son wants to play for Bill Self and the Kansas Jayhawks. Henry has already asked for a release from his letter of intent that he signed back in November with the University of Memphis. “I believe what it comes down to is Xavier wants to go to KU,” Carl Henry told the Lawrence Journal-World. “It should all be settled in the next two or three weeks.” Henry will be able to sign with another school because there was an agreement with the school in the letter of intent that if John Calipari was to leave for another job then he would be released. Xavier’s brother, C.J. Henry (a walk-on at Memphis), also wants to follow suit but may have to stay if he wants to play. “C.J. doesn’t want to sit out. He wants to play,” Carl said. “Basically if he transfers, we don’t think C.J. will be able to play. We will not know for sure until we talk to a couple lawyers. I don’t think it’s fair he has to sit out a year. The school is not paying for his scholarship. The Yankees (who signed him out of high school) are paying for it. He didn’t play all year. He should be able to go to Kansas and play right away.”