Thursday, July 25, 2013
3-point shot: Dynamic recruiting duo?
By Andy Katz
1. Tyus Jones was consistent in his plan of going to school with friend and fellow top-3 ESPN 100 player Jahlil Okafor when I talked to him after our ESPNU coverage of an AAU event Wednesday night at the HP Fieldhouse at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The 6-1 Jones (ranked No. 3) is from Apple Valley High in Minnesota and has a list of Duke, Baylor, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State, Minnesota and Ohio State. Okafor, a 6-10 center from Whitney Young High in Chicago who is rated No. 1 on the ESPN list, has a list of Arizona, Duke, Michigan State, Ohio State, Kansas, Kentucky, Baylor and Illinois. If this happens where both go to the same school it shouldn't be a total shock. This is a new era where the turnover is high at schools, allowing for multiple spots to be open for high-profile players. Kentucky has been able to pull off players who know each other coming together because it has produced multiple early-entrants. And the era of a school not having a scholarship available are over, too. If both of these players wanted to go to a school then that school would make sure there were two spots. Still, for two players, from two different states, to lock in and coordinate recruiting to go together would be quite a coup for the players and the school that can pull this off.
2. UCLA coach Steve Alford is one of many coaches fatigued and irritated by the July recruiting calendar. The three four-plus days on the road and the location of the tournaments have caused coaches -- and players, as well as their families -- to traverse the country multiple times, especially for those located on the West Coast. Alford's schedule in Week 1 was Indianapolis, North Augusta, S.C., and then Los Angeles. His second weekend was back to the East Coast to Washington D.C., then Milwaukee, Dallas and back to Los Angeles. He started this week in Orlando on Wednesday and will end in Las Vegas and then Los Angeles. Alford said he'd like to see two seven-day periods with one break in the middle. He is not alone.
3. Minnesota got FIU's Malik Smith to transfer and play for Richard Pitino. Smith was cleared to play immediately. But the case of FIU's Rakeem Buckles isn't as simple. Buckles is headed to Minnesota and with the FIU APR ban he shouldn't have an issue playing immediately. Buckles still has to get eligible. He's currently finishing classes at FIU and can't get a waiver to play immediately until he leaves FIU in good academic standing. Pitino needs as many experienced bodies as possible. Buckles transferred to FIU from Louisville where Richard Pitino was an assistant to his father, Rick.