High-SchoolBoys-Basketball: Archie Goodwin

JBC stars reveal their No. 2 schools

April, 13, 2012
4/13/12
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Brandon Ashley is finally ready to reveal a few universal secrets about the recruiting process, secrets that are so exclusive he can only tell you at the end of his senior season.

“Hey, I mean, this is the last event of the year and, either way, I’m headed to Arizona. Why not?" said Ashley, who will suit up for the West in the Jordan Brand Classic on Saturday night at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C. (7 p.m. ET on ESPN).

That’s why his cunning grin said it all when he was posed with the first question: Do recruits really have a list of five to seven schools that they’re considering?

“To be honest, no,” Ashley said with a laugh. “That’s just something we put out there to keep it exciting. We put it out there in the media to build that suspense, but in our minds it’s like, 'I’m not going there.' It’s usually just two schools in the end.”

Rodney Purvis concurred.

He said that after a while, players get tired of the “same old boring questions that media guys ask” and decide to spice things up and make it fun.

“I would go on Twitter sometimes and say something like, 'It’s time to get away from my family and grow up,' and people would panic and say I was headed to UConn,” said Purvis, who will suit up for the East on Saturday. “I know for a fact that most of us do things like that, but Brandon’s right, it typically comes down to just two schools in the end.”

The operative questions are: Who came in second? And how close did it really come between the final two?

“Whoa, man, that’s some heavy stuff right there,” said Rasheed Sulaimon, who will suit up for the West. “That’s top-secret info right there. You sure you wanna know that?”

Oh indeed we do.

We caught up with a handful of Jordan Brand All-Americans and had them reveal which school they almost signed with.

Brandon Ashley
Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.), F
Signed to: Arizona

The school that came in second for me was …
“Oregon. I just had a great relationship with them and I just loved everything about that school. That said, I can honestly say that they weren’t anywhere close to Arizona for me. I don’t care what I said during the recruiting process. When I went on my visit to Arizona it was over.”

Rodney Purvis
Upper Room Christian Academy (Raleigh, N.C.), SG
Signed to: NC State

The school that came in second for me was …
“UConn. I gotta keep it real, it was super close. When I came back home from visiting there I said, 'I’m going to UConn.' Then I talked to my mom and she said to wait it out a little longer. The more I thought about it I knew that it was NC State. They were just in my heart. Coach [Mark] Gottfried did a great job recruiting me and every time I would shoot around at State it felt right. I remember when I was at UConn after we played pickup, I went back to the gym alone just to shoot around to see what feeling I got and it wasn’t the same. I didn’t sense that it was the right place for me.”

Rasheed Sulaimon
Strake Jesuit (Houston), SG
Signed to: Duke

The school that came in second for me was …
“North Carolina. I know I may lose cool points with my Duke fam for this one, but we’re keepin' it real tonight. Of the two schools, North Carolina recruited me first. I grew up a Duke fan, but at the same time when those letters come in you just get excited about who’s on you. North Carolina was leading for me. Then Duke came in and the separation was when I talked to Coach [Mike] Krzyzewski. We just got close really quick and built a strong relationship. I guess you could say Duke stole me away from North Carolina.”

Anderson
Kelly Kline/ESPNHSKyle Anderson said that if UCLA didn't exist he'd be a Seton Hall Pirate.
Kyle Anderson
St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.), G/F
Signed to: UCLA

The school that came in second for me was …
“Seton Hall. I’ve never told anyone this, but this is crazy. Exactly a week before I chose UCLA I had decided that I was going to Seton Hall. It was a done deal. Then I had another talk with my family the next day and I felt like it was UCLA. If UCLA didn’t exist I’d be at Seton Hall, no question. I just couldn’t turn down [UCLA], the tradition, the weather, the beach, all the pros that play there in the summer. Plus I’m cool with Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love, just everything about it. And I mean, c’mon, it’s L.A.!”

Shabazz Muhammad
Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas), SF
Signed to: UCLA

The school that came in second for me was …
“I’m not just making this up either, but I promise you it could’ve gone either way between Duke and Kentucky. I promise. It was so tough saying 'thanks but no thanks' to those schools. With Duke, they needed a scorer and I knew if I added myself to that team it would really be successful with the guys they had coming back. Then with Kentucky, you’ve got Archie [Goodwin], Alex [Poythress] and Nerlens [Noel] coming in, and if I joined them I know we could’ve done big things. I’m telling you it was just crazy tough. UCLA was just the best fit for me in the end.”

Archie Goodwin
Sylvan Hills (Little Rock, Ark.), SG
Signed to: Kentucky

The school that came in second for me was …
“Kansas. I love coach Bill Self and I loved Kansas. The school was great, the fans were great and they did a great job recruiting me, but, honestly, there wasn’t anything they could’ve done to get me. I had been saying since the ninth grade that I wanted to play for Coach [John] Calipari. I tried to give everyone a chance, but I never got the same feeling I did with Coach Cal.”

Alex Poythress
Northeast (Clarksville, Tenn.), SF
Signed to: Kentucky

The school that came in second for me was …
“Vanderbilt. It was so close. They were recruiting me for the longest and I honestly had the best feel for that school. But in the end I just had to go with my gut feeling. But it was close.”

J.P. Tokoto
Menomonee Falls (Menomonee Falls, Wis.), SF
Signed to: North Carolina

The school that came in second for me was …
“Wisconsin. It was home and it felt right, but once I visited North Carolina and talked to the players and guys that were coming in, it was a no-brainer.”

Nerlens Noel
Tilton School (Tilton, N.H.), C
Signed to: Kentucky

The school that came in second for me was …
“Georgetown. My mom really liked them a lot. She was sold on them. She loved how family-oriented they were and, like I said in my blog, my mom’s opinion was what mattered most to me. We had to sit down and talk and I had to really get her to take a longer look at Kentucky. Then when she did she started to like them a lot, too. But it was pretty close, man. It was pretty close.”

Jason Jordan is the basketball editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at jason.x.jordan.-ND@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @JayJayESPN.

JBC stars dish on their favorite Jordans

April, 12, 2012
4/12/12
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Back in February, when Miller Grove (Lithonia, Ga.) forward Tony Parker learned that he’d be suiting up for the East in the 2012 Jordan Brand Classic at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte (7 p.m. ET Saturday on ESPN), he was most excited about the fact that he’d get the chance to meet Michael Jordan.

“I’ve got to thank him for all these hot shoes he makes that have given me all this game,” Parker said with a laugh. “I wonder what Jordans we’re gonna hoop in. That’s important, you know.”

Indeed it is.

After all, Spike Lee, er Mars Blackmon, has been saying it in Air Jordan commercials since the early 1990s: "It's gotta be the shoes."

That begs the question: Which Jordans are the best to ball in?

We caught up with the Jordan Brand All-Americans to get the low down.

Shabazz Muhammad

Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas), SF

Signed to: UCLA

The best Jordans to hoop in are ...

“I’d have to say the 9’s because I hooped in them all year and they’re really comfortable.”

Archie Goodwin

Sylvan Hills (Little Rock, Ark.), SG

Signed to: Kentucky

The best Jordans to hoop in are ...

“I’d definitely have to say that the Concord 11’s are the best shoes to hoop in. They’re light and those colors really set it off. They’re just really comfortable and I honestly like all the Jordans, but if I had to pick one those are the pair I’d say.”

Tony Parker

Miller Grove (Lithonia, Ga.), PF

Undecided

The best Jordans to hoop in are ...

“Definitely the 12’s for sure. They are just really comfortable shoes and they give great ankle support. I love playing in those.”

Rasheed Sulaimon

Strake Jesuit (Houston), SG

Signed to: Duke

The best Jordans to hoop in are ...

“Probably the 11’s. I’ve got every color of that shoe that ever came out. Love them because they’re light and they give great support. It’s a very stylish shoe too. It just raises the bar when you’re rocking the 11’s.”

Rodney Purvis

Upper Room Christian Academy (Raleigh, N.C.), SG

Signed to: NC State

The best Jordans to hoop in are ...

“I’d have to say the Cool Greys. They have the best grip and they just feel good. They’re just swaggy.”

Isaiah Austin

Grace Prep (Arlington, Texas), C

Signed to: Baylor

The best Jordans to hoop in are ...

“I personally prefer the 11’s because they’re light weight and they’ve got good grip. Plus they’ve got a really smooth look.”

Danuel House

Hightower (Sugar Land, Texas), SF

Signed to: Houston

The best Jordans to hoop in are ...

“I’d say the Retro-13’s because it’s got great ankle support and it’s stylish.”

Alex Poythress

Northeast (Clarksville, Tenn.), SF

Signed to: Kentucky

The best Jordans to hoop in are ...

“I like the 10’s because they’re really comfortable and sturdy. Plus they’ve got good ankle support, which is important because I have ankle problems.”

Jason Jordan is the basketball editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at jason.x.jordan.-ND@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @JayJayESPN.


McDonald's Game to feature wild, wild West

March, 27, 2012
3/27/12
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CHICAGO -- There is no doubt all 24 boys’ basketball players set to take the floor Wednesday at the United Center for the 35th McDonald’s All-American Game (9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) are among the nation’s best.

The question is whether the East team can keep up with the scoring prowess of West ringleaders Shabazz Muhammad of Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas), Archie Goodwin of Sylvan Hills (Little Rock, Ark.) and Marcus Smart of Marcus (Flower Mound, Texas).

Muhammad set the pace at the McDonald's practices with his work ethic, and many of his West teammates rose to the occasion as well. Smart in particular has been lauded for his ability to score in a variety of ways.

His physical presence at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds gives coach Gordon Kerkman of West Aurora (Aurora, Ill.) multiple lineup options. Smart can run the lead guard but will likely play on the wing on Wednesday, which should open up Goodwin for scoring opportunities. Goodwin is a volume shooter, so if gets hot the West should be in good shape.

The East team, coached by Billy Hicks of Scott County (Georgetown, Ky.), counters with a team that can pound it inside. The team will be extremely dangerous if the players stick to the team concept and balance the floor -- something easier said than done in all-star settings.

Alex Poythress of Northeast (Clarksville, Tenn.) will be a load for the West team to handle with his combination of size and athleticism around the basket. National scouts and even some NBA brass in attendance have been impressed with the 6-foot-7 Kentucky recruit in practice. DaJuan Coleman of Jamesville-DeWitt (DeWitt, N.Y.) also has a strength advantage down low on the West's pivots, so the amount of touches he receives could be key.

Winning Time

The East counters Smart's versatility with Kyle Anderson of defending POWERADE FAB 50 national champion St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.). The 6-foot-8 point guard is a huge matchup problem for any team he's up against and is the key to distributing the ball for the East. His unique feel for the game allows him to know when and where a teammate needs the ball and who hasn't gotten into the flow.

Anderson isn't used to losing. The UCLA pledge led St. Anthony to a 32-0 season and its 12th New Jersey Tournament of Champions title one week ago. He did not lose a game in his St. Anthony career, going 65-0. Counting his sophomore year at now-defunct Patterson Catholic (Patterson, N.J.), Anderson is 94-1, and he has no intention of losing Wednesday's game.

"Our coaches let us know right away they didn't intend to lose this game," Anderson said. "I want to win this game, but everybody else has got to take it just as seriously."

The West team's practices have been more intense with a focus on scrimmaging, while the East has focused on footwork and fundamentals in drills. The West was getting after it so hard on Tuesday that forward Devonta Pollard of Kemper County (Porterville, Miss.) took a hard blow to his head and guard Yogi Ferrell of Park Tudor (Indianapolis) took a hard spill and crashed into a cameraman.

The intensity level is something Anderson and his teammates didn't see, but definitely heard about.

"I was talking to (East teammates) Tony Parker and Rodney Purvis about what they were reading on blogs how the West was playing hard and they were going to kill us," Anderson said. "So we're going to shock the world a bit and sweep them off their feet."

He likes what he sees in his backcourt partner Tyler Lewis of Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.). Anderson feels the combination of their abilities should create positive momentum for the East team.

"Myself and Tyler are working well together," Anderson said. "Both of us are unselfish and will get the ball to the right people who will score."

Tough and Toothless

Lewis may have won the POWERADE Jam Fest skills competition title Monday night, but even more impressive was the toughness he showed just being on the court after having a tooth knocked loose during Monday’s practice.

During a live scrimmage, Anderson did a reverse dribble and caught Lewis right in his front tooth with an elbow.

“I knew it was loose enough that it was gonna have to come out,” Lewis said. “I knew it.”

After practice, Lewis went to a local dentist and had a false tooth put in.

“I’ve actually had that happen before to that same tooth,” Lewis said. “It hurt pretty bad when it happened, but I wasn’t gonna let it get me down. I’m having too much fun.”

When asked if he planned on wearing a mouthpiece from now on, Lewis replied, “No way. I’m a point guard and it’s hard to talk with a mouthpiece in my mouth.”

Practice Makes McPerfect?

On Tuesday morning, the East club went live for approximately 10 minutes in practice to conserve energy for Tuesday afternoon's scrimmage against the West. The West went live for roughly the same amount of time in each of the last two practices.

The performance in those scrimmages would point to the West club being a prohibitive favorite for Wednesday's game. At prior McDonald's Games, however, there have been instances when the apparent underdog has rallied to win after being inspired by talk of poor practices or after losing the official scrimmage.

Free McDonald’s?

When Tony Parker learned he’d been selected for the 2012 McDonald’s All-American Game, he remembered something his friend Quinn Cook had told him after his McDonald’s All-American experience in 2011.

“Quinn said we get free McDonald’s for a year,” said Parker. “Is that true?”

When told he’d been duped by the current Duke freshman, Parker laughed and said, “Are you serious? He got me, he got me.”

Muhammad wins dunk contest in style

March, 26, 2012
3/26/12
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CHICAGO -- There was a strong sense of anticipation for Monday's POWERADE Jam Fest, as the curious crowd wondered how the three female contestants would fare in the slam dunk contest.

One of the female dunkers -- 2012 Morgan Wootten Player of the Year Breanna Stewart of Cicero-North Syracuse (Cicero, N.Y.) -- successfully threw it down. But in the end, it was her Wootten POY male counterpart -- Shabazz Muhammad of Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.) -- who ended up the winner.

Shabazz Muhammad
Henny Ray Abrams/McDonald'sShabazz Muhammad won the POWERADE Jam Fest Slam Dunk contest in style Monday.
The No. 2 recruit in the ESPNU 100 threw down four perfect dunks over two rounds of competition. In the championship round, he bested Archie Goodwin of Sylvan Hills (Little Rock, Ark.) by two points (140-138).

Muhammad got assists from North Carolina-bound point guard Marcus Paige of Linn-Mar (Marion, Iowa) on both of his final round dunks. First, Paige threw the ball off the backboard and Muhammad flushed it with two hands before doing his best Cam Newton imitation with the Clark Kent jersey rip to ignite the crowd. Needing a 69 on his second attempt to win the contest, Muhammad got a perfect pass thrown off the side of the backboard by Paige and dunked it with power.

“Just to be mentioned with names like (2003 winner) LeBron James and guys like that is an honor,” Muhammad said. “I was going to do the behind-the-back dunk, but Archie (Goodwin) did a really good job with that. I’m glad that I was able to come away with the win.”

Of the three female contestants, Stewart was the only one to advance to the finals. Looking to become the first female winner since Candace Parker in 2004, Stewart advanced by throwing down a two-handed dunk off a pass from Shaq Goodwin of Southwest DeKalb (Decatur, Ga.) who was the designated passer for the female contestants. Stewart, the Gatorade National Player of the Year, received a perfect 70 for her first dunk. The crowd appreciated her second effort even more when she threw one down with her left hand and received another 70. She couldn't repeat those performances in the finals, however, leaving Muhammad to raise the trophy.

Although Muhammad defeated three female and four males contestants, he's only considered the second-best dunker on his high school team. That title goes to UNLV recruit Demetris Morant.

"Not bad for the second best dunker on the team," Bishop Gorman coach Grant Rice said. "No matter what Shabazz does, he tries to go out and be the best and win. I think this is the first dunk contest he's ever been in and of course he won it."

Muhammad is considering Kentucky, Kansas, Duke, UCLA, USC and UNLV and is scheduled to make his college decision on April 11.

Rivalry Commences

Strake Jesuit (Houston) shooting guard Rasheed Sulaimon wouldn’t have had it any other way.

When he saw that he’d be facing Paige in the finals of the POWERADE Jam Fest 3-point contest he couldn’t help but think about the potential for early bragging rights.

Sulaimon, a Duke signee, and Paige, a North Carolina signee, will be arch enemies next season on Tobacco Road. For now, Sulaimon can say that his score of 18 was good enough to be crowned 3-point champ over Paige.

“That made it even better,” Sulaimon said. “The Duke-UNC rivalry is big so I liked getting the win over him.”

Sulaimon also knocked off Bolingbrook (Bolingbrook, Ill.) guard Morgan Tuck in the boys-vs-girls bonus round. Sulaimon scored 12, while Tuck scored 10.

No Place Like Home

Tyler Lewis may have won the Jam Fest Skills Competition, completing the course in just 31.2 seconds, but all he cared about was the fact that he was back in the United States.

Lewis and his Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) team played nine international games in China from March 7-19 and went 8-1. The Warriors finished their high school season No. 1 in the POWERADE FAB 50 with an unblemished 44-0 record.

“We lost the first game that we played over there, but it had a lot to do with our travel schedule,” said Lewis, an NC State signee. “We ended up playing that team again and beating them, so we got even. We had a good time.”

Just not when it was time to eat.

“Food was horrible,” said Lewis. “Even the places that we have over here like McDonald’s were bad. ... I’m just glad to be back and eating good ol' American food.”

More Than A Game

Long after the 2012 McDonald's game is complete and the players have returned home, they'll have some great memories of their time in Chicago.

The highlight of the event for many so far was Sunday's visit to a regional Ronald McDonald House. Amile Jefferson of Friends' Central (Wynnewood, Pa.) and a few other All-Americans were also able to visit the Comer Children’s Hospital at the University of Chicago across the street from the Ronald McDonald House and it's something he said he'll always remember.

At the hospital Jefferson met Jordan Chesney, an 18-year-old who has underdone multiple brain surgeries.

"They told us there was something wrong with his brain and we couldn't shake his hand too hard," Jefferson said. "I wanted to understand the issue and make him remember me because many of us were unprepared for that. The time I spent with him will always inspire me."

Jefferson, who competed in the 3-point contest and the skills competition at the Jam Fest, understands the unique opportunities his physical gifts have afforded him.

"It was a chance for us to give back," Jefferson said. "We come in and the kids light up and smile. To be able to give them that through the game of basketball is great."

Mr. Basketball USA Tracker week 9

March, 9, 2012
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Last week, we took a look at the most important criteria in the ESPNHS Mr. Basketball. This week, we asked players from across the country to give their opinions on what makes a national player of the year.

It should come as no surprise top vote-getter Shabazz Muhammad (94 points, 10 ballots) solicited plenty of support, but the reasons why he and other top candidates were the choice varied.

Student-athletes around the country placed great emphasis on leadership skills and the ability to make teammates better which leads to team success, regardless of the amount of talent on the roster.

"Is he a winner? How's his attitude? Does he play hard consistently? Has he had big games against good teams? ...I haven't seen all the guys this year, so I guess I'll go with Shabazz (Muhammad)."

-Zena Edosomwan, Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood, Calif.), 2012

"Of course I'm going to say myself. But if not me, then Shabazz Muhammad. I think the player of the year should be a great person on and off the court. He should also be a warrior that hates to lose."

-Archie Goodwin, Sylvan Hills (Sherwood, Ark.), 2012

To read the rest of this story and see the Mr. Basketball USA voting results, CLICK HERE.

Ronnie Flores is a senior editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at ronnie.flores@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @RonFloresESPN

Nerlens' Notebook: Back to 2012

February, 3, 2012
2/03/12
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Nerlens Noel | Senior | Center| Tilton School (Tilton, N.H.)

After reclassifying from 2013 to 2012, Nerlens Noel went from being the No. 2-ranked junior to the No. 1-ranked senior in the ESPNU 100. Now heavyweight programs like UConn, Kentucky, North Carolina and Syracuse, among others, are scrambling to get Noel on campus next season. That makes him the most sought-after player in the country. Noel has agreed to give ESPNHS exclusive access into his world by chronicling his thoughts in a blog.

What’s happening everyone, this is Boston’s own Nerlens Noel, and I’m excited to be starting my blog.

Noel
Steve Johnson/ESPNHSNerlens Noel said he wants to decide around the time of the McDonald's All-American game.
By now most of you know that I’ve reclassified from 2013 to 2012. It was official as of Wednesday night. It was something that I had been thinking about for months, and I talked it over with my family and we came to the final decision. I really just felt like I was ready to come back to my original class.

Most people don’t know that I was always supposed to be in the 2012 class, but during my sophomore year I cracked my growth plate in my left knee and that kept me out for around six weeks. I played the first five games of the season and then I missed the rest of the season.

At the time, I thought the best option was to reclassify to 2013 because of all the time I missed, but I worked really hard and I felt like I was ready to come back to 2012.

Basically, I checked on things academically and I made sure that I had all of the credits to reclassify and I have everything lined up now.

I’m really excited about it. It’s weird because now I’m gonna be in college next season. That’s kinda crazy when I think about it.

When I came into the season I wasn’t sure that I was gonna do it, but after playing really well against all of the big time guys last summer and this season it kinda put my decision to come back to 2012 over the top. I know that I’ll be able to contribute right away to whatever college I decide to go to.

Of course everyone wants to know about my recruitment even more now and I’m gonna clear something up; I don’t really have an “official” list. The list I put out is of the schools that I’m really interested in and schools that I’m gonna take official visits to.

Those schools are Kentucky, Florida, North Carolina and Georgetown. I’m visiting Syracuse on Feb. 11, but I’m not sure if that will be an official visit since it’s closer to me. I’ll decide that in the next day or two. I don’t have dates for the other visits. I’ll set those up soon.

I’ll also visit Providence and UConn unofficially, but there could be other visits.

There are things I love about all of the schools.

With Syracuse I love the environment over there. It’s so live. I like the players there and I’ve built a great relationship with the coaching staff. With Kentucky, I really love the fan base. They’re crazy supportive, especially on Twitter. I’ve been building a solid relationship with the coaches there too.

Florida is one of the first schools that started recruiting me. I like the coaches and I like the school. Georgetown has a history that speaks for itself, and I just love their offense. They really do a great job with their big men.

North Carolina has a great history and a great coach in Roy Williams. I haven’t spoken to him yet, but I like the school and I like what they do. They just came in with me recently.

Providence has been on me for a while. I just love what they’re doing there and I’ve got a great relationship with Ricky Ledo, he’s been recruiting me really hard to come there with him. UConn is another one of those schools that speaks for itself. They produce really strong big men, and I think a lot of coach Jim Calhoun and his staff. They really know how to develop their players.

As you all can see this won’t be an easy decision.

I’ve definitely had some players hitting me up since I reclassified. The first player to hit me up was Rasheed (Sulaimon), who’s going to Duke. He was basically just talking about how there would be an open spot for me to come to Duke and how he wanted me to come join him. That’s definitely something I would look at. Duke has been in contact with me, but I haven’t heard from them in a little while.

Archie (Goodwin), who’s going to Kentucky, hit me up too. We didn’t talk directly about Kentucky. We were just talking about video games and talking about the summer.

Things of course have been crazy in the last 24 hours. I think I’ve gained over 1,000 followers on Twitter since last night. It’s funny because I must get about 20 mentions on Twitter every five minutes.

One of the things I thought about was whether I would miss out on postseason all-star games like the Jordan Brand Classic and the McDonald’s All-American games. I feel like I’m just in time so hopefully I’ll have a chance to make those two games.

We’ll see what happens. I would love to have a decision around the McDonald’s game after I visit all the schools that I want to see.

I know by now there are a lot of rumors popping up about me and my recruitment, but I just want to say that I have no favorites at all. There’s no official list because I’m open to different schools.

Basically, if you don’t read it from me here on my blog, in my own words, then it’s not true.

Well, I want to thank everyone for reading my first blog. I hope everyone liked it, and I hope you guys come back for my next blog, which will be after I visit Syracuse on Feb. 11.

I’ll catch you guys next time.

Don't forget to follow Nerlens Noel on Twitter: @NerlensNoel3

Thankful for the 3

November, 2, 2011
11/02/11
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Matt Jones is far from rude, but, on this one, his interjection is well-warranted.

Why?

He doesn’t have to think about the question. Not even a bit.

Jones knows exactly how to answer it immediately, so when he hears “Where would your career be without the 3-point line?” Jones interrupts very matter-of-factly with “Nowhere.”

“The reality is that I’ve got all of these schools recruiting me because of my ability to shoot the 3,” said Jones, a junior shooting guard at DeSoto (DeSoto, Texas) who is mulling over offers from Duke, North Carolina, Texas, Florida, Kansas and Arizona, among others. “So if there’s no 3-point line, there may be no Matt Jones. I’d probably be fighting for a low D-II scholarship. I owe the people that brought the 3-point line to the high school game. I owe them big.”

Matt Jones
Scott Kurtz/ESPNHSMatt Jones said his ability to shoot the three is what makes him a hot commodity.

Jones’ sentiments are shared by thousands of other marksmen around the country who are grateful that in 1987, the National Federation of State High School Athletic Associations adopted the 3-point line. College hoops introduced it the year before.

“The creation of the 3-point line was the most impactful change the high school game has ever seen,” said NFHS executive director Bob Gardner. “Obviously, high schools don’t have the financial resources that colleges do, so we needed that extra year to paint the lines and things like that. We also wanted to see what type of impact it made on the game, and it was bigger than anyone could’ve ever imagined.”

Huntington Prep (Huntington, W.Va.) swingman Andrew Wiggins agreed. He said that without a 3-point line, the game would have less excitement.

“I think that would change a lot of the endings of games,” said Wiggins, a sophomore who is the top-ranked player in the ESPNU 25. “You could be down 12 with one minute to go and hit a 3, and it just does something to your team. It hypes everyone up. Without 3s, so many players would be just average. I mean, where would Ray Allen be without 3s? Shooting guards would be real average.”

That’s precisely the reason the NFHS decided to implement the arc 24 years ago.

“The high school game was being dominated in the paint,” Gardner recalled. “So if you didn't have a tall guy down there, you were at a tremendous disadvantage. The 3-point line was the ultimate equalizer. It really expanded the game for smaller guards.”

Big guards, too.

As Sylvan Hills (Little Rock, Ark.) shooting guard Archie Goodwin, a 6-foot-5 athlete who is notoriously known for posterizing defenders, pointed out, the 3-point line makes the defense guard the perimeter, thus opening up the lane for breakdown guards.

“If there wasn’t a 3-point line they’d just drop back to the free throw line, so you couldn’t finish with high-percentage shots,” Goodwin said. “It would all be two points, so that would be the smart thing to do defensively. I’m so glad we have an arc because I don’t think basketball would have as many dunks and highlights. Having it helps everyone.”

That prevailing theme became more real to Jones as the conversation progressed. He paused suddenly, as though he was pending for thought, then revisited his gratitude.

“I’m telling you, man, I owe them a lot for bringing that 3-point line,” Jones said. “This line has changed my life. I owe them one or two thanks.”

Maybe even three.

Jason Jordan is the basketball editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at jason.x.jordan.-ND@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @JayJayESPN

Hoopers play dress up for Halloween

October, 30, 2011
10/30/11
10:56
PM ET
Zena Endosomwan was relieved.

All of the stressing and agonizing over Halloween costumes had finally come to an end by answering one simple, two-part question: If you had to dress up as the player that you most resemble on the court, who would it be and why?

“That should help me out!” said Endosomwan, a senior forward at Harvard-Westlake (Los Angeles).

ESPNHS didn’t stop there; we posed the same question to a handful of elite ballers around the country.

Here’s what they had to say…

Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell, Park Tudor, (Greenfield, Ind.), 2012, PG
Committed to: Indiana
Halloween costume: Isiah Thomas
Why: “I’d have to say I’d dress up as Isiah because I want to do great things at Indiana like he did.”

Noel
Steve Johnson/ESPNHSNerlens Noel said he wants to decide around the time of the McDonald's All-American game.
Archie Goodwin, Sylvan Hills (Little Rock, Ark.), 2012, SG
Committed to: Kentucky
Halloween costume: Michael Jordan
Why: “Well, I’ve actually heard this from a lot of different coaches on the AAU circuit plus Rick Barnes from Texas and Roy Williams from North Carolina told me this too… They said that I remind them of Michael Jordan when he was in high school. It’s a great honor to hear that because of who he became so I’d definitely have to dress as him.”

Nerlens Noel, Tilton, (Tilton, N.H.), 2013, C
Uncommitted
Halloween costume:
Kevin Garnett
Why: “I’d dress up as K.G. because he and I are similar because of his defensive presence, his leadership and his competitiveness.”

Rodney Purvis, Upper Room Christian Academy (Raleigh, N.C.), 2012, SG
Committed to: N.C. State
Halloween costume: John Wall (Washington Wizards)
Why: “I’d definitely go as John because he’s someone I look up to and he’s a really positive person like me. We’re both fast guards who are willing to do whatever it takes to win.”

L.J. Rose, Westbury Christian (Houston), 2012, PG
Committed to: Baylor
Halloween costume: Deron Williams (New Jersey Nets)
Why: “I’d dress like Deron Williams because, like me, he isn’t as athletic as the rest of the point guards in the league, but with his size he can dominate the game in so many different ways. He also has a great feel for the game.”

Zena Endosomwan, Harvard-Westlake (Los Angeles), 2012, PF
Uncommitted
Halloween costume: Serge Ibaka (Oklahoma City Thunder)
Why: “I’d dress as Serge because we’re both athletic, African, like to run and we play the same position. Oh, and we’re both really dark.”

Rasheed Sulaimon, Strake Jesuit (Houston), 2012, SG
Committed to: Duke
Halloween costume: Jamal Crawford (Atlanta Hawks)
Why: “I’d dress like Jamal Crawford because the way I play is very similar to him. He’s a combo guard that can play both the one and the two; plus he can create his own shot and create for his teammates as well. He’s a good shooter, both off the dribble and stationary, and he makes shots when they count the most.”

Isaiah Austin, Grace Prep (Arlington, Texas), 2012, C
Committed to: Baylor
Halloween costume: Austin Daye (Detroit Pistons)
Why: “I’d dress as Austin Daye because like him I can play both inside and out. That and we’re both long and athletic.”

Gabe York, Orange Lutheran (Orange, Calif.), 2012, SG
Committed to: Arizona
Halloween costume: Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder)
Why: “I’d have to say that it would be Russell Westbrook. We’re both guards that can shoot and are very athletic. He’s just an explosive point guard who can drive to the basket and finish strong.”

Matt Jones, DeSoto (DeSoto, Texas), 2013, SG
Uncommitted
Halloween costume: Ray Allen (Boston Celtics)
Why: “Definitely Ray Allen. It’s the shooting and the stature and the way we carry ourselves on and off the court. I think I could pull him off for Halloween. Plus if someone really thought that I was him and needed me to prove it by knocking down a lot of jumpers I think I could do it.”

Jason Jordan is the basketball editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at jason.x.jordan.-ND@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @JayJayESPN

Goodwin makes Cats even more attractive

September, 21, 2011
9/21/11
3:56
PM ET
Goodwin Picks Kentucky

When Archie Goodwin took to Twitter Tuesday night to announce what he’d known ever since Kentucky coach John Calipari left his house less than a week ago, he expected that the response would be overwhelming.

“Any time someone commits it’s big news,” said Goodwin, a senior shooting guard at Sylvan Hills (Little Rock, Ark.). “But when you commit to a place like Kentucky, it can be a little crazy. There’s so much tradition there.”

Archie Goodwin
Steven Johnson/ESPNHSArchie Goodwin said he wants to play with other top players.

Goodwin, who is ranked No. 13 in the ESPNU 100, picked the Wildcats over Memphis and Arkansas, and estimates that he’s fielded “more than 100 calls” since 11 p.m. last night from reporters, friends, family and fans.

“When I woke up this morning I had 160 text messages, 40 voicemails and I had over 200 emails,” Goodwin said. “It’s crazy. I’ve got about 2,000 more followers on Twitter since Tuesday night at 11 p.m. I couldn’t get to a lot of the calls, there were just so many.”

Goodwin did, however, find time to answer a few; specifically the ones he got from recruits expressing their interest in joining him in Lexington.

Hamilton Southeastern’s (Fishers, Ind.) Gary Harris, a senior shooting guard who is ranked No. 10 in the ESPNU 100, and Arlington Country Day’s (Jacksonville, Fla.) Torian Graham, a senior shooting guard who is ranked No. 38, both contacted Goodwin congratulating him and inquiring about the possibility of playing together in college.

And though Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.) swingman Shabazz Muhammad, the top-ranked player in the ESPNU 100, didn’t say so last night, Goodwin said the two have spoken about the possibility of teaming up as well.

“I told them let’s do it,” Goodwin said. “I’m not that guy who’s gonna pressure anyone so I let them reach out to me first, but when they do I definitely try and get them to join me. I want to play with the best because I think it’s the best way to win. And I definitely plan to win.”

Don't forget to follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayESPN

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