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Monday, June 7, 2004
Rutgers lands two top forwards

By Bill Hodge

Rutgers and coach Gary Waters have commitments from Class 2005 Top 100 forward Gerald (J.R.) Inman of Montvale-St. Joseph Regional, NJ., over North Carolina State, Maryland, Georgetown, West Virginia, Miami-Florida and St. Joseph's, among others; and Super Prospect forward Jaron Griffin of Lakehurst-Manchester Township, NJ., over West Virginia, Rhode Island and Miami-Florida.

Class 2005 Top 100 forward Artem Wallace of St. Petersburg, Russia/Toledo, Wash., has committed to Washington. He averaged 23 points and 12 rebounds last season.

Twenty-nine Early Top 100 Prospects for Class 2005 have already made Commitments.

More Basketball News

A possible sign that he will withdraw from the NBA draft, center LaMarcus Aldridge of Seagoville, Tex., has joined other Longhorn recruits in enrolling for summer school at Texas. There was no word of an official decision, but a bad back has kept him from working out for pro teams.

Class 2004 forward Jamal Nichols of Philadelphia-Ben Franklin, Pa/St. Joseph's/Riverside CC, Cal/Globe Institute, NY., has signed with DePaul.

Freshman forward Ryan Lambert of Germantown-Northwest, Md/Hargrave MA, Va., has transferred from Western Kentucky to Duquesne. He started 20 games for the Hilltoppers this past season.

Freshman guard Mike O'Donnell of Largo, Fla., is transferring from North Carolina State to Central Florida. He played in 30 games and started seven last season.

Western Carolina signed guard Erik Wilson of Lincolnton, NC., who averaged 23 points as a senior.

Guard Dubois Williams of Tempe-Marcos de Niza, Ariz., will walk-on at Arizona State.

Lehigh has signed guard Erik Smith of Arlington-Bishop O'Connell, Va; forward Bryan White of Plantation-St. Thomas Aquinas, Fla; and guard Joe Knight of Arlington, Tex/High Point/Tarrant County CC, Tex.

Class 2004 guard Lorenzo Keeler of Escondido, Cal., who had signed with San Diego State, is expected to attend prep school.

Top Available Transfers:
*Sophomore forward/guard Derrick Byars, transfer from Virginia.
*Freshman center/forward David Padgett, transfer from Kansas.
*Freshman guard Omar Wilkes, transfer from Kansas.
*Sophomore forward/center Bernard Cote, transfer from Kentucky.
*Starting sophomore guard Armondo Surratt, transfer from Miami-Florida.
*Guard De'Angelo Alexander, transfer from Oklahoma.
*Guard Elijah Ingram, transfer from St. John's.
*Starting junior center Gabe Lee, transfer from UMass.

Class 2004 Basketball Database: Signings/Top Classes.
*Prospects/Commitments/Signings/Schools and Conferences
*Top 100 Prospects/Super Prospects
*Top Classes: Kentucky and Kansas made wild closing finishes to lead the rankings. Other top programs are Texas, Indiana, UCLA, Oregon, Louisville, Florida, Memphis and Alabama. Fans will also discover top talent arriving at Arkansas, Connecticut, Michigan State, Missouri and Arizona.
*Top Junior College Prospects.

Class 2005 Basketball Database: Prospects/Commitments
*Early Top 100 Prospects/Commitments/Super Prospects.

2004 NBA Draft
(May 10-Early Entry Deadline; June 17-Early Entry Withdrawal Deadline; June 24-NBA Draft; second round selections do not receive guaranteed contracts)
**A record 13 preps entered the NBA Draft.
Official High School/Prep School Entries
F Dwight Howard 6-10 Atlanta-SW Atlanta Christian, Ga. Agent. Predict Lottery: 2nd in first round.
G Shaun Livingston 6-7 Peoria-Central, Ill (Duke). Predict Lottery: Four to ten first round.
F Josh Smith 6-8 Mouth of Wilson-Oak Hill Academy, Va (Indiana). Agent. Predict Lottery: 6th in first round.
G/F J.R. Smith 6-6 Newark-St. Benedict's Prep School, NJ (UNC). Agent. Predict: 17-18 in first round.
G Sebastian Telfair 6-0 Brooklyn-Abraham Lincoln, NY (Louisville). Agent. Predict: 15-23 in first round.
F LaMarcus Aldridge 6-11 Seagoville, Tex (Texas). Predict: 23 in first round.
F Al Jefferson 6-9 Prentiss, Miss (Arkansas). Predict: 25-26 in first round.
C Robert Swift 6-11 Bakersfield, Cal (USC Trojans). Predict: 19-25 first round.
F Dorell Wright 6-7 South Kent Prep, Conn (DePaul). Predict: 18-24 in first round.
C Jackie Butler 6-11 Virginia Beach-Coastal Christian, Va. (Tenn). Agent. Predict: Not selected.
C Robert Rothbart 7-1 Sacramento-Natomas, Cal (Indiana). Predict: Not selected.
F/C Jermaine Bell 6-11 Notre Dame Prep, Mass. Predict: Not selected.
F Maurice Shaw 6-9 Bridgton Academy, Maine. Predict: Not selected.
Official Junior College Entries
G/F Donta Smith 6-7 Southeastern Illinois CC, Ill (Louisville). Predict: Middle second round.
C Randy Orr 6-11 Georgia Perimeter CC, Ga. Predict: Not selected.
F Jason Parker 6-8 Kentucky (2000-01). Predict: Not selected.
G Kelvin Pena 6-3 Southeastern CC, Iowa. Predict: Not selected.
C/F Tremayne Singletary 6-10 Southwestern CC, Cal. Predict: Not selected.
C Sani Ibrahim 6-10 Gulf Coast CC, Fla. Predict: Not selected.
2003 NBA Draft
The most heralded high school player in years, forward LeBron James of Akron/St. Vincent-St. Mary, Ohio, was chosen No. 1 in the first round of the 2003 Draft by Cleveland. He averaged 20 points and was Rookie of the Year. The other three preps taken in the first round, all late picks, played a combined 86 minutes during the entire season: Forward Travis Outlaw of Starkville, Miss., 23rd pick by Portland; forward Ndudi Ebi of Houston-Westbury Christian, Tex., 26th pick by Minnesota; center Kendrick Perkins of Beaumont-Ozen, Tex., 27th pick by Memphis, then traded to Boston.

The 5/8 Rule
The NCAA Division I Board of Directors has voted to approve measures of academic reform that included a repeal of the controversial 5/8 rule limiting college basketball recruiting to no more than five recruits in a single class and no more than eight in any two-year period. With the rule rescinded, coaches can fill their 13-man rosters with the best eligible players who have yet to sign. NCAA Story

2004 McDonald's All American Game
J.R. Smith and Dwight Howard helped the East rout the West, 126-96, at the 27th McDonald's All American Basketball Boys Game in Oklahoma City, Okla. The John Wooden Award which is given to the most valuable player of the game was given to co-winners Smith and Howard. Smith led all scorers with 25 points, while Howard contributed 19 points, 10 rebounds and two blocked shots. Story, Rosters.

McDonald's Games/All-Star Games/NBA Drafts
Search for Stories/games/rosters.

2004 Nike Hoop Summit
The 2004 USA Basketball Men's Junior National Select team defeated World Select, 99-79, in the Hoops Summit game in San Antonio. Josh Smith led all scorers with 27 points, J.R. Smith added 17, while Rudy Gay and Al Jefferson had 14 and 13. Sebastian Telfair scored six. Luka Bogdanovic led the World team with 20 points. Churchill Odia and Juan Diego Palacios each scored 10. Stories/games/rosters.

2004 Jordan Capital Classic
Dwight Howard scored 18 points, 15 rebounds and six blocks to lead the Black team to a 107-96 victory over the White squad in the Jordan Capital Classic and was named the outstanding player. Malik Hairston led the Black team with 23 points, while Robert Vaden added 21. Dorell Wright led the White team with 24 points, while Al Jefferson added 17 points and 10 rebounds. Stories/games/rosters

Basketball Commitments/Signings:
Class 2005: Database/Top 100
Class 2004: Database/Top 100/Top Classes.
Class 2003: Database/Top 100/Top Classes.
Class 2002: Database/Top 100/Top Classes
Class 2001: Database/Top 100/Top Classes
Class 2000: Database/Top 100/Top Classes
Class 1999: Database
Class 1998: Database/ Top Classes

Bill Hodge is the executive editor and director of recruiting coverage at For daily columns on prospects, commitments and signings, plus databases, go to's Recruiting Page.