#pcbb Weekly Recruiting Update 6/20/14

I took last week off from the weekly recruiting update but it’s back this week and there is plenty to mention. Since the last update on June 6th, Niagara graduate transfer Antoine Mason committed to Auburn which is another Spring miss for Ed Cooley and staff.

Next up is Seattle guard Tramaine Isabell who is currently on a visit at Missouri with plans to visit Providence after that and then decide. Though he told ShowMeMizzou.com “that if he likes Missouri enough, there’s a chance he might not need to take any other visits.”

The Providence Journal’s Kevin McNamara mentioned that PC had a German guard on campus for a visit a few weeks ago and UndercoverFriar revealed that player to be Tyree Chambers. That doesn’t seem to be anything more than interest and an offer was never made.

One other guard option that has been mentioned in recent weeks is 2014 guard Armel Potter. Jeff Ferrucci of ScoutFriars.com spoke with Potter last week. Potter revealed that PC hasn’t offered but is “showing high interest.” The scoring guard visited Tennessee Tech last week and is also being recruited by Appalachian State, Ball State, Iona, Niagara, Winthrop along with some other mid majors.

If I had to choose between Isabell and Potter, I would definitely take Isabell despite the rumors of him possibly having some issues qualifying because he is definitely the more talented player but Potter is a guy that can score the ball despite being undersized. We’ll see how Isabell’s visit to Missouri shakes out but I would expect interest in Potter to increase from Coach Blaney if Isabell commits to the Tigers before leaving Columbia.

One other note on the recruiting front is a potential transfer candidate in former Wake Forest PF Tyler Cavanaugh. He was granted his release this week and has already spoken to Ed Cooley who recruited him out of high school when Cooley was still at Fairfield. He never overlapped with PC redshirt Senior Carson Desrosiers at Wake but I wouldn’t be surprised if Cooley put the two in touch to discuss the transition from Wake to PC. Cavanaugh, a native of Dewitt, NY (upstate near Syracuse) told Syracuse.com’s Donna Ditota, “I want to try to come a little bit closer to home, but I want to be open to any opportunity. I just want to make sure I find the perfect fit for my last two years of eligibility.” He also said that he plans to narrow down schools to 3 schools to visit and decide within “the next couple weeks.” He would have to sit this upcoming season and would have two years of eligibility remaining. The 6’9 stretch power forward averaged 19 mpg, 7 ppg and 3.2 rpg in 64 career games for the Demon Deacons, including 28 career starts.

Donovan Mitchell told Adam Zagoria last week that he plans to visit Providence on June 27th and then Boston College on June 28th. Peegs.com, a Rivals.com Indiana University basketball site did a piece on Mitchell earlier this week. Here are some interesting portions from that story:

As you might expect his offer list is a long one. Among the offers are UConn, Maryland, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John’s, Iowa, Florida State and Cincinnati.

While some of those Big East offers date back a couple years, Brewster head coach Jason Smith says this one is just getting started.

“It’s in the preliminary stages at this point,” said Smith. “Most of the interest in Donovan is in the preliminary stages with the exception of Providence. Coach (Ed) Cooley has personally recruited Donovan for the last two years.”

“I probably won’t narrow my list until after the live period so I have a feel for who’s talking to me, who’s showing interest. I’ll get a feel for schools and who wants me,” said Mitchell.

At this point scouts have described Mitchell as both a shooting guard and a point guard. Whatever role that he plays, he’s ready physically for the the challenge.

“He’s an elite level athlete, maybe as athletic as anyone we’ve had here, especially from the guard position,” said Smith. “He became an outstanding perimeter defender for us this past year. Right now, he’s a combo guard, but definitely more two than one, but his playing and ability to handle the ball and play the point are things he focused on this past spring.”

“I feel like one thing I’ve done my entire life is being explosive, getting to the rim, whether it’s finishing through contact or dunking on somebody,” said Mitchell. “Being at Brewster helped me bulk up, helped me go against older and stronger guys.

His mother thinks the move to Brewster has also helped him off the court.

“Being so far away from home, learning to make good choices without mom and dad constantly there, that has helped him prepare him as far as the transition to going as away to some place as far as Indiana,” said Nicole Mitchell.

Maturity is already one of his strengths according to Smith.

“He’ll be one of our captains,” said Smith. “He’s already been elected senior prefect, which is basically student body president. He’s one of two prefects. I’m going on my 15th year, and I can’t recall anyone earning that in one year here.”

He definitely gave us a mature response to what will be most important to him in his college decision.

“First off, if I’m not playing basketball, would I still want to go to school there? Whether it’s one year, two years, four years, I have to be a student,” said Mitchell. “As far as basketball is concerned, a relationship with the head coach and all the coaches. They’re the ones who end up putting you in the game. A great school environment as far as how the school views the basketball team. And I’d like to play in a loud arena. I’ve been doing that my whole life in New York. I love that. And playing fast in transition.”

Another Rivals.com article, this one by Dan McDonald, gives Mitchell a chance to talk about what he likes about Providence in addition to some of the other schools he is interested in after he visited Georgia Tech and Florida State while on vacation with his family in Atlanta last week:

Providence has been involved in Mitchell’s recruitment for a while now, and many see the Friars as a serious threat to receive his signature as a member of their 2015 class.

“I like Providence a lot. Their recruiting class they have coming in is going to be a great one. Coach [Ed] Cooley talks to me about how I would have a big impact coming in there. With Josh Fortune leaving, it opens the door a little bit more for me to come in and play. It’s very appealing.”

Prior to picking up new offers in the past few months, Mitchell thought he was inching closer to a decision. With every new offer, it seems as if it might take a little longer for him to make a verbal commitment.

“As far as cutting down my list, I don’t really have a timeline for that. I’ve been telling people I want to commit in September, but I think that’s starting to change as more schools begin to offer. It’s starting to get a little bit more hectic. I can’t really say when I’m going to commit yet.”

There have been a couple of high profile camps the last two weeks and a number of PC recruits have attended.

The Nike Elite 100 Camp was held in St. Louis, MO June 12-15 and a PC target was a standout performer.

ESPN’s Adam Finkelstein:

Best Player

Miles Bridges
Small Forward
6-foot-6, 225 pounds
Class of 2016

From the moment the first ball went up to the time the last ball stopped bouncing, Bridges was the best player in the gym this week. His combination of power, athleticism, and skill made him a nearly impossible matchup, as he took defenders off the dribble and overpowered them around the rim. He was a threat from the arc with his southpaw stroke and also showed off a previously undervalued part of his arsenal with some terrific passes. He was even impressive in drill work, setting the tone with his work ethic and winning sprints with a smile on his face.

Scout.com’s Evan Daniels:

Miles Bridges, PF: Bridges could have easily been listed in the wing category, as I think he’s more of a combination forward than a true wing or a true power forward. With that said, Bridges was one of the most productive and impactful players at camp. He was aggressive, used his athleticism in the paint and was among the camps scoring leaders. Bridges is capable of making jump shots off the catch, but he’s also a strong, physical driver.

Scout.com’s Brian Snow:

2016

Bruce Brown – There is no doubt that this kid is just a flat out bucket getter. Brown is one of the best at working into the mid-range and also getting all the way to the rim. At 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds Brown is someone who is an excellent on-ball defender and a good athlete. His feel for the game isn’t tremendous, but his ability to score is always there and Brown continues to prove he can get buckets in every setting at every level.

2017

Jermaine Samuels – At 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds, Samuels is an attacking wing who can really make things happen off the bounce. Also he is a solid shooter, though that can use some work as well. Samuels right now is at his best in attack mode going to the rim where he uses his long arms, big time athleticism, and good strength to finish around the rim and from the mid-range. He right now is simply a scorer and will have to refine his other skills, but there is no doubt he has high level potential.

Rivals.com’s Eric Bossi:

Bridges burns those in his path

The No. 33 player in the class of 2016, 6-foot-6 forward Miles Bridges simply stood out as a man amongst boys throughout the entire camp. A native of Michigan who attends Huntington (W.Va.) Prep, Bridges had a dominant run in St. Louis.

Built like a defensive end, Bridges is a powerfully athletic 225-pounder who always seems to be running downhill. He has a toughness about him that is impossible to ignore and doesn’t do anything less than 100 percent.

Bridges finished in transition. He drove the baseline, he dunked emphatically, he defended and he rebounded. If you asked anybody in attendance who was catching their eye they were almost sure to respond “No. 88” in their list of the top two or three players that they saw in camp.

It’s tough to classify Bridges from a position standpoint. He has small forward height but the strength and mentality of a power forward. All that matters, though, is that Bridges is a basketball player and a highly productive one at that.

Class of 2016

Bruce Brown: Simply put, Brown is a bucket getter. A 6-foot-3 shooting guard, Brown has high confidence and a very short memory. Missed shots don’t get to him and is more than happy to keep firing away because of his confidence. Off the dribble, Brown uses his powerfully built body to get into the lane and finish through contact. He had a good year at Vermont Academy, has been solid on the grassroots trail with BABC and looks to be improving his overall profile.

Class of 2017

Jermaine Samuels: A high flying wing who already packs 204 pounds onto a well built 6-foot-4 (in socks) frame, Samuels has been impressive all throughout the grassroots season. He uses his strength and athleticism on drives, is a pretty good spot up shooter and plays both sides of the ball. Right now he is very straight line with his game and adding some wiggle to his game will be a priority as he moves ahead.

Miles Bridges told Pat Lawless of GiveNGoBasketball.com that he has offers from Boston College, Iowa State, Kansas, Marquette, Michigan State, Oregon, Providence, UNLV, West Virginia and more. He also said “Michigan State has recruited me the hardest because they have already had me over for two unofficial visits. It’s still early though but, as of now they are on me the hardest.” He also has plans to visit NC State soon and Boston College on June 26th.

The other high profile camp is the NBPA Top 100 camp being held at the University of Virginia through Saturday. For a list of PC recruits in attendance, click here. There have been a lot of positive reports so far about PC recruits. Here are some of them:

Scout.com’s Evan Daniels Day One:

Class of 2015

Antonio Blakeney, SG: During his second game of the day, Blakeney, a 6-foot-4 wing out of Orlando (Fla.) Oakridge, struggled to get his long-range shots to go down, but he made a handful of strong, athletics plays at the rim. A tremendous athlete, Blakeney is showing improvement attacking the rim. On Wednesday, he made a pair drives in a half court setting that led to ridiculous slams in traffic. He’s scoring ability is rounding out and he appears to be one of the top overall scorers in the 2015 class.

Scout.com’s Brian Snow Day One:

Class of 2015

Cheick Diallo, C – One of the toughest and highest motor players in the class, Diallo did what he always does during an impressive showing in the morning session of games. Diallo blocked shots, some in incredibly spectacular fashion, and then also rebounded like a man as well. Add in a few nice moves on the offensive end, and it was an extremely impressive showing for Diallo who continues to have a tremendous spring and summer.

RecruitScoop.com’s Alex Kline Day One:

Kobi Simmons started off the morning session with a strong performance and followed it up with the same. At this time last year, Charles Matthews – now committed to Kentucky – was a hot rising guard. This year the nod has to go to Simmons. The 2016 guard from St. Francis (GA)/Atlanta Celtics (GA) shows some similarities in playing effectively on and off the ball. When playing off the ball, he is fairly effective. But when Simmons has the rock in his hands, he makes everyone better. Due to his length, high IQ and shot selection, Simmons has a special future ahead. College coaches noticed early on; NC State and Missouri offered this week. Among the others involved are Providence, Tennessee, Auburn, Texas Tech, Vanderbilt, Marquette, Wake Forest. Kentucky continues to dabble around and show interest, and have gotten him on campus. The sky is the limit at this point for the long, skilled combo guard.

Scout.com’s Evan Daniels Day Two:

Class of 2015

Cheick Diallo, PF: Diallo put together his normal effort during his morning game. The 6-foot-9, 220-pound five-star recruit scored 18 points and reeled in eight boards. He ran the floor looking to score and completed play after play in transition. If he wasn’t scoring in transition, he was actively pursuing rebounds and putting back misses. He has the best motor in high school basketball and he shows that every time he touches the floor. He finished 7-for-12 from the field.

Eric Davis, SG: A number of Evans’ assists came off passes to Davis, a 6-foot-2, 180-pound combo guard out of Saginaw (Mich.) Arthur Hill. Davis got hot in the second half and connected on four three-pointers. Davis is quick and is a good scorer off the bounce, as he’s comfortable pulling up off the bounce or dropping in floaters from short range. He finished with 32 points on 9-for-20 shooting in his second game of the day.

During the first session, Jalen Coleman scored 13 points on 4-for-10 shooting, including 3-for-5 from three. Coleman is a terrific long-range shooter.

Malik Beasley quietly had a strong second session game on Thursday. Beasley scored 14 points on 5-for-7 shooting and also reeled in six rebounds. Beasley is a skilled scorer that can put up points in a variety of ways.

Scout.com’s Brian Snow Day Two:

Class of 2015

Eric Davis, SG – There have been times this summer where Davis has tried to show some movement toward being a point guard, and that hasn’t been when he has played his best. During a morning game on Thursday he was tremendous doing what he does best, and that is score the basketball. Davis isn’t an elite athlete, but he has tremendous quickness with the dribble and is an excellent shooter both from deep and in the mid-range. Add in a big time confidence and Davis is someone who gets buckets at a very high level.

Trevor Manuel, PF – Manuel has had a bit of an up and down spring, but during the morning set of games he showed that he can be a very effective player. A skilled forward, Manuel played inside and out. He scored some from the mid-range, was solid off the dribble, and defensively he rebounded and showed his ability to move his feet. Manuel has to get stronger, and definitely find more consistency, but overall he has a lot of natural ability and continues to show flashes of being a big time prospect.

Antonio Blakeney, SG – No one can every accuse him of being shy that is for sure. When he has the ball in his hands there is a good chance it is very soon going to be headed to the rim. Blakeney has been very shot happy, and also he has made a lot. As a volume scorer here he has put up some good numbers. While he is scoring in bunches, maybe the most impressive thing has been how hard he has played on defense as well. Blakeney has played passing lanes, made steals, and just brings a nearly unmatched energy to every game he is in.

Class of 2016

Kobi Simmons, PG – Unfortunately Smith and Simmons didn’t match up against each other outside of one possession during the evening showdown. With that said, the talent Simmons has is obvious. He is definitely a score first type of point guard which is fine because he is also capable of some impressive passes, especially when in the open court. Simmons has to continue to refine his decision making skills in the halfcourt, but his size, athleticism, and scoring ability have all been on display and Simmons is proving himself to be an elite prospect in the class.

RecruitScoop.com’s Alex Kline Day Two:

Speaking of instant offense, 2015 Saginaw Arthur Hill (MI)/The Family (MI) point guard Eric Davis locked down defensively. He forced several turnovers and constantly put pressure on the ball handler. This lead to easy opportunities to finish at the basket. Davis did a nice job of running point and looked very natural in doing so as he got into the lane and drove to the basket – either taking a smart shot or kicking it out to a a post player or someone on the perimeter. Overall, Davis looked like one of the smarter and most well-rounded players at the camp. His recruitment took off a bit in the past few months when Florida, UCLA, Michigan, Baylor, UNLV, Auburn, Boston College and Memphis came in to offer. He still seems pretty open in his recruitment due to so many new schools hopping on board during the spring. More may do that after a strong showing here and a few other events this summer.

For any reigning MVP it is tough to live up to the expectations of having that kind of performance again. While he may not win MVP, it is clear that 2015 Our Savior New American (NY)/Team Scan (NY) power forward Cheick Diallo‘s game has rapidly expanded. He is more willing to pass the ball now. Diallo secured rebound after rebound and threw outlet passes – some accurate, some not – down the court to make a few quick baskets for his teammates. He continues to protect the rim by playing hard during all phases of the game. As his offense continues to improve, we are seeing more than just powerful dunks from the five-star big man, who has quietly had one of the best performances of camp. After taking visits to Iowa State and Pittsburgh during the fall, things slowed up until recently in his recruitment. Kentucky and Kansas have been pushing lately and the Wildcats recently offered. Diallo will visit Kentucky soon – possibly as soon as the end of June. Duke is close to offering, as well, which could lead to a very interesting finish in his recruitment.

It is quite possible that the two best scorers in the camp are from the state of Florida. Dwayne Bacon has been phenomenal, butAntonio Blakeney got hot last night as he shot the ball well, and was efficient when attacking the rim. His athleticism has improved greatly over the past year. Blakeney makes scoring the ball look so effortless at times because of his newfound ability to get to the basket and make acrobatic finishes in traffic. As his game will need to continue to expand, he knows his role and does his job. Ranked No. 29 in the nation, the 2015 shooting guard from Oak Ridge (FL) still isn’t to focused on his recruitment just yet. As his last major visit was to Louisville in the winter, the staff is trying to sell him and Ray Smith on the idea of playing together at the next level. Both are entertained by that. North Carolina, Kansas, Florida State, Florida are the other primarily schools involved at this point in time.

2016 wing Braxton Blackwell showed great strides in his shot selection and efficiency as he scored the ball with a purpose. Blackwell drove to the basket and used his strong frame to pull down a few rebounds and block shots.

Antonio Blakeney continues to mention Providence among his suitors. He is planning to cut his list at the end of the July live period and wants to take all of his official visits.

Alex Illikainen made news this week as it was announced that he will be attending Brewster Academy for his senior season. Kevin Farrahar from FriarBasketball.com takes a good look at what that might mean for PC’s chances. Alex has shown himself well during the NBPA camp this week too. He told HoopsIntel.com that some of the schools recruiting him the hardest are Minnesota, Nebraska, Oregon and Providence.

Braxton Blackwell mentioned 7 schools that stand out right now: “Schools that stand out right now would be Indiana, Florida, Oklahoma State, North Carolina, Louisville, Ohio State and Providence…I might make a list around the end of my junior year or the beginning of my senior year,” he said.

Check out this interview at NBPA Top 100 with 2016 Kobi Simmons:

After the release of their updated top 100 for the class of 2015, ESPN’s Paul Biancardi gave a list of 5 players that were on the cusp of cracking the top 100. One of those listed was PC recruit Trevor Manuel:

Trevor ManualManual has the talent and tools; the question is when he will put it all together to be a consistent factor in games. A finesse, 6-9 big man who owns an impressive pair of sure hands and a soft shooting touch from the perimeter, he is better in structure and space, with the skill level to be successful in the half-court game. Manual’s desire to improve, especially in the low post, will determine his progress and productivity. Most times he is not the best athlete on the floor for his powerful Oak Hill Academy (Va.) team, but he might be the most skilled big man who can block a shot, and that should help him play with more of a purpose. His desire to improve and his work ethic will determine his progress; if the light comes on, he is clearly a top 100 player. Michigan, Michigan State, Missouri, NC State and Providence are heavily involved in his recruiting.

Steve Enoch is in attendance at the NBPA Camp but the below is from an article from BruinReportOnline.com published leading up to the NBPA camp:

“He started late,” Enoch’s AAU coach George Mathews told Scout.com. “He started taking it seriously late. He always played. When I saw him he was playing JV in February of 2013.”

Last summer, Enoch participated in elite camps at Iona and Fairfield and he began picking up some scholarship offers, but his recruiting didn’t skyrocket until early April

“It started ramping up was when coach had open gym at his school in April right before the dead period,” Mathews said.

“He had Creighton and VCU and Providence, and they were like ‘wow’, they saw him handle and shoot and his ability. That’s when it started picking up.”

On the court, Enoch showed an impressive shooting touch and versatility, according to Norwalk (Conn.) High coach Tom Keyes.

“One of the best things you could say is he’s versatile with what he can do,” Keyes said. “He has instincts to go down low. He’s 6-10. He has a good shooting stroke and has confidence in it. If he has a mismatch he’ll go inside.”

Mathews echoed those thoughts.

“He’s a really good shooter,” he said. “He can stroke the three. I would say his versatility is his strength. He can handle the ball. He can post. He likes to bang. He likes to drive. His growth and his coachablilty is his strength, as is his attitude and his work ethic. He’s willing to do anything and then stay longer and do more.”

“The plan is by the end of the summer to get it down to 10 schools,” Mathews said. “Basically the 10 that are most interested in him and the 10 he’s most interested in. Then we’ll cut it to five and then we’ll take five visits.”

Here are a bunch of highlight videos from the NBPA Top 100 so far:

Check out this video of two PC recruits going head to head at the Adidas Gauntlet:

  • New interest this week is in 6’8 PF Wenyen Gabriel who plays for Mass Rivals on the AAU circuit will transfer to Wilbraham & Monson and reclassify to the class of 2016.

In addition to interest from PC and Maryland, Gabriel also picked up his first official offer this week from New Hampshire and is hearing from Boston College, Brown, UConn, Maryland, Northeastern and Towson. While none of those schools have offered yet, Gabriel told me he hopes “to make some of those into offers next month [during the live period].” Brian Blaney was the PC coach that made first contact this week. Gabriel plans to attend the Adidas UnRivaled Camp July 9-13 in Chicago and then his Mass Rivals squad will compete at the Peach State Showcase in South Carolina July 16-20, a tournament in Georgia and then he will finish the live period in Vegas at the Adidas Super 64.

  • Another player with new PC interest is 2016 Kellan Grady who plays for the New England Playaz on the AAU circuit and attends Catholic Memorial HS in Massachusetts.

Grady and the Playaz competed in the Zero Gravity National Finals last weekend in Hanover, MA. They took home the trophy. New England Recruiting Report had this to say about his performance (click the link to also see highlights):

The New England Playaz captured their second consecutive championship, following their u16 title at the Memorial Day Super 16 Showcase, with a Varsity division u17 title here. Grady was a catalyst in both championships and appears to be getting better by the week. He was far from being a big name prospect when the spring travel season first began but he has progressed more rapidly than anyone anticipated making a name for himself with college coaches. Grady, who took an unofficial visit to Rhode Island last week, has an intriguing combination of size, length and ball-handling ability in the backcourt. Add to that a natural instinct for making big plays down the stretch of tight games (like the game winning drive he made in the 4OT thriller at the Super 16) and you have a player who is just starting to realize his talent.

There were other PC recruits in the Zero Gravity Nationals that were mentioned by NERR:

Kimani Lawrence

Cushing Academy, Expressions Elite

Virtually no one would deny Lawrence’s upside, talent or potential versatility. Another well-deserved adjective that we need to add to that list is: durability. Lawrence played double duty this weekend, leading Expressions to the Division I championship in the 10th Grade Division while also playing minutes at the Varsity level. This is not the first time this spring he has played in multiple age groups and he never seems any worse for the wear. The rising sophomore made good use of his first off-season in a prep school weight room, adding noticeable muscle mass to his 6-foot-6 frame. We’ve seen him attack the rim and finish through contact with unprecedented power in recent weeks (including this monster dunk at the Boo Williams Invitational in Virginia last month) and he was back at it again this weekend, leading the way to the championship in the process.

Jarred Reuter, New England Playaz: He’s quicker, more athletic and more confident than he’s been in years and the end result is perhaps the most physically imposing interior match-up in New England.

Jared Wilson-Frame, Expressions Elite: He was the most consistent scorer for Expressions’s varsity division squad, making tough shots from behind the arc and physical straight line drives to the rim alike.

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