When Roy Williams and his North Carolina Tar Heels cut down the nets in Arizona last Monday, March madness came to an end. Or so we thought…
As the saying goes, April showers bring May flowers. Well in college basketball, at the dizzying rate with which “student athletes” are deciding to transfer as well as the number of good 2017 seniors that have yet to commit, I have dubbed this month/time April Scours, (as in looking high and low for talent). Believe me, every coach in the nation is doing it right now. Sometimes their biggest wins on the season don’t come on the court, they happen in the living room of an up and coming prospect. With that in mind, here is a look at how the 2 big time basketball programs in New Jersey are shaping up.
Seton Hall – Kevin Willard has two recruits already in the fold for 2017:
Myles Cale, a 6-4 shooting guard from Middletown, DE – Appoquinimink High School.
He is the 62nd ranked player in the senior class by ESPN, and on their recruiting page they list his strengths as a player like this:
“He is a big scoring guard who knows how to put points on the board. He evolved quite a bit physically in recent years, continuing to get stronger and more explosive while utilizing those attributes in his offensive attack. He gets out in transition very well, but has also been well coached in terms of playing within offensive structure. He’s athletic both in the mid-range area as well as around the rim, where he has terrific body control, and also has an outstanding left hand for a righty. He has a generally high basketball I.Q. and all the weapons to be an impactful defender at the next level.”
Darnell Brodie is a 6-10, 260 pound power forward/center from Newark, NJ – Putnam Science Academy. He hails from Pirates junior to be Ish Sonogo’s alma mater, and he will provide The Hall with something they sorely need – SIZE! Brodie has a Big East body, but does he have a BE game to go along with it? Time will tell. Ideally, he is someone that hopefully Kevin Willard can bring along slowly, because his offense has room to improve.
Spring recruiting for Seton Hall truly revolves around two players, Angel Delgado and Trevon Duval. If Delgado comes back to SHU, they are an NCAA Tournament team again already. His return would only help the effort to land Duval as well. In February I brought you the story of Trevon Duval, the top rated point guard in America with whom the Pirates are battling Arizona, Duke, Kansas, & Baylor for. Can Kevin Willard stare down coach K (Duke seems to be the favorite at this time), and sign the program changing talent? In the meantime, he is busy recruiting players such as George Washington transfer, Kevin Marfo. The former Colonials power forward is expected to visit South Orange April 19. He just finished his freshman year so wherever he ends up, he will have three years of eligibility after sitting out next year’s transfer season. SHU is also looking for a springtime kiss, in the form of Quinnipiac University transfer, Peter Kiss. The shooting guard was a four-time MAAC Rookie of the Week winner and a unanimous selection its All-Rookie Team. Another name, among others, to keep in mind is recent Oklahoma State decommit, Amauri Hardy.
Rutgers – Steve Pikiell just finished up a successful first season in New Brunswick. His Scarlet Knights not only won three conference games this year, they also earned their 1st ever Big Ten Conference road win, and conference tournament victory. Coach knows that recruiting is the name of the game in college hoop. He relayed a story to a group of high school basketball coaches gathered for the NJ Basketball Coaches Clinic last Friday (I was there), of having long delays at the airport the previous week, in his quest to add talent to his roster. To date, RU has two players signed for next year’s class:
Geo Baker is a 6-3 shooting guard from Proctor Academy.
Photo: The Left Bench
He is a rated as a 3-star recruit by ESPN, and this is how their recruiting experts describe him as a player (from their website):
“Baker is a skilled guard who has improved at a rapid rate over the course of his high school career. He has a special ability to make shots off the dribble at a young age and his pull-up, even from long range, is really his most defining weapon. He’s also a good three-point shooter off the catch, capable of playing on or off the ball and at worst a valuable secondary ball-handler. He’s a versatile pick-and-roll player who is equally dangerous using the screen, where the threat of his pull-up prevents defenders from going under, as well as spotting up on the weak-side or replacing up on the strong side. He has solid speed going north to south and is also smooth with the ball.”
Soufiane Mensah – 6-2, PG, Marshalltown Community College. Souf is originally from Paris, France. When he committed, NJ.com’s Jeremy Schneider filed this story about the pass first lead guard.
It appears that the Scarlet Knights have moved their recruiting focus to the class of 2018. Yet, they did attract the attention of one-time University of Washington commit and top 100 PG Blake Harris. He recently asked for and received his release from the school after the head coach who recruited him to Seattle, Lorenzo Romar was fired. Initially, Harris indicated that he would take a visit to Rutgers, however this weekend while on a trip to the University of Missouri, he committed there. Although it was a setback, the good news here is that Pikiell was able to get his program in the mix for this type of talent so soon, and that bodes well for the future.
Stay tuned college hoops fans, things change on the recruiting trail quicker than a Lonzo Ball fast-break.
And that is My 2 Sense for this week.