Tuesday, November 16, 2010

JUCO DE commits to N.C. State

Continuing its pattern of turning to transfer students to help on the defensive line, N.C. State has received a commitment from junior college player McKay Frandsen of Snow College in Utah.

Frandsen is 6-foot-3 and 247 pounds and excels as a pass rushing defensive end, according to Snow defensive line coach Derek Campbell. Frandsen, who's from American Fork, Utah, originally signed with Brigham Young.

"He plays hard, plays aggressive and gives you everything he's got," Campbell said.

N.C. State's defensive line currently includes New Mexico Military Junior College transfer Natanu Mageo, Northeastern transfer David Akinniyi and Georgia transfer Michael Lemon. All three are seniors, as is defensive end Audi Augustin, so the Wolfpack will need immediate help at that position next season.

Another transfer from Snow College, Mikel Overgaard, plays offensive tackle for N.C. State, and Campbell said his guidance helped Frandsen.

"He definitely had good things to tell McKay, and I think it made him feel comfortable leaving Utah and going all the way across the country," Campbell said.

Ken Tysiac

Friday, November 5, 2010

N.J. wing Tyler Harris commits to N.C. State

Tyler Harris, a 6-foot-8 wing forward known more for his perimeter scoring ability than his post-up game, has committed to N.C. State.

Roshown McLeod, the former Duke player who coaches Harris at St. Benedict's Prep in New Jersey, confirmed the commitment today in an e-mail to The Charlotte Observer and News & Observer.

Harris is the younger brother of Tobias Harris, who was a McDonald's All-American last season who signed with Tennessee. All-Star Sports recruiting analyst Bob Gibbons said Tyler Harris has reclassified from the Class of 2012 to the Class of 2011, so he is a young player in the senior class.

That has resulted in Harris being under the radar in some analysts' recruiting rankings, Gibbons said. Gibbons has Harris ranked No. 87 in 2011.

"I've been impressed with him," Gibbons said. "Even though he lacks physicality and strength, he's tall. He's going to fill out. He has a great scoring knack."

Gibbons said Harris will begin his college career as a wing forward but could also play power forward after he matures and gains weight.

-- Ken Tysiac

Friday, October 29, 2010

Junior point guard Lewis commits to Pack

Forsyth Country Day point guard Tyler Lewis, who's one of the top junior prospects in North Carolina has committed to N.C. State, according to a news release from his high school coach, Craig Dawson.

Lewis committed to coach Sidney Lowe on thursday night at N.C. State's football game with Florida State. Other offers that Lewis strongly considered came from Wake Forest, Miami, Charlotte and Davidson.

He averaged 20.0 points and 8.6 assists per game while shooting 57 percent from the field last season as a sophomore.

Ken Tysiac

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hillside's Lee picks Georgia Tech

Durham Hillside senior Vad Lee will take his dual-threat quarterback skills to Georgia Tech with plans of putting them to use in the triple-option offense coached by Paul Johnson that helped the Yellow Jackets win the 2009 ACC title.

Lee passed for 1,416 yards and rushed for 675 more last season.

"The offense fits him good," said Hillside coach Antonio King. "He has a great relationship with the coaches. He enjoyed himself every time he went down there."

King said Lee saw Georgia Tech as the best fit for him as a person, too, in preparing him for life after football. King said Wake Forest and N.C. State also were close competitors for Lee before Georgia Tech earned his commitment.

Lee is 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds and is rated as the No. 26 prospect in North Carolina by rivals.com.

Ken Tysiac

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

UNC lands Simmons as preferred walk-on

Cetera DeGraffenreid's experience as a women's basketball player at North Carolina helped the Tar Heels's men's team land Smoky Mountain High Class of 2011 power forward Jackson Simmons as a preferred walk-on.

Cindi Simmons, Jackson's mother, coached DeGraffenreid at Smoky Mountain.

"We know what Carolina has meant to the DeGraffenreids, and we followed that very closely," said Si Simmons, Jackson's father. "Cetera allowed us to be a part of her recruiting at Carolina and Jackson has grown up seeing that and being a part of that, and choosing Carolina has been sort of a natural choice."

Simmons is 6-foot-8 and 205 pounds and averaged 19.9 points and 12.5 rebounds per game as a junior on a team that went 24-5 and reached the state semifinals. His father and his high school coach, Jimmy Cleaveland, said Simmons committed as a walk-on with the understanding that he could earn scholarship help eventually with time, effort and performance.

"He's a post player for us, but he has worked very hard on his perimeter game," Cleaveland said. "He has a nice shot and he is getting a whole lot better. He has always been a very solid player and his work ethic is tremendous."

Si Simmons said Charlotte, Davidson, Old Dominon, Western Carolina, Appalachian State and Southern Illinois were among the many schools that offered scholarships to Jackson.

"We're so excited about Carolina and appreciate the other opportunities," Simmons said. "I don't want to slight that at all. But when Carolina became a reality, that became a pretty clear choice for him."

Ken Tysiac and Tim Stevens

Monday, August 16, 2010

Salisbury's Morris commits to UNC

Romar Morris, one of the top high school football prospects in the state and one of the fastest, committed to the University of North Carolina on Monday.

The 5-foot-10, 170-pound senior ran for 1,330 yards and scored 17 touchdowns in 2009 at Salisbury High.

He has run 40 yards in 4.32 seconds and set NCHSAA 2-A records in the 100 (10.54) and the 200 (21.47) during the 2-A championship meet in the spring. He led Salisbury to the track title.

Morris and Salisbury senior safety Darian Rankin, who had already committed to UNC, helped the Hornets to a 10-5 record in 2009 and to the N.C. High School Athletic Association 2-AA Western Regional championship game.

Morris is the ninth player on the rivals.com top 30 seniors list in North Carolina to pick the Tar Heels this year. Rivals.com ranks Morris as the 10th-best all-purpose back in the country and the 18th-best prospect in North Carolina.

Salisbury assistant principal Christopher Wayne McNeil confirmed that Morris had made his commitment. Morris earlier had said he had narrowed his choice to UNC or Georgia Tech

Friday, August 13, 2010

North Lenoir athlete commits to N.C. State

North Lenoir High coach Calvin Sutton raves about the athletic ability of Maurice Morgan, who committed to N.C. State earlier this week.

Morgan plays multiple positions, including running back and wide receiver, for the North Lenoir team in LaGrange, N.C. He also is a standout in basketball and football.

"His athletic ability seems to be far beyond the masses, so to speak," Sutton said. ". . .His ability is probably not matched by many across the state."

Morgan is 6-foot-2 and 214 pounds, and although he has played mostly offense in high school, Sutton said safety might be the best fit for him in college. He also had a scholarship offer from East Carolina and had been recruited by North Carolina without receiving an offer, according to Sutton.

Ken Tysiac

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Jurkin commits to Indiana

Peter Jurkin, a 7-foot center with United Faith Christian in Charlotte, has committed to Indiana.

"He felt comfortable with them," United Faith coach Shaun Wiseman said this morning. "They've been recruiting him for a while."

Jurkin will be a high school junior in the fall.

Ken Tysiac

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

California WR chooses Duke

Blair Holliday, a wide receiver from the storied Oaks Christian School program in California whose alumni include rookie Carolina Panthers quarterback Jimmy Clausen, has committed to Duke.

Holliday is 6-foot-3 and 185 pounds and caught about 48 passes last season for approximately 1,000 yards.

"He's got really good speed, in the 4.5 area," said Oaks Christian coach Bill Redell. "He's a good student, and he's good good range and runs good routes. I think Duke's got a really great player."

Redell said Holliday's scholarship offers included Colorado State, Boise State and San Diego State. Duke's academic reputation played a significant role in Holliday's commitment, according to Redell.

Ken Tysiac

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Punter Baumann commits to N.C. State

Despite a background that has included coaching from two fathers of University of North Carolina players, Wilmington Hoggard High punter Wil Baumann has committed to N.C. State.

The most influential coach in Baumann's career has been Keith Wood, a former Southwestern Oklahoma State kicker recently hired as head coach at Fairmont High after serving as a Hoggard assistant.

But punting guru Bill Renner, the father of North Carolina redshirt freshman quarterback Bryn Renner, helped fine tune Baumann's punting. Baumann also has been helped by Tom Barth, the father of current Tar Heel kicker Casey Barth and former North Carolina player Connor Barth, who kicks for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Casey and Connor Barth both played for Hoggard.

"I don't think they will care too much," Baumann said of committing to the Tar Heels' rival. "They've got a really good punter right now [Grant Schallock], and I don't think they've got a spot [for a punter] right now."

Baumann said he is a longtime fan of N.C. State and is eager to enter the school's engineering program. He is 6-foot-5 and 180 pounds and averaged 44 yards per kick as as a junior.

He also had a scholarship offer from Northwestern, but said he chose N.C. State because of its academics (he carries a 3.5 grade-point average) and proximity to home.

Ken Tysiac

Niles withdraws commitment from N.C. State

Thomas Niles, who was the most highly rated player in the Class of 2011 to have committed to N.C. State, has withdrawn his commitment to the Wolfpack.

Niles, a defensive tackle from Gainesville High in Georgia, now also is considering a scholarship offer from Central Florida. Gainesville coach Bruce Miller said Niles plans to think more about his decision for a few days and perhaps longer, but said Central Florida now is the leading candidate if Niles is going to commit.

Miller said N.C. State didn't do anything wrong in its recruiting, and said Niles just has some things he wants to think about.

"N.C. State kind of came in there and saw him first," Miller said. "And then he started sitting back and saying, 'I'm just trying to make a good decision.' And he wanted to make a good, clean decision, and he kind of backed off things [with N.C. State] for a while."

Ken Tysiac

Plumlee gives Duke huge endorsement

Marshall Plumlee probably knows just about all there is to know about the inner workings of the Duke basketball program.

His eldest brother, Miles, is a rising junior for the defending NCAA champions. Another brother, Mason, will be a sophomore with the Blue Devils next season.

So unlike many recruits, who are wooed and courted by college coaches highlighting mostly the positives about their programs, Marshall has an intimate family understanding about how coach Mike Krzyzewski runs his team.

And it’s telling for Duke and Krzyzewski that the third Plumlee brother still committed to the Blue Devils on Saturday. The commitment was as strong an endorsement as Krzyzewski could ever hope to get from any recruit.

The players’ father, Perky Plumlee, spoke frankly earlier this week about what Marshall’s commitment means for Duke.

“I think we do have a unique perspective,” he said, “and I think that any school, when you’re just being recruited by a school, if you haven’t had a personal experience with the program like we have with Duke I suppose it’s human nature that you imagine an environment that’s totally pain free. Actually playing in a program doesn’t mimic the recruiting process. The recruiting process is a courtship and it’s fun and it’s flattering. . . .You can’t actually simulate what it would be like to be there in practice, being pushed to your limits.”

Perky Plumlee said the family has confidence in the way Krzyzewski and his staff coach players. If that weren’t the case, Plumlee said, they wouldn’t send another son there.

He also said Marshall will go to Duke knowing fully well just how hard the Duke staff pushes its players. He said the staff is demanding, doesn’t take shortcuts and requires maximum effort from players, pushing them beyond what they thought their limits might have been.

“I do think that because Duke is such a prominent and successful program, unfortunately there probably is a lot of misinformation that perhaps their competitors like to generate,” Plumlee said. “They maybe try to perpetuate [negative] things, I don’t know, to gain a recruiting advantage. All I can say is that from my perspective Coach K, his program is honest and he has his methods and styles, I don’t suppose that they’ve changed that much over 30 years. Really the burden is on the kid to work hard and make the most of his opportunity.”

While Duke endured a five-year Final Four drought from 2005 to 2009, there was a perception that recruits were reacting negatively to how hard Krzyzewski pushes his players.

Duke lost out on highly rated recruits such as Patrick Patterson (Kentucky), Greg Monroe (Georgetown) and even Harrison Barnes, an incoming freshman at North Carolina, and some wondered if there was something wrong within the program.

By capturing the 2010 NCAA title, the Blue Devils emphatically refuted those doubts on the court. Now, Marshall Plumlee’s commitment reaffirms the direction of the program behind closed doors.

“The fact that we are enthused of Marshall’s choice, I guess, is a good endorsement of their program and the way they run it,” Perky Plumlee said.

Marshall Plumlee, rated No. 40 in the nation in the Class of 2011 by scout.com, isn’t the type of recruit with the ability to instantly carry Duke to a Final Four. But those kind of recruits come and go, often spending just one season at a school.

Plumlee’s commitment should have positive implications for the Blue Devils that last much longer.

Ken Tysiac

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Duke lands Monroe's Crowder

Jamison Crowder, a speedy rising senior playmaker for Monroe High School, has committed to Duke.

Monroe coach Johnny Sowell said the Blue Devils want to use Crowder as a return man on punts and kickoffs, but are undecided on a position for him. Crowder plays defensive back and wide receiver for Monroe, and might add some backfield duties this season.

"He can take a 5-yard pass and turn it into an 80-yard run," Sowell said. "He can take a punt return at any time and take it the distance, as well as a kickoff return."

Crowder is about 5-foot-11 and 170 pounds and is a good student, Sowell said. Crowder also seriously considered North Carolina, N.C. State and Wake Forest.

Ken Tysiac

Underwood commits to UNC

North Carolina's stellar in-state recruiting in the Class of 2011 continued Tuesday morning when lineman Shaun Underwood of Fuquay-Varina High committed to the Tar Heels.

Underwood, who's 6-foot-2 and 320 pounds, is rated the No. 29 prospect in the state by rivals.com. He gives North Carolina eight commitments from among the state's top 30 prospects.
He said the school's academic excellence over a broad range of curricula and the academic support for athletes were among the reasons he chose North Carolina. He also seriously considered Wake Forest and Penn State, but said he wanted to stay close to home.

"I don't like being away from my family," he said. "I want my mom and my grandparents to see me play as much as they can. That would mean a lot to me."

Underwood said that North Carolina's coaches initially were recruiting him as an offensive guard, but later found out that he also plays defensive tackle and asked him which position he prefers.

He told them he likes defense better, but is flexible.

"It’s amazing," said Fuquay-Varina coach Ryan Habich, "they like him on offense and defense, it’s hard to say which side he’s better on. He’s just very special. The thing that separates him from most big guys is that he has so much speed."

Ken Tysiac

Persistent Salisbury safety Rankin picks Heels

The first time Salisbury High's Darien Rankin participated in a one-day camp at North Carolina, he came away without a scholarship offer.

So when Salisbury coach Joe Pinyan was making a trip to Chapel Hill for another one-day camp with running back Romar Morris, Rankin asked to ride along. When he arrived, he was asked if he wanted to participate again.

He paid the camp entry fee, worked out and was offered a scholarship, and he's now committed to the Tar Heels.

"One day wasn't enough for him," Pinyan said. "He wanted to go up there and show them the type of kid that he is."

Rankin is a 5-foot-11, 180-pound player who projects as a safety for North Carolina. He also had a scholarship offer from Utah and had interest in East Carolina and South Carolina, before deciding to play for the Tar Heels.

Pinyan said Rankin has excellent athletic ability, as illustrated by his 6-foot, 8-inch high jump, but still needs to work on his footwork and other safety-specific skills after playing a position that's a combination of safety, outside linebacker and defensive end for Salisbury.

"While he might not be the four-star quarterback like [Marquise Williams] or a top lineman [Landon Turner] that they've gotten out of Virginia, he's that piece that completes the whole puzzle," Pinyan said. "Maybe he doesn't have that glamourous 40 time, but he's a guy, when the lights come on, he plays."

Ken Tysiac

Monday, July 12, 2010

Gastonia LB Bigger commits to Duke

Gastonia Ashbrook High linebacker Zeek Bigger has been exchanging texts with West Charlotte running back Jalen Simmons with big plans for Duke's football program.

"We want to go there and help change things," said Bigger, who said Monday that he has joined Simmons in committing to Duke.

Bigger is 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds and made 101 tackles with seven sacks last season. He also considered Arkansas, Virginia and East Carolina.

The opportunity for possible early playing time was enticing to Bigger.

"I think I will get to play my freshman year," he said.

Duke coach David Cutcliffe also made a favorable impression on Bigger. Cutcliffe turned down an opportunity to coach Tennessee during the offseason, and that commitment may be helping him and Duke in recruiting.

"He's there for the long run and he's going to bring in a whole lot of talent so one of these days, one of these years, there will be a championship there," Bigger said.

Ken Tysiac

Virginia senior boosts UNC's offensive line recruiting

North Carolina's stellar offensive line recruiting effort has received another boost with the commitment of Harrisonburg (Va.) High tackle Landon Turner.

Turner, who's 6-foot-6 and 310 pounds, is rated the No. 3 prospect in Virginia by rivals.com.

"He's so tenacious," said Harrisonburg coach Tim Sarver. "He stays after his block and does what every coach dreams about, he goes until the whistle blows. He's got a mean streak in him."

Turner joins a Class of 2011 offensive line haul that also includes Kiaro Holts of Indianapolis (rated the No. 41 player in the nation by scout.com), Jamar Lewter of Washington, D.C., and Jarrod James of Aycock High in Pikeville. The 2010 class also included two prized offensive line prospects in James Hurst of Plainfield, Ind., and T.J. Leifheit of Wilmington's Hoggard High.

The two classes combined have a chance to solidify North Carolina's talent and depth at one of the team's shakiest positions during coach Butch Davis' tenure.

Turner was recruited by schools from coast to coast and settled on North Carolina, Virginia Tech and West Virginia as his finalists. Sarver said Turner's attractiveness to recruiters was enhanced by his high character and strong academic grades.

"He's one of the best to come out of this state," Sarver said. "He was going to be a catch for whoever picks him up."

Ken Tysiac

Charlotte Christian's Brown picks Duke

The opportunity to play with his brother for coach David Cutcliffe has led Charlotte Christian linebacker Kyler Brown to commit to Duke.

Kyler Brown, who will be a senior at Charlotte Christian this season, said he will play outside linebacker and will have both rush and pass coverage drop responsibilities. His brother Kelby Brown will be a freshman on the 2010 Duke team.

"It's going to be sweet because my brother's already there," Kyler Brown said. "I'm going to get to play with him and win an ACC championship with him."

Kyler Brown is 6-foot-5 and 215 pounds and had narrowed his list to Duke and Oregon. After visiting Duke last week, he committed to Cutcliffe, who Brown said was critical in his decision.

"He's a great man," Brown said. "He sat down and talked to me a couple times at least for 30 minutes each. He's just a great person, and he's great with all the players and he's really relaxed when you're with him."

Ken Tysiac

Another Plumlee commits to Duke

The Plumlee family has delivered a third highly-recruited big man to coach Mike Krzyzewski and Duke.

Marshall Plumlee, a 7-foot rising senior at Christ School in Arden, N.C., will follow brothers Miles and Mason to Duke. Christ School coach David Gaines said Marshall committed late Saturday night.

Miles, the eldest of Perky and Leslie Plumlee's three sons, will be a junior for the Blue Devils in 2010-11 as they attempt to defend their NCAA title. Mason Plumlee will be a sophomore at Duke. Both players were reserves last season, but there's a chance they both will be in the starting lineup in 2010-11.

All three brothers could play together when Marshall is a freshman in 2011-12 - if Mason Plumlee doesn't leave early for the NBA draft. Mason, who's the most highly skilled of the brothers, is considered a potential lottery pick in 2011.

Gaines said the pivotal time for Marshall in his decision to attend Duke was a week he spent with Miles in Durham in June. They worked out together and played pickup games. Marshall visited with Krzyzewski, and also drove to Chapel Hill for a visit with North Carolina coach Roy Williams.

According to Gaines, Williams said he liked Marshall and needs big men in the Tar Heel program, but didn't offer a scholarship and said he wanted to see Marshall play more in July.

Marshall visited with Virginia coach Tony Bennett after the NBA Players Association's top 100 camp in Charlottesville, Va. Then, before July 4, Marshall was at home in Warsaw, Ind., with his entire family - the first time they'd all been together for an extended period since Christmas.

That gave Marshall time to make his decision. Gaines said he expects Krzyzewski to set goals for Marshall for his senior season, and anticipates that becoming a dominating low-post scorer will be part of the plan.

Marshall is a different player from his brothers - about an inch taller than Miles and Mason - and what might be called a "true" center. While Miles and particularly Mason have demonstrated the ability to score on mid-range jump shots and sometimes drives to the basket, Marshall plays strictly with his back to the basket on offense.

He averaged 8.6 points, eight rebounds and almost three blocked shots per game last season while leading Christ School to a state title, and Gaines wants to see the scoring number increase.

"We need a 7-footer who is going to the ACC to be a legitimate 15-, 18-point-a-game guy," Gaines said. "And I think he will work to do that. That's just his natural progression. That's what needs to happen."

Gaines said Marshall plays with enthusiasm and energy and runs the floor quickly, like his brothers, even though he plays a different position on offense. Gaines said Marshall felt comfortable with the coaches, the tradition and the size of the school at Duke.

Marshall is rated the No. 40 player in his class by scout.com, and Gaines said his final three schools of top interest were Duke, North Carolina and Virginia.

"Really, Marshall is kind of his own man," Gaines said, "and I think the decision, it didn't hurt that his brothers are there and have had a great experience. But ultimately he made the call on his own."

Ken Tysiac

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Hairston makes point at top 100 camp

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - P.J. Hairston, the shooting guard from Greensboro who's committed to North Carolina, came to the NBA Players Association's top 100 camp to make a point.

He wanted to make a case for himself as a McDonald's All-American in 2011. Even though many of the top players in the class are absent while working out for the USA Basketball, Hairston has succeeded.

After two days of games, Hairston is the camp's scoring leader at 16.8 points per game.

"All my shots are basically coming from taking it to the rack," said Hairston, who's been working to improve his driving ability. "Basically all my points are coming from that. And then once I get that, that's when the 3-point shot comes, and it's really hard to stop me.

"It's basically the biggest camp of the summer and it really shows McDonald's All-American that I deserve to be there."

Hairston is one of many players of local interest among the top scorers at the camp. Michael Gbinije, the forward who's committed to Duke, is tied for fifth on the camp scoring list at 13.8 points per game.

Cody Zeller, the brother of North Carolina center Tyler Zeller who's being recruited by the Tar Heels and Wake Forest, is averaging 12.5 points. Deuce Bello of High Point's Westchester Academy (12.0), Raleigh Upper Room Class of 2013 standout Rodney Purvis (11.5), Charlotte Christian's Anthony Gill (10.5), Davidson Day's Bernard Sullivan (10.0) and N.C. State commitment Joseph Uchebo of Raleigh Word of God (10.0) all are in the top 25 on the camp scoring list.

Sullivan, a 6-foot-7 combo forward who said he's wide open in his consideration of possible colleges, has seen his stock improve in a productive summer. In the past, injuries have prevented him from making much of an impact in summer basketball.

"Being in the top 100, me playing well, that's going to raise my stock," Sullivan said. "People are finally getting to see me at the highest level. . . .being with all these NBA players and learning from them is just a remarkable experience."

Ken Tysiac

Friday, June 18, 2010

Q&A with Jerry Stackhouse

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Former North Carolina and longtime NBA guard Jerry Stackhouse is participating in the coaching development program at the NBA Players Association camp:

Q: What are you doing here in terms of trying to get involved in coaching?
A: I'm looking into the next phase of my career, trying to see if coaching is maybe something I want to do. I've obviously been playing for the last 30 years. I feel like I have a real knowledge of basketball. I',m just trying to transition that from playing to trying to help kids improve and obviously try to win games at the same time. It's been a great experience. I've learned so much in two days from Brendan Suhr, a guy who has 40 years of basketball under his belt. He's teaching us here what it takes to be an assistant coach.
I think a head coach is more like a CEO that kind of runs everything. The assistant coach is the guy who takes some of the burden off of him, and we're learning to do that. At the same time it's an opportunity to rub elbows with some of these young kids who are going to be the future of college basketball as well as the future of our league. So this is exciting to be able to share with them. I think they're like sponges right now. They just want to soak up everything that they can and hopefully with the experiences and things I've done over the last 15 years as a pro, I can share that with them and help them.

Q: What do you try to tell them?
A: How hard it is. You don't want to discourage them, but it takes a work ethic. And everybody's talented. Everybody here can jump up and dunk a basketball and have an unbelievable body. And it's going to be even more so when you get to the next level in college. Everybody that you see is going to be at this camp. How are you going to separate yourself? The only way you can separate yourself is by coming in and working on your game, taking everything you can from here. You've got professional, NBA players that their least amount of years is eight years. You've got eight or more years of experience here. So use these guys, use us to try to learn as much as you can to get to the level that you're trying to attain, and I think they're doing that. Every time I turn around I have somebody trying to take me one on one or beat me one on one, but that's part of it. At the same stage I was doing the same thing, because that's the only way you can test yourself, by going against better players. And I'm glad they still consider me a better player.

Q: Did you go to a camp like this coming up through the ranks?
A: I went to Nike camp. Nike camp had the top players in the country. They used to do it up in Indiana, and it was a great experience. I came out of the camp the No. 1 or No. 2 player in a lot of publications, and it gave me a lot of confidence. I felt like you had the top talent in the country, and some of the top publications and basketball gurus were saying you were the top player out of that, you just ride that momentum and ride that confidence. You had to look at it, whether you were No. 1, I was fortunate to be considered in the top five in anybody's. You've got to use it as motivation. If you're 30th, you say, 'Hey, I'm top 30 in the country.' You use all of this stuff for confidence. Basketball is always about confidence. There’s nothing like seeing the ball go through the hoop, and when you can come to places like that and see kids from all across the country and show that you have the ability and skills to compete with them, then I really have a chance, and all I have to do is continue to stay on the right course and continue to get better. And you can have a chance to really put on an NBA uniform some day.

Q: What's it like for you to be able to give back to these kids who are hoping to be where you're at some day?
A: It feels good, but at the same time getting out of the player's shoe and jumping into the coach's shoe is totally different. We had a workshop today where we kind of went over the scouting report. I've taken the walk throughs and scouting reports for granted for 20 years. And now that I had to do one today, I realize how hard it is to remember the play and know where everybody has to be. But it was a great experience. Once I did it, I felt like I could do it again. Those are the things you just don't realize until you start doing it.

Q: You've got a future Carolina guy on your team, P.J. Hairston. What do you think of him as a player, and do y'all do some Carolina talk?
A: He's so talented. And things come a little easy for him. That's where he has to make sure that he still puts in that work ethic and keeps up that effort and desire. He’s at the point right now where even at a top 100 camp, he stands out. So you can't get complacent. You've got to think that there are probably 20 kids who aren't here who are at USA Basketball, so he has to have a mind set that even though I'm doing really well at this camp, 20 of the best in the country aren't here so I've got to still improve, and I've got to get better than them.
And hopefully he'll take on that. But I love the fact that he's a North Carolina kid. And the other kid, Deuce [Bello], from High Point, I'm excited that even some of the young kids, the rising sophomores, the kid from Upper Room, North Carolina's on the map, and we're going to try to stay there.

Q: What's it like for you being back in ACC country in Charlottesville? I know you never got a chance to play in this venue here.
A: It's really nice. We played at the other building. It's great. This is the only other place I visited was UVa, that I took an official visit to. And I almost came here. But I wnet down to visit North Carolina, and I couldn't tell Dean Smith no. So that's why I went to North Carolina.

Ken Tysiac

Thursday, June 17, 2010

UNC target Stokes stands out

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Jarnell Stokes stood out among the big men at the NBAPA Top 100 camp on Thursday morning for both his immense size and his skill set.

Of the 96 players in the camp, most are all arms and legs but Stokes, who's going into his junior year of high school, is built like an NFL tight end.

At 6-8, 240 pounds and with size 20 shoes, he's big for a 26-year-old, let alone a 16-year-old.
He was dominant for the Rockets in a 100-75 win over the Jazz on Thursday morning, scoring 11 points and just out-muscling his competition.

"I'm just trying to get my name out there," said Stokes, who's rated by ESPN as the sixth-best prospect in the class of 2012.

Stokes, who's from Memphis, said North Carolina, Maryland and Florida State called him Wednesday. He's also being pursued by Memphis, among other schools.

He made himself an instant message-board hero at UNC, and the opposite everywhere else, when he was asked if one school was his favorite.

"Everybody loves North Carolina, but the reality is they're all even," Stokes said.

J.P. Giglio

Bello impressed with Wolfpack's class

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Deuce Bello, a combo guard from Greensboro, has N.C. State on his list of college choices with three other ACC teams, Cleveland State and Baylor.

Bello, who's attending the NBA Players Association Top 100 Camp, said the addition of freshmen Ryan Harrow, C.J. Leslie and Lorenzo Brown helps the Wolfpack's chances.

"That helps them a lot," said Bello, who's ranked No. 91 in the class of 2011. "Especially Ryan Harrow and C.J. Leslie, that's a great combo right there."

Bello scored 10 points for the Jazz in the first game on Thursday morning in a 100-75 loss to the Rockets.

Bello teamed with ACC targets Tyler Lewis (Wake Forest, N.C. State, Virginia), Cody Zeller (Wake Forest, UNC) and Adjehi Baru (Maryland, Virginia Tech) and showed a surprising ability to create shots for others.

At 6-3, Bello has a skinny frame and long arms. He's more of a scoring guard than a point guard but he's working on his passing, he said.

"I was trying to get everyone involved," Bello said.

Bello said he has already visited Clemson and plans to visit Maryland, Miami, Baylor, Cleveland State and N.C. State.

The Wolfpack, which has four scholarships available for the class of 2011, has offered him a scholarship, he said.

One potential factor in Bello's college choice, he calls Brian Clifton his "mentor." Clifton, a club team coach, also helped former Raleigh prep star John Wall in his recruiting process.

J.P. Giglio

Lewis unlikely to choose Hokies

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Virginia Tech offered Tyler Lewis a scholarship when the Statesville guard was in eighth grade. Lewis doesn't think he'll end playing college basketball for the Hokies, though.

"They picked up Marquis Rankin," said Lewis, who's one of the top point guards in the class of 2012. "He's a point guard in the class of 2011, so they really don't need one in the class of 2012."

Lewis didn't rule out playing his college ball in the ACC or Virginia.

"I like coach [Tony] Bennett a lot," Lewis said. "He's a good guy."

UVa is late-comer to the Lewis party. The 5-11 pass-first point guard lists Charlotte, N.C. State and Wake Forest as possible choices.

"It's too early," said Lewis, who finished his sophomore season at Forsyth Country Day.
Lewis said he plans on making a decision next June, after he sees which coaches have shown the most interest at AAU tournaments and his high school games.

"Whoever comes out to my games will be the one that's most interested," Lewis said.

Lewis scored 13 points for the Jazz in a 100-75 loss to the Rockets on Thursday morning at the NBAPA Top 100 camp.

Ken Tysiac

Heels' Williams first to call Tokoto

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - North Carolina's Roy Williams didn't wait long to call J.P. Tokoto.
Just one minute after NCAA rules allowed coaches to call Class of 2012 prospects for the first time on Tuesday, Williams was on the phone with Tokoto, a 6-foot-6 wing from Monomonee Falls, Wis.

Williams offered Tokoto a scholarship. By the end of the day, coaches from Arizona, Florida, Maryland, Miami and Texas also had called to offer scholarships.

"It's definitely flattering to hear from all these coaches," Tokoto said Thursday at the NBA Players Association Top 100 camp at the University of Virginia.

Tokoto had spoken with Williams before Tuesday, but he said that was only during phone calls initiated by Tokoto, in accordance with NCAA rules. Tokoto said he has been impressed with how Williams inquires about his family and academics rather than just basketball.

"North Carolina itself, it's just a very historical school," Tokoto said. "Being shown interest even as a sophomore, it's just amazing. I didn't take it in until I got the actual offer, and I was just like, 'Wow.' "

Duke offered Tokoto a scholarship even earlier, after he attended the Blue Devils' elite camp last summer.

Tokoto hasn't narrowed his list of prospective schools, and said he doesn't want to show any favorites at this point. And despite all the interest he is getting, he said his parents are keeping him grounded.

"I can never get a big head," Tokoto said. "It's not that I would. I'm staying humble and hungry. Once you're not humble and hungry, you're not going to be a good basketball player."

Ken Tysiac

Big start for Sullivan at NBA top 100 camp

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - It didn't take long for Huntersville's Bernard Sullivan to make a big impression at the NBA Players Association's top 100 camp Thursday morning.

A few minutes into his opening game at the camp, Sullivan swished a left-handed 3-pointer from a few feet left of the top of the key. Sullivan, who's 6-foot-7 and 210 pounds, added a nifty up-and-under move for a basket from the lane.

"Nice move," somebody shouted from the bench.

Sullivan joins North Carolinians Dezmine Wells, Tyler Lewis, Dezmine Wells, Marquis Rankin, Anthony Gill, P.J. Hairston and Deuce Bello on the camp roster. Westchester Academy forward Quincy Miller is a late scratch because he is participating in a USA Basketball event, but Raleigh's Rodney Purvis and Bishop Daniels have been added to the camp to replace some of the players who can't make the camp because of that event.

N.C. State commitment Joseph Uchebo and Duke commitments Michael Gbinije and Tyler Adams also are competing. For more on the camp, stay tuned to this blog.

Ken Tysiac

Monday, June 14, 2010

N.C. State recruit enrolls at Word of God

Raleigh's Word of God Christian Academy, which has produced two of the best high school basketball players in the country during the last two seasons, is expected to have N.C. State basketball recruit Joseph Uchebo on its roster next season.

The 6-foot-9, 240-pound center has enrolled at Word of God, the alma mater of John Wall, last year's top-ranked high school player in the country, and C.J. Leslie, a McDonald's all-American and an N.C. State recruit.

When Uchebo committed to State he was listed as a member of the Class of 2012, but he might be able to graduate next year.

"We have to assess his transcript and see which courses he has passed," said Dr. Frank Summerfield, the founder of the Word of God school and church in Raleigh. "We need to find out which courses he still needs. Just looking over his transcript, it would appear at first glance that he is at least a junior, perhaps a senior.

"We will examine his transcripts and together we will decide what is best for Joseph."

Uchebo played at Oak Ridge (N.C.) Military Academy last year and at Durham Mount Zion the year before. He is from Lagos, Nigeria and is playing for the CP3 All-Stars this summer.

Summerfield said he has not selected a coach to succeed Erasta Hatchett, who coached at the school one season after succeeding Levi Beckwith.

"We've not moved on that yet," Summerfield said. "We are taking our time.

"The decision is being spiritually driven. We would like to have someone who is a part of the church. We want someone who is going to be with us for years to come."

The church, which is 17 years old, currently has about 2,500 members.

-- Tim Stevens, (Raleigh) News & Observer

Friday, June 4, 2010

Rock Hill's Clowney ranked top recruit in country

The phone in Bobby Carroll's office at South Pointe High has been ringing off the hook.

Nearly every coach at a major college has called to extend their congratulations of the latest news involving Carroll's football team.

Carroll coaches the No. 1 football player in the country, not just at his position and not just in South Carolina. Stallions defensive end Jadeveon Clowney has been chosen by three football recruiting services as the nation's best player in all of the 50 states.

"I'm happy to know football people feel I'm the number one player in the nation," Clowney said. "It's a big thing... really big. But I'm about team first and these honors bring recognition to South Pointe.

"When college coaches come here, they see we have a lot of good players that deserve a chance. No matter what is said about my abilities, you can't win without a team attitude. It takes all of us to be successful."

Clowney is at the top of the lists released by Rivals.com, Scouts.com and ESPN. Renowned high school analyst Tom Lemming, who ranked the top 100 players for MAXPreps.com, has Clowney at No. 2 in the nation.

"You wouldn't believe all of the calls," Carroll said. "Nearly every big-time coach in the country in interested in signing him and he has a stack of offers unlike any I've seen. I've coached five players now in the NFL and none were recruited as heavily as Clowney."

Clowney, who is 6-feet-6, 245 pounds, has listed South Carolina, North Carolina and Alabama as his top three schools, but that could change. South Carolina is most mentioned by observers not because of anything Clowney has said but because former South Pointe Stallions Stephon Gilmore and DeVonte Holloman play there.

According to Jim Baxter, who runs SCVarsity.com, South Carolina's branch of Rivals.com, no S.C. player has ever been ranked No. 1 nationally.

-- Barry Byers, Rock Hill Herald

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

McAdoo's decision 'not 100 percent' yet

James McAdoo's coach at Norfolk (Va.) Christian Academy, Michael Allen, shed a bit more light Wednesday on the possibility of early enrollment for McAdoo at North Carolina.

McAdoo is a 6-foot-8 power forward scheduled to graduate in 2011 who has committed to North Carolina. On Tuesday, McAdoo's father, Ronnie, said James is considering graduating early and joining the Tar Heels for the 2010-11 season but declined further comment.

"It's not 100 percent that he is leaving, and it's not 100 percent he's staying," Allen said. "It's just something they're praying about and contemplating and trying to work things out and see where the Lord is leading them."

Allen said the McAdoos haven't told him much yet, other than saying they're considering an early graduation that would require passing summer school classes.

"I know he has two main credit courses he would have to take this summer in summer school," Allen said. "They're exploring some options on how he could possibly do that to get his degree early."

McAdoo won't turn 18 until Jan. 4. He has never "reclassified" in school, so graduating early would put him a year ahead of his class, Allen said.

Getting McAdoo early would improve North Carolina's depth at forward after twins David and Travis Wear unexpectedly transferred to UCLA last month. The Wears' departure had left the Tar Heels with only Tyler Zeller and John Henson on scholarship in the frontcourt.

But Alabama junior Justin Knox, who's 6-foot-9, has announced plans to graduate from the university after this summer and enroll at North Carolina to play his final season of college eligibility for the Tar Heels in 2010-11 under the NCAA's graduate student transfer waiver.

McAdoo would give North Carolina another big body and a highly regarded prospect who seems destined for a future in the NBA. He is rated as the No. 5 prospect overall in the Class of 2011 by scout.com.

Whether he will need to be ranked with a new class soon is a question the family hasn't answered yet.

"It is an option," Allen said. "They're praying about it. And that's really about all we know."

Ken Tysiac

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

McAdoo may enroll early at UNC

James McAdoo, a 6-foot-8 power forward who's currently scheduled to graduate from high school in 2011, is considering enrolling a year early at North Carolina.

"It's something he's considering, and that's about as far as I'll go with it," said Ronnie McAdoo, the player's father. "It's something he's considering, but I don't want to get into any details about it."

McAdoo, who's considered one of the top five players in his class regardless of position, committed to North Carolina in September.

If he graduates from high school and enrolls early, he will be 17 years old when he enters North Carolina. He will turn 18 on Jan. 4 and could be the second player from Virginia in two years to take summer school classes in order to graduate a year early and attend a Triangle ACC school and play men's basketball.

A year ago, Andre Dawkins graduated early from Atlantic Shores Christian Academy in Chesapeake, Va., to enroll at Duke and help the Blue Devils win the NCAA title. He played a reserve role at shooting guard, helping decrease the impact of Duke's loss of Gerald Henderson after his junior season to the NBA draft and Elliot Williams to a transfer.

Like Duke last year, North Carolina is facing unexpected personnel losses. Tar Heel forwards David and Travis Wear surprised coach Roy Williams last month when they decided to transfer; they've since committed to UCLA.

That had left North Carolina with just two true post players on scholarship in Tyler Zeller and John Henson. But the Tar Heels added help in 6-foot-9 Justin Knox, who decided to graduate early from Alabama and enroll as a grad student at North Carolina for the one year of eligibility he has remaining.

Ken Tysiac

Where Duke, UNC, Pack stand in 2011 recruiting

Duke and North Carolina don't have McDonald's All-America-caliber big men locked up, but do have commitments from some high-powered prospects.

N.C. State has a commitment from a big guy in Joseph Uchebo who may be better than any post player the Blue Devils or Tar Heels get in the Class of 2011. With the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions concluded, here's a look at how the 2011 basketball recruiting class is shaping up for the three Triangle ACC schools:

Duke: Michael Gbinije, a 6-foot-6 shooter from Richmond, gives the Blue Devils an excellent forward prospect who will reduce the impact of losing Kyle Singler after his senior season.

The Blue Devils also have a commitment from 6-8 Brandon Adams of Brandon, Miss., who has a big body at 250 pounds but isn't a top-50 prospect because he's not a highly skilled scorer - yet. If Duke doesn't get Quincy Miller, a 6-8 power forward from Westchester Academy in High Point, it might not end up with a big-time post scorer in this class.

Duke's most pressing issue at this point is to lock up 6-4 scoring guard Austin Rivers of Winter Park, Fla. He's rated as one of the top five players in the class, and the Blue Devils appear to be in excellent shape with him.

North Carolina: The Tar Heels are in good shape at a couple positions.

They have an excellent inside-outside forward prospect committed in 6-8 James McAdoo of Norfolk, Va. P.J. Hairston, a 6-5 wing from Greensboro, puts North Carolina in great shape at that position when you consider that Harrison Barnes (who may only stay one season) and Reggie Bullock are in the 2010 class.

With Kendall Marshall coming in to play point guard in 2010, point guard isn't a big need in 2011. But the low post is, especially because Alabama transfer Justin Knox has just one year of eligibility remaining.

Will the Tar Heels offer Cody Zeller or Marshall Plumlee? Is there another big target out there who hasn't materialized yet? Roy Williams always seems to find answers in recruiting, and it will be interesting to see what he comes up with.

N.C. State: It's impossible to overstate the value of 6-9 Joseph Uchebo, the Oak Ridge Military big man who's reclassifying from 2012 into 2011 and has committed to N.C. State.

At the Tournament of Champions, Uchebo demonstrated remarkable ball handling ability and a toughness that may make him one of the top big men in his class. Along with Richard Howell, he should make the Wolfpack strong up front in 2011-12 and 2012-13 even if C.J. Leslie does only stay one season.

Uchebo is all N.C. State has committed at the moment in 2011, but the Wolfpack's needs aren't as great because its 2010 class (Leslie, Lorenzo Brown, Ryan Harrow) is so strong.

Getting Jerome Seagers or Quinn Cook out of the Washington, D.C., area would improve N.C. State's depth at point guard. The Wolfpack also could use a scoring forward like Gbinije or McAdoo, but doesn't appear likely to get one of that caliber.

Still, with Uchebo emerging as a high quality big man, N.C. State is in good shape at a key position.

Ken Tysiac

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Charlotte team wins 15-and-under division

CHAPEL HILL - Team United of Charlotte captured the 15-and-under championship Sunday at the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions on Sunday at the Smith Center.

Kennedy Meeks of West Charlotte and Kristian Beasley of Concord each scored 15 points in the championship game.

"To be known as one of the best in the country, that's great," Meeks said.

The Atlanta Celtics won the 16-and-under division, and the Long Island Lightning won the 17-and-under bracket.

Ken Tysiac

Evaluating the talent at the Gibbons tournament

With the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions about to wrap up, here are some thoughts on some of the top players of interest in North Carolina who played this weekend in Chapel Hill, Durham and Raleigh:

Bishop Daniels: Super-athletic Raleigh Word of God Academy player is trying to show he can play point guard at 6-3, but it won't be easy. Daniels can spin, get to the rim and finish with the best of them, but needs to make better decisions and demonstrate that he can run an offense.

He has scholarship offers from Wake Forest, Georgetown, Miami, South Carolina, Charlotte and East Carolina, and expects to pick a school by the end of the summer.

Andre Drummond: Big man (6-11) is ranked atop the Class of 2012, and seems certain to be a high NBA draft pick some day.

He has good hands, runs the floor well and handles the ball effectively for a player his size. He still needs to get better at dominating in the low post and readily admits that he must learn to score more with his back to the basket.

Chase Fischer: A 6-3 guard from Shipley, W.Va., he's a talented 3-point shooter who should be able to force people to guard him on the perimeter in new Wake Forest coach Jeff Bzdelik's system.

But it's not clear whether the former Marshall commitment will be able to defend or be physical enough to make a big impact in the ACC.

P.J. Hairston: Wing from Greensboro didn't take over at this tournament in the way you would expect from a player committed to North Carolina.

He seems to have all the tools - size and a wide-shouldered, powerful body, but needs to learn to use his strength better to finish on the drive. Nonetheless, he can be extremely effective when he is hitting from the outside, and he rebounds extremely well for a wing player.

Tyler Lewis: Point guard in the Class of 2012 from Lewisville, N.C., is the most divisive figure among talent evaluators in the state.

He's listed at 5-11, but he's not even that tall. Although he works hard on defense, he can be overpowered by bigger, stronger guards, and some wonder whether he's an ACC-caliber player because he's small.

But he scores from every area on the floor and possesses extraordinary vision and passing ability. With scholarship offers from schools including N.C. State, Wake Forest, Charlotte, Virginia Tech and Miami, he clearly has impressed college coaches.

The guess here is that he will be a successful ACC player but won't get a scholarship offer from North Carolina or Duke.

Alex Murphy: A 6-foot-8 forward from Southborough, Mass., he's staying an extra day in the Triangle for an unofficial visit to Duke.

He is similar to Kyle Singler in that he's tall and has perimeter scoring skills, but isn't as strong or physical as Singler. He'll be one for fans of the Blue Devils (and perhaps North Carolina, too) to watch carefully.

Shabazz Muhammad: Left-handed Class of 2012 wing from Las Vegas can score in every way - on the break, on the drive and from 3-point range.

He had at least two 30-point games in the Tournament of Champions and seems particularly interested in Duke, but North Carolina could be a factor as well.

His stock definitely is rising.

Rodney Purvis: Raleigh Upper Room guard is so young (Class of 2013) that it's probably premature to evaluate him.

But he can score from the outside and has an uncanny ability to get to the basket and finish in the lane. If he's not the best player in his class, there can't be many who are better.

Marquis Rankin: Charlotte Vance point guard is a solid pickup for Virginia Tech and did a good job running the CP3 All-Stars team over the weekend.

He is not anywhere near the kind of scorer that current Virginia Tech guard Malcolm Delaney is. In fact, if there's a negative to Rankin's game it's that he makes all the "safe" plays but rarely does anything spectacular.

J.P. Tokoto: Although this 6-6 wing from Menomonee Falls, Wis., can get to the basket and finish seemingly anytime he wants, he needs to develop a perimeter game.

He's been rated as a top-five player in the Class of 2012, but didn't play as well this weekend as Shabazz Muhammad, who's rated lower. Still, he's a guy coaches at Duke and North Carolina probably will keep an extremely close eye on.

Joseph Uchebo: At 6-foot-9, the Oak Ridge Military forward can bang inside and demonstrated remarkable ball-handling skills at the Tournament of Champions.

Uchebo held his own against the top player in the Class of 2011, 6-11 Andre Drummond, and gives N.C. State an outstanding addition as he is reclassifying to 2011 from 2012.

Dezmine Wells: At 6-4 and 215 pounds, Word of God Academy forward is built like an outside linebacker, and he plays like one, too. He doesn't have a jump shot to speak of, but lowers his shoulder and barrels his way to the basket with tremendous power.

His lack of perimeter shooting at first glance makes him a questionable fit for the Xavier team he's committed to because the Musketeers are known so much for 3-point shooting. But he will make them a better team because he will add a different dimension, and he's an excellent "get" for Xavier.

-- Ken Tysiac

Class of 2012 forward Murphy to visit Duke

CHAPEL HILL - Alex Murphy, a 6-foot-8 forward from Southborough, Mass., in the Class of 2012, will remain in the Triangle for an extra day after the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions concludes so he can take an unofficial visit to Duke.

Murphy has an inside-outside game similar to that of current Duke forward Kyle Singler, although Singler was stronger and more physical at a comparable stage of development.

"One thing I want to work on this summer is getting stronger," Murphy said.

He mentioned Florida, Arizona, Kansas, Syracuse, Butler and Iowa among the schools that interest him, but said the list is too long to name every school. He said North Carolina also is recruiting him.

Another player in the Tournament of Champions, 6-2 wing Chasson Randle of Rock Island, Ill., postponed a Monday visit to Duke because of difficulty rearranging his flight schedule.

Randle, who's in the Class of 2011, led his team to the tournament semifinals. He plans to reschedule with Duke in June or July.

The highly regarded CP3 All-Stars team from North Carolina was eliminated by the Michigan Hurricanes in the 17-and-under tournament quarterfinals this morning. The Long Island Lightning will meet the Michigan Hurricanes in the 17-and-under finals.

Ken Tysiac

CP3 advances in matchup of giants

DURHAM - The opening round of the playoffs Saturday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium matched the CP3 All-Stars team that's favored to win the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions against the best big man in the event.

Andre Drummond, a 6-foot-11 Class of 2012 center modeling his game to be a combination of Dwight Howard and LeBron James, couldn't pull off the upset as Connecticut Basketball Club fell 73-69.

Drummond, who isn't revealing much about his college leanings, scored 19 points and nearly engineered a comeback after his team trailed by 13 with three minutes remaining. But 6-9 N.C. State commitment Joe Uchebo nearly matched Drummond's output with 17 points. Raleigh Word of God forward Dez Wells (committed to Xavier) scored 19 to lead CP3.

Although Drummond has a body that seems almost certain to make him an NBA lottery pick eventually, he has a lot to work on. He's comfortable away from the basket, which is a plus, but needs to learn to use his size (265 pounds) to overpower people in the lane.

"I feel like [I need to work on] stuff with my back to the basket and a little bit more on my ball handling and shooting ability," Drummond said.

He also said he has enjoyed being exposed to Duke and North Carolina this weekend and would be interested in coming back for a visit to learn more about the academics at those schools.

Ken Tysiac

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Word of God's Daniels has key role on CP3

DURHAM - Although North Carolina commitment P.J. Hairston's 25 points sparked the CP3 All-Stars' rally for a 62-55 win over the Mid-Atlantic Select on Saturday, Raleigh Word of God Academy guard Bishop Daniels is playing a significant role as well.

Daniels averaged 11 points in CP3's first two games and is an athletic finisher for the team in the backcourt at 6-foot-3 and 170 pounds. He said he has scholarship offers from Wake Forest, Georgetown, East Carolina, Miami, South Carolina, Charlotte and East Carolina and hopes to make a decision by the end of the summer.

In the meantime, he is trying to polish his point guard skills so he will be regarded as one of the top backcourt players in the nation. He isn't currently in scout.com's top 100.

"The only thing I need to accomplish is making the right decisions, being in the right place at the right time as a point guard," Daniels said.

Ken Tysiac

Muhammad hearing from Duke, UNC

CHAPEL HILL - A frustrated Shabazz Muhammad said Saturday afternoon that his Dream Vision team has to find a way to play through injuries after a loss to the Smyrna (Ga.) Stars.

"I have a sprained ankle but I'm going to keep playing," Muhammad said. "There's no excuse for this loss."

Muhammad is a 6-foot-5 wing from Las Vegas who is rated No. 7 in the Class of 2012 by scout.com. He has been offered scholarships by Texas, Kansas, UNLV, UCLA, Louisville, Georgetown, Arizona, Arizona State and Washington.

He's also being recruited by Duke, North Carolina and Kentucky, although those schools didn't offer scholarships. He had a sensational performance Friday night with 33 points in a win at Duke's Cameron Indoor Stadium, but scored just 10 (none in the second half) in the loss Saturday.

He visited Duke unofficially for the Blue Devils' home win over North Carolina.

"I really liked the atmosphere of the game," he said. "The crowd was crazy, and I'm looking forward to coming down there again."

But Muhammad didn't tip his hand as to which school he might favor at this point.

Ken Tysiac

Thomas still wide open

DURHAM - North Carolina assistant coach Steve Robinson checked in a few days ago with Memphis Class of 2011 wing Adonis Thomas, but the Tar Heels haven't offered him a scholarship.

Thomas said Duke's staff had been recruiting him, but he hasn't heard from the Blue Devils in a while. After scoring 13 points the Magic defeated the West Virginia Wildcats 72-66 on Saturday morning in the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions at Cameron Indoor Stadium, Thomas said he is still wide open in his recruiting.

At 6-foot-6, Thomas plays for a Melrose High team that plays a lot of full-court pressure, so he is a fairly advanced player defensively with an athletic frame that should allow him to guard multiple positions. He said he thinks he will play shooting guard in college, but he knows he has work to do.

"I've got to start working on my outside shot," said Thomas, who's rated the No. 12 player in his class by scout.com. "That's going to be a key thing for me, being a versatile inside-out player."

Ken Tysiac

New Deacons coach Bzdelik impresses Fischer

DURHAM - Chase Fischer, who's Wake Forest's first commitment under new coach Jeff Bzdelik, perked up Saturday morning when asked about the Deacons.

A 6-foot-3 guard for the West Virginia Wildcats, he'd shot poorly (though he made four 3-pointers and scored 14 points) in a loss to the Memphis Magic at the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions.

But he was happy to talk about Bzdelik and Wake Forest.

"He made a really good impression," Fischer said. "He was very professional, and he was honest with me. I went down there and we talked for about two or three hours and toured the campus, and he made a great impression. . . .He's been in the NBA and at numerous colleges, and I got a good feel for him. I really liked him."

Fischer had been committed to Marshall, but rescinded his commitment when coach Donnie Jones left for Central Florida. Although Fischer isn't particularly athletic, he's fundamentally sound and plays for a club team that runs an unusual amount of set plays.

He said he is looking forward to playing a role as Bzdelik restores Wake Forest as an ACC power.

"They've been great, but they've had a lot of kids leave early for the draft and stuff," Fischer said. "He's going to implement a new style of basketball, but he's going to keep running and stuff. He likes kids that can shoot the ball. And that's what I can do."

Ken Tysiac

Hairston slims down

CHAPEL HILL - Serious followers of North Carolina Class of 2011 commitment P.J. Hairston might have noticed that he looks a bit sleeker at the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions.

Click through your channels through the infomercials late at night if you want to see why. Hairston said he is following a new workout regimen called P90X. Hairston, who's 6-foot-5, said he was about 230 pounds when he started and is down to 218.

"It's a 90-day workout, yoga, and a nightly workout you do to lose weight and stay in shape," said Hairston, who's from Greensboro and is transferring from Dudley High to Hargrave Military Academy for his senior season.

Hairston said slimming down has helped him feel more comfortable handling the ball and driving to the basket.

Ken Tysiac

Lewis' thriller caps Day One at Bob Gibbons TOC

CHAPEL HILL - Bob Gibbons knows a good finish when he sees it in his Tournament of Champions club basketball event.

While reporters were interviewing guard Tyler Lewis of Team Loaded late Friday night, Gibbons flashed a thumbs-up sign. Lewis had just made the biggest shot of the night to give his team a one-point win over Raising Champions and advance his own legend at the Smith Center.

Lewis is a 5-foot-11 point guard in the Class of 2012 from Lewisville, N.C., who received his first scholarship offer from Virginia Tech when he was just a high school freshman.

His story is well known by now in recruiting circles. Lewis possesses uncommon court sense, vision and passing ability and scores over much, much bigger players in the lane even though he weighs just 157 pounds.

There has been much debate over whether he's big, strong or quick enough to thrive as a high-level Division I point guard. But the staffs at Virginia Tech, Charlotte, Auburn, N.C. State, Wake Forest and Miami all have offered him scholarships as his stature has grown.

Figuratively, at least, he grew a little taller Friday night. His team was supposed to be holding the ball for a last shot with the score tied when teammate Andrew White inexplicably tried an off-balance 15-footer with 25 seconds remaining.

Raising Champions grabbed the ball and raced to the other end for a layup to take the lead. Lewis took the inbounds pass and rushed up the court himself. He dribbled left and fired a fadeaway 3-pointer through the net with six seconds remaining.

His father, Rick Lewis, jumped to his feet.

"Yes," he shouted.

Yes, indeed.

Lewis finished with 24 points and a game-winning shot to his credit.

"It's the size of the heart [that matters]," Lewis said. "I don't think anybody comes out and plays with more heart than I do."

One of Lewis' teammates has the opposite problem. Adjehi Baru is 6-foot-10 with impressive athletic ability, but still is developing his skills.

Baru helped spark Team Loaded's second-half comeback, displaying a surprisingly soft jumper inside eight feet. He came to the United States from the Ivory Coast a little more than a year ago with one long-term goal in mind.

He wants to play professional basketball some day. He said colleges have contacted them, but he doesn't want to discuss which ones because he wants to focus all his attention on his school work and improving his basketball skills.

With his size and ability, this Richmond, Va., resident will be worth keeping tabs on.

Another player who emerged Friday night was Class of 2012 forward Montrezl Harrell of Tarboro. With the media gathered to watch highly recruited J.P. Tokoto of Wisconsin, Harrell stole the show in a 16-and-under game with 29 points (to Tokoto's 15), including a couple rim-rattling dunks and two 3-pointers.

He said Clemson, South Carolina, Virginia and Virginia Tech have offered scholarships. If he keeps playing this way, other schools will be offering, too.

Stay tuned for more updates from the Tournament of Champions throughout the weekend.

Ken Tysiac

Friday, May 28, 2010

N.C. State recruit to move up to class of 2011

If everything goes according to plan, basketball recruit Joseph Uchebo will get to N.C. State one year sooner than expected.

Uchebo, a 6-9 power forward from Nigeria, is going to reclassify as a senior and graduate in 2011, his high school coach said Friday before Uchebo played in the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions in Chapel Hill.

Uchebo, who turns 18 in June, will need to take a summer school class in math to meet the NCAA Clearinghouse core requirements, Oak Military Academy coach Stan Kowalewski said. But Uchebo's committed to graduate after three years of high school in this country and enroll before the 2011-12 season.

"He's a good student and he works hard," Kowalewski said. "He should be able to handle the extra work."

N.C. State does not have any known commitments from the class of 2011 but has four scholarships available.

Uchebo, who played one season at Durham Mount Zion and this past season at Oak Ridge, had been classified in the class of 2012. He made a verbal commitment to the Wolfpack in Nov. 2009.

Uchebo averaged 10 points and 9.5 rebounds for Oak Ridge last season despite a series of injuries that limited him.

"There's no question basketball-wise, he's ready," Kowalewski said.

With senior forward Tracy Smith leaving the program after the 2010-11 season, State will need interior help. The Pack will also lose senior guard Javier Gonzalez and has two extra scholarships after Julius Mays and Josh Davis decided to transfer.

-- J.P. Giglio

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tournament of Champions is a treat

Although some of the nation's top seniors are playing elsewhere over Memorial Day weekend, Bob Gibbons' Tournament of Champions club basketball event should be a treat for hard-core fans hoping to glimpse college and NBA prospects of the future.

North Carolina signee P.J. Hairston and UNC/Duke legacy big men Cody Zeller and Marshall Plumlee are some of the top seniors who will attend. Top juniors include scout.com's No. 1-rated player in the Class of 2012, Andre Drummond, as well as top-10 prospects J.P. Tokoto and Shabazz Muhammad.

N.C. State fans will get to see Class of 2012 low post signee Joseph Uchebo play alongside Hairston for the CP3 All-Stars team. The event takes place Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Triangle venues that include arenas on campus at Duke, North Carolina and N.C. State. (The full schedule is available at bobgibbons.net).

This will be my seventh year covering the event. The players who've participated in that time have been outstanding:

- Greg Oden was a No. 1 NBA draft pick, and John Wall seems destined to be one, too.

- Michael Beasley (who was committed to Charlotte at one time) was national player of the year at Kansas State.

- O.J. Mayo was a No. 1-rated recruit whose recruitment got Southern California and Tim Floyd in a whole lot of trouble.

- Brandon Jennings began what could be a trend when he played a year overseas in order to make money while waiting to grow old enough to meet the NBA's age limit.

The most amazing team to play in the tournament during that time was the Spiece Indy Heat club in 2005 that included Oden, Michael Conley, Daequan Cook and Eric Gordon. The best moment was a no-look bullet pass from Wall to Ryan Kelly in 2008 for a dunk that brought the crowd at Cameron Indoor Stadium to its feet. The worst moment might have been a Derrick Favors flagrant elbow that resulted in his ejection in a semifinal game in 2008.

Even though there's not an Oden, a Wall or a Favors in this year's event, the talent is good enough that it will provide more memorable moments for fans who want to see gifted players before they begin getting national attention.

Ken Tysiac

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Transfers haven't fazed North Carolina, Duke

For the second time now in two years, we have been reminded of how North Carolina and Duke are fortunate to be – well, North Carolina and Duke.

The Tar Heels seemed to be in rough shape in the low post for next season after twins David and Travis Wear surprised coach Roy Williams earlier this month with their decision to transfer. Williams himself said there weren’t a lot of options for replacements available to North Carolina at such a late date.

But when you’re North Carolina, you can usually find a solution, and the Tar Heels did. Justin Knox, a forward who’s transferring after playing three seasons at Alabama, committed Monday night to the Tar Heels. He’s 6-foot-9 and 240 pounds and averaged 6.3 points and 3.7 rebounds last season, and will add much-needed depth in the low post.

He is expected to graduate this summer and be eligible to play immediately under the NCAA’s graduate student waiver.

The Tar Heels’ successful scramble to acquire Knox is reminiscent of Duke’s fortunate personnel move last summer. Elliot Williams decided to transfer to Memphis, leaving the Blue Devils dangerously thin in the backcourt.

But Duke created some depth when Andre Dawkins graduated from high school early and enrolled as a freshman whose 3-point shooting prowess particularly helped the team early in the season, and the Blue Devils won the NCAA title.

In consecutive summers, Knox and Dawkins have demonstrated how elite programs can withstand personnel losses better than most of their competitors. As Williams said, at this time of year there aren’t many quality players available. But if there are just a few players available, Duke and North Carolina can rocket to the top of their lists in a hurry.

Meanwhile, Clemson for example never was able to find quality perimeter shooting lost last summer when 3-point ace Terrence Oglesby unexpectedly chose to turn pro overseas.
In college basketball, the rich find ways to stay rich even when they’re dealing with losses that weren’t anticipated.

Ken Tysiac

Monday, May 24, 2010

Alabama transfer Knox picks Tar Heels

Losing David and Travis Wear to an unexpected transfer became less of a problem for North Carolina on Monday night when Alabama transfer Justin Knox committed to the Tar Heels.

Knox, who's played three seasons for the Crimson Tide, is a 6-foot-9, 240-pound forward who plans to graduate from Alabama this summer and enroll at North Carolina as a graduate student. Under the NCAA's graduate student waiver program, he should be eligible to play for the Tar Heels immediately if he chooses a degree program that Alabama does not offer.

"Everyone in the family is excited," said Darien Knox, Justin's uncle, who announced the commitment. "Everyone in the family is looking forward to Justin becoming a Tar Heel."

Justin Knox plans to make a statement to the media Tuesday explaining his decision. Darien Knox said both finalists, North Carolina and Georgia Tech, made Justin feel like family on his visits, and said North Carolina assistant coach Steve Robinson did an outstanding job recruiting Justin.

Knox averaged 6.3 points and 3.7 rebounds in 19.8 minutes per game last season for Alabama, but decided to transfer in part because he didn't feel like he was fitting into the system after coach Anthony Grant's first season.

By providing immediate, experienced help in the low post, Knox should give the Tar Heels' fortunes a huge boost next season. The Wear twins' departure had left North Carolina with just two scholarship players - John Henson and Tyler Zeller - as true low-post players.

Ken Tysiac

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wisconsin OT commits to Duke

The same high school that produced three-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle Joe Thomas of the Cleveland Browns has an offensive tackle committed to play for Duke.

Marcus Aprahamian, an honor roll student at Brookfield (Wis.) Central High, had a scholarship offer from Minnesota and was getting interest from other Big Ten schools before he chose Duke.

He's 6-foot-5 and 300 pounds, and throws shot put and discus for the track and field team in addition to playing football. His brother Mitch plays tight end for Darmouth.

"He's just a model student in all aspects," said Central coach Jamie Meulemans.

Ken Tysiac

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Georgia DT commits to N.C. State

Thomas Niles, a 6-foot-2, 265-pound defensive tackle from Gainesville High in Georgia, has committed to N.C. State.

Niles helped Gainesville to a 14-1 record and a state Class 7AAA runner-up finish last season. He also plays lacrosse for his high school team.

"He's a very physical, very strong kid, especially in the lower part of his body," said Gainesville coach Bruce Miller. ". . .He's not just a good lineman. He's a good athlete."

He's the second known commitment in N.C. State's class, along with safety Juston Burris of Raleigh's Broughton High. Scout.com ranks Niles as a three-star prospect on a five-star scale.

Ken Tysiac

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Raleigh basketball star commits to N.C. State

N.C. State landed one of its most noteworthy recruits in recent years when McDonald's All-American C.J. Leslie of Raleigh Word of God committed to the Wolfpack.

"I'm going to N.C. State," Leslie said. "It is a great school and we can be good there. And obviously, Coach Lowe is a great coach."

Leslie said this morning that he was undecided with Kentucky and Connecticut still in the the picture, but he decided during the day that he was sure he wanted to run with the Wolfpack.

"It was really up for grabs," he said. "It was really close with the other two schools."

Tim Stevens, (Raleigh) News & Observer

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

N.C. State, Miami add to sophomore guard's offers

Tyler Lewis was a very popular young man last Friday.

The Forsyth Country Day (Lewisville) sophomore point guard received a scholarship offer from N.C. State in the afternoon and from Miami on Friday night.

Lewis, 5-foot-11, 160-pounds, already has offers from Virginia Tech, UNC-Charlotte, East Carolina, Appalachian State, Richmond, Virginia Commonwealth, High Point, Baylor plus N.C. State and Miami. Former Wake Forest coach Dino Gaudio had offered as well.

FCD coach Craig Dawson said Lewis is improving and getting stronger, but the coach believes the recruiting interest is picking up because Lewis is playing so well this spring in club tournaments and was outstanding in Dave Telep's Carolina Challenge.

"I think he is getting out there more," Dawson said.

Lewis plays club ball with Team Loaded. Lewis scored 31 points in the club team's recent victory over the highly ranked CP3 All-Stars.

Lewis averaged 20 points, 8.6 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 1.8 steals last season at Forsyth Country Day. He made 57 percent of his shots from the field.

"He has a lot of options," Dawson said. "It is good to have a plethora of offers."

-- Tim Stevens, (Raleigh) News & Observer

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Mabry decision likely this week

Tashawn Mabry, the career basketball scoring leader at Rocky Mount High, expects to make his college commitment this week.

He is expected to pick from among N.C. State, Providence, Connecticut, UNC Wilmington, Western Kentucky and Rhode Island.

Mabry said State had offered him a scholarship and had been recruiting him since his freshman year. Last Thursday he went to campus and talked with players and coaches.

"I'll make my final decision next week," he said Friday.

Mabry is a 6-foot-6 forward who led Rocky Mount to the NCHSAA 3-A championship. He was the most valuable player in the championship game, an 84-79 victory over Concord. He had 26 points and 10 rebounds in the win.

He averaged 24.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, 4.5 blocks, 1.5 steals and 1.4 assists. He finished his career with 2,411 points, passing former Gryphons point guard Phil Ford to become the school's all-time scorer.

"I am achieving everything that I had dreamed of," Mabry said. "It is really unbelievable."

Mabry said he talked regularly with Raleigh Word of God's C.J. Leslie, a McDonald's All American who also is considering N.C. State.

"C.J. is my boy," Mabry said. "We talked about what a great class it would be if we both decided to go there with Ryan Harrow and Lorenzo Brown, but both of us need to make the best decision for ourselves and our families."

Mabry said his decision would come down to where he thought he could get the best education and where he could develop his basketball abilities the most.

-- Tim Stevens, Raleigh News & Observer

Coach: Tar Heels' recruit Hairston improving

Veteran Greensboro Dudley basketball coach David Price said North Carolina junior recruit P.J. Hairston is improving rapidly.

"He is much stronger than he was at the start of last season," Price said. "He can get to the basket much better. We've still got to work on his ball handling and some other things, but he is working hard and getting better."

The 6-5 junior guard has exceptional range on his jumper and is ranked No. 19 by Scout.com in the Class of 2011.

-- Tim Stevens, Raleigh News & Observer

Kentucky looking solid for 2011 class

Kentucky already has the makings of an exceptional men's basketball recruiting class in 2011.

The Wildcats have commitments from Michael Gilchrist, a 6-6 forward from Elizabeth (N.J.) St. Patrick, and from Marquis Teague, a 6-1 point guard at Indianapolis Pike.

Gilchrist is the top-ranked junior in the country and Teague is ranked No. 5 by Scout.com.

North Carolina has a commitment from No. 2-ranked James McAdoo, a 6-8 forward at Norfolk (Va.) Christian, and Duke has a commitment from No. 14-ranked Michael Gbinije, a 6-6 forward at Richmond Benedictine.

None of the commitments are binding on the schools or the players. The players can sign scholarships in the fall. 

-- Tim Stevens, Raleigh News & Observer

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Cothron decommits from N.C. State

Luke Cothron, the 6-foot-8 basketball forward at Red Springs Flora McDonald, is no longer committed to N.C. State, but still likes coach Sidney Lowe, the school and its fan base.

"Basically, his concern is playing time," Flora McDonald coach Derrick Bond said Wednesday morning. "He and C.J. Leslie [of Raleigh Word of God] basically play the same position. They have some different skills, but they play the same position.

"If State gets C.J., he is going to a lot of minutes."

Bond said Cothron had mentioned State's dream lineup for next year: freshmen Lorenzo Brown and Ryan Harrow plus veterans Tracy Smith and Scott Wood plus possibly Leslie.

"I know that Luke still likes N.C. State a great deal and is watching the program very closely," Bond said. "He watched every minute of its game on Tuesday night [a 57-56 NIT win over South Florida] and was sitting on the edge of his seat."

Bond said he wasn't sure which other schools Cothron is interested in schools but thinks he will speak with Kentucky, Alabama and Texas A&M.

"All of them could use a player with Luke's skills," Bond said. "Luke wants to go somewhere that needs a player with his skill set. I tell him the more competition the better, but I also tell him he needs to make what he thinks is the best decision for him.

"But I'll tell you, if C.J. were to commit to Kentucky tomorrow, you'd probably see Kentucky come off his list and N.C. State at the top again."

Leslie, a McDonald's All-America and ranked among the top prospects in the country, has not announced a final list of schools. He had committed to N.C. State after his freshman year, but later decided to reopen his recruitment.

Among the schools that he is believed to be most interested are N.C. State and Kentucky.

Ken Tysiac

Friday, March 12, 2010

Junior wing forward commits to Duke

Duke has received a commitment from Michael Gbinije, a 6-foot-6, 180-pound junior basketball wing player from Richmond (Va.) Benedictine.

Dave Telep, the recruiting director of scout.com, has Gbinije ranked No. 14 among the juniors in the country. Gbinije is averaging 17.8 points and 6 rebounds for a 23-7 Benedictine.

Benedictine coach Sean McAloon said Gbinije is a good shooter and gets to the rim well.

"There are things he can improve on, but he is just a junior," McAloon said. "At the next level, he is going to need to be stronger. I think his game is going to translate very well on the next level."

McAloon said early in the recruiting process Gbinije discussed Duke.

"Duke basketball is like Notre Dame football. A lot of people love it and a lot of people hate it," ,McAloon said. "But for Michael it began and ended with Coach K. I mean he is the U.S. Olympic coach. And when Michael finishes his career, rather he plays in the league or overseas, he is going to have a Duke degree. He is going to be set for life."

Telep said Gbinije is smooth and talented.

"He is going to blend in very well at Duke," Telep said. "Michael is a very intelligent player and has played in a disciplined, structured system."I'd like to see him play a little bit more aggressively, but he is an outstanding prospect."

Gbinije recently attended the Duke vs. North Carolina game and made his commitment shortly after.

Tim Stevens

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Mallard Creek's Tart to walk-on at Maryland

Mallard Creek High punter Michael Tart has accepted an invitation to be a preferred walk-on in the fall at Maryland, Tart said in an e-mail message.
Tart, who's 6-foot-2 and 170 pounds, was an All-Observer selection last season after averaging 43.7 yards on 32 punts as a senior. Tart said Maryland plans for him to redshirt in 2010 with the opportunity to earn a starting position and a scholarship in the future.
He said he also considered East Carolina and Wake Forest, but fell in love with the campus and coaches at Maryland after making a campus visit last week.

Ken Tysiac

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Ex-Concord WR Lewis signs with ECU

Lance Lewis, a junior college transfer who played at Concord High, is a late addition to East Carolina's football signing class, coach Ruffin McNeill announced Wednesday.

Lewis recently closed out a two-year stay at East Mississippi Community College. He brings the Pirates' class to 19.

Ken Tysiac

Friday, February 5, 2010

Top 2011 QB Golson commits to Tar Heels

Myrtle Beach, S.C., High's Everett Golson (5).

Myrtle Beach (S.C.) High's Everett Golson, one of the top quarterbacks in the class of 2011 and No. 3 on the Observer's list of S.C.'s top junior prospects, committed to North Carolina in a ceremony at his school this afternoon. Details to come.

A link to our earlier blog previewing the ceremony is here.

2011 Myrtle Beach QB to choose Heels today?

Myrtle Beach (S.C.) High quarterback Everett Golson, considered one of the top quarterback prospects in the nation for the class of 2011, will make his college choice known today at 3:45 p.m. at a news conference at the school.

Golson, who long has favored North Carolina, has written scholarship offers including Clemson, East Carolina, Duke, Stanford, Michigan and Virginia Tech in addition to the Tar Heels. Golson is expected to play basketball in college as well.

The Observer ranks Golson No. 3 on its list of the top junior recruits in South Carolina (with our early list of top juniors in N.C., too.)

Listed at 6-1 and 175 pounds, Golson has started at Myrtle Beach since he was a freshman. He was a member of the South Carolina all-state football team as a junior, when he completed 224-of-356 pass attempts for 3,529 yards, 47 touchdowns and three interceptions. Golson also rushed for 199 yards and five touchdowns as Myrtle Beach finished 13-2, losing to Clinton in the state Class AAA title game.

In three years, Golson is 659-of-1,061 passing for 9,872 yards, 126 touchdowns and 24 interceptions. Myrtle Beach is 39-4 with Golson as the starter.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

WR Underwood gets second chance with Pack

One N.C. State signee who hadn't appeared on the pre-signing day recruiting lists is wide receiver Bryan Underwood of Cleveland Heights High in Ohio.

Underwood signed with the Wolfpack last February but didn't qualify academically for his scholarship. He planned to attend a postgraduate prep school in the fall, but the prep school folded, according to Cleveland Heights coach Jeff Rotsky.

So Underwood continued working out with the Cleveland Heights players and worked to get improve his standardized test score. Rotsky said Underwood, who's 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds, has achieved a qualifying test score and will enroll in the fall fully eligible for his scholarship.

"He's fast as [heck] right now," Rotsky said. "He's going to bring another year of maturity, which he desperately needed. He's a game breaker. When he gets the ball in his hands, anything can happen."

Ken Tysiac

Wake Forest Signing Day Update

Cornerback A.J. Marshall of Durham's Southern High headlines the list of football recruits who have made their commitment to the Demon Deacons program official by signing their letter of intent today.

Check back here over the course of the day for updates on Wake Forest's official list of commitments.
The Deacons' list of commitments (not including players who enrolled in January):
  • Duke Mosby    DT    6-2    290    Washington, D.C.    
  • Neil Basford    TE    6-4    240    Jacksonville, Fla.    
  • Ben Emert    RB    6-1    225    Ball Ground, Ga.    
  • A.J. Marshall    CB    5-11    180    Durham, N.C.    
  • Matt James    WR    6-5    205    Raleigh, N.C.    
  • Colin Summers    OG    6-4    310    Raleigh, N.C.    
  • Daniel Blitch    OL    6-6    305    Gainesville, Ga.    
  • Dylan Heartsill    OT    6-5    310    Prattville, Ala.    
  • Tanner Price    QB    6-2    190    Austin, Texas    
  • Brandon Terry    WR    6-5    210    Alpharetta, Ga.    
  • Kevin Johnson    CB    6-0    160    Clarksville, Md.    
  • Nick Knott    RB    5-10    170    Wylie, Texas    
  • Desmond Cooper    S    6-2    200    Jacksonville, Fla.    
  • Joseph Byrd    RB    5-10    170    Cape Coral, Fla.
- Lorenzo Perez, News & Observer

N.C. State Signing Day Update

Athens Drive offensive lineman Robert Crisp headlines the list of football recruits who have made their commitment to the Wolfpack program official by signing their letter of intent today.
Check back here over the course of the day for updates on N.C. State's official list of commitments.

The Wolfpack list of commitments:
  • David Amerson, 6-3, 180 S Greensboro, N.C.
  • Billy Bennett, 6-1, 220 PK San Diego, Calif.
  • Torian Box, 6-3, 295, OL College Park, Ga.  
  • Tyler Brosius, 6-6, 233, QB Waynesville, N.C.
  • Anthony Creecy, 6-0, 196, WR Durham, N.C.
  • Robert Crisp, 6-7 299, OL Raleigh, N.C.
  • Tyson Chandler, 6-6, 340, OL North Plainfield, N.J.
  • D.J. Green, 6-4, 205, S Macon, Ga.
  • Mustafa Greene, 6-0, 190 RB Irmo, S.C.  
  • Dontae Johnson, 6-3, 180 S Pennington, N.J. 
  • Andy Jomantas, 6-7, 260 OL Dayton, Ohio   
  • Art Norman, 6-1, 225, DE Stone Mountain, Ga.
  • Tobais Palmer, 5-11, 175 Athlete Pittsboro, N.C.
  • Raynard Randolph, 6-2, 325 DT Brandywine, Md.
  • Theo Rich, 6-3, 225, DE Portal, Ga. 
  • Pete Singer, 5-11, 190 S Raleigh, N.C.  
  • Thomas Teal, 6-2, 315 DT Bennettsville, S.C.
  • Bryan Underwood, 5-11, 170 WR University Heights, Ohio 
- Lorenzo Perez, News & Observer

Duke Signing Day Update

After spurning Tennessee's advances for its head coaching position, coach David Cutcliffe has wrapped up Duke's signing class with a strong North Carolina presence.

Nine of the 19 players in the class came from North Carolina, including highly regarded wide receivers Braxton Deaver and Brandon Braxton of Charlotte's Providence High and running back Josh Snead of Smithfield-Selma. The class also included a promising quarterback prospect in Brandon Connette of Corona, Calif., and SuperPrep All-America offensive guard Laken Tomlinson of Chicago.

Here is Duke's signing day list:
  • Issac Blakeney, 6-6, 215, WR, Monroe, N.C.
  • Anthony Boone, 6-1, 225, QB, Monroe, N.C.
  • Brandon Braxton, 6-2, 195, WR, Charlotte, N.C.
  • Kelby Brown, 6-2, 215, OLB, Matthews, N.C.
  • Jamal Bruce, 6-2, 265, DT, LaGrange, Ga.
  • Will Bryant, 6-3, 295, DT, Atlanta, Ga.
  • Takoby Cofield, 6-6, 300, OT, Tarboro, N.C.
  • Brandon Connette, 6-2, 210, QB, Corona, Calif.
  • Braxton Deaver, 6-5, 210, WR, Charlotte, N.C.
  • C.J. France, 6-1, 210, LB, Columbus, Ga.
  • Steven Ingram, 6-2, 340, DT, Southaven, Miss.
  • Dezmond Johnson, 6-5, 220, DL, Nashville, Tenn.
  • Jordan Ondijo, 6-5, 215, LB, Prairie View, Texas
  • Nick Sink, 6-5, 250, Line, Kernersville, N.C.
  • Josh Snead, 5-9, 180, RB (enrolled in January), Smithfield, N.C.
  • Quan Stevenson, 6-1, 190, DB, High Point, N.C.
  • Juwan Thompson, 5-11, 220, RB, Fairburn, Ga.
  • Laken Tomlinson, 6-5, 295, OL, Chicago, Ill.
  • Jamal Wallace, 6-4, 225, DE, Virginia Beach, Va. 
- Lorenzo Perez, News & Observer

Heels have whirlwind recruiting finish

Barring another signing day surprise (and coach Butch Davis is known for them), North Carolina has completed its signing class with a whirlwind finish that included some additions and subtractions.

On signing day, North Carolina stole Jacksonville, Fla., athlete Sean Tapley away from South Carolina and got defensive line signings from highly rated Tabor City defensive lineman Ethan Farmer, and defensive tackle Carlos Gray of Pinson, Ala.

Late last week, the Tar Heels wrestled highly rated running back Gio Bernard away from Notre Dame and athlete Tre Boston away from Cincinnati, tapping into Davis' connections to close the deal. They also added late-blooming defensive lineman Quinton Alton earlier in the week.

But North Carolina lost a couple recruits late, too. Tight end Alex Smith of Cincinnati, a longtime Tar Heel commitment, signed with Kentucky. And running back Casey Turner of Jacksonville, Fla., who had reportedly switched from Rutgers to the Tar Heels last week, signed with Rutgers after all.

The Tar Heels' list of signings Wednesday (not including players who were already enrolled):

Nick Appel OL 6-6 310 Vienna, Va. Bishop O'Connell

Tre Boston ATH 6-1 185 Cape Coral, Fla. North Ft. Myers

Jabari Price DB 6-0 175 Pompano Beach, Fla. Blanche Ely

Gio Bernard RB 5-10 205 Davie, Fla. St. Thomas Aquinas

Brendon Felder WR 5-10 175 Monroeville, Pa. Gateway

Russell Bodine OL 6-4 290 Scottsville, Va. Fork Union M.A.

P.J. Clyburn LB 6-2 215 Statesville, N.C. West Iredell

Tim Jackson DL 6-5 235 St. Petersburg, Fla. Gibbs

Kareem Martin DL 6-6 245 Roanoke Rapids, N.C. Roanoke Rapids

Ty Linton LB 6-2 215 Charlotte, N.C. Charlotte Christian

Quinton Alton ATH 6-6 250 Memphis, Tenn. Hillcrest

Carlos Gray DT 6-3 290 Pinson, Ala. Pinson

Reggie Wilkins ATH 5-10 175 Shelby, N.C. Crest

Sean Tapley ATH 6-1 185 Jacksonville, N.C. Raines

Darius Lipford LB 6-3 215 Lenoir, N.C. Hibriten

Ethan Farmer ATH 6-3 255 Tabor City, N.C. South Columbus

Ken Tysiac and Lorenzo Perez