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Saturday, May 2, 2015

No. 3-rated Jaylen Brown commits to Cal

Kansas University basketball recruiting.

Kansas University basketball recruiting.

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Jaylen Brown, the No. 3 prospect in the recruiting Class of 2015, will join No. 7-rated Ivan Rabb at the University of California next season.

Brown, a 6-foot-7, 200-pound senior small forward from Wheeler High in Marietta, Georgia, shocked the college basketball recruiting world Friday night by choosing the Bears over Kentucky, Michigan and North Carolina. He had eliminated Kansas University on Thursday night.

Brown, who averaged 28 points and 12 rebounds a game last season, is one of the country’s premier wing prospects. Rabb, a 6-9, 220-pounder from Oakland’s Bishop O’Dowd, is one of the top power forward prospects.

RealGM.com pointed out that Brown is Cal’s first No. 1 commit since Shareef Abdur-Rahim, who played for the Bears in 1995-96 before turning pro.

No Cal in this poll: USA Today probably should have waited a day before releasing its “way too early” Top 25 for the 2015-16 season.

Coach Cuonzo Martin’s Cal Bears didn’t make the cut.

KU, however, checked in at No. 7 in the poll.

North Carolina, which has four starters back from a Sweet 16 team, was No. 1, followed by Kentucky, Iowa State, Maryland, Virginia, Duke, KU, Gonzaga, Oklahoma, Villanova, Michigan State, Arizona, Indiana, Wichita State, SMU, Notre Dame, Louisville, Butler, UCLA, Georgetown, Michigan, Wisconsin, Miami, Baylor and a tie between Texas and Utah.

“Kelly Oubre Jr. and Cliff Alexander are gone to the NBA, but Kansas returns its two best players in leading scorer Perry Ellis (13.8 ppg) and feisty point guard Frank Mason III. Both will be older and much better, as will guard Wayne Selden Jr. and forward Jamari Traylor,” USA Today’s Scott Gleeson wrote. “Guard Devonté Graham, who showed potential but never put it all together as a freshman, should blossom. Coach Bill Self also has a strong recruiting class, landing a couple of dynamic power forwards, top-10 recruit Cheick Diallo and Carlton Bragg.”

The odds: Bovada of Las Vegas has listed KU’s odds of winning the 2016 national championship at 16 to 1. Duke, Kentucky, Michigan State and North Carolina are favorites to reach the Final Four with their 10/1 national title odds. Maryland is 14/1, KU 16/1, while Virginia and Iowa State are 18/1.

Collison has scope: Former KU forward Nick Collison of the Oklahoma City Thunder had a successful arthroscopic procedure on his right knee Thursday, Thunder general manager Sam Presti announced. He had a similar procedure last June.

The procedure was performed by the Thunder’s head orthopedic physician, Carlan Yates at the McBride Orthopedic Hospital in Oklahoma City. Collison is expected to miss four to six weeks of basketball-related activities.

Collison averaged 4.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists while logging 16.7 minutes a game in 66 games last season. He started two games. Collison recently placed fourth in voting for the league’s sportsmanship award. Kyle Korver was first, followed by Anthony Davis, Pau Gasol and Collison.

Comments

Jonathan Briles 7 years, 4 months ago

How is Kentucky still rated number two in the preseason poll. They are going to go from the biggest and most intimidating interior team to a decent yet shallow interior team. Their backcourt will be deep and talented, but they will be inexperienced and not have even close to the kind of talent they had this past year. There are no elite players left to add and they only have two elite players in their class and lost 7. I can't wait for them to flop next season.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 4 months ago

Well KY has made it to 4 out of the last 5 final fours with revamped teams each year. Since they will have what 6 or 7 McDonald AA's this year it kind of makes sense they would be ranked high in a preseason poll. Just shows you how deep last years team was there.

Adam Tyler 7 years, 4 months ago

Yes. Kentucky will be just fine. But do they bring enough experience back to mesh with the new talent and return to the Final 4? That has been the proven winning formula for them over the past couple of years.

This Kentucky squad could be similar to the NIT team of a few years ago (who only went to the NIT due to a vicious knee injury to Nerlens Noel). That team would have undoubtedly went to the NCAA Tourney, but might not have had the experience to offset the youth to make a deep run.

Their season may depend on the eligibility of Skal Labissiere, who has yet to be cleared by the NCAA.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 4 months ago

Good points Adam. They are somewhat deeper than the NIT group to me, plus have done it four times now with OAD, they might have it figured out now. Since it's a preseason poll it's all a shot in the dark anyway.

Jonathan Briles 7 years, 4 months ago

Kentucky had 16 players on their roster this past season. Because of senior walk ons that will graduate and the 7 early entries they will be losing 10 of those 16 players including the veteran motor and heart of the team Cauley-Stein. Of the six returning players one is a walk on, two are former 3 star recruits who have not played in a game for more than walk on minutes in over a year. One has been a massive bust while another has been hampered by injuries leaving Tyler Ulis as the only truly great player already on campus. Their front court will include Lee who has been a bust up to this point, but who knows maybe he can improve. Poythress who could be great, but who knows how the injury will affect him and Willis who will be decent at best. Their backcourt of Hawkins and Ulis will be pretty good and they add Briscoe and Matthews from the high school ranks and Mulder from JC. The only inside guy will be Skal who may not even qualify. Even if he does I don't think he deserves the number 1 ranking. He will be good, but not number 1 caliber. Unless they pull something crazy out of their @$$ in the final recruiting stretch they will be a very average team next year. They will be fringe top 25 and nowhere near number 2.

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 4 months ago

How does it make sense to rank this Kentucky team in the preseason top 5? Preseason polls are based what the roster for the upcoming season looks like, not what past accomplishments the previous team achieved. Kentucky is only going to have 3 McD's all-Americans this season year (Lee, Poythress, and Ulis). There is no front court depth this year and if Skal never gets cleared (real possibility of that), Kentucky's front court is Poythress and Lee. Calipari whiffed on this class pretty hard and that's why Cal is now trying to flip players who have already committed to other schools now one upping the crap he pulled with Terrance Jones.

Benz Junque 7 years, 4 months ago

Briscoe was a McD's AA this year and Labissiere was not one only due to a technicality in who is eligible to be on the team. He would have been the best big there if he was eligible to be on the team.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 4 months ago

Aaron I think you are way off on your post.

KY looks pretty good right now. 3 guys from last years team, 3 new guys, I think that is 6 AA. #2 ranked class 2015, a coach who has proven he can take OAD and get them to the Final Four 4 out of the last 5 years. He is thin but the cupboard is not bare and he has proven he can get young players to win and advance. So what he has done in the past is very relevant, especially with a young team.

If some of our players are going to improve by aging a year, someone on their roster has to improve by aging a year too right? Or does that only work here? Someone is going to extend their bench maybe even start.

I think when they list it as a "way too early to rank" top 25 poll with Caveats on every team and revise it as each player signs, we kind of assume that some leeway is being used to come up where teams are ranked. This is not some fan vote, it is a few guys who got paid to look into the foggy future and come up with a way to early list.

Should KY be ranked 2nd, or even in the top 5? Sure, a case can be made that on paper, if everyone plays they signed, and they get another player or two, and a player or two on their roster improves and plays well that they will be good, to a very good team. Lots of Caveats there but it is a way to early to rank poll with caveats. At least that is what they called it. We moved from what was it 9/10 and now are 5/6 because of Diallo.

Just because Cal is slick does not mean he can't coach and can't recruit. I dislike KY as much as anyone and they may finish poorly but on paper, right now, a case can be made that they are top 5, maybe even a 2nd ranked team. It makes sense if you spin it positive as much as you do to the negative in your post.

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 4 months ago

Only 1 player (Briscoe) from the McD's game is going to Kentucky this year and that is not debatable, that is fact. Poythress and Lee were 2013 and Ulis a 2014, that's it for Kentucky, I was one off they have 4 instead of the 3 I said initially, and not the 6 you're claiming. Kentucky will have a good backcourt, but their frontcourt isn't anything special and doesn't have any depth. If you look at Kentucky's current roster, they only return 3 players who played meaningful minutes last season. In the back court, they return a pretty good PG, but he's also very undersized for the position. In the front court, they return 2 players, a guy coming off a torn ACL and has been on the wing the last 2 years. Marcus Lee has been a pretty big bust so far averaging under 3 ppg in 2 seasons. The other players they have returning have never played a meaningful minute of college basketball.

For incoming recruits, they have a good class coming in on paper, I'm not arguing that. They've got the top center, top PG and a couple of mid level combo guards.

Overall assessment, Kentucky's back court should be pretty good, but their wing and front court have major question marks as far talent and depth go and the known incoming and returning pieces are not a top 5 team and there aren't any players left out there to change that.

RJ King 7 years, 4 months ago

The Pac-12 is making some real strides in recruiting. Cuonzo Martin is building a reputation (players' coach). This year the SEC is king. Kentucky, LSU and Texas A&M have made good hauls. Yes, I know rankings are what they are, but . . .

Using the Rivals 150, here’s the breakdown on conferences:

Total No. Top 150, plus (# of 5, 4, and 3 star recruits)

29 SEC (5, 15, 9)

26 ACC (5, 15, 6)

25 Pac-10 (6, 13, 6)

24 Big-10 (2, 14, 8)

10 American (1, 5, 4)

10 Big East (2, 5, 3)

9 Big 12 (2, 6, 1)

6 Mountain West (1, 4, 1)

2 Missouri Valley (0, 0, 2)

1 Atlantic Sun (0, 0, 1)

1 West Coast Conference (0, 0, 1)

7 Undecided (1, 5, 1)

I root FOR the other Big-12 coaches. I understand the annoyance with personalities (Weber, etc), but it doesn’t do Kansas any good to face lesser competition during the season. To be outdone by the American and much weaker Big-East is lame.

As a conference, we need to step it up. Granted the Big-12 was likely strongest top to bottom last year, but the conference as a whole needs to snag more quality players. Those 3 and 4 star guys can really make a difference. I don’t want our streak to be compared to Gonzaga’s.

Adam Tyler 7 years, 4 months ago

I agree that it is shocking to see the Big 12 so far down the list in terms of recruiting. And I want it to quickly pick up to help the conference become more of a dominant force on the national level.

But I wonder if it has to do with so much returning talent to the conference.

KU, OU, ISU, and Texas all will have veteran laden squads and may not have immediate guaranteed PT available, except for one or two spots on each team. I believe Baylor returns quite a bit as well, and the other schools have never really put together top tier recruiting classes (minus OSU, but the fraud Travis Ford has been exposed as a terrible, terrible coach)

I agree with Rodney that teams like Cal, LSU, and MSST spread the talent out across the country, and didn't allow one or two juggernauts to hoard all the talent. It has been an odd recruiting year, but should create an even playing field and an unpredictable season ahead.

Jay Hawk 7 years, 4 months ago

I think the returning talent in the league this year has definitely hindered the influx of highly rated recruits.

It is strange to see the talent going everywhere and becoming more spread out. I wonder if this is a one-year anomaly or a trend? Or are some teams (coaches) on the verge of breaking out and becoming a national power?

No matter what, Kentucky missing out on several of the kids that they've typically gotten the last few years is really a surprise. Don't get me wrong, they will be fine next year, but their recruiting could have been much better. Any chance there's something brewing in BBN with the program or coach?

Suzi Marshall 7 years, 4 months ago

Darn good stuff RJ!

The Big 12 has always lagged in signing highly ranked kids. Kansas has by far the most big time signers. I think espn did a report citing Kansas about 3 or 4 in 5-stars signed, well behind UNC and KY.

Per Rodney's comments below, the Big 12 needs to add U of Houston and another school...BYU perhaps. Houston is the 3rd largest US city and will help the league to become more competitive.

Note: The lack of signing highly rated talent has never stopped Snyder at KSU from putting together nationally competitive teams. His average recruiting class, per Rivals, ranks somewhere in the 70s, or so it seems.

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 4 months ago

The Big 12's recruiting is way down this year because the Big 12 is returning most of its high profile talent from last year. The Big 12 is likely only going to have 3 players drafted this year, Oubre and Turner in the lottery and Alexander as a late 1st/early 2nd round pick. No other Big 12 player is projected to be drafted this year.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 4 months ago

Let's hope that that was the reason. I am not so sure it is the only reason.

Trent Rose 7 years, 4 months ago

"High profile talent" in this case I'm afraid means likely 2nd round NBA pick. Besides Self, no other team or coach is that great at recruiting high-school talent. Iowa State and Hoiberg at this point rely on transfers, Lon Kruger has never been able to consistently recruit top 50 talent, along with many of the other coaches.

Shaka Smart is a good recruiter and he will probably start hauling in some good recruiting classes, and Travis Ford and Scott Drew usually snag at least one top 50 player per recruiting class. But outside Kansas and Texas, other teams rely on developing players and junior college players to be competitive. So it doesn't surprise me to see this.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 4 months ago

Nice research RJ thank you.

Do you think a lack of a conference network is effecting the numbers or was it just a unique year for just the B12? Here in Chicago I get the Big 10, PAC 12, and SEC networks. The B12 has no presence here off season. (Is there any year by year comparisons for the last 5 or 10 years?)

Personally I think not having at least 12 teams makes us appear slightly below the other 4 power conferences too.

Also did more schools like CAL, LSU, TX AM, MSST and a few other new schools who were able to recruit top players dilute the available pool. Only Baylor and Texas dented the class rankings.

Suzi Marshall 7 years, 4 months ago

Per my comments under RJ's post, I referenced your expansion ideas. The Big 12 needs to add U of Houston and possibly Rice.

Robert Brock 7 years, 4 months ago

Neither would bring anything to the conference. Houston is a commuter school a la Long Beach State and Rice is a dinky school living in the deep past. They wouldn't add a single TV set, wouldn't bring added revenue, and they wouldn't improve prestige.

Adam Tyler 7 years, 4 months ago

Completely agree.

We need to aim for a quality programs that have established themselves in a major sport or two. Not seat-fillers.

IMO, because we failed to grab Louisivlle, the best available are Cincinnati, Memphis, BYU, Boise State, and UCONN.

Others have thrown out the idea of poaching from another conference, but that simply not going to happen. I also don't like the idea of going into Florida to grab UCF or USF as has been mentioned before too.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 4 months ago

Agree on Louisville, that was a big miss. I like Cinncy,, and Memphis, nice markets to be in too. No to FL teams I concur.

Suzi Marshall 7 years, 4 months ago

The Big 12 should add U. of Houston. I'd love to see a Chicago area school as the second addition. NIU? As things stand, no expansion is likely.

www.sportingnews.com/ncaa-football/story/2015-02-20/houston-cougars-big-12-expansion-aac-push-texas-legislature-stilman-fertitta

http://espn.go.com/blog/big12/post/_/id/98771/big-12-mailbag-26

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 4 months ago

The Big 12 is not expanding within Texas and you know as well as I do that nobody gives a crap even in Houston about UH or Rice. Every UH alum I know has another school they cheer for (mostly Texas), and Rice has very few local students and their total number of students and living alumni don't even fill up their stadium so neither adds a thing to the Big 12.

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 4 months ago

Academy schools can't compete with major conference teams in football because they have size restrictions for their players.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 4 months ago

Ok we agree we need to add a couple of schools, to me the issue is who. We are late to the party and the pickings are slim. We are probably going to have make allowances whoever we get. Lots of variables in play, market share, athletics, academics, etc... Whoever we get we have to push for a network out of the deal. Houston is enticing except for the school..., BYU -WV is a long trip for both schools, maybe we look east too. I really thought the guy we hired from the PAC12 was going to move this forward.

Benz Junque 7 years, 4 months ago

The Big 12 will be gone after the next big wave of realignment hits so we might as well max out our revenue by keeping the Big 12 at 10 teams. We'll be in the Big 10 in 20 years.

Jay Hawk 7 years, 4 months ago

Unless there's a last minute surprise - Tevin Mack? - this announcement pretty much wraps up this year's class. We got two strong players who could go a long ways to filling a glaring need in the paint but fell short in our search for a strong wing player to replace Oubre. Give the staff a "B".

Personally, I'm pretty excited about next year's team. Consider these very LIKELY scenarios:

What IF Mason improves just a little? I don't mean the kind of jump he took last year. But, just enough to garner some first team votes? Finish better at the rim? See the pass to the open player when driving just a little bit better?

What IF Selden improves just a little during his 3rd year? Easily he could become a better finisher. Easily he could become more consistent. Easily he could become more valuable as a vocal team leader. IF Wayne could somehow have a break-out year that puts him back into Lottery conversations - not out of the question - LOOK OUT!

What IF Perry plays 75% of the season at the level he played at last year during February? With some help inside and another year of skill development, everyone thinks he will contend for Big XII POY. The injury and a misguided decision to play too much at the SF spot are the potential issues standing in the way of a great Senior year for Perry. I doubt Bill let's him play the SF position very often.

Graham WILL be better just like most all sophomores are their second year. He'll get bigger and stronger. He'll get smarter about being a PG for Bill Self. He should become a better defender. He might become a better finisher. I don't pretend to know how the backcourt will be constructed or how the minutes will be allocated, but Graham will be much better.

It would be no stretch at all if Greene came back and shoot 45% from 3 next year. His D and handles can only get better and he should provide decent rebounding with another year of strength and quickness in the program.

SVI WILL be better - no doubt. How much is the key. Everyone seems to think that he's a lock in the League, so I'm guessing he will show some significant improvement. Can sophomore Svi provide similar production as many of the blue chip OAD wings that we missed out on this year? I think he can! If not, for sure he will play quality minutes in our rotation.

Our collection of veteran bigs - Lucas, Mickelson, and Traylor - SHOULD be better. I don't know what the mercurial Jamari will bring all the time - heck, he might regress - but between the three of them, they should be more valuable than last year. All we really need is for LL or HM to make a big leap in development and we will be rocking! I'm not sure I see it from either, but you never know.

CONT

Jay Hawk 7 years, 4 months ago

Now, it starts to get a little fuzzy.

Bragg - I'm glad he's here but I'm not sure what he will do next year. He could get 6-8 minutes a game as a minor role player or he could jump Traylor and provide quality back-up minutes. At the very least, you can hope he will push Jamari to be more consistent to protect his spot behind Perry. I'd bet on not seeing him much.

How the heck do you pronounce Cheick's name? I saw somewhere that it was "SHEK". Is that right? Will his name be misspelled more often than SeldOn's? Anyway, place your bets on the big wild card for next year. If he's a mini-Embiid, we will be a force! If he's better than our returning 4 and 5 year guys and ends up starting, that will be huge! The most likely scenario to me is that he has a freshman year with rotation minutes full of highs and lows, lots of SC Top 10 highlights, some starting assignments, yet never realizes his full potential during his first campaign.

So, this collection of veterans and young studs should provide us with a fantastic season next year. With a little luck, a little chemistry, and no injuries, Self has a team that can play into April.

I'm excited. Rock Chalk!

Trent Rose 7 years, 4 months ago

Bragg will jump Lucas and Mickelson is my thought. The book on Bragg from the scouting reports I've seen and watching him play twice, is quality rebounder and his jump shot is better than any post player we currently have. If he can defend and rebound consistently, he will easily jump Traylor as well.

Vernon Riggs 7 years, 4 months ago

Last three scholarships: 1. Tevin Mack, 2. Georgios Papagiannis, and 3. Evan Manning

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 4 months ago

KU only has 2 scholarships left and none of those players are likely.

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