Vegas Day 2: ASU recruiting notebook

Elite guard prospect and former Arizona State commit Markus Howard is still very high on the Sun Devils following the coaching change to Bobby Hurley. That and more from Las Vegas Day 2 action in our notebook.

Day two of recruiting madness in Las Vegas began as the Adidas, Bigfoot Hoops and Fab48 events took place across the valley.

Coaches from across the country spent time hopping from event to event and gym to gym, and such was the case for Arizona State’s Bobby Hurley and his staff, who spent most of their day back at Adidas for Round 2.

Hurley and assistant coach Rashon Burno did stop by Desert Pines high school to watch former ASU 2017 guard commit Markus Howard play early in the day before returning to Adidas.

All three events continue through Sunday all over the Las Vegas valley.

McDaniels in touch with ASU

Although ASU wasn't present for 2016 small forward Jalen McDaniels’ morning contest, the 6-foot-7 forward said Arizona State is pursuing him.

“I talk to coach (Rashon) Burno all the time,” he said. “I have a good relationship with him. I talk to him every day. He hits me up, sees what I’m doing.”

Although McDaniels’ Seattle Rotary lost to the Oakland Soldiers, he displayed why schools including Texas, Gonzaga, Arizona and Washington are taking a close look at him this month.

Despite a skinny, 185-pound frame, McDaniels was successful crashing the offensive glass against Oakland’s much larger frontcourt, consistently getting by box outs for putbacks. He didn’t see much of the ball offensively, but what he displayed on defense while guarding positions 1 through 4 merited attention.

“I just try to play as hard as I can,” he said. “I just play hard because (other players) try to get physical with me. I know they’re going to try to bully me, but I don’t let that happen.”

ASU still pushing for Howard

Markus Howard’s decommitment from ASU’s 2017 class came about a week before Herb Sendek’s time in Tempe came to an end.

Since then, Howard left Arizona to play in Las Vegas with Findlay Prep, one of the top prep basketball programs in the country. He is now No. 28 in his class and No. 7 at his position, according to Scout.com and reportedly holds multiple offers including Arizona, UNLV and Indiana.

Hurley and Burno were in attendance to watch former 2017 guard commit Markus Howard and the Prospects win their second game of the tournament.

Howard spent a good amount of time off the ball as 2016 point guard Troy Brown, the No. 1 point guard in 2016, spends the majority of time as the primary ball handler. Playing next to Brown, Howard has the freedom to display even more of his scoring talents.

“I’ve always played on this type of level,” Howard said. “I’ve always been up for the challenge. I’m really liking the level of play and how high-paced it is.”

Hurley made a point of continuing to pursue Howard despite the decommitment, and Burno’s presence is once again meaningful. Even with the coaching turnover, Howard said he hears from ASU at a consistent level.

“I’ve been in contact with (Burno) a lot, and coach Hurley is always great, so is the rest of the staff,” Howard said. “I really like the staff at Arizona State.”

In fact, there hasn’t been much of a drop-off since Sendek was fired in late-March.

“It’s a lot like a family atmosphere, so it’s always good in that part,” Howard said. “They try to stay in contact with me as much as possible, so that’s the same amount it was with coach Sendek.”

Lightfoot still has ASU in the mix

2016 Arizona post-product Mitch Lightfoot was impressive in his team’s victory over an athletic Florida Eagles squad, tallying 17 points and three blocks.

Kansas and Stanford were among the schools sitting in to watch the 6-foot-8 Lightfoot, and he said he has offers from those two as well as Arizona and Utah.

Arizona State has also extended an offer to the local prospect, and Hurley is playing to his past in the recruitment.

“Coach Hurley is really cool. I like him," Lightfoot said. "He wants me to be a Christian Laettner there, so that’s kind of cool. He knows what they did to prepare for every game, and what they did to get better in practice, so that’s definitely a big factor.”

After decommitting from New Mexico in April, Lightfoot has made it a point to clear up any questions about his approach to the game.

“No one’s going to outwork me,” he said. “That’s my thing. This whole summer has been me wanting to show what there is, and I felt like people, they doubted the work ethic. I’ve changed that.”

Lightfoot said he is planning on taking visits after July and is considering making a commitment in the early signing period.

You can reach Zac Pacleb on Twitter @ZacPacleb or via email at zacpacleb@gmail.com


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