ASU Hoops Recruiting Overview

On Saturday another college football season begins in earnest for Sun Devil fans, but this weekend kicks off an important stretch for the men's basketball program as well, with three recruits scheduled to be on campus for official visits beginning Friday. Here is the latest exclusive recruiting overview from DevilsDigest.

Last year, the first weekend in September saw Keith Wooden, Chris Low and Will Fameni officially visit the Arizona State campus. Within a matter of weeks, Low and Wooden were orally committed to the Sun Devils and Fameni followed shortly thereafter.

Perhaps a little superstition went into the ASU coaches' decision to bring in another trio of talented recruits for this September's first full weekend. Perhaps it was just their normal way of doing business. Regardless, Junior College standouts Michael Ford and Mohammed "Mo" Camara (pronounced k-MAR-a) are scheduled to join Michigan high school star Goran Suton for official campus visits beginning Friday (9-5).

Suton is someone we have written about recently and watched extensively this summer in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. In case you missed it, he's a 6-10 post-player from East Lansing, Michigan who immigrated to this country with his family from Serbia approximately three years ago prior to the start of high school. This summer he excelled in AAU ball for the talented Michigan Hurricanes and he's generally regarded as the best big-man in the state.

Another post player the Devils are seriously courting is Camara, an import in his own right and the cousin of former Kentucky basketball standout Jules Camara. The 6-11 pound Riverside Community College product came to the United States via Senegal. Camara is reported to be, at 255 pounds, a tremendous force in the post defensively and on the glass, with offensive skills that are slowly developing.

In an interview earlier this summer Riverside coach Bob Russo had the following to say about Camara: "He gets the ball in the post, he has to think about things. He's a bit robotic because he just doesn't have that natural feel yet. But some days he'll do some things that make you say, ‘Wow he's coming along,' and other times he'll revert back to a little rawness...but overall, at any level he can probably get 10 rebounds a game, he changes and blocks shots and he'll be a good player. You know, he runs the floor well, he's pretty athletic [for his height] and he's really, really strong."

"He's 6'11 and he's got a very good upside," continued Russo. "He's strong. He's still raw offensively, but towards the end of the year for us, you know in the playoffs there were two games in a row where he got over 20 rebounds a game, so he led our conference in rebounding. He's got great potential, but he hasn't been playing the game that long, maybe 4-5 years [total]."

Both Suton and Camara have apparently been offered scholarships by the Sun Devils and it seems as though the staff would take a commitment from either player at this time, but perhaps not both. With three scholarships to give this fall, the Sun Devils probably will elect to sign one post player in the early signing period baring an unforeseen development or an inability to land a quality player at combo-guard or on the wing; positions that seem to be earmarked for the other two available rides.

Suton has an official visit scheduled for Michigan State the final weekend of September and that school appears to be the biggest competition at present for Arizona State. Camara's visit to ASU will be his first and he is still relatively early in the process and considering taking official visits to a number of schools including Oregon, Georgetown, San Diego State and Rutgers, all of which will likely be visiting him at RCC next week.

Playing at Curtis Millage's former stomping grounds - Los Angeles Southwest College - Ford is arguably the best JC guard prospect in Southern California. Last year, the 6-1, 180 combo-guard averaged a South Coast Conference leading 20.4 points (25.7 in league play), 5.5 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 4.6 steals and shot an unbelievable .568% from three point range on the season. Originally from Georgia, Ford moved to Los Angeles following high school and is now considering Arizona State among his leaders, with one current Sun Devil even going as far as to say, "We own him."

An offer, however, has apparently not been tendered to Ford by Arizona State due to the schools' full-blown and rapidly developing emergence in the Quentin Thomas sweepstakes. Earlier this summer it appeared that the Sun Devils would have an almost impossible time of catching up in the race for Thomas, as the 6-3 elite prospect from Oakland Technical high school did not even list Arizona State among his suitors a mere three months ago.

Now, however, Thomas is listing the Sun Devils among his three finalists along with –get this – North Carolina and Kansas. Appearing to be a big factor in this evolution is the interest Arizona State has in Thomas' fellow Bay Area prospect, lifelong friend Tim Pierce, the 6-7 standout at Freemont high school. Pierce and Thomas have both been offered scholarships and are of primary importance to the Sun Devils in this recruiting cycle.

Both will be on campus for official visits next weekend beginning on September 12. Thomas will visit Kansas officially later in the month and then North Carolina in October with a decision likely coming soon thereafter. Pierce had yet to set up any other official visits as of the beginning of last week, but North Carolina-Charlotte and Oregon appear the most likely schools to get visits, if indeed Pierce takes more than the one to ASU. It does appear to us that Pierce is a lean to Arizona State and his visit will be particularly interesting to watch.

Outside of the five who will visit over the next two weeks, local wing Lee Cummard of Mesa high school, DevilsDigest's top-ranked player in Arizona, will likely officially visit the Tempe-campus in the next month or so as well. Cummard, who will accept an LDS mission immediately following his high school graduation, is looking to sign this fall and as such he would enroll in 2006. In addition to ASU, Cummard is likely to visit BYU and possibly UCLA and Oregon State as well.

The seemingly ideal situation for the Sun Devils would seem to involve garnering commitments from Thomas, Pierce, Cummard and either Suton or Camara. Should the Devils miss on Thomas, a scholarship offer to Ford would seem rather likely and also allow the Devils a legitimate shot at 2005 elite point guard Andre McGee, the former teammate and best friend of current Sun Devil Tron Smith who is ranked by most services in the top 15 nationally in next year's class.

Other players still being considered for the 2004 class include local junior college wing Bryson Kruger and Compton Dominguez wing Lamar Roberson among others. As always, DevilsDigest will closely follow all of the latest developments with regard to this important recruiting season.

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