The Cats have recently gotten in on Chris Douglas-Roberts, but it won't be easy to land the elite-level point guard. Every big name school in the country wants him and he wants to play early on.
"I'm more relaxed around Coach Boeheim and Coach Pitino, than with either Coach Olson or Coach Calhoun," Johnson explained.
Arizona has been in on him a long time, but he's probably not one of their top-tier recruits. He's a freak athlete and hails from the same high school as Hassan Adams.
The Cats top wing is Martell Webster, a 6-foot-6 junior small forward from Seattle (Wash.) Seattle Prep. He was ranked #1 among 2005 West Coast small forwards in the rankings released by TheInsidersHoops.com
Webster has been hurt a couple times this past year, but he showed last summer that he was clearly the top small forward in the west. He's got a great frame, very good athleticism and a nice shot. Arizona is still the leader, but he may not decide for some time.
Amir Johnson is a big man the Cats have been wooing. The 6-9 junior center from Los Angeles (Calif.) Westchester is one of the best big men on the West Coast.
He was at the LA Invitational and played very well. Once he got warmed up, and seemingly in the flow, Johnson played well. His offense hasn't come very far in the year he had to sit out from Westchester, but he's still the most athletic post in the west, which makes him a good rebounder and great shot blocker. He's gotten a bit bigger physically, with bigger shoulders and arms. He still, though, hasn't played at the caliber he did at last summer's Nike Camp, when he dominated national talent for three days, both offensively and defensively.
Cat Tracks saw Alex Stepheson earlier in the spring, but he has apparently already improved. The one big issue about Stepheson recently is how much bigger physically he's become in the last month. Apparently there is a new, and very effective, strength coach at Harvard-Westlake, and it's definitely apparent with Stepheson. His upper body has not only become more muscled but broadened in his chest and shoulders. And it's making a difference in his game. Stepheson, being athletic, still has an issue with playing small and not using his size and athleticism to play about the rim. He's doing it more now with his improved strength, giving him the confidence and power to player higher. Now, hopefully he can gain some strength and width in his still slender lower body.
2006's Lance Thomas is making a name for himself. Colleges up and down the East Coast such as Duke, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, Syracuse, Rutgers, and St. Joseph's have shown great interest. But as Thomas plays in national tournament after national tournament, more schools outside the region have also caught wind. You can add the names Cincinnati, Kansas, and Arizona to his fast-growing list.
"I like a team that runs a good fast break -- I like to get up and down the court," said Thomas. "But I want a basketball program that's like a family. I would also like a college that has a good art program."
Daniel Deane is a 6-8 sophomore power forward from Salt Lake City (Utah) Judge Memorial. Deane has a good frame, great shoulders, and moves well for a young big. Not a great leaper, but willing to bang and has good hands. Fairly advanced offensive game for a sophomore, able to play inside and away from the basket. A potential elite, high major prospect for '06.
Are you ready yet for 2007 players? Tyrone Shelley easily one of the elite players in the class or 2007. He has gotten bigger physically, with stronger arms and shoulders. It makes for one of the best freshman bodies around, a perfect small forward's body. Shelley's game has continued to develop also, with a much-improved jumper and better ball-handling skills, which enables him to get to the basket better.