Notebook: Nole Limit

In our weekly Notebook feature, the national team explores creative and broad topics from the grassroots hoops realm.

FSU assembling strong class

Leonard Hamilton and Florida State have put together a terrific 2015 recruiting class.

With commitments from Dwayne Bacon (No. 19, pictured above), Malik Beasley (No. 60), Terance Mann (No. 99) and now three-star big man Jean Marc Christ Koumadje, FSU currently sits at No. 5 in the recruiting class rankings.

Beasley's athleticism and scoring pop are just what FSU needs

This type of class, mixed with their current roster, puts the Seminoles in prime position to be successful in the daunting ACC, which currently has four of the top five recruiting classes in’s top 20.

The wings FSU has assembled is beyond impressive. Scorer Xavier Rathan-Mayes will be eligible for the ‘Noles this season and he’ll be joined two of the better scorers in the 2015 class next season in Bacon and Beasley.

The two 2015 standouts give FSU two additional major perimeter scoring threats. Both are advanced in the scoring department, but in different ways. Bacon is a big, strong wing with athleticism, post-up ability and a strong driver, while Beasley is more skilled and a talented long-range shooter.

Throw in an athlete and talented wing defender in Mann and a long, lanky and mobile 7-foot-4 big man in Koumadje and it’s one of Hamilton’s best classes at Florida State.

— Evan Daniels

Unintended Consequences?

One of the most interesting story lines behind the scenes right now involves the new academic requirements for the 2016 class. This is getting a lot of buzz in coaching circles, and the question now becomes what impact will it have, and what direction will a lot of things go in the future because of it.

Basically, players will need a 2.3 GPA instead of a 2.0 GPA to be eligible to compete as freshman, and also they have part of that GPA locked in by the time they are seniors making it more difficult to make up classes. Unfortunately, to this point a lot of kids, and many of them highly thought of prospects, do not appear to be on pace to qualify given the new standards.

Now is where it will get interesting. Will kids who were D and C students magically become A students this year, or will a lot of kids be forced to head to the junior college route? Also there is going to be situations where kids will start leaving their high school for prep schools or other local high schools that are more equipped to help kids get eligible, or flat out those that will simply play the game and are more willing to give out grades.

I'm not sure what the ultimate answer is, but things will change, and I am not sure for the better. The NCAA has continually raised academic standards over the last 20 years, but there has been no significant gain in terms of readiness academically for freshman. That tells me what likely will happen is kids/schools will adjust to the new standard, most likely in 2017, and start the process of either flat out academic fraud, or adding extra help for athletes at an earlier stage than they have in recent years.

— Brian Snow

Head coaches heading to Findlay for Thornton's top point guard prospect in 2016, Derryck Thornton, Jr. has hosted no shortage of head coaches since the beginning of the Recruiting Period.

Kentucky's John Calipari, Arizona's Sean Miller, California's Cuonzo Martin, UNLV's Dave Rice, N.C. State's Mark Gottfried and Michigan's John Beilein have all been by Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep to see Thornton.

Head coaches continue to descend on Thornton

On Tuesday, Miami's Jim Larranaga and Oklahoma's Lon Kruger will stop by Findlay Prep. Duke's Mike Krzyzewski will be at the school on Oct. 13, while UCLA's Steve Alford, USC's Andy Enfield and Louisville's Rick Pitino also will make trips to Findlay in the near future.

"It feels great that all of these head coaches are genuinely interested," said Thornton's father, Derryck Thornton, Sr. "They're not just sending a letter; they're making the effort to come out here and see him."

One of the most recent schools to Thornton's list, Duke, has picked up its recruitment of the five-star prospect in recent weeks.

"They love everything they've seen," said Thornton, Sr. "Derryck was the last guy in the class they saw because he wasn't on the main circuit so they want to come in and see him face to face and develop a relationship with Coach K."

The family will visit UCLA on Oct. 10 and Kentucky for Midnight Madness on Oct. 17 and 18. Three other schools could get visits in the near future.

"We're definitely going to get out to Michigan at some point and maybe Miami and Louisville," said Thornton, Sr.

— Josh Gershon

Could Deacs sneak up on Giles?

In an indirect way, No. 1 junior Jayson Tatum's updated list provides insight into the thought process of No. 2 Harry Giles.

When Tatum released his list — Arizona, Duke, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Saint Louis, Connecticut and Wake Forest — many fans scratched their heads at the inclusion of the Demon Deacons.

It's all smiles for Giles as he navigates a high stakes recruitment

Unlike the power brokers and local programs on Tatum's list, Wake has struggled in recent seasons and, while Danny Manning's arrival has generated immense energy, the rebuilding project appears to be longer term than a season or two.

But here's the rub: Tatum and Giles have discussed at least nominally a joint decision by which they'll attend the same college, and although it appears less serious at this point than Jahlil Okafor and Tyus Jones a season ago, it would be foolish to dismiss the possibility.

Put another way, Wake may be highly unlikely to land Tatum without Giles, but could the Deacs score a huge win for the combo or simply Giles by himself?

Giles most frequently gets linked to Duke, North Carolina and Kentucky, but the Winston-Salem native has spent abundant time hanging around at Wake's campus. He's also very close to talented 2016 guard Brandon Childress, who is joining Giles at Wesleyan Christian this season.

Childress is, of course, the son of Wake Forest legend Randolph Childress — now a member of Manning's coaching staff — and an established target for the Deacs.

Giles undoubtedly will face intense national pressure to choose a blueblood program — and local schools have been getting their heads handed to them in elite recruitments lately — but Wake has generated substantial momentum and shouldn't be discounted.

— Rob Harrington

Evan Daniels, Brian Snow, Josh Gershon and Rob Harrington contributed to this story

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