Notebook: Downtown Wahoos

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

Shooting a focus for Bennett, UVa

One of Virginia’s focuses on the recruiting trail the past few months has been to add some shooting to its roster.

Well, that mission is getting accomplished in the Cavaliers' 2016 recruiting class.

On Monday, the Cavaliers picked up a pledge from Kyle Guy, a 6-foot-2 guard out of Indianapolis. Guy is one of the premier shooters in the class. He’s a quality marksmen on the move, can make jumpers off the bounce and has deep range on his shot.

Through 24 games this summer in the adidas Gauntlet playing with Indiana Elite, Guy put up 114 threes and made 55 of them, which is good for 48.2-percent from behind the arc.

Virginia’s other early pledge in 2016 -- Ty Jerome (pictured above) – has a similar reputation. Jerome impressed with his shooter this summer playing with Chris Alesi’s New Heights squad. While shooting is among his best attributes, he’s also a crafty handler and confident scorer.

It’s obviously very early, as just 15 top 100 juniors are committed, but no school has a better shooting class than Tony Bennett has compiled in 2016.

— Evan Daniels

Washington under recruiting renaissance

From the 2008-09 through 2011-12 seasons, life was good for Lorenzo Romar and Washington, making three NCAA tournaments and one NIT, winning two regular season Pac-12 titles and two Pac-12 tournament championships.

Washington struggled to capitalize on that success, however, and it led to a handful of recruiting classes without nearly enough Pac-12 talent.

Chriss possesses big league straight-up leaping ability

Romar shook up the staff a bit, bringing in assistant coaches T.J. Otzelberger, from Iowa State, and Raphael Chillious, who spent a season with Villanova in 2012-13 but had been with Washington from 2010-12.

The results have been significant, as Washington's 2015 class, on paper, is its best in school history.

With four Top 100 prospects in point guard David Crisp, shooting guard Dejounte Murray, small forward Matisse Thybulle and power forward Marquese Chriss to go with an athletic junior college post in Malik Dime and a skilled prep school post in Devenir Duruisseau, Washington's staff has put the Huskies in position to rekindle its recent success.

It will be important for the Huskies to keep that group together and build on it in the future but, on paper, it looks as if Romar and his staff are heading in the right direction again in Seattle.

— Josh Gershon

Spring might not be as busy

For a while it looked like the spring recruiting period would be absolutely insane with almost all of the top players waiting it out, however now that looks to be toned down a little bit.

Five-star Isaiah Briscoe seems set on deciding early, four-star Thomas Bryant is also moving in that direction, and there is definitely a decent chance five-stars Jaylen Brown, Diamond Stone and Skal Labissiere make an early call, though those choices are up in the air.

While some heavy hitters such as Caleb Swanigan, Ivan Rabb, Stephen Zimmerman, and Cheick Diallo are all definitely waiting things out, the news that Briscoe and Bryant will decide early, or at least plan to, means there will be a little less on the table as the season gets going.

Briscoe should be committed by about the end of the month and Bryant seems a bit torn, although most feel Syracuse is still the team to beat, though Missouri and Indiana remain in the mix.

— Brian Snow

New York, New York, City of Dreams

One program that desperately needs to cash in with the 2015 class is St. John's. The Red Storm caught fire in recruiting when Steve Lavin first got to town, but it's been slow going lately and they'll lose six seniors following the upcoming season — in which they'll attempt to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2011.

For Diallo, college could be a one and done experience

The program may have had its answers on campus this past weekend. Elites Cheick Diallo and Isaiah Briscoe, along with fellow blue-chipper Brandon Sampson, all visited the Red Storm for Midnight Madness and now present the coaching staff an opportunity to very quickly escalate the Big East ranks in terms of talent.

Briscoe might be their best shot. After one time appearing to be a spring decider, he now intends to commit soon. Announced so quickly on the heels of his visit with the Red Storm, at the minimum it's safe to say that doesn't bode poorly for their chances.

Diallo's recruitment, meanwhile, has been nearly impossible to handicap and no one seems to have a strong grasp. Sampson has been linked more closely to other programs. Still, bringing the trio together for their visits made a statement that the Red Storm are ready to make noise once again.

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

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