Notebook: Big weekend for Bears

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

All eyes on Berkeley

It would be an exaggeration to say the immediate future of California's basketball program comes down to this weekend, but it isn't hyperbole to say this is an extremely important weekend for the Golden Bears.

Local 2015 five-star power forward Ivan Rabb (pictured above), a 6-foot-10, 220-pound power forward from Oakland (Calif.) Bishop O'Dowd, joins another 2015 five-star prospect in 6-foot-9, 265-pound Fort Wayne (Ind.) Homestead center Caleb Swanigan on official visits to Berkeley.

In addition to Rabb and Swanigan will be Davon Dillard, a 6-foot-5, 200-pound small forward from Centereach (N.Y.) Our Savior New American.

Cal still is searching for a commitment in its 2015 class, and one could argue that the success of the class will largely be determined by whether or not the Bears can keep Rabb home. Certainly, however, Swanigan is a big recruit for Cuonzo Martin and staff as well, while Dillard's athleticism and toughness also fits in with the coaches' philosophy.

— Josh Gershon

Supply of point guard is interesting

Recently in high school basketball it has been more difficult to find a point guard than it has been to find a quality big man. So that has made the point guard position one of the most recruited in the country.

LoVett is one of the country’s most exciting guards

However, as the calendar nears March, a few high quality point guards remain on the board. Nick Noskowiak, Marcus LoVett, and Traci Carter are all four-star point guards, albeit scoring point guards, who remain up for grabs, and where they land could have a major impact for a program.

Carter has set visits to Xavier and Marquette, most of the buzz around LoVett centers on St. John's or maybe Illinois, and then Noskowiak (formerly a Marquette signee) is just at the beginning of his process.

For schools in need there are options available, and where these three decide to go following their high school seasons will be extremely interesting to monitor.

— Brian Snow

Oklahoma junior has interest

Junior wing Jakolby Long is reeling in scholarship offers.

According to Gary Jones, who is helping run his college recruitment, Long has added scholarship offers from SMU, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Houston, Wichita State, Missouri, Mississippi, Missouri State and Tulsa.

Jones said LSU and Kansas have also shown some interest in the 6-foot-4 wing prospect out of Mustang (Okla.) High. Long hasn’t take any recent visits, but plans to set some following his junior season.

— Evan Daniels

Nike adds Brown to EYBL stable

Zach Brown ranks No. 4 overall in the Class of 2017, and the sophomore’s AAU program — the South Beach All-Stars — has been added to Nike’s illustrious EYBL docket.

The center at Miami Beach (Fla.) High “most likely” will play up with the 17s in the actual league play, according to Brown’s guardian, Michael Lipman.

Nike for years dominated with the nation’s top talent, and the EYBL has been a godsend in terms of exposure and marketing clout. That said, Adidas and Under Armour recently launched leagues of their own and have begun to chip away at Nike’s advantage, at least a little.

Thus, bringing an elite big man such as Brown into the fold gives the company’s grassroots operations a shot in the arm.

As for Brown himself, Lipman said the plan is to attend the LeBron James Skills Academy but perhaps not a whole lot else in terms of camps.

”I’m going to limit his exposure (this summer),” Lipman said. “The most important thing is for him to develop. He has about 30 scholarship offers and doesn’t really need exposure.”

Brown clearly will be a marquee attraction on the EYBL circuit, and the All-Stars will be among 40 contenders vying for the tournament title, to be completed in July. The league kicks off in mid-April in Hampton, Va.

— Rob Harrington

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

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