Notebook: Bringing the Brunk

In our weekly Notebook feature, the national team explores creative and broad topics from the grassroots hoops realm. This week, we lead off with one big man’s blossoming recruitment.

Brunk Making Second Visit

Four-star center Joey Brunk is now in the middle of his second official visit. The Indianapolis (Ind.) Southport product has averaged a very impressive 17.0 points and 8.3 rebounds per game during the Under Armour Association, which has led to more and more offers. Brunk how holds offers from Michigan State, Butler, Xavier, Oklahoma, Indiana, Purdue and Illinois.

After making his first official visit to Oklahoma last month, Brunk is now taking his second official to Butler. The hometown Bulldogs have made Brunk a major priority for awhile, and this visit could prove to be huge. Following this visit, it wouldn't be surprising if Illinois and Xavier received trips as well.

Brunk has excellent hands and a nice touch, as evidenced by his 61 percent shooting from the floor during Under Armour play. While Brunk has kept a fairly low profile in terms of favorites, many think that Butler and Xavier have done an excellent job with him to this point, though the Big Ten schools also are working very hard to land his commitment.

— Brian Snow

Who will lead the USA Basketball U16 team?

The USA Basketball U16 trials gave us a great look at some of the top tier players in the 2017 and 2018 classes.

Throughout the camp you could see players coming into their own and gaining confidence in their play. From my time in Colorado Springs, players like Gary Trent Jr., Wendell Carter, Jarred Vanderbilt and Markus Howard, were durable, steady and played with some swagger on the court.

If I had to pick, I'd say those four players are strong candidates for starting positions and the likely leaders of the group that will participate in the 2015 FIBA U16 Americas Championships.

Trent provides a legit perimeter shooting threat. Carter is a go-to scorer on the block. Vanderbilt impacts the game with his rebounding and passing. And then you have Howard, who's a very good shooter yet also is developing his floor game and defense.

Two younger players who were particularly impressive during the trials were Jordan Brown and JaVonte Smart. Brown showed off terrific skill and offensive ability, especially considering he's only been playing basketball for three years. Smart grew at the event and by Tuesday evening played with supreme confidence. He’s versatile and the impact he can make both on and off the ball will help this team a great deal.

— Evan Daniels

Killeya-Jones decommit creates ripples

When Sacha Killeya-Jones backed off his commitment to Virginia on Tuesday, the news took many observers by surprise. He’d pledged to the Cavaliers early and, unlike many de-commits, there had been essentially no rumblings that he was going to reopen his recruitment.

Now that he’s open, questions immediately arise that pertain to both Killeya-Jones and Virginia. First, how likely is it that he ultimately recommits? It appears at this point that the Cavaliers will continue to recruit him, but on most occasions — albeit with clear exceptions — the player and his former school end up parting ways.

From Killeya-Jones’ point of view, his summer now will become extremely hectic. College coaches who naturally didn’t watch him in April will want to observe him closely during the July live period. North Carolina and Georgetown are two programs within the region that have needs and would provide an overall fit, while sources say that Kentucky is intrigued as well.

Meanwhile, the Cavaliers will continue their pursuit of talented forward Mamadi Diakite — who many believe favors the Wahoos — and if they can land him he’d give them their second top-100 frontcourt commitment, along with North Carolina face-up forward Jay Huff.

Diakite already loomed as a top priority for the program, but he looms even more significant now that Killeya-Jones is exploring other options.

However it progresses from here, the Mid-Atlantic recruiting scene has gained additional tension for the Class of 2016 cycle.

— Rob Harrington

Evan Daniels, Brian Snow and Rob Harrington contributed to this article

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