Grant Visiting UNC; Ruscoe Visits JMU
All the hoopla the last month seems to be directed at Brewster Academy big man Damion Grant. The 7-0 native of Jamaica is set to take his fourth official visit of the year this weekend. Grant is slated to spend time in snowy Chapel Hill, weather permitting.
Grant has already visited UMass, Seton Hall and LaSalle. The 19-year-old hasn't been playing basketball for long but Seton Hall saw his promise last year and requested he attend school in South Orange and sitout this season. That didn't happen and now he's one of the hottest big men in the country.
"Everybody and their brother is calling on him and it's strange because no one has seen him," Brewster coach Jason Smith said. "He's improved immensely since Sept. 1. It's only his second year playing."
Smith received a fortuitous bounce, so to speak, when Clemson signee Akin Akinbala, opted to stay at Brunswick. That opened a roster spot for Grant, whom had been corresponding with Smith via email, and the big fella didn't hesitate on committing to Brewster.
Grant is very much still a work in progress, but he's improving and that's key this time of the year. "Things that we take for granted like positioning ... help side defense are starting to come to him. With Damion, he needed repetitions. Our entire practices are geared toward individual skill development. With him it's just reps."
Expect UNC to press for a commitment this weekend, but Smith would be surprised if the Tar Heels could secure a verbal. "Obviously, they are going to want him to commit on the visit. After every visit he comes back and talks about what he likes and doesn't like." Should Grant opt to take another official trip, Pittsburgh, Charlotte, West Virginia, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Ohio State, Stanford, Illinois and Indiana are in the hunt.
6-4, 195 pound Rod Middleton is a Chicago native looking for a school next season. "He's been solid for us all year," Smith said of his wingman. St. Bonaventure offered early and now Manhattan, Southern Illinois, Eastern Illinois and Drake are on him.
The brother of California guard Dennis Gates, Armon Gates, has been offered by Kent State. East Carolina, Providence and Siena have inquired about him. Gates recently scored 30 in a game versus MCI. He's 6-2 and 185 pounds.
Jamal Caterina was Mr. Basketball in Maine last season. This year the 6-6, 195 pounder has had a couple of teeth knocked out in a game against Winchendon and in December he went under the knife for a second root canal. Somehow, he's back playing now. American has offered and Manhattan, Wagner and St. Bonaventure are interested.
James Madison hosts 6-7, 220 power forward Luke Ruscoe on a visit this weekend. The native of New Zealand popped a 1,300 on the Sat and is entertaining interest from a number of Ivy League programs.