Mandeldove Firming Up List

CHATHAM, Va. -- Jonathan Mandeldove's transformation from mid-major steal legit high-major prospect is nearly complete. As open gym begins at Hargrave, Mandeldove is in the process of shrinking his college list.

Jonathan Mandeldove almost wound up at Virginia Commonwealth and the rest of the CAA would have been in trouble. Last year, the 6-foot-11, 225 pounder signed with VCU, didn't qualify and subsequently emerged as a high-major prospect.

"I felt that at the time (going to VCU) was a good choice," Mandeldove, a post grad student, said Friday night at Hargrave. "They are good guys. VCU isn't a bad school but I had some people telling me (I could play at a higher level). Once I figured that out, my dad thought (prep school) would be a good thing."

So far, prep school has been very good to Mandeldove. In fact, basketball in general has treated him well. While hooping with the Atlanta Celtics last spring, the proverbial "light went on" for the center and the rest, well, that's history. Mandeldove has done a lot of growing both as a person and a prospect.

"I just opened up," Mandeldove said. "I felt that I needed to express myself a little more. If I open up people will know me."

Oh, people know him alright. Judging by the crowd at was there the first day college coaches could be out in September, Mandeldove is very well known.

Wake Forest's Skip Prosser made the 1 ½ drive from Winston-Salem to show his loyalty to Mandeldove. So did Joe Lombardi, an assistant from Pittsburgh and Virginia assistant Gene Cross. Very likely, in the next few days, representatives from Texas, Miami, Alabama and Memphis will have seen him in person. Missouri is also recruiting him.

Mandeldove is in the process of putting the finishing touches on his visit list. Jim Calhoun will be in Chatham next Thursday for a school visit and the following day, Mandeldove heads to Storrs for his official trip.

Wake Forest is next on his visit tour with a Sept. 23rd trip followed by Memphis the weekend of Oct. 14th. Missouri could also nab a visit slot in the coming weeks and possibly another school from his short list could slide into a spot as well. He's been to Virginia, Missouri and Memphis unofficially already.

"I just want to feel comfortable that I'm in the right situation. I don't want to hold a spot for someone the next year."

The slightly mechanical but ever-improving Mandeldove has the talent to do more than occupy a roster slot. On Friday, he and Florida-bound center Marreese Speights ( 52) traded paint and points inside; each showing why they are so highly coveted.

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