Big Time Inside Word #2

We can't even keep up with the rumors, but here's some of what we've heard on the likes of Cal, Gonzaga, USC, New Mexico and others...

Marcus Slaughter, 6-8 SR PF, Riverside (Calif.) J.W. North, has improved his stock more than anyone on the west coast this summer. It's not hard, to begin with, when you're starting from where he did, which was almost completely unknown. But by the Big Time, he now had Pac-10 schools seriously considering him, including the likes of San Diego State and other high majors. We had even heard that Louisville was sniffing around.

The recruitment of Harrison Schaen, 6-8 SR PF, Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei, is an interesting situation. Schaen told us at the Nike Camp that he'd like to commit soon – to either Stanford, Cal, Arizona or USC. We've heard, though, that definitely Arizona, Stanford and Cal have yet to offer him, and we're unsure whether the Trojans have. It could be that Schaen goes for his second option after the Pac-10 – the Ivy League, and could very well end up at a school like Yale, that wants him badly.

Cal has certainly put themselves in a great position to finish with an excellent class with the commitment of the #1 player in the west, Leon Powe, 6-7 SR PF, Oakland (Calif.) Tech. They already had a commitment from Dominic MCGuire, 6-6 SR SF, San Diego (Calif.) Lincoln, who is currently the #1 ranked small forward in the west, and Wesley Washington, 6-2 SR SG, Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei If they get a commitment from Ayinde Ubaka, 6-2 SR PG, Oakland (Calif.) High, who is the #1 point guard in the west and one of the top 5 or 6 in the country, Cal could be looking at, conservatively, a top ten national recruiting class. And they might not stop there. Cal is after a big man, and Liam Hughes, 7-0 SR C, Modesto Christian, could answer the bill. His former high school teammate and fellow Englishman, point guard Richard Midgley, will be a freshman at Cal this fall.

Lorenzo Wade, 6-5 SR SG, Las Vegas (Nev.) Cheyenne, is proving to be one of the best players in the west this July. His academic situation is questionable, though, which has led to many of the very big names to not get on him aggressively. However, other programs like Tennessee, Fresno State, and New Mexico realize that he's just too good not to recruit – even if that means continuing to recruit him after a year of prep school, or to bring him in as a partial qualifier. Don't be surprised that someone takes a commitment from Wade and then stashes him in a prep school for a year.

The strong rumors continue that USC is the leader for the Stewart twins, Rodrick and Lodrick. But USC is also said to be running a very good race for Trevor Ariza, 6-7 SR SF, Los Angeles (Calif.) Westchester. Ariza still has Florida near or at the top of his list, but with his recent penchant for the local schools – USC and UCLA – it's thought that USC has a really good shot with him. And UCLA is by no means someone that should be taken lightly in the Ariza recruitment. But USC is rumored to be sitting well with him and it's believed that, when it comes down to it, USC will be right there for him.

USC is also thought to be doing very well with Ekene Ibekwe, 6-9 SR PF, Carson. These rumors persist, along with the rumors that the commitment from Nick Stiggers, 6-7 SR PF, Van Nuys Montclair Prep, to USC won't probably hold up.

Gonzaga, right now, is right up there these days in terms of recruiting power. Their current roster is stockpiled with talent, and they have commitments from two rising seniors, point guard Derek Raivo and swingman Adam Morrison, while already having a commitment from junior small forward David Pendergraft. The word, though, is that they'd probably finish off their recruitment with a big man, and, like Cal, it's thought that Liam Hughes could be their #1 post target. Gonzaga is so far ahead of the game, they already have ticketed Josh Heytvelt, 6-8 JR PF, Clarkston (Wash.), one of the best players in the loaded junior class and probably a top 40 player nationally, as their top target. Also right up there is Jordan Farmer, 6-1 JR PG, Encino (Calif.) Taft, as one of Gonzaga's top junior targets. Heytfelt has been coming to Gonzaga's team camp religiously and knows the program well. It will be interesting to see if Gonzaga's newfound heavyweight status in recruiting is weighty enough to fend off the likes of North Carolina, Duke, Kansas and others when they come calling for Heytvelt.

Gary Hamilton, 6-8 PF, Los Angeles Crenshaw, who has already graduated, is playing this summer. He had originally signed with Prairie View A&M. He is qualified, reportedly, and was going to go to a prep school back east to try parlay it into more recruiting attention. Well, looking athletic and long this July has gotten him enough attention now, and Hamilton is trying to get out of his NLI with Prairie View, and commit to play for someone this fall.

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