"He's loyal to his local AAU team, the Champion Wildcats," Dr. Phillips coach Anthony Long said. "He could have played for someone else but he stayed local and they aren't nearly the national type program he could have played on. All the coaches basically stumbled on him as they were watching somebody else."
In fact, we remember the day we first heard about Warren and his abilities. While playing in the AAU's at an off site venue, Warren made his mark. "Mississippi, LSU and Oklahoma were watching Bo Spencer and it just happened that Chris gave him 38 points and they all jumped it," Long said. "He was under the radar until then."
After that game, the elite mid-major programs went into a defensive mode, trying to ward off all comers from peeking at Warren. Old Dominion's Blaine Taylor, VCU's Anthony Grant and George Mason's Jim Larranaga were staples at his games throughout the AAU Nationals.
Warren visited ODU and VCU this fall. "The thing that they have going for them is they knew about him and is recruiting him last year," Long said of the mid-majors. "ODU was on him last year and at VCU Anthony Grant knew about him at Florida so he's got a relationship because of that. ODU has been in there longer than just about anybody."
Now here comes the tricky part. High level schools are beginning to realize Warren's abilities and at the same time they're missing on priority targets, in a sense, reshuffling their decks with Warren on top. Some are more active than others.
"Southern Cal is waiting on O.J. Mayo," Long said. "Oklahoma is waiting on Jai Lucas and if they don't get him they want to get involved with Chris. Both have been down on home visits but aren't ready to pull the trigger on a true offer because they're waiting on other kids."
Enter North Carolina State and Mississippi. On Tuesday, the Pack missed out on Chris Wright (Scout.com's No. 6 PG). Immediately N.C. State moved on Warren. They set a visit date for October 20 and the Rebels host him the following weekend.
The other programs likely have until early November to decide whether or not to move on Warren. A 20-plus point per game scorer as a junior, Warren finished 3rd in the state high jump last season.
At this point, he's leaped over a number of prospects as he's ascended high up on a lot of wish lists this fall.