As the temperature rises for summer we take a last look at the recruiting by ACC schools for the 2003-2004 class. This is a much more appropriate time to take a look at recruiting as you get a better sense of who is actually going to be arriving on campus in the fall and who is going to the NBA or prep schools.
For each school I will give a review of the players signed as well as three ranks/grades. The first is a numerical quality rating of the recruits each school signed. This rating is based on the following consensus rankings: Top 10 – 12 pts, Top 25 –10, Top 40 – 8, Top 50 –6, Top 75 – 5, Top 100 – 4, Top 125 – 3, Top 150 – 2, all others 1. Rankings are determined by looking at the rankings of 6 different recruiting services spring rankings. A player is awarded a number based on the category in which the top 3 rankings all fall. The second grade is also a numerical grade that is a modification of the first grade. This number is the points awarded to the school. This number will be equal to or less than the first number. The numbers will be modified in the following way. The school receives 6 pts for each top 10 player, 7 pts for each top 25 player, and 6 pts for each top 40 player. This is a discount applied based on the probability that these players are less likely to stay for 4 years than lower ranked counterparts. Also, a JUCO is awarded 50% of the first number as they only have 2 years of eligibility rather than 4. A transfer is awarded points based on how many years of eligibility they have remaining. The third grade is a letter grade (A through F) that is a subjective attempt to grade the program on how well it met its needs.
A team could have a high numerical score and a low letter score if for example they signed highly ranked players but failed to meet a need (ie. Signed some great guards, but needed a big man). Also, a team could have a lower numerical score but a higher grade if they met their needs.
Recruiting services (DT – Dave Telep/TheInsiders.com, RV – Rivals, HM – Hoopmasters/Bob Gibbons/Van Coleman, PS – PrepStars, SS – SchoolSports, GK-Geeks)
Boston College, 3, 3, C-
1 Akida McLain 6'7, 200 SF/PF, Pittsburgh, PA (PS-195, HM-195)
1 Gordon Watt 6'6, 205 SF, Evanston, IL (PS-214)
1 Sean Williams 6'9, 240 PF, Mansfield, TX (PS-202, HM-168)
I am including BC since they will officially join the ACC next year and these recruits will play in the ACC. Al Skinner continues to employ the same formula he has been successful with in the Big East. Find late bloomers or sleepers that he can develop into solid players. He has brought in 3 more in that mold. McClain is an athletic combo forward from Pittsburgh who had an excellent senior season and looks to have a lot of upside. Watt is a shooter from IL. Sean Williams is young for his class with a huge shoe size. He had a very strong senior year in an always tough TX. Big and athletic with the ability to rebound and block shots. We'll see how these kids pan out once they get into the ACC, for now I give them a C- for meeting needs, but given how Skinner develops his players it could end up being better.
Clemson 15, 15, B
4 Cheyenne Moore 6'4, 170 SF, Colara, MD (PS-100, HM-121, SS-85, GK-66)
4 Sam Perry 6'5, 185 SF, Piedmont, SC (PS-62, HM-92, DT-85)
3 James Mays 6'8, 205 PF, Garner, SC (PS-89, HM-159, RV-103, SS-90)
1 Cliff Hammonds 6'3, 200 CG, Cairo, GA (HM-145)
3 Troy Mathis 6'0, 200 PG, Laurinburg, NC (PS-84)
This is easily Clemson's best class on paper in some time, if somewhat unbalanced. The class is all guards and wing players except Mays who is a very skinny 4. This class will be the basis for Coach Purnell to start building his program. Most of the players bubble right around consensus top 100 standings. Moore is an extremely athletic wing with a huge wingspan. He should help defensively, though he needs to improve his jump shot. Perry is a high school post player who will transition to the wing in college (ala Clarence Moore). Once again he is an excellent athlete and tough. Mays is a skinny post player with excellent athleticism but a pretty raw game. Cliff Hammonds is a multi-sport star who chose basketball over football. He is a smart, tough combo guard. Mathis is a scoring PG who has had some amazing scoring games in high school (80 points in one game!!). This is easily the most athletic group that Clemson has signed in ages. Clemson needed help at guards, athleticism on the wings, shooting, and another big man and met most of those needs, a very solid B.
Duke 15, 12, C
10 Demarcus Nelson 6'4, 198 SG, Sacramento, CA (PS-11, HM-23, RV-17, DT-30, SS-13, GK-22)
5 David McClure 6'6, 205 SF, Stamford, CT (PS-54, HM-61, RV-86, DT-57, SS-93, GK-49)
The late departure of Shaun Livingston was a big blow to this class. Duke added two standout wing players but missed on PG and post. Nelson should be an immediate contributor. A big, physical guard who can score in bunches. He is one of two McDonald's AA who will actually arrive on campus in the ACC this fall. McClure is a great team player. He is tough, willing to do the dirty jobs. He could develop as a Chris Carawell type player. Still, you look at Duke's roster and the two biggest areas of need are PG and post and they didn't fill their needs there. They got very good talent, but not necessarily where they needed it, C. Coach K looks like he may be falling into the Bobby Cremins recruiting trap a little of not recruiting enough players (3 in two years and one stayed for only a single season) leaving you with a potential problem if players get hurt or depart early.
Florida State 19, 15, B
8 Isiah Swann 6'1, 180 CG, Oak Hill Academy, VA (PS-36, HM-33, RV-35, DT-36, SS-28, GK-46)
8 Jason Rich 6'3, 180 SG, Orlando, FL (PS-38, HM-33, RV-35, DT-39, SS-26, GK-34)
2 Ralph Mims 6'2, 195 CG, ME (PS-170)
Another good class for Coach Hamilton. He likely has his backcourt of the future, though he may have frontcourt issues after missing out on his top targets and seeing Jerome Habel likely not qualify and head to JUCO land. Swann and the possibly underrated Mims will likely battle with Galloway for the starting PG spot while Rich will work in the rotation at SG. Swann is a very athletic lefty who started making the transition from PG to SG last season. Rich is a hardworking SG, who is also a fine athlete and a good team player. Mims had some huge AAU games, but his hs coach sees him as a PG in college. Mims is from FL originally but has played in the hidden state of Maine. Coach Hamilton signed prep big man Jerome Habel in the fall, but he looks very unlikely to qualify as a freshman (he has been looking at JUCO's) so he has been left out of the rankings. Hamilton will have the services of JUCO big man Diego Romero after redshirting him last year due to differences with the NCAA, but he counts towards last season's numbers from a recruiting standpoint. Hamilton is also still trying to get Antonio Griffin in, another JUCO who failed to get in last year, but that has yet to be resolved. Another class proving Hamilton can recruit against anybody, a B for satisfying his #1 need, replenishing his backcourt. It would have been higher if he had managed to get a big man.
Georgia Tech 19, 19, A
4 Zam Frederick 6'1, 215 CG, St. Matthews, SC (PS-57, HM-98, DT-90, SS-76, GK-78)
4 Anthony Morrow 6'5, 190 SG/SF, Charlotte, NC (PS-95, HM-54, RV-94, DT-89, GK-50)
6 Ra'Sean Dickey 6'9, 250, PF/C, Bennettsville, SC (PS-37, HM-78, RV-55, DT-49, SS-43, GK-39)
5 Jeremis Smith 6'6, 230 CF, Ft. Worth, TX (PS- 92, HM-51, RV-39, DT-93, SS-75, GK-31)
I heard one recruiter refer to this class as the deepest, most versatile class entering the ACC. I suspect that would be sweet music to Coach Hewitt's ears, given his philosophy. GT added two players who can score from the perimeter and two who can operate inside. Between the 4 players they can cover all 5 spots on the floor. Fredrick is a scoring combo guard, the all-time SC leading scorer. It must be in his genes as his father was the NCAA national leading scorer at SC in 1981. Morrow is an athletic wing with a sweet jump shot. Smith is an athletic beast in the mold of Isma'il Muhammad with a little more developed game. Dickey gives GT a big, athletic body with a lot of upside. GT had two main priorities with this class, get guys who can shoot and get guys who can rebound – they got 2 of each. While they missed on Randolph Morris in the Spring, they met their needs and get a solid A.
Maryland 12, 9, B
6 James Gist 6'8, 210 PF, Wheaton, MD (PS-41, HM-43, RV-53, DT-60, SS-50, GK-43)
6 Sterling Ledbetter 6'2, 190 PG, Laurel, MD (JUCO) (PS-JUCOtop25)
This was a short scholarship year for Maryland, but they did a nice job of meeting their needs. In particular, the spring signing of Ledbetter really improves their depth at PG, which was an issue this past season. Ledbetter is a pass first PG with good size. Unfortunately Ledbetter was hurt in a car accident recently and it is unclear whether he will be ready to go when the season starts. Gist gives them a nice, athletic PF to develop, something that Gary Williams excels at. Nice job by Coach Williams of managing his scholarship situation and giving them 2 players they can add to the rotation and help shore up weaknesses, B. Would have been an A- without the injury to Ledbetter.
Miami 5, 4, D
2 Glenn Batemon 6'11, 340 C, Transfer from Fordham
2 Antoine Mayhand 6'2, 190 CG, Woodstock, VA (PS-142)
1 Raymond Hicks 6'7, 225, PF, Longview, TX (PS-235)
Coach Haith has a reputation as a great recruiter, but his first class at Miami is short on depth and talent compared to some other programs as Haith worked hard to get involved with players late in the game. Mayhand was under recognized in VA and could turn out similar to UGA guard Levi Stukes – a late steal. Good scorer and has some ball handling skills, though likely not enough to be a full-time PG. Hicks is a developing insider from TX. He's strong and athletic but also raw. Bateman is an oversized center who transferred from Fordham last summer and in my opinion is a questionable ACC player. Quite frankly Miami needed a lot of help to become competitive in the ACC and this class is not likely to get them any closer, D. Haith will have to bring in a big haul next year.
North Carolina 19, 13, B
12 Marvin Williams 6'8, 205 CF, Bremerton, WA (PS-5, HM-4, RV-7, DT-7, SS-6, GK-6)
6 Quentin Thomas 6'2, 175 PG, Oakland, CA (PS-40, HM-28, RV-96, DT-40, SS-57, GK-96)
1 Wes Miller 5'11, 185 PG, Transfer from James Madison
The release of JamesOn Curry and late NBA entry of J.R. Smith impacted the depth of this class but did not impact how it met UNC's most critical needs. Marvin Williams gives them another very talented forward to match with Sean May. While not really a true post player, more of a combo forward, Marvin has some size to help out inside. Marvin is very talented and could have jumped straight to the league this year. Maybe even more important Quentin Thomas gives them a PG to back up Felton and potentially take over the spot in another year. He is a big PG in the mold Coach Williams likes. He can shoot, but is more of a pass first guy. Wes Miller will give them a hard working practice player. He averaged 4 ppg, 1.3 apg at JMU as a freshman. The only downside to this class was losing 2 players, at the position of least need. This sets up a potential where if UNC loses a lot of underclassman early it may need to year or two to rebuild as this small class comes on the tail of another small class. Still, they met their basic needs, solid B, close to a B+.
North Carolina State 22, 20, A
8 Cedric Simmons 6'9, 220 PF, Shalotte, NC (PS-30, HM-34, RV-71, DT-24, SS-33, GK-44)
3 Tony Bethel 6'2, 170 PG, Transfer from Georgetown
5 Gavin Grant 6'6, 175 SF, Bronx, NY (PS-77, HM-75, RV-108, DT-70, SS-59, GK-48)
6 Andrew Brackman 6'9, 205, PF, Cincinnatti, OH (PS-43, HM-29, RV-93, DT-42, GK-19)
It's another nice job by Coach Sendek of getting players to fill a number of needs on the team. IMO this is the best recruiting class in the conference this season. Simmons is a big man with huge potential... athletic and capable of helping them inside. Tony Bethel gives them a PG they have lacked, though in some ways he was more of a combo at Georgetown. Tony averaged 10.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 3.8 apg as a soph., very quick with the ball, something NCSU currently lacks. Grant is the likely eventual replacement for Hodge, even comes from the same HS. A versatile HS performer, he was 1st team all-city as a senior. Brackman is a two-sport kid who exploded as a senior. He is taller than his current list. He is also a big time pitching prospect who will play both sports at NCSU. Had a great senior year and is more in the mold of Melvin, a big man who can step outside and shoot it. Will be interesting to see how long he plays college ball. NCSU did a great job of bringing in players who can fill a variety of roles, solid A.
Virginia 9, 9, B-
6 Sean Singletary 5'11, 165 PG, Philadelphia, PA (PS-35, HM-25, RV-56, DT-35, SS-45, GK-52)
2 Adrian Joseph 6'8, 190 CF, Oradell, NJ (PS-135)
1 Tunji Soroye 6'11, 220 C, Rockville, MD (PS-196)
Virginia had a pretty mediocre class by ACC standards, but one that filled one huge need, PG. They have one standout player coming in PG Sean Singletary, but the other two players are more long-term projects. Singletary was injured last summer, but has played fantastic ball this Spring and will potentially start this fall, helping to shore up one of UVA's biggest weaknesses. Like any freshman PG, he will take his lumps, but has a lot of promise. He can score when necessary, but is at his best finding his teammates. Joseph is an extremely athletic combo forward who needs time to let his skills catch up to his athleticism. He could be a big time wing down the road, but right now his game is better suited inside. Soroye was a late pickup, an athletic, but raw big man who will need some time to fill out his frame and his game. UVA did a great job getting Singletary to help at PG – a huge need, but the others will need some time to be big contributors, B-.
Virginia Tech 10, 10, C
5 Marquie Cooke 6'3, 175 PG, Suffolk, VA (PS-49, HM-72, RV-57, DT-74, SS-55, GK-75)
3 Deron Washington 6'7, 185 SF, Ft. Washington, MD (PS-180, HM-88)
2 Wynton Witherspoon 6'6, 170, SG/SF, Lilburn, GA (PS-154)
Coach Greenberg did a nice job of getting some talent for VT, but the recent dismissal of big time JUCO talent Justin Holt is a short term blow. Marquie Cooke is a talented, but inconsistent PG/WG from VA. He is capable of putting up big numbers, but also known in recruiting circles as a potential attitude guy. Deron Washington gives them another athletic wing to develop to help compete in the ACC. Witherspoon gives them a nice silky athlete on the wing. All in all not a bad first class for Coach Greenberg, C. Had Holt not been dismissed this would have been a B class and would have been in the top half of the conference classes.
Wake Forest 4, 4, B
4 Cameron Stanley 6'5, 180 SF, Raleigh, NC (PS-111, HM-60, RV-90, GK-54)
Wake only had 1 scholarship available last year and used it on a promising NC prospect. Stanley gives them an athletic wing to playing Coach Prosser's up-tempo game. Unfortunately he suffered a leg injury as a senior and missed most of his senior season. It remains to be seen how much he can contribute as a freshmen. Still, give Coach Prosser a B for getting a solid prospect with his one ‘ship that should fit in well at Wake.