It didn't take long for assistant coach Scott Spinelli to get comfortable at Nebraska. He had a big hand in the Huskers landing Joe McCray, a shooter who played at ABCD last week. Speaking of commitments, the Louisville Cardinals accepted one from Lorenzo Wade. With Francisco Garcia possibly pondering an early exit to the NBA and the team needing some insurance in case they don't land Sebastian Telfair, Wade was the answer. The smooth perimeter player could possibly double as a point in the pinch.
Is He Really Committed?
"I'm still open," Shawne Williams told us on the phone today. Apparently, despite a report in the local newspaper which pretty much sounded like a commitment, Williams hasn't quite yet picked the Memphis Tigers. "They're in good shape. They're in my top five." Said five includes Memphis, Kansas, Kentucky, Cincinnati and Tennessee. Now, we don't think KU or UK is recruiting him hard so they're unlikely. Cincy and UT are chasing him but this story caught us off guard. We'll try and track more on this as the week goes by and make no mistake, the Tigers are in the hunt.
We praised Andre Allen for his effort last week at Nike for showing maturity and poise in running his camp team. Today, he got wild again and jacked some shots. He needs to know the college coaches want to see him play under control. The Rice Owls did well for themselves with the commitment of PG Rodney Foster. He's smart, athletic and plays at different speeds.
With Ndudi Ebi gone, the Houston Hoops are vulnerable inside and unless they get some super hero perimeter efforts, they'll be hard pressed to get out of their pool. Riverside power forward Arturo Dubois is a mid-major type who brings it every time out.
Clent Stewart was smoking perimeter shots today. What was impressive was how he was hitting them from different areas on the floor. We think Isaiah Swann is at his best when he's being athletic and playing the SG. However, today to his credit, he handled the PG duties well for his team. Regardless, he butters his bread as a two-guard.
Al Jefferson is not below dropping his off arm and clearing his way to the hoop. He also takes some "pro" liberties with his first step in his spin move. He's a big time player and guys like him always have some tricks of the trade down pat. Jefferson didn't yield many buckets today but he gave one up to Paulius Packevicius and it was sweet. The Lithuanian head faked him at the free throw line, took a dribble and canned a pull-up jumper.
Robert Clark attacked the rim today with great success for the Jackson Tigers. He's always been considered a good scorer but he's an above average defender as well. Elite point guards should consider themselves on alert: A.J. Price is on the move up. Robert Vaden didn't settle for his jumper this evening and looked very comfortable going to the hole and finishing.
News & Notes
Marquie Cooke is not traveling with the Boo Williams squad this weekend. Corey Brewer of the Tennessee Travelers was set to play in the event with Boo Williams since the Travelers weren't invited. However, Nike has a rule which prevents players from participating in events with teams other than the one they occupy a roster spot for.
Josh Pastner of Arizona was the first assistant coach we spotted in the gym today. Tim Buckley, the head coach at Ball State, was in the gym early for the Illinois Warriors and forward Cyrus Tate. Junior big man Richard Hendrix likes Alabama, Tennessee, Duke, North Carolina and Oklahoma at this juncture but he's pretty open to suggestions.
Frank Holmes of Memphis lists Mississippi, Mississippi State, Penn State, Houston and Tennessee. Each was in attendance today. Word on the street is that Roy Bright could be down to Connecticut, Charlotte and DePaul. Early in the day, Jim Calhoun and Bill Self watched A.J. Price. St. John's had assistant Mike Jarvis there. We heard that Florida and UConn jumped in on power forward Charles Thomas after his great Nike Camp. Thomas himself mentioned Oklahoma, Florida State, Kentucky, UConn and LSU. We think Mississippi is still there as well.
In the gym, presumably watching Brian Johnson was Notre Dame's Mike Brey, North Carolina's Joe Holladay, Florida's Billy Donovan and Louisville assistants Kevin Willard and Vince Taylor. This was the morning session. Jeff Capel watched Jerome Habel today. VCU was the first school to offer him. D.J. White's broken finger will keep him out of action all week long.
Watching Richard Hendrix today was a host of head coaches that included Rick Stansbury, Buzz Peterson and Mark Gottfried. Tulsa was shadowing Athletes First guard Clent Stewart all day long. He's an important Golden Hurricane recruit. Melvin Watkins of Texas A&M watched Kenneth White today. He's already committed.
Dayshaun Wright is expected to miss the remainder of the tournament after Al Jefferson stepped on his ankle. Maarty Leunen's list includes Oregon, Oregon State, Gonzaga and Cal. He's waiting to see if Kansas or Arizona make a move (we don't think either will). Jay John of Oregon State, John Cooper of Oregon, a Gonzaga assistant and a full boat of coaches including Ben Braun and Joe Pasternak were there from Cal. UCLA's Ben Howland sat baseline and he had to be there for Leunen as well.
At another event today, the Charlie Weber, we hear Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser and Villanova's Jay Wright were shadowing junior center Eric Boateng. File this away: 2006 center Greg Oden wants to be a dentist. He's got great hands!
Josh McRoberts didn't have a very good game in the evening session, but the junior can draw a helluva crowd. Mike Krzyzewski, Mike Davis, Roy Williams and Bill Self were among the head coaches who popped in to see him. Iowa's Steve Alford watched Alex Thompson this evening.