Inside theVille's C-USA Fall Recruiting Class Rankings
6'9 Kendrick Perkins
6'7 Sean Banks
6'7 Kenna Young
6'8 Ivan Lopez
Class Breakdown: Kendrick Perkins is the stud of this class for John Calipari's Tigers. He's one of the top low post players in the country and if he shows up in Memphis, the Tigers have landed themselves one heck of an inside player. Banks is a smooth wing who is a likely McDonalds All American, but must get his academics in order to be eligible next season. Lopez is a big, strong presence from Miami who could be productive for the Tigers down the road. Young is an athletic teammate of Perkins and his signing was likely a means of ensuring Perkins arrival in Memphis, much the same as the Wagner/Barclay deal, instead of bolting straight to the NBA Draft next June.
The Big Picture: Perkins is the heir apparent to replace star big man Chris Massie down low for the Tigers. Banks is a perfect compliment to Perkins on the wing as he can extend the defense with his shooting or break it down off the bounce. These two studs, combined with Cal's returnees in the back court (Burks, Hunt, Rice, Richmond) will prove to be Memphis' best team since the mid 1980's. Interior players Almany Thiero, Duane Erwin, Rodney Carney and Modibo Diarra give Memphis one of the deepest, most talented teams in college basketball next season.
6'8 Nate Daniels
6'10 Nouha Diakite
6'4 Brandon Jenkins
Class Breakdown: Daniels, the top JUCO wing forward in the nation, is a scoring machine. A former Fresno St. signee, Daniels will likely step in immediately next season for Coach Pitino and help replace the lost offensive production of star guard Reece Gaines. Diakite plays for the nation's top JUCO team and is one of the nation's top power forward prospects. Diakite, an extremely good athlete who block shots and rebounds with the best, drew rave reviews for his performance at the Mullins JUCO camp last summer. Jenkins, one of the nation's top 50 prospects, will play the point in college and possesses great athleticism. He's a proven winner who can penetrate, dish and shoot the ball with great range. He will provide immediate help in the backcourt.
The Big Picture: Daniels will provide offensive punch for the Cardinals in 2003-04. A talented shooter with size and athleticism, Daniels will provide tremendous versatility to Coach Pitino's lineup as he can play three positions on the court (2,3,4). Jenkins will be an immediate impact player in the back court with his size, athleticim and defensive ability, something the Cards currently lack at the point position. Jenkins should create plenty of opportunity's for the Cards explosive wing scorers, Garcia, Dean, and Daniels. Diakite will block shots and provide more depth along the baseline along with veterans Myles, Dartez, and George. Coach Pitino is looking for one more interior player in the spring and if he lands Lang, Louisville's class and team will be one of the tops in the nation!
Spring targets: 6'11 James Lang, 6'8 Pat Ewing, Jr., 6'9 Ibe Ibukunle, 6'8 Guy Ngardni
6'9 Wesley Green
6'6 Sammy Meija
6'2 Tyler Smith
6'7 Marcus Heard
6'7 Lorenzo Thompson
Class Breakdown: An excellent and well balanced class for first year coach Dave Leitao. Green, one of the nation's top 100 prospects, is a big, mobile post prospect with good offensive skills and post moves. Smith is an excellent combo guard out of Baltimore who can light up the scoreboard from the outside and can score taking it to the hoop as well. Meija is an athletic wing player who brings an ability to slash and create to this class. Thompson, a strong interior prospect and Heard, a hard working combo type are both local products that should develop into fine frontcourt players down the road for the Demons.
The Big Picture: Smith, Green and Meija could step in an start at the 1, 3 and 5 spots respectively! Coach Leitao has a strong nucleus coming back next season with wings Quemont Greer and Delonte Holland and guards Drake Diener, Chris Exilus and Marlon London. If PF Andre Brown comes back next season, DePaul could challenge for an NCAA bid.
Spring targets: Likely finished for 2003
6'8 Darrius Brannon
6'3 Lanny Smith
6'7 Andrew Francis
6'4 Parker Pinkala
6'10 Elijah Miller
Class Breakdown: Coach McCallum is building a program in Houston and he's doing it recruiting local talent. All five players from this impressive class are all from the Houston metro area. Elijah Miller is an intriguing post prospect with exceptional athleticism and shot blocking ability . Francis, a highly sought prospect, is a versatile forward with good skills and should contribute sooner than later. Smith and Pinkala are top 200 prospects who provide excellent athleticism in the back court. Brannon is a local JUCO product from Lee C.C. who brings rebounding and experience to the Cougar's frontcourt.
The Big Picture: Miller should team with 7'0 Anwar Ferguson to form one of the top shot blocking duo's in the conference. Francis is the likely replacement for All-CUSA performer Louis Truscott and Brannon should help replace the muscle and rebounding void left by departing forward Jeremy McGuire. Pinkala and Smith will provide immediate help in the back court and should team nicely with PG Andre Owens and high scoring wing Cedric Hensley. McCallum is quickly building a contender in the National Division with his last two recruiting efforts.
Spring targets: Likely finished for 2003
6'9 Robert Whaley
6'3 Nick Williams
6'7 Mike Pilgram
Class Breakdown: Whaley, the former Missouri signee and problem child from Michigan, is one of the JUCO ranks top center prospects. If he shows up in Cincinnati next season, he will have an immediate impact for the Bearcats and on C-USA. Williams is a top 25 JUCO prospect and averaged nearly 10 ppg as a freshman at Kansas State. Pilgrim is a local prospect that is prepping in New England this season.
The Big Picture: Whaley will provide the Bearcats the low post option they lack this season. He should team with PF Maxiell to form one of the top interior duos in the league. Williams should be the perfect compliment to scoring guard Tony Bobbitt on the perimeter and Pilgrim will provide needed depth on the wing. The Cats will probably still try to land a big man or point guard in the spring but should have the talent and depth to contend with Louisville and Memphis next season.
6'7 James Matthews
6'4 Dameon Mason
5'11 Brandon Bell
Class Breakdown: Coach Crean used his connections in the state of Michigan to land Matthews and Bell. Matthews is an undersized power forward prospect form Detroit who plays hard and knows how to score and rebound in the paint. Bell, the brother of former MSU star Charlie Bell, is a tough, hard nosed point guard who's not afraid to take and make clutch shots. Mason, a star for the Illinois Fire last summer, is the likely replacement for current star Dwayne Wade on the wing.
The Big Picture: Mason will likely be forced to step in and assume the scoring load on the wing that Wade provides so well. Bell could be the tough minded point to replace the void felt this season by the graduation of Cordell Henry last year and would move Diener back to his more natural spot off the ball, freeing him to launch three pointers from the wing. Matthews should provide depth and physicality in the paint and should help off set the loss of center Robert Jackson.
6'11 Martin Iti
6'2 Marcus Bennett
Class Breakdown: The well traveled Iti is the star of this class. At 6'11, Iti, one of the top 40 players in the nation, runs the court well, blocks shots and gets rebounds. Bennett, a former Michigan signee, is an excellent JUCO guard who possesses good size and athletic ability.
The Big Picture: With virtually everyone coming back next season and the addition of the 6'11 Iti, Coach Lutz should have his best team ever. Iti is a shot blocking force and defends and rebounds well. His presence in the paint will allow Charlotte's athletic perimeter defenders to play more aggressively and extend its defense further out on the floor. A starting five of Iti, Withers, Butter Johnson, Grier, and Demone Brown should be good enough to land the 49ers in some preseason top 25 polls. With solid depth provided by PG Bennett, shooter Sager, and big men Calvin Clemmons and Tory Reed, Lutz could be headed for a sweet sixteen run in the tournament and a pay raise or bigger paying job at another school.