King City Classic: Recruiting Notebook

Rick Pitino scouted the King City Classic Wednesday in Cleveland. While the camp was loaded with 2010 standouts, Pitino's focus was on several 2011 prospects, including elite point guard Marquis Teague and versatile forward Mike Shaw. Check inside for updates on Teague, Shaw, Wayne Blackshear, Quincy Miller and Rakeem Christmas.

Rick Pitino had his eye on several 2011 prospects at the King City Classic Wednesday, the first day college coaches were allowed in to see Nike's talented stable of players. Though Pitino kept a keen eye on Wayne Blackshear, Mike Shaw, Quincy Miller and Rakeem Christmas, no prospect drew Pitino's attention more than Marquis Teague.

Teague didn't disappoint with his play. In fact, the five-star point guard from Indianapolis was one of the day's top performers.

Teague put together a solid effort in his morning session contest against a team led by Josh Selby, Doron Lamb and Harrison Barnes. But it was his afternoon contest against Aliun Guo, Andre Dawkins and Rakeem Christmas that was most impressive. Teague was phenomenal, driving past his defender for easy buckets, drawing fouls going strong to the hoop and dishing to teammate Jared Sullinger for easy baskets.

"It's fun because the competition is so good and everybody is playing hard," Teague said. "It's fun and a great atmosphere. I always try to play as hard as I can whenever I get on the court."

Teague likes to play fast and push the tempo. He's one of the quickest players with the ball in his hand in the country and no one goes baseline to baseline faster. Unstoppable off the dribble and a solid defender, Teague now is focused on improving the last ‘chink' in his arsenal – his jump shot.

"College coaches tell me to work on my three-point shot and getting everybody involved," Teague said. "I work on my shot constantly – every day. I'm working on getting my feet set and be ready to shoot. It's improving – it's a lot better than it was last year."

Teague didn't hoist many jump shots during the first two games at the King City Classic. He didn't have to because no one could stop him from getting to the basket.

Chicago Stars a Package Deal?
Wayne Blackshear and Mike Shaw, a pair of Top 10 2011 prospects from Chicago, visited Louisville last month. Wednesday, Louisville coach Rick Pitino kept a close eye on both players at the King City Classic.

Wayne Blackshear

What did Blackshear think about his visit to UofL?

"It was real nice," Blackshear said. "I liked the campus. Coach Rick Pitino is a great coach, the facilities and the players are all good. We played a little bit with them. It was a real good visit."

Besides visiting Louisville, Blackshear has also been to Texas, Illinois and Southern Illinois. Blackshear holds offers from those four schools and says the Cardinals are a strong contender to land a commitment.

"Louisville sits real high on my list," Blackshear said. "I'd say they're in my top five along with Texas, Illinois, Southern Illinois and Kentucky. I'm keeping my options open but I'll probably know by the end of my junior year."

Blackshear said the most important factors in his decision are his relationship with the coach and early playing time.

Shaw, a skilled 6-foot-7 forward, was thoroughly impressed on his visit to Louisville.

"It was a great experience," Shaw said. "I got to meet Coach Pitino. He's a great person. They have great facilties, it was nice. I liked it."

Shaw has also visited Texas, Illinois, and Southern Illinois. He says those three programs and Louisville top his current list of favorites. Shaw said Florida, USC, Ohio State, Louisville, Texas and Arizona have been blowing up his phone in recent weeks.

"Louisville is up there, they're one of the schools that I'm interested in," Shaw said. "I'm glad they're interested in me. I'm just going to keep play hard."

Shaw said the biggest factors in his college decision are finding a comfortable fit with a family atmosphere and education. "Louisville treated us like family – like we were a part of the team already," Shaw said.

Shaw said he and Blackshear plan to attend the same college. The two stars have played together since middle school on the AAU circuit.

Elite 2011 Forward Plans to Visit Louisville
Quincy Miller, a 6-8, 185-pound versatile forward, has a long list of schools. Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Memphis, Wake Forest, Louisville, Texas, Tennessee and Michigan State are on the list and he's already visited three ACC programs: Duke, UNC and Wake Forest.

"All three of them are good schools," Miller said.

Miller was impressive Wednesday. Rick Pitino had an eye on him during the day's action and saw Miller score inside, outside, and grab some rebounds, for good measure. Miller is a skilled forward and hit several midrange jump shots during the afternoon session contest.

"I'm trying to show them I can play multiple positions," Miller said. "In the first game I showed them I can play inside and draw fouls and show them I can make shots too. I rebounded, made easy shots and got to the line."

Louisville apparently has a strong connection with Miller, who spoke with Rick Pitino last week about the possibility of playing for the Cardinals in two years.

"I like Louisville and Rick Pitino," Miller said. "I've talked with Coach Pitino a couple times on the phone. I talked to him last week and he was telling me how I would fit into their program and system. They've got big guys that can step outside and that's the type of player I am."

Miller said he plans to visit Louisville and Kentucky later this summer.

Christmas-Gift for Louisville?
Rakeem Christmas, a 6-9, 220-pound center from Philadelphia, isn't the biggest prospect at the King City Classic. But while he's not the tallest or bulkiest player in Cleveland, no one has a longer reach than the 2011 prospect.

Christmas is an active and athletic prospect. He runs the court well and was a factor at both ends of the court dunking and swatting shots Wednesday.

On the recruiting front, Christmas remains in the early stages of the recruiting process. He's not ready to name favorites or even think about making a college decision.

"I'm going to worry about it next year," Christmas said. "I'm just playing now."

Christmas said he's hearing the most from Ohio State, Kentucky, Georgetown and Villanova. He also said he's hearing from Louisville.

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