2007 Basketball Recruiting Update

CORAL GABLES, Fla. - The 2006-2007 basketball season has yet to begin at the University of Miami, but the recruiting wars for the Class of 2007 have been in progress already and UM coach Frank Haith is in the middle of them.

With three scholarships reported in the bag for the 2007 class, Haith has already secured two verbal commitments from local players in point guard Edwin Rios who will be playing at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia after leading Miami High to the Class 6A state championship as a sophomore and Chaminade to the regional playoffs as a junior, and 6-foot-9 power forward Freddy Asprilla, native of Colombia who attended class in the spring at Calusa Prep, but whose final destination for his senior year is still undetermined.

That being said, Haith and his staff are hot on the trail of a difference maker to complete the Class of 2007 recruiting class.

Numerous players are being recruited, but Haith's primary concern for that class is another big man that can play in the post or an aggressive wing that can fill it up from the outside, but has an attacking mentality.

Currently, there are three players of note that have been offered scholarships by Haith and it's about certain that the first player to respond to the offer will get that final spot. They are small forward Chandler Parsons out of Lake Howell High School in Winter Park, Florida, small forward Alvin Mitchell out of Cardinal Gibbons High School in Fort Lauderdale and power forward/center Julian Gamble out of Southern Durham High School in Durham, North Carolina.

SF CHANDLER PARSONS, Winter Park, Florida.

Strengths: Shooting Range, Basketball IQ, Length.

Weaknesses: Defense, Ball Handling, Strength and Rebounding

Schools Interested: Miami, Florida, Arizona State, Wisconsin, Virginia Tech, UMass, Indiana, LSU, Oklahoma, Creighton, USF, Notre Dame

Holds UM Offer: Yes

Parsons has spent the better part of his high school career having played in the shadows of UF commit, Nick Calathes, John Roberson and Joey Rodriguez. With Roberson moving to Texas, he will still the third option behind Calathes and Rodriguez, but at 6-foot-8, he is becoming a more aggressive player and it showed in the Nike Peach Jam last week where he averaged 25 points per game in one of the most grueling tournaments in the nation.

Parsons has gone from primarily being a great outside shooter to being a player that will mix it up a bit in the paint, will grab a few rebounds and will attack the basket as well. He has a number of schools after him, but Miami is definitely one of the leaders in the group.

Mitchell and Gamble joined the fray of players Haith was going after last week in his backyard at the Breakdown Hoops Festival.

SF/SG ALVIN MITCHELL, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Strengths: Physical play, shooting range, toughness, rebounding, strength

Weaknesses: Defense, experience on the national scene

Schools Interested: Miami, Missouri, VCU

Holds UM offer: Yes

Mitchell has been well-known in local high school basketball having averaged over 25 points per game last year as a junior at Cardinal Gibbons. He's a legit 6-foot-5, 220 pounds and is extremely strong.

His physical play makes him the type of player on the wing the ‘Canes have lacked for quite some time. He's athletic as ever, but also physical as ever and plays every minute of the game with a chip on his shoulder. He would be a great fit for the ‘Canes.

Haith first caught a glimpse of Mitchell last week when Mitchell helped lead Team Breakdown to a 7-1 record at the tournament and a berth in the championship game against the Long Island Lightning. Mitchell helped Breakdown jumped out to a 23-5 lead in the first half and had 19 first half points, including five three-point bombs.

Mitchell has played two tournaments with Team Breakdown--one of the elite AAU programs in Florida.

He's being recruited by mostly mid-majors with the exception of Miami, but with a performance in Las Vegas the way he played in the Breakdown Hoops Festival, every high-major Division I program in the country will be after him.

PF/C JULIAN GAMBLE, Durham, North Carolina

Strengths: Finishes Around the basket, Mid-range jumper, Strength, Footwork

Weaknesses: Rebounding, Speed

Schools Interested: Miami, Florida, Kentucky, East Carolina, Tennessee, FAU, Rhode Island, St. John's, Georgia State

Holds UM Offer: Yes

Gamble is another one who made his name at the Breakdown Hoops Festival. It wasn't so much how he played which drew ooohs and ahhhs from the coaches in attendance. It was who he did it against that made it so impressive.

At 6-foot-9, 250 pounds, Gamble is a force down low. He's got a real nice touch around the basket and is a good finisher. While he needs to improve his rebounding, he has no problem attacking the basket.

He's got the innate ability to put the ball on the floor and get by a defender as he showed numerous times when he matched up against J.J. Hickson who is currently rated as the No. 24 player in the nation. Hickson is a 6-foot-9 power forward out of Atlanta who's been heavily recruited by Miami for some time now, but it was Gamble who got the best of that match up.

The four-star player Hickson was posterized twice by Gamble on two monster dunks, one on a fast break and another on a two-handed jam over Hickson.

Gamble finished the game with 19 points, 5 rebounds and 4 blocks. He came in as a mid-major player who had been offered by East Carolina, but before he left Miami back to Durham, he left with offers from Miami, St. John's, FAU, Rhode Island and Tennessee. Kentucky also expressed a great deal of interest in Gamble as did a number of other programs.

Right now, Miami and Tennessee are atop his list of interest and are the two that have shown the most interest in him since last week's tournament.

In our expert opinion, one of these three players will be the final piece to the 2007 recruiting puzzle.

Rudy Rodriguez-Chomat can be reached at rudy@canestime.com

Canes Time Top Stories