Torin Francis makes it official to Notre Dame
8/31: The official word came today. Francis has chosen Notre Dame. The Tar Heels were in good shape earlier this summer, but schools like Notre Dame, Virginia and Florida surged into the lead during Francis' unofficial visits. So, it came as little surprise when the choice wasn't North Carolina. Francis decided on the Irish at the beginning of the week and made it official today.
8/16: "Torin's got some great oppurtunities with the schools he likes," First said. "But I think he's still got some questions about some of the schools that either he needs to answer himself or he needs to call them and have the questions answered." Torin Francis approaches a decision.
8/14: Exclusive - Torin Francis Video!
8/14: Francis wrapped up his unofficial visit to UNC yesterday, and proceeded to Atlanta to continue his college tours. Check out the Francis Visit Recap.
8/11: Francis will arrive on campus on Sunday and remain in Chapel Hill through Monday. He is on an unofficial visit, having recently visited Florida and Virginia.
8/3: "I see him playing spot duty anywhere along the front-line at the next level and wreaking match-up havoc..." (AAU Nationals: Torin Francis)
7/24: Inside Carolina's Recruiting Insider Zeke Martins reports that Torin Francis will be visiting Chapel Hill with his family on Aug. 13.
Francis is visiting six schools (Virginia, North Carolina, Duke, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech and Notre Dame), from Aug. 9-15, with four others under consideration (Florida, Boston College, Georgetown and Maryland), and has said that he plans on making a decision the following week.
7/17: "I got to know Rashad last year and this year he played on the East Team with me in Colorado Springs," Francis told IC's Zeke Martins. "Rashad is a great guy and he would like me to go to North Carolina with him" ... Torin Francis Interview.
7/14: "I just want to establish myself as one of the best players in the country, so I knew I needed to get more aggressive," Francis told us, in reference to shedding the "soft" label. "I think that came along as I got older and stronger" ... Peach Jam: Torin Francis
7/12: Francis turned in an impressive performance at the Nike Camp. Here are two reports on his week in Indianapolis ...
"Torin Francis' offensive game continues to evolve. He has added a reliable mid-range jumpe and several spin moves to his power game. Add to that that he is a rejector on the defensive end and runs the court like a gazelle. He's always been good, but not this good, and so consistently." -- Prep Stars
"Torin had an extremely impressive Nike Camp. He's a prototypical college big man. He's not quite as big and strong as Thompson, and he's not as skilled as Randolph, especially when it comes to handling and bombing. But he's got a lot of both of these players rolled into one fine package. Torin is well schooled in a number of effective post moves--including the drop step, the baseline spin, and the up and under. Although he's not a consistent outside threat yet, he has some surprising range on his jumper as well. He's extremely active on defense and under the boards, and he strong enough in the post to more than hold his own with the best in his class." -- Kevin at the DBR
7/5: Schoolsports.com has an update on Francis, basically reiterating what we reported last week at the NBPA Camp (scroll down to the 7/1 update below) - that Francis is going to visit a series of schools, including UNC, from August 9-15 and then make a decision shortly thereafter. "I'm going to try and commit the week after that, because after visiting all the schools I should know where I want to go," Francis told SchoolSports.com, adding that he does have a strong interest in UNC (link).
7/3: "Francis has officially shedded the passive label that plagued him last year and early this spring. He's really starting to emerge as a top 10-15 player nationally and has realized that his post moves are the strength of his game. He showcased some fantastic movement without the ball, a deadly turnaround jumper and a nice stroke from the outside. His body looks stronger and he's playing with much more confidence as he matures. Look for Torin continue his rise nationally -- if he continues to play aggressively -- like he's been doing." -- Clint Jackson (ACCToday)
7/1: "Torin Francis, a strikingly articulate interview subject, is going to make a series of visits from Aug. 9-15, checking out one school per day (UVa, UNC, Duke, Notre Dame, etc.). He expects to make a decision shortly after those visits and prior to the start of school. He's visiting Georgetown and Maryland shortly after the NBPA Camp concludes. With his developing offensive game, he sees himself as a power forward with perimeter skills -- and said he will need to play alongside a center. One analyst said that Francis' high release reminds him of Rasheed Wallace's jumpshot." (NBPA Day Two Notes)
6/30: "On defense, he's quick off his feet for blocks (two in one possession) and rebounds -- there's not question he's a very good post defender. But it's the progress on offense that will make him a college star ... " (NBPA Day One Notes)
6/19: Mike Sullivan profiles Francis at the DBR today: "A year ago, Francis was known primarily as a guy who scored most of his points along the baseline and inside. Torin was smart to utilize those skills since he is agile and athletic ... But Francis' game is much more now. He has developed a nice, medium game with his jump shot. And he is more confident in trying to take his man off the dribble from around the foul line ..." (Sullivan on Francis)
6/18: Francis was in Colorado Springs last weekend at the USA Festival. His stats - 8.8 points (61% FG), 8.8 rebounds, 2.4 blocks.
"This guy is not soft! He's a tough rebounder (14!). He is also a good defender. He can score inside, and has a nice mid range touch. ..." (USA Festival Report)
Dave Telep's Evaluation - "Torin led the Festival in blocked shots, was fourth in rebounding and second in field goal percentage. That's a pretty complete weekend. He kept the big men occupied and freed up [his teammates] to do their thing. On defense, he challenged everything. He's one of those guys who patrols the paint and it doesn't take long for would-be scorers to figure out that he's not going to give up the easy ones. Great athlete with a lot of bounce. He put it on the floor a little, though that's not his strength. He gets extra credit for being the only guy to slow down Shelden Williams and double bonus points for continuing to play after he took an elbow to the mouth that cracked his lower front tooth." (BCH link)
6/11: Francis scored 41 points in a championship game loss at the BABC Shootout in Boston, Mass. yesterday. "Francis had 23 points in the first half alone, 41 for the game," writes Mike Sullivan. "They were on a variety of shots too. From the high post he knocked them in and he has several sweet inside moves to baffle the Ravens' defense." (link)
The Boston Herald had Francis down for 42 points, 18 rebounds and three blocks. "Torin has become our go-to guy,'' BABC head coach Leo Papile told the Herland. "He just plays with much more intensity." (link)
In an interview with Francis, he reiterated plans to make visits in August and added that he has no leader at this point. (link)
In yet another article by Sullivan about Francis, he writes: "Francis also has some quick, low post moves which help him sneak past defenders along the low post and around the baseline. He showed some dazzling up and under moves too when he received the entry pass in the low blocks." (link)
6/6: Mike Sullivan reports Francis will not be making his scheduled June visit to UNC due to personal obligations and instead will likely visit in August. "Apparently, UNC is looking to set up their trip in August as the last one Francis will take," Sullivan writes. "Francis is expected to take visits to Maryland, Georgetown, Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, and Virginia." (link)
6/5: Francis will make at least six campus visits starting June 14: Boston College, Maryland, Virginia, Georgetown, UNC, (maybe Duke and Wake Forest) and Notre Dame.
"I actually want to decide during the summer," Francis told Dave Telep. "If you know where you want to go, you should just commit." (link)
6/4: Mike Sullivan reports that the Tar Heels lead for Francis, who will begin a series of campus visits (UNC on June 16) in less than two weeks. (link)
5/25: Francis is profiled, with coach quotes, this morning over at ACCToday. "North Carolina is putting a lot of pressure on him," Tabor Academy coach David First said. "I don't mean that in a bad way; they just want him real bad. They have offered Torin a scholarship, and they would like him to commit now.
"For college, I think Torin will start as a power forward and end as a small forward. He has the shot now to play three, but he needs to handle the ball and pass it better. He's still a puppy, though, but he runs the floor very, very well, and he has a sweet shot. He is also a tough, aggressive player. And he is a special kid, one who is articulate and personable and who is a good citizen." (link)
5/6: Check out this good feature on Francis from The Standard-Times: A real sense of purpose.
5/3: Francis will take a visit to Chapel Hill with his family on June 16, as reported by Zeke Martins on the iC message board. We can add that he'll also visit NC State while in town, and will travel straight from the Triangle to check out Notre Dame. Francis has said in several reports that a decision could be made by the end of July.
4/27: In an interview with Schoolsports.com, Francis said he's aiming to be ranked among the elite. "I don't really care that much about rankings. But I know I'm at about 20 or so, and this year I want to dominate and move up to number one — or at least in the top five." (link)
4/19: Tabor Academy head coach Dave First told High Major Hoops' Clint Jackson that the UNC staff has offered Francis a scholarship. A UNC assistant coach traveled to see Francis recently. His current list stands at: North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Florida, Boston College, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Stanford and USC.
A report in the N&O today stated that Francis has received scholarship offers from every ACC school except Duke.
4/13: "Sources close to Francis tell us that North Carolina has picked up the pace considerably over the past month," IR writes. "The Heels are now one of Francis' top schools."
4/10: Scouting reports on Francis from the Boo Williams Invitational:
"Solidified his status as one of the top post prospects in the junior class by outplaying some talented big guys -- Grant Billmeier, Brad Nuckles -- and matching up quite favorably with Bloomington Red BF/C Sean May. The 6-10 C/BF from Marion (MA) Tabor Academy runs the floor well, uses nimble moves in the post, provides a shot-blocking presence and finishes strong close to the hoop. Also opened some eyes with foul-line jumpers. Showed little of his up-and-down reputation on this weekend. Big-time high-major prospect. Should be fun to watch the rest of the spring and summer." - Michael Kruse (Prep Stars)
"Francis outplayed two high profile big men this weekend and scored impressive point totals in all of the games that we saw him play. He had a very nice outside jumper in pre-game shootarounds and he can face the basket as well as post up effectively. His baseline two-handed power dunk in traffic was a highlight worthy of the price of admission." -- Clint Jackson
"Loved him. One college assistant termed his "bouncy" and that's very applicable. He's the kind of guy you throw the ball to and he goes and gets it. He might have been the most active big man in the tournament as his motor runs. If he disappeared a little in games, it wasn't because he wasn't doing his work; that can happen to big guys in AAU games. When he started making foul line jumpers, there was a mad scramble from the college coaches to get involved. The long-armed athlete can also bull his way to the hoop and doesn't sleep on defense. He's a Top 25 player." -- Dave Telep
3/21: Junior season averages: 18.3 points, 9.1 rebounds and 3.5 blocks.
2/12: Michael Kruse, of Prep Stars, at the New England Prep School Invitational:
"Francis is a high-major player. But he doesn't always bring high-major energy. The problem -- if this is actually a problem -- is that he's too darn nice. The 6-10 C from Tabor has an easy-going demeanor off the court -- and sometimes on the court, too ...
"Francis has only been playing basketball for four years now -- he liked soccer, baseball, and track before that -- and he remains somewhat mechanical in executing his post moves. He has nice rotation on his jumper. And he usually finishes well around the bucket.
"Yet he doesn't always get a ton of touches on the block because of Watson's style of play. Still, a nasty big guy asks for (even demands) the rock, and Francis doesn't do that. Is that a bad thing? Could be."
2/14: An internet site began the rumor that Francis had committed to Duke, but Francis' coach disputes the claim. "We're hearing it too, but Torin hasn't even come up with a list of potential schools," Tabor coach Dave First told the News & Observer. "Duke has told him that they want to watch him this summer. If he tried to commit now, I don't know what Duke's reaction would be."
1/26: HighMajorHoops' Ryan Killian: "He is very talented and extremely intelligent both on and off the court. He is strong, athletic; a big shot blocker, and solid rebounder."
1/5: "[He] has a kind of mechanical post game, but he's got skills," said Clint Jackson. "He looks good shooting the ball from 15 feet in and even at times out to the three-point arc. He's a double-digit rebounder and he'll block a handful of shots in every game he plays. He averages around 18 points a night."
11/14: Francis attended both Tar Heel basketball games this weekend. Interestingly enough, the UNC staff did not have prior knowledge of his unofficial visit, according to AEHoops. Though, the Tar Heels are certainly in the running.
"There are only a handful of schools that make sense academically and basketball wise, and UNC and Duke are two of them," Francis' coach told AEHoops (link).
11/7: We asked FOXStudentSports.com's Jacey Zembal his thoughts on the Top 25 prospect:
"Torin Francis will be one of the top post-grads next year and have several of the elite college programs in the country after him," Zembal said. "He's got a great power forward body and is active around the hoop. He also plays for one of the premier traveling-team programs (B.A.B.C.) during the summer."
Zembal has Francis ranked as the No. 4 post-grad in the class, while Dave Telep ranks Francis at No. 21 in the Class of 2002.