Chris Taft profile
8/27: The visit to Syracuse was reportedly called off. We're not yet willing to cross Taft off the radar list yet, but there are no plans for a visit to Chapel Hill at this time.
8/21: Taft has scheduled his second official visit. He'll travel to Syracuse on the weekend of Sept. 8, having already visited Pitt. in late June.
Taft told IC he has assembled a list of his top four schools.
"I'm thinking between North Carolina, Maryland, Pittsburgh and Syracuse," he said. "I'm not sure where I'll take the fifth visit. It's between Villanova, Miami and maybe Indiana."
The Tar Heel staff is still in contact with him, he said.
"They (UNC) call me once in a while. It's close to my mother (who lives in Georgia). They have the tradition and they send so many players to the NBA."
8/10: "Well, they haven't backed off -- they've just been off and on because of my grades and scores," he said. ... (Taft talks grades, UNC)
7/10: Dave Telep at ABCD -- "In the two games we observed, we saw the somewhat dominant Chris Taft and also the passive Taft. The dominant Taft stretches out to finish plays ala Eddie Griffin. He runs the floor, uses his athleticism and convinces you he's a player. Chris just needs to replicate those performances and be consistent." (link)
7/9: "Conditioning is the key," Konchalski said. "He's got to work on increasing his endurance. He runs fluidly, but he can't run hard for long stretches of time." ... (ABCD: Chris Taft Spotlight)
6/26: Taft took an official visit to Pittsburgh on Tuesday, according to Dave Telep of TheInsidersHoops.com.
6/18: Inside Carolina was in the Bronx, N.Y. to cover Taft at the Rumble in the Bronx. Here's a recap of IC's coverage, including the news that he is planning a visit to UNC.
"[He] plans to call the staff in the next week or so and schedule an official visit to Chapel Hill. 'It's really the only school that I'm going to schedule a visit to right now,' said Taft ... " (Taft to plan visit to Chapel Hill)
"He showcased few offensive moves and wasn't a force on defense, either. His highlight came early on when Ramel Bradley tossed the ball off the backboard on the fastbreak for Taft to finish with an emphatic dunk. ..." (Friday Night Report )
"... upside is a perfect description for Taft. He runs the floor extremely well. He has soft hands and a quick bounce off the hardwood. Heck, in his best play of the day he even showed an ability to put the ball on the floor ..." (Sunday Report)
"The usually mild-mannered Xaverian High (N.Y.) product yelled after each of his dunks to begin the game and then gave Albany City Rocks senior Rashaun Freeman, who is headed to UMass this season, an earful after converting a three-point play. ..." (Final Report)
5/29: Three reviews of Taft's performance last weekend at the TOC --
"Taft obviously can play, but he didn't show as much life at the TOC as we'd expected. He has a big body and good scoring post moves, and he's mobile on both ends. But he must play with fire and find himself a role for the mega-conglomerate Worldwide Renegades." -- Rob Harrington, Prep Stars
"Taft has the reputation as one of the top scoring post players in this class, and even though he didn't get that many touches for the Renegades, he displayed a nice touch and some good turnaround and other back-to-the-basket maneuvers when he got the chance. He didn't really bring the fire on the boards or at either end that we would have liked to see, but it's often hard for big guys to blend into the AAU setting, particularly when they are playing with unfamiliar teammates – and particularly with a team like the Renegades, who play a helter-skelter style that does not emphasize the post. Taft was good, but maybe not as good as we would have expected based on his top 20 reputation." -- Curt Spears.
"I think he's one of the top big men in his class, but it's hard to be certain after a weekend that lacked a lot of touches for Chris. He did get enough looks to impress me, although it seems a lot of others who saw him were somewhat disappointed. Can get up and down the court like a guard, and explodes off the floor. Has a beautiful scoring touch around the basket, but does need to improve his jumper (like most big men at this level). Needs to assert himself more on defense. Too often he would watch an opponent shoot the ball without even attempting to block the shot. With his athleticism, he should be much more of a force on defense." -- David Hall, DeaconSports.com
5/27: IC's coverage of Taft at the Tournament of Champions ...
"Yes, that's one of my strengths," Taft said of his ability to find the open man. "They think since I'm big they can just double me and I won't see the court. If I see somebody open, I'm going to pass it, especially if they are under the basket or setting up for a shot." ... (TOC: Chris Taft Spotlight)
"Taft excels around the basket. He likes to post up and can utilize his strength and agility to maneuver around his defender and get to the hoop. He runs the floor well and has good strength for a big man." ... (TOC: Clint's Props and Knocks, Part I)
4/30: Taft told IC's Jeff Goodman that UNC offered a scholarship during their recent visit -- but the offer is on the table provided that Taft improves his grades. "They were the only school that said that and I was a little surprised," Taft said. "But it makes me want to work harder" ... (Carolina visit goes well)
4/29: Taft impressed at the IS8 Spring Classic in Queens, going head to head with Jason Fraser -- and more than holding his own. "Chris Taft has definitely arrived," said local AAU coach Gary Charles. "Anything that came off the rim, he dunked it. He made a nice half hook shot over a player who I think is the best defensive player in the country in Jason Fraser. Although some of the shots he made were because Jason slid over to help and no one rotated down, it was not hard to see just how talented that young man is." (link)
4/23: Matt Doherty and assistant Fred Quartlebaum, fresh off of a visit to Florida to meet with Chris Richard, traveled to Xaverian to check out Taft last night. "They offered me," Taft told Clint Jackson. "They say they want to see my transcripts though, so we're going to get them to UNC as soon as we can. Probably this week." Carolina sources report that no official offer was made, as none of the numberous UNC post targets have been offered yet.
According to Dave Telep, Taft has a current list of 10 schools, including UNC - Villanova, Pittsburgh, Wake Forest, Syracuse, Georgia Tech, Duke, St. John's, Arizona and Miami-FL. North Carolina is expected to get one of his five official visits, as will Villanova and Pittsburgh.
3/19: "Taft plans to sit down with his coach in the next couple of weeks and schedule a few visits, including a weekend trip to see both Duke and UNC. ..." (Chris Taft update)
3/11: From RivalsHoops -- "Taft's size and agility are hard to combat in the post. The 6-9, 225-pounder is excellent at sealing his man, equipped with a bulky frame and good strength. Taft was very active around the rim last night, snatching scores of rebounds for dunks and stickbacks, but also displayed a burgeoning post repertoire and the ability to step out to around the foul line and sink pull-ups." (link)
2/8: Inside Carolina has learned that UNC assistant coach Fred Quartlebaum was in New York yesterday to watch Taft.
1/17: IC's Clint Jackson checks in with Taft -- "Many call him the best junior in the entire state of New York. And having seen Chris Taft in action last year -- we just might believe that he is ..." (Chris Taft update)
11/13: IC's Jeff Goodman introduces the Tar Heel post target ... (Junior to Watch: Chris Taft)
7/12: From the NY Post --
Chris Taft has had enough of New York. "I don't like it here ... I'd rather be down south somewhere." That's likely where he will wind up after high school. Two months ago, Taft's mother moved down to Savannah, Ga., and he now lives with his grandmother in Brooklyn. The only reason he stayed here was because of Xaverian. "I know it's a good school and so does my mother, but after I finish there, I'm definitely going somewhere else."
He likely will have his pick of where he wants to go. Taft, who is 16, has grown nearly two inches since the basketball season and was one of the top players in the CHSAA as a sophomore. And he understands that this [ABCD] camp can further his hopes. "I was nervous at first, especially when I saw all the coaches here," said Taft. "They inspire me, but once you get there, for some reason, you don't even think about them."
Rest assured, they are thinking about Taft. He already has three schools that he is interested in: North Carolina, Duke and Cincinnati.
7/11: PrepStars' Rob Harrington at ABCD -- "For someone his age and without much work in the weightroom, Taft is very strong. He has a sturdy frame that enables him to punish defenders in the lane and finish inside even after taking some contact. His hands are good and his footwork advanced for his age. He especially likes to spin inside after catching the ball on the low block. Not a skywalker, but Chris' athleticism also is a plus." (link)
7/10: Dave Telep of TheInsidersHoops at the ABCD Camp -- "This kid played with intensity. He also played with skill. Taft is going to be on everyone's hit list and soon. He had some sweeping moves to the hoop that were just awesome for a kid his size. The finishes were definitive and extremely strong." (link)