4-star center adds ND to offer list

Four-star center James Banks has been on the phone almost nonstop this week collecting offers after the spring live periods concluded. Notre Dame put itself in that mix when Mike Brey reached out after watching Banks last weekend.

Two productive adidas Gauntlet sessions thrust James Banks into a recruiting frenzy.

Banks, a center in the Class of 2016 from Mount Vernon Presbyterian School in Atlanta, didn’t lead the Atlanta Celtics in scoring or rebounding. But the four-star prospect showed elite length, athleticism and the type of motor college coaches covet.

“I feel like I did a decent job,” Banks said. “I didn’t get a chance to take advantage of all the things I’ve been wanting to but I was able to control what I can control. Things like running the floor, playing hard, eating the glass, blocking shots, taking shots when I have them and scoring when I get the ball.”

Doing all that took Banks’ offer list from modest to national.

Notre Dame joined a list of offers this week that now includes Auburn, Cincinnati, Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgetown, Harvard, Kansas State, Memphis, Mississippi State, Nebraska, N.C. State, South Carolina, Syracuse, Tennessee, USC and several others.

Irish head coach Mike Brey and assistant Anthony Solomon watched Banks in Indianapolis last weekend. Brey followed up with an offer shortly after.

“I’ve had a lot of communication with Notre Dame,” Banks said. “They just called me not too long ago. Coach Solomon texted me a little while ago. I chatted with coach Brey (Tuesday) night. He talked to me about the offer. He talked to me about where I would fit in and asked me questions. It’s been a lot of communication there.”

Other head coaches in touch this week include Bruce Pearl (Auburn), Kevin Stallings (Vanderbilt), Ben Howland (Mississippi State), Tim Miles (Nebraska), Chris Mack (Xavier) and Jim Larranaga (Miami).

Like others, Brey hit on some of the high points in the first conversation.

“I like the way they use their bigs as well as the speed of their game,” Banks said. “Coach Brey talked about not only having a successful basketball team but great academics at Notre Dame as well. Also being in a good conference.”

Notre Dame will be duking it out right away to keep a spot on the list. Banks plans to start focusing on a smaller group of programs given the uptick in interest.

The 6-foot-10, 230-pound prospect envisions a cut down coming soon.

“I’ve been getting a lot of phone calls,” Banks said. “I’ve been blowing up a little bit lately. I’m gonna narrow it down. Nothing hard but get rid of some that I just know I’m not gonna go to, so probably get it down to around 20 or so. Something that’s manageable.”

More cuts will be needed in the summer, although nothing is imminent with no visits set.

“The key factors for me are a degree that means something to me in the real world as well as a place where I have a great relationship with the coaching staff,” Banks said. “I’m comfortable. I wanna go to a place where I can step in as a freshman and get quality minutes, fight for a starting spot as a freshman. Somewhere there is not only a want for me but a need and the ability to develop and get better.”


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