For Miami point guard sensation Denis Clemente, the field has officially been narrowed to five. Friday afternoon, Bucknuts spoke with Clemente's AAU head coach Art Alvarez, and he brought us up to date on who those five schools are.
"We've set up all five of our official visits," Alvarez told Bucknuts. "This was a tough choice because there are some other schools not on the list that were left out who are very good schools."
Before the official visits begin, Alvarez will host a few of the schools in his home office along with Clemente beginning tomorrow, Saturday, September 11th.
"Coach Huggins will be by tomorrow (Saturday) for a home visit," Alvarez said.
After Cincinnati comes by for their visit over the weekend, Miami will get their shot at an in-home visit on September 15th. Arkansas will be in on the 16th of September, and then Ohio State will wrap up the in-home visits when head coach Thad Matta stops by on September 17th.
That same evening, after the Miami Calusa Prep star, who averaged 33.5 points a game last season, concludes his meeting with Ohio State, he will head over to the University of Miami where he will begin his round of official visits with the Hurricanes until Sunday September 19th.
The next visit will be to Arkansas, where Clemente will leave on September 24th and return Sunday, September 26th. He then will head to South Florida for a visit between September 27th and October 2nd.
Clemente will round out his visits by leaving for Columbus to visit the Buckeyes on Sunday October 10th and returning Tuesday October 12th. He will probably visit Cincinnati sometime thereafter, although the date has not officially been set.
Cincinnati was the last school of the five to get involved, but they were able to do so by making an all-out push for Clemente.
Newly appointed assistant Frank Martin is a former Miami high school coach and personal friend of Alvarez, creating a strong trust issue allowing the Bearcats to get involved.
"Frank is a personal friend, and a guy that I've known for years," Alvarez explained. "But when it comes to the kids, we have to make the best decision we can regardless of our friendships. The kid's future is the most important thing and I can't let a personal friendship influence what I think is best."
Alvarez says the Bearcats aren't the only ones making a strong push. He says the Buckeyes are still giving their best effort to get Clemente.
"I really like Coach Matta, and I know he is being very sincere when he says Denis is their top priority," Alvarez said.
Clemente seems to be a perfect fit for Matta. Not only is this lightning quick guard able to push the floor and blow by defenders, his shot is apparently not too shabby as well.
"Denis is a very strong shooter," Alvarez said. "In fact, at the Peach Jam he shot 42 of 60 from the floor. That was the same tournament he averaged 25 points a game."
That very same tournament was the one Matta fell in love with him. Alvarez tells a story of Clemente getting the best of Ohio guard Travis Walton, who is a Michigan State verbal.
"I remember when he went up against this really quick guard from Ohio who is going to Michigan State," Alvarez recalls. "We ran a 1-4 and spread everyone out on the wings, and Denis was going up against that kid one-on-one. Denis lit him up for 22 points in the first half alone.
"No, but I must tell you Denis' biggest asset is creating shots," Alvarez added. "He's just so fast and so quick. He's really hard to stop when he gets going.
"Denis has a great outside shot, however. Really Denis' thing is that he needs to add strength. He will have to get stronger."
Clemente has impressed more than just high school coaches with his extraordinary summer.
"I've had a scout call just to tell me how impressed they were with Denis," Alvarez said. "He told me he believes Denis will make it at the next level and really has a future ahead of him."
It appears Clemente is tailor-made for the Buckeyes, which is why it's not surprising Matta has made him a priority.
The comparing styles have helped the Buckeyes in the process.
"I really like the fact that Ohio State plays a similar style that we run," Alvarez said. "Ohio State is right in the mix. It will come down to which program fits Denis' needs the most."
If you're looking for who might have the edge, it's really tough to find one. All five programs have their advantages.
Alvarez especially noted that Miami's proximity to home would be a tough obstacle to overcome, but wouldn't necessarily be the final factor. Cincinnati and Ohio State both, for the reasons mentioned are strong possibilities.
With the recruitment winding down over the next month, Bucknuts will continue to stay informed on how Clemente is doing.
Don't blink, as quick as Clemente is, you may not want to miss him.