This, That and The Other
Netwhispers On Hoops
We're two and a half weeks into the April recruiting period and time is of the essence. There are just about 10 days left to get those binding letters of intent signed. You can sign and hold them a few days but they have to be signed by midnight of May 15, 2003. If you sign after that, it is considered a non-binding letter. That means that the school is bound to the athlete but the athlete is not bound to the school.
Rutgers has two in the bag looking for three. Big Byron Joynes signed a week ago Sunday and he is on schedule to graduate. He and Antwi make a pretty good start to the spring class. That's all good news but when is the other insider Rutgers needs going to be announced?
Remember Rashod Kent, he opted out of basketball and into the NFL. Well, another one of Gary Waters' former insiders is thinking of doing the same thing. Antonio Gates, a Kent State forward recruited by Waters has signed a two- year contract with the San Diego Chargers. He's 6'4 and about 265 pounds. Sound familiar?
It looks like the guys in South Bend may have picked up a major transfer. Dennis
Latimore a 6'9" bruising forward is leaving the University of Arizona. Mike Brey who seems to love transfers students, is hot on the trail of this guy. In his short stay at Notre Dame he's already taken one from Maryland. Will Dennis be number two? Mike had a lot of success with a bunch of transfers while he was the coach of the Blue Hens of Delaware.
Another big time transfer out there is the former 2001-2002 ACC rookie of the year, Ed Nelson. Nelson wants out of Georgia Tech and wants to get away from former Nova assistant, Paul Hewitt. Nelson is a prototype 6'8" forward looking at Boston College and Connecticut among others. He shoots about 75 percent from the line and in the high 40's from the field. This guy has a nose for the ball. The dad lives outside of Boston so anywhere in the northeast may sound better to Ed.
West Virginia just picked up a verbal for the class of 2004. It's Darius Nichols, a 6'2" 175 pound guard from Radford, Virginia. Darius averaged 22 points and 5 assists per game shooting 52 per cent from the field and 83 per cent from the line. Darius was a first team group A All State selection. Nichols progress had been followed by Clemson, Virginia, Richmond and Georgia Tech among others.
In other Big East news, Jim Calhoun has logged a lot of air miles over the past several weeks. He has received a commitment from former Western Nebraska Junior College forward Ryan Thompson and has at least one more spot to fill. The candidates include Blair star Charlie Villaneueva, North Bridgeton Academy center Alex Johnson and Mohamed Akubar a power forward from Rancho Bernardo, California.
Last week Calhoun allegedly was in Mesa, Arizona, to try and sway Hakeem Rollins. He is a Junior College power forward that Rutgers had visited in February but who will probably stay out west. The trip included a stop in California to tell Akubar that he would be a welcomed addition to the Husky program. This former Georgia recruit will allegedly pick between Kentucky and Uconn. Don't bet against the Wildcats with this kid.
Connecticut continued to press the issue with prep center Alex Johnson and gave their pitch in the Villaneueva sweepstakes. Believe it, they are a player for this New York phenom
Outside the Big East, two more former Georgia recruits are looking for homes next year. JC transfers Cassiano Matheus and Marcus Jackson have been released from their letters of intent. Both of these guys were top 100 Junior College stars. Vandy, Tennesse, Utah State, Utah and Alabama are some of the schools lining up for these two big timers.
Insider Linas Kleiza is still out there. This fully qualified European star had quite a high school career in the states. Missouri was thought to be the leader but Roy Williams has got the full court press going. Don't be shocked if Kleiza doesn't end up wearing Carolina Blue. Florida State and Leoanard Hamilton and Pete Gillen at Virginia may just finish out of the money on this one.
Finally, which player from New Haven Hillhouse now has the Scarlet in his top 7?? Give up? It's former Georgetown commitment Robert McKiver. The 6'2" rising senior lists Rutgers, Providence, BC, DePaul, Miami, VTech and Umass. Where is Connecticut on this guy?
Mike and the Big Dog LLCNetwhispers@aol.com