The Hilltop Review

Every Saturday morning, we provide exclusive stories and info!

SMU Offers Highly Touted SF

By Russell Palmer

One of the most sought-after small forwards in the country, Terry Larrier, hails from the Northeast, Phelps School (PA) to be exact.

In past years this would mean SMU would have little chance at landing such an elite player so far away from Texas but under the Larry Brown era, things are different.

Larrier, standing at 6-foot-7, 205-pounds, is a perennial top-40 player and holds offers from virtually every school in the country. Playing for Team SCAN this summer, Larrier has put together an impressive AAU season so far.

His coach, Terrance Williams, helped shed some light on Larrier's recruitment and interest in SMU.

"St. Johns, Arizona, Providence, UConn and SMU are some of the programs that are expressing interest and that Terry likes." Williams said.

SMU was one of the most recent teams to join the list of schools that have offered Larrier, but it doesn't seem that being late to the party will hurt the Mustang's chances at getting the four-star prospect.

"So far they have been expressing a lot of interest," Williams said. "They are telling him they've built a good program down there, and they'd like to run up and down the court a lot, and that they want Terry to join them."

Larry Brown and his staff of first-rate recruiters are the reason such high profile recruits are now looking at SMU, and Williams said Larrier would definitely benefit from playing for a coach as experienced and successful as Coach Brown.

"Coach Brown is obviously at the top of the food chain as far as making it to the NBA and coaching talented players, so Terry could learn a lot from him," Williams said. "As far as showing Terry what it takes to be a professional, and the day to day effort it takes, Coach Brown could do a lot for him."

And although Larrier still has an entire high school season before he can play on the next level, his coach said he expects Larrier could be a special talent once he takes on the college game.

"I think he could be a big time player over the next few years," Williams said. "He's going to keep getting stronger and more versatile as he gets older, and as long as he keeps putting winning first, and if he works hard enough, he could end up making basketball his professional career."



3-Star PG High On SMU

By Adam Grosbard

2014 Jsera Catholic (CA) point guard Johnnie Vassar has interest from a number of schools including SMU, which he visited last year.

"I like the environment a lot as far as the school," Vassar said. "It's a great academic school, as well as Coach [Larry] Brown being there which means the basketball is good."

Vassar has variety of skills that make him an attractive recruit. Vassar shot 44 percent last season as a junior at Jsera and averaged 13.3 points and 5.2 assists per game.

He is also a gritty player on defense, averaging 1.7 steals per game and drawing five charges over the course of last season. This is why it is exciting that Vassar is considering SMU.

"My interest level is high," Vassar says. "I liked Coach Brown and everything when I went up there for the visit."

Jerrance Howard started the Mustang's recruiting pitch to Vassar before he left the staff but since then Coach Brown has been the main recruiter for the 6-foot, 180-pouner.

"I haven't talked to him in a little while," Vassar noted. "He spoke with my mother, though, about maybe two weeks ago."

Vassar also says that playing close to home will not be a factor in his recruiting. He has received his offer from SMU and also has offers from DePaul and USC.



Oklahoma PF Gets SMU Offer

By Beionny Mickles

Bixby (OK) power forward Mitchell Solomon is one of the most recent athletes from the Class of 2014 to receive an offer from SMU.

Head Coach Larry Brown and staff offered the 6-foot-9 220-pound basketball standout early this week. Playing With Purpose AAU Basketball coordinator Lee Mayberry, who played with the Milwaukee Bucks and Vancouver Grizzlies in the 90s, has spent time watching Solomon develop and says that he has a solid overall game.

"He's got good size, and he can shoot the ball from the college and NBA three-point line," Mayberry said. "He can go both shoulders with the jump hook. He's got some nice stuff. He's a real skilled player."

Solomon recently competed in the Adidas Invitational in Indianapolis, where Mayberry said he really busted on to the recruiting scene. Solomon averaged over 20 points per game, leading his team all the way to the final four.

"Since he's gotten back from Indianapolis, he just blew up," Mayberry said.

Mayberry says although Solomon has a diverse skillset he does have a few weaknesses especially when it comes to being a power player in the paint.

"He can definitely stand to get stronger," Mayberry said. "I'd say that's one of the weaknesses that he has as far as putting on some muscle and getting stronger around the basket. Once he gets stronger he's going to be a whole lot better."

At age 16, Solomon is one of the younger players in the class of 2014, and there has been speculation about him reclassifying. Solomon also holds offers from Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oral Roberts, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Tulsa and Vanderbilt.



Poplin Sings Praises Of Nate Mason

By Adam Grosbard

You can tell a lot about a player by the way his coach speaks about him. CP3 All-Stars coach Andy Poplin did not hold back his praises when asked about rising-senior point guard and SMU recruit Nate Mason.

When asked how Mason would fit into SMU Coach Larry Brown's system, Poplin quickly responded:

"I think Nate fits into anybody's system because he plays with such an edge, such an attitude. He's just a fierce competitor. He doesn't think that anybody is better than him. "He's fearless out there and so I think he's a guy that whatever the coach needs he's gonna try to provide that at that level of intensity, playing hard. He's a hard-nosed kid so, yeah, I think that'd be a great fit."

But Poplin's praise for Mason did not stop there. When asked what role Mason played for him on the CP3 All-Stars AAU team, Poplin said proudly:

"Nate's definitely one of our top-five players but he committed to coming off the bench for us. He comes off the bench to provide a spark. He's kind of got the green light offensively and he plays combo. He plays point guard and plays off the ball on the wing. He's a guy who can create his own shot, push the tempo, stretch the floor with his range. A great all-around offensive player."

The AAU coach could see similarities between Mason and a famous former Larry Brown player, Allen Iverson.

"He is a lot like that in his edge, his attitude, his confidence in his ability to score the ball," he said.

Poplin was not aware of Mason's specific interest level in SMU, which watched him closely at Peach Jam.

"His dad and him are kind of handling the clock there in terms of visiting schools," he said.

Mason, listed at 5-foot-11, 160-pounds, has received offers from George Mason, Lehigh, Minnesota, Clemson, Virginia and Harvard.



Anderson Confused By SMU

By Scott Sanford

It seems like a reoccurring theme at times, when the SMU coaching staff and a recruit can't get on the same page and in the end, SMU and the recruit go their separate ways.

In this case, Cole Anderson, a 6-foot-5 264-pound offensive tackle from Cy Falls, wasn't exactly thrilled with the outcome once he and his recruiter got on the same page.

"SMU, by far, has been the weirdest recruiting experience of my life," said Anderson.

During spring practice, SMU offensive line coach Wes Suan visited Anderson and expressed a lot of interest in the tackle, but when all was said and done, Anderson still had no idea if the Mustangs had offered him or not.

"After he saw me at practice he called me and again said he was very interest, but I still had no idea if that meant he had offered me," said Anderson. "I decided to email him, and after about a week, he emailed me back and said that he had offered me."

Anderson was very happy to hear about his SMU offer because he loves the potential in the program and loves the great academics at the school.

But the drama was far from over.

"About three days after he said I got the scholarship offer," explained Anderson, "he sent me another email saying that, in fact, the class was full and that I did not have an offer. It was frustrating."

Since that email, Anderson has had no contact with Suan or any other members of the coaching staff.

Although SMU was high on Anderson's list, he still has not eliminated any schools and is still hoping for a couple more offers from some big-time programs.

"Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Arkansas have been recruiting me pretty well, and Nebraska some, but I'm just going to take my time and the gage the interest of all my schools before I make a decision," Anderson said.



Local LB Chooses Walk-On Spot At SMU Over Offers

By Billy Embody

For former Southlake Carroll linebacker Jackson Mitchell, the hard work of being a walk-on is just beginning as he enrolled at SMU earlier in July to take part in summer workouts with the Mustangs.

"I just want us to win. No matter what I'm doing I want us to win. Obviously, I want to be on the field, but I'm going to wait for my time," Mitchell said. "I'm going to do my job and work my butt off and when that time comes, it'll come."

Mitchell completed AARO and started his first class, pre-calculus, for the summer earlier in July but a lot of his time has been spent working out, watching film and competing in 7-on-7.

Senior middle linebacker Randall Joyner has really stepped up to help not only Mitchell, who is slated to start off at inside linebacker, but the rest of the freshmen.

"He came up to all the freshmen linebackers and figured out what position each of us play and today when we came in for film, he was drawing stuff up on the board," Mitchell said.

Mitchell said even though some of the other older players were helping the younger players understand the defense, it was clear Joyner was running the show.

"You can just tell he's an incredible leader and he was just coaching up the entire freshmen class defense," Mitchell said.

Mitchell believes he has a step on some of the other younger linebackers because of his experience at Carroll in the 3-4 defense. Mitchell was extremely successful in that defense, racking up 128 tackles, two sacks, nine tackles for loss and one interception.

Mitchell says he can eventually replicate his high school success at SMU because of the things he does well on the field.

"I get sideline to sideline really well," said the 6-foot, 215-pounder "I can make plays, but more importantly I can just do my job to help my teammates make plays because at the end of the day, that's what it is about is doing your job so the team as a whole can be successful."

Even though Mitchell had offers from Air Force and Stephen F. Austin, Mitchell met with SMU defensive coordinator Tom Mason in January with his dad, who had been sending out film for him, to talk about what would be expected and also what the team depth was like at linebacker.

"We talked about how it would work in terms of getting on scholarship and pretty much went through all the ins and outs of being a preferred walk-on," Mitchell said. "I just thought it was a great opportunity."

With less than a week before training camp opens, Mitchell is still working to be ready for the season and any opportunity that comes his way.

"Coach Mason said he wanted to get me on special teams quick so when it's time to put the pads on, it's just a matter of separating myself from the other guys," Mitchell said. "Right now, just work my tail off in the weight room and when we run so I can get bigger, faster and stronger."



Local 2015 WR Camping With SMU

By EJ Holland

SMU never extended an offer to Trae Hart, a record-breaking wide receiver out of Dallas First Baptist who eventually committed to Purdue. But the Mustangs will have a chance to make up for that by going after his teammate D‘Aundrey Bradley.

According to his wide receivers coach and former Oklahoma wide out David Robinson, Bradley will be better than Hart when it's all said, and the Ponies would be smart to get a jump on the 2015 prospect.

Bradley will be in attendance at SMU's camp on Sunday and hopes to garner attention from the coaching staff.

"I haven't heard from SMU, but I just want to see what their program is like. I want to see how the coaches coach and things like that," he said. "I'm going to show that I have great speed for my size. My goal is to come away with an offer."

If SMU does extend a scholarship, the 6-foot-1, 170-pounder says he would be ‘really excited.'

"I don't really know a whole lot about SMU, but that first offer would be amazing," he said. "I've played in their stadium so I know the facilities and the campus are nice."

A transfer from DeSoto, Bradley has been turning heads this offseason. He was named the Next Level Athlete Camp MVP in April and has been training side by side with Texas commit Emmanuel Porter and Cedar Hill wide receiver DaMarkus Lodge, who holds a boatload of offers.

"It's been great training with those types of players. We're really working hard out there and getting better," he said. "Right now, I'm young so it's good for me to work with guys like Emmanuel and also go against top notch defensive backs like Jamal Adams and Jason Hall, who work with Coach (Clay) Mack."

Bradley has also attended camps at Baylor and Texas.



San Antonio DB Camping With SMU

By EJ Holland

San Antonio is an area of Texas that SMU always seems to under recruit. But offensive line coach Wes Suan stopped by a few schools this spring including San Antonio Roosevelt.

While there, Suan spoke to nose tackle Trae Gardner and safety Rashad La'Fond.

"When he came down here, Coach Suan said he was going to be keeping an eye on us. He actually invited me to junior day, but I wasn't able to go," La'Fond said. "I've been emailing him so hopefully he continues to recruit me."

La'Fond is still looking to earn his first offer and hopes to pick it up when he takes part in SMU's camp on July 28.

"I really like SMU. An offer from them would be big because it's definitely one of my potential college choices," La'Fond said. "My interest level is high. I saw some of their games last year, and I like the style of defense they run, and Coach Suan is a nice guy."

La'Fond transferred from a school in Colorado to San Antonio Roosevelt just before the beginning of last season so he only played sparingly as a junior. But he will have bigger role in the fall.

"I've been working a lot on my speed and leg strength. I hope to carry the team to the third round of the playoffs," he said. "We can do it because we have a really good defense. Trae is explosive and can make plays, and Arrion (Springs) is just a great player."

La'Fond, who holds an offer from Kentucky Christian, attended eight camps this offseason, highlighted by Baylor, Miami and Mississippi State.



2016 QB Camping With SMU

By EJ Holland

It's never too early to get a jump-start on prospects.

Prestonwood Christian quarterback Luke Anthony is one of the top rising quarterbacks in the Class of 2016 and has already camped at TCU and Texas A&M. This weekend, he will be at SMU.

"Most people around the area really don't like SMU since it's so close to home, but I really like it," Anthony said. "It's a well-rounded school that offers a great education so I'm interested in what they have to offer."

But Anthony won't be at full strength. He is recovering from a broken tibia in his left ankle and will be limited.

"I'm not sure what I'll be able to since I just started walking, but I hope to throw a little bit," he said. "I want to build an early relationship with the coaches and check everything out so I'm for sure going to make it over there."

Anthony, who transferred to PCA from Highland Park, hopes to compete for a starting job as a sophomore now that Mickey Mitchell has bolted to Plano West.

"I like the offense at Prestonwood. It's fast temp and really fits my style," he said. "I just want to show what I can do."

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