The Hilltop Review

Come inside for all the latest SMU recruiting news in this week's Hilltop Review!

Roach puts SMU in top-10

By: Omar Majzoub

Class of 2015 three-star Kerwin Roach is planning on releasing his top-10 list of schools very soon.

One thing that's already certain: SMU will make the cut.

"I’m thinking about releasing my list of about 10 schools this week," Roach said. "SMU will make that list. I think they have a great program and I want to learn more about it."

Roach called his interest level in the Mustangs "medium." The 6-foot-4, 180-pound guard says the terrific coaching staff and renovations to new Moody Coliseum make the Hilltop a very attractive option.

"I like that they have Larry Brown as their coach. The coaching staff is really cool," Roach said. "They also have one of the hottest, biggest stadiums now. There games are always sold out and they have a great fan support. I also know they have great academics."

Roach is a member of the Houston Rockstarz in AAU and attends North Shore High School in Houston, TX. He has been talking with SMU coaches Larry Brown and Ulric Maligi since his recent offer.

"It’s great that Coach Brown believes in me," Roach said. "It lets me know that I’m doing something good. He really believes I can really become something special, so that’s a great feeling."

Maligi and fellow SMU assistant Tim Jankovich were at the Las Vegas Fab 48 to watch Roach last week. He has built an especially strong relationship with Maligi who tells him all about the Mustangs.

Roach has never visited SMU before, but hopes to do so in the near future. The other schools he mentioned he was interested in were Texas, Kansas State, TCU, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Temple, Wichita State, Marquette, and Florida State.

"The conference each team plays in is important to me," Roach said. "Also, the relationship I have with the coach. You don’t want to play for somebody you don’t like. You’re going to be with them all year."

Roach averaged 16 points and five rebounds per game last season at North Shore. He is an athletic combination guard who can make plays for himself and his teammates. He’s also an underrated defender with very high upside on that side of the ball.

"I’m aggressive. I have good size and height. I can shoot midrange, pull-up, and deep three-pointers. I also have great athleticism," Roach said. "My weakness is that I need to get stronger. I also need to handle the ball a little bit better.”

Roach, who says he wants to study engineering in college, will continue to sort through his schools as the summer goes along, but says his main focus is on next season. He led his team, the Mustangs, in scoring last season and hopes to do so again.

"In Texas, I won the state championship with my 5A high school team," he said. "This year, I want to do the same thing. That’s my main goal."

Norvell hasn’t heard from SMU in a while

By: Patrick Engel

Since Larry Brown took over as SMU’s head basketball coach, SMU has been active in the Chicago area. Three players on the roster are from Chicagoland, and the coaches are looking for more talent from Illinois. They have shown interest in a number of players from Chicago’s Simeon Career Academy, and one of them is Class of 2016 combo guard Zach Norvell.

Norvell said that an SMU assistant coach stopped by his school towards the end of the year to talk to fellow Simeon players D.J. Williams and Ed Morrow, but then asked to talk to Norvell and his teammate, Ben Coupet.

“They were visiting the school one time and talking to [Simeon coach Robert Smith], and he asked me to come to the office and chat for a bit,” Norvell said.

Norvell said he thinks the coach was Ulric Maligi, but he is not certain. But Norvell says he was encouraged by his words.

“He was telling me to keep playing hard make sure my work ethic stays up,” Norvell said. “He said to have a great motor on the court. Having a great motor picks your game up a bit. [He said] SMU is like a home environment, and how all the players like it. He told me you’re going to learn everything like a pro.”

SMU has not visited Simeon since, and Norvell said that he has not heard much from SMU after talking to the coach. He said the coach did not tell him if he would be back.

Despite the limited contact with SMU, Norvell has heard about SMU because his former AAU teammate is current SMU guard Sterling Brown.

“SMU has Sterling Brown, and we played for the same AAU team, the Mac Irvin Fire, and he and I have a great relationship.”

Norvell said he thinks the Fire had a solid AAU season, and he should be back as one of the team’s leaders next season.

“We had a great group of guys, and a lot of good talent,” he said. “We didn’t finish how we wanted to, we lost in Vegas (at the Bigfoot tournament) and lost in the Peach Jam. But I felt like we had a good run. We bonded well and we learned as a group. Everybody got better as the tournaments went on.”

Norvell is 6-foot-5 and 185 pounds. He has offers from Memphis, Oklahoma, Bradley, and Loyola (Ill.), and he said he has interest from Kansas, Georgetown, Saint Louis, USC, Creighton, Purdue, Iowa State, Illinois, Xavier, and Oregon.

Gilder finishes great summer stretch

By: Billy Embody

Four-star Dallas Madison shooting guard Admon Gilder has been tearing up the Reebok circuit this summer and is not able to focus a little bit on recruiting.

“They went pretty good. Me and my team we had a good first two months, came out started winning championships and we got a lot of exposure and recognition,” Gilder said.

While Gilder received solid recognition with his team, he was more focused on improving his game, specifically what he does best, scoring.

“Just being more aggressive and being able to score at anytime,” Gilder said. “Being able to get to the basket and converting “and ones,” and just winning games.”

Speaking of winning games, most of the programs that are coming really hard after Gilder are winning ones. With the likes of Oklahoma State, Texas, SMU, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Memphis, Baylor and Kansas State, pursuing him the hardest, Gilder will be in a great position to succeed.

“It’s just not one school that’s standing out to me the most right now,” Gilder said. “They’re all at the same point with me because all of the coaches come to see me and all their head coaches come to see me so all the schools are at the same point right now.”

In terms of SMU, Gilder has a very close relationship with SMU head coach Larry Brown, but especially SMU assistant Ulric Maligi.

“It’s a school close to home so it’s not going too far from home. I won’t be going to a city that I won’t know,” Gilder said. “My relationship with coach Ulric, he’s been around Dallas for a while now. We have a nice conversation every time we talk, not just about basketball, but about life in general.”

His relationship with Maligi could tilt the scales in SMU’s favor, but it’s not his deciding factor.

“It has a little impact if I was to go there that I’ll have a coach that can get my mind right and knows where I’m coming from and just basically gets me going where I’m trying to go,” Gilder said.

With coach Brown, Gilder has heard what most players have heard from the Hall of Famer: advice.

“When I talk to Larry Brown, he’s a funny guy. He keeps it real with you,” Gilder said. “He tells you what you need to work on and what I should do. He talks about SMU and him as the coach there.”

Gilder doesn’t have a timetable for a decision as of right now though.

“No I don’t. I’m going to sit down with my mom and my dad after the tournament and talk about it,” Gilder said. “We can go from there.”

Gilder does know what he wants to see out of a school that is interested in him.

“A team that can play up to the ball a little bit,” Gilder said. “A team that can come up and run the set a little bit. Just a school that’s going to me better.”

Gilder finished up the Fab 48 in Las Vegas recently and put up as high as 27-28 points in a game he said.

Wylie East prospect very interested in SMU

By: Scott Sanford

For any coaching staff, summer is a very important time recruiting wise. With all of the camps that go on, coaches are bound to find prospects in all classes that they are interested in.

While SMU’s 2015 recruiting class is beginning to take shape thanks to an impressive string of commitments in June, the Mustangs have yet to pick up any commits for the class of 2016.

SMU’s coaching staff has however been in contact with a group of 2016 prospects, including Wylie East athlete Aubrey White.

The 6-foot-1, 190-pound White primarily plays running back, but has also lined up as a receiver.

White, who was at SMU last week watching his brother at the Mustangs’ camp, still doesn’t hold an offer from SMU, but has been in contact with Coach Wes Suan and is interested in the Mustangs.

“I haven’t talked to Coach Jones much yet, but I have been talking to coach Wes Suan a little bit,” White said. “I was just telling him that I’ll come back for a game and visit this fall, so just to keep an eye on me.”

Last week was White’s first time checking out Ford Stadium, but the running back as been to Hilltop before and really enjoys what SMU has to offer.

“I like it (the campus) a lot,” White said. “I like where it’s at and I know the academics are really good too.”

Coach Suan visited White during spring ball and was impressed by what he saw, so the Mustangs’ offensive line coach also plans on visiting Wylie East during their 2-a-day practices to check up on White.

White also plans on making the short drive to the Hilltop for a game this fall, and might also go to SMU’s opener versus Baylor in Waco.

Despite being just a rising junior, White already holds offers from Oklahoma, TCU, Arkansas, Nebraska, Houston, Illinios State and North Texas, and is still far away from a final decision.

2015 speedster camps at SMU

By: Demetrio Teniente

Standing at only five feet-eight inches tall and weighing only about a buck fifty, Deante Ford is by no means a large receiver. At times, it can be hard to tell where he is on the football field- not because of his size, but because he is so dang fast – 4.4 forty speed fast.

The 2015 receiver from Missouri City, TX has made a name for himself at Ridge Point High School as a dangerously shifty slot receiver.

Although Ford hasn’t registered any big time offers from large programs yet, the young wide out definitely has their attention.

During the last weekend of July, he attended camp at SMU and made the most of his short visit.

“It went well,” Ford said. “In shuttle drills I caught all my balls and beat everyone during one-on-ones.”

He was pleased with his performance, but still sees areas in his game that can he can improve. Ford says that after his camp experience he wants to work on coming out of his breaks smoother to create more space, which would give him a better chance to make someone miss and then take it to the house.

After camp ended he went back home, but even in his short stay, the Hilltop left an impression.

“I didn’t get a chance to look at the campus a lot,” Ford said. “But I would love to visit SMU again soon- my parents really like the school and I do too.”

Ford says he would be happy playing for SMU and one of the main reasons is the coaches.

“I liked the coaches a lot,” he said. “They interacted with me a lot and they gave some good feedback during one-on-ones.”

Perhaps the most important interaction of camp was an exchange between Ford and wide receivers coach Jason Phillips.

“I got a chance to talk with Coach Phillips a little,” Ford said. “He told me he was happy with my camp and to keep in touch.”

It might appear like Ford is flying under the radar right now, but SMU certainly is aware of him. And if he manages to improve his game like he plans to, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Mustangs try to chase him down.

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