The Hilltop Review

Come inside for this week's Hilltop Review where we recap the latest news in the recruiting world!

2016 big man being watched by SMU

By: Billy Embody

A lot of analysts say Thon Maker is undoubtedly the top big man in the 2016 class, but Schnider Herard will attempt to make his run over the next two years.

“He’s so freaking strong. He’s 6-10 and a half, 255 and he’s done a great job posting and reposting,” Herard’s guardian, Derrick Shelby, said. “He can pretty much get position on anybody in the country. He’s so wide and so strong.”

Although Shelby said Herard’s post game need some work, Herard has been improving everyday as he continues to adjust to basketball.

When you’re as strong as Herard is though, you’re really hard to stop and Shelby said it’s all about working on his consistency.

“He’s been able to do that consistently and show off his patience with the ball and been able to get rid of the ball quick when there’s a double team and when there’s not a double-team, get rid of the ball quick and score,” Shelby said. “He’s pretty hard to stop when he gets the ball down by the block.”

Kansas and Connecticut took notice at the LeBron James Skills Academy and the Las Vegas Classic. Both powerhouses offered and plenty of coaches were around. Shelby said it was a full house every game for Herard.

With that type of attention, it’s no wonder Herard is expected to be a top recruit.

“I anticipate him being a top-ten guy,” Shelby said. “The more he plays, the harder he works. 2 hours in the gym.”

After going to the Pangos All-American camp and playing on the AAU circuit with Pro Skills, Herard is starting to work on the finer things of his game.

“He’s starting to mature on and off the court, being more of a leader,” Shelby said. “One of the first ones in the gym, last ones out of the gym type of guys.”

The little things are important, but Herard has had to start focusing on the big things like recruitment as well.

“We really spent a lot of time focusing on skills, but he’s been considering recruiting because it’s getting so crazy,” Shelby said. “People are starting to take notice of his skills. It’s definitely picked up because of all these colleges that have taken interest in him and offered him.”

Herard has started to learn how to drive and spends time playing Xbox as well when he’s not in the gym.

As far as SMU is concerned, Herard is a top priority.

“SMU I believe was at every game in Las Vegas. Coach Brown was there several times and coach Jankovich was there, Ulric was there,” Shelby said. “SMU was definitely there for a lot of the games, staying out in front of us and letting us know that they have interest in both of the boys.”

Shelby is also the guardian for 2015 3-star center D-Jery Baptiste, another SMU target.

McDuffie impressed by SMU

By: Patrick Engel

After the July live periods ended, the SMU basketball staff handed out offers to some East Coast players. 2015 Saint Anthony (Jersey City, NJ) wing Markis McDuffie was the latest to receive one, but he heard of the offer in an unusual way.

“I didn’t know I had the offer until one of my friends told me; it was on a blog or something like that” he said. “My phone was broken, so I didn’t know. My dad then told me, and he had talked to Larry Brown. I’m happy about it, it’s another offer added to the list.”

McDuffie’s high school coach, Bob Hurley, is a good friend of Coach Brown, so Brown learned of McDuffie a while ago. McDuffie has talked to Brown a lot on the phone, and Brown watched him in July.

“I’ve seen him at my (AAU) games, but he didn’t come up to me,” McDuffie said. “He watched me in Atlanta and Las Vegas, and the Reebok [tournament].”

McDuffie said he is not sure if he will visit SMU, but he said he is impressed with SMU.

“I’m very impressed,” he said. “They have an NBA and Hall of Fame coach, so that’s great. That helps prepare you for the next level, so it’s cool to have a coach like that.”

Matt McQuaid decommitted from SMU, and with his return unlikely, McDuffie is a logical replacement. He is not the shooter McQuaid is, but he can play on the wing and at the four. He primarily played on the wing for his AAU team (Sports U), but said he will play a lot at the four during his senior season.

“I think I’m a very versatile player, I can play different positions,” he said. “I’m going to work on getting stronger and [improve] my decision-making.”

McDuffie has offers from SMU, Maryland, Rutgers, Boston College, Creighton, Seton Hall, Wichita State, VCU, Saint Joe’s and Penn State, among others. Some of the schools that have shown interest in him are Temple, Miami (Fla.), Florida, Bucknell, Cincinnati and Dayton. He said his height is 6-foot-8 and his weight is 187 pounds.

Gahagan hoping to get interest from SMU

By: Patrick Engel

SMU has offered a lot of wide receivers from the West Coast in the last year, and Bishop Gorman’s (Las Vegas) Brandon Gahagan could be next in line. The 2016 wideout said he is interested in SMU and went to the Mustangs’ camp in late July.

"I’ve heard good things about them. I felt like I shined at the camp and stood out a little bit, and I enjoyed my visit there,” Gahagan said. “Hopefully I got on their radar at camp, and hopefully I hear from them a little bit during the season.

Gahagan said he got to talk to a few of the SMU coaches at camp, and he impressed wide receivers coach Jason Phillips.

"I got to work our for [Phillips] a little bit, do some drills, that kind of thing,” he said. “I definitely saw him taking some notes while I was running my routes and doing my drills."

Gahagan is originally from Dallas, and he said he was excited when he heard from SMU. He had not visited SMU before the camp, but said that he wants to visit again in the spring.

"Hopefully they show some interest this year, and I’m hoping to have a good junior season and get out there this spring for a junior day or maybe even an official,” Gahagan said. “I really like the area and that part of the country. I like the campus and the facilities.”

Everything about SMU impressed Gahagan, but he said he liked the coaches the most.

“I thought the coaches were super cool,” he said. “They really related to the players and were able to teach them technique and go over the little things. They were focused on filling us in on what makes great football players and what they look for.”

Gahagan attended camps at TCU and Oregon State, and said that he’s heard from them occasionally as well. He went to a Nike Football Training Camp as well, but said that it was more for his technique than a chance for colleges to notice him. He says he hopes to go to a lot of junior days in the spring.

Gahagan does not have any offers, but says lot of schools that want him to come to camps.

"I have some D-II’s and [FCS teams] trying to get my out to camps, but I’m more drawn to the bigger schools, because that’s my dream and that’s my goal, to play Division I college football.

Gahagan is 5-foot-10 and 165 pounds, but he says he is working to add more weight now. He was timed at 4.49 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the TCU camp.

Cedric Lancaster Q&A

By: Demetrio Teniente

Q: A lot of people are looking at you to step in and fill the spot left by Jeremy Johnson. Any thoughts on those high expectations?
CL: It’s a big step up, but I’m going to work hard towards it. I’m just trying to help the team out. I know how important Jeremy was to the team, and so I got step up and make plays and help the team the same way he did.

Q: Whats kind of a wide receiver tandem could you and Darius Joseph make?
CL: A pretty good one- I mean, we work well together on the field. But we still have some work to do. We just got to get better.

Q: Are there any receivers that you notice that could work there way into a bigger role in the offense?
CL: Stephen Nelson and Deion Sanders Jr are working hard. It’s just day three, but that’s it right now.

Q: What’s your intial take on the QB battle between Neal Burcham and Matt Davis?
CL: It’s competition. You know, competition is going to make our team better. And that’s what we need at the QB position. We need someone to throw us the ball so we can make plays and score.

CL: You’ve been making some nice catches during camp, are you happy with how you’ve been performing in camp so far?
CL: Well, I’ve been tired. But coach teaches us that when you are tired fall back on your technique and fundamentals. So, I just try to pay attention to those and compete out ther with the defense. Working hard will make the offense and the defense better.

Greg Powers' Quick Take on SMU commit James Proche

Proche was recently listed as the #8 receiver in the Midlands region. Greg Powers has a quick eval on Proche.

Junior Eval: A quick and agile wide receiver who is becoming better in the off-season adding more bulk and size to his frame and becoming even faster and more skilled overall.

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