The Hilltop Review

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

Blackshear talks expectations for SMU visit

By: Scott Sanford

A little less than a month ago, 2015 four-star power forward Kerry Blackshear trimmed his list of 26 offers to 6 finalists and SMU made the cut along with Georgia, Virginia Tech, Vanderbilt, Clemson and Kansas State.

On Thursday evening, Blackshear informed that he would be on the Hilltop the weekend of September 19 for an official visit where he hopes to learn more about the school.

“I just want to see if there’s that ‘at home’ feeling there,” Blackshear said. “I want to see how it is on campus and see what it would be like to be an SMU athlete.”

Despite offering the 6-foot-8, 215-pound big from Orlando, Florida late, SMU has put itself in a good position because of its overall appeal as a basketball program and school.

While Blackshear feels he could fit nicely in head coach Larry Brown’s system, that’s not the only thing that is attractive about SMU.

“They’re a program that is on the rise,” Blackshear said. “They’ve got a great coaching staff led by coach Brown and they’re doing some great things there.”

Blackshear speaks with both assistant K.T. Turner and coach Brown regularly, but his relationship with Brown goes deeper than just basketball.

“Of course we talk about the game,” Blackshear said, “but he also shares with me all kinds of experience that he think can just help me.”

SMU has a shot to land Blackshear, but the Mustangs will have to pass a few tests first.

“The school (I pick) has to somewhere where I can go as an athlete and as an individual,” Blackshear said. “Somewhere where I can gain connects for after college if basketball doesn’t workout. And then somewhere where I can feel at home and comfortable to be at for four years.”

At the moment, Blackshear only has one other official visit scheduled and that is to Virginia Tech on September 26.

The Florida native plans to sign during the early period in November and hopes to commit to a school shortly before that.

Bullock has SMU right at the top

By: Patrick Engel

Larry Brown was in New Jersey for an in-home visit with Class of 2015 target Markis McDuffie earlier this week, but he took a couple side stops while in the Garden State. He visited Saint Benedict’s Prep and offered two 2017 players, but he also went to Roselle Catholic High School to talk with 2016 wing Matt Bullock.

“[Coach Brown] told me he watched me a lot over the summer,” Bullock said. “He said he also watched me freshman year, but I’ve gotten a little better.”

Bullock met Brown his freshman year when Brown traveled to Roselle to watch Tyler Roberson, who now plays for Syracuse. Bullock did not talk to the Hall of Fame coach much then, but he said he enjoyed getting to talk with him now.

“He didn’t tell me a whole lot about the school, but he told me a lot about the coaching, the way he coaches and the NBA.”

The conversation was enough to impress Bullock. He said he was most impressed when Brown talked about Nic Moore’s versatility.

“He like guards that are versatile, that can play any position and can guard anyone,” Bullock said. “He said I’m a good scorer, I score at will, and I play good defense.”

Bullock is indeed a versatile player. During his last high school season, he played at the three and a little bit at the four. For AAU, he played at the two and three.

Brown did not mention an offer to Bullock. Bullock has offers from Rutgers, Monmouth (NJ) and Saint Peter’s. He said Rhode Island and Rider have shown interest.

“[SMU] would be one of my top ones right now,” Bullock said. “Coach Brown’s a legendary coach and he’s coached a lot of people.”

Bullock, who is 6-foot-4 and 235 pounds, plays AAU for Sports U, which is also McDuffie’s AAU team.

“Coach Brown talked to me about that. He asked me if I like Markis,” Bullock said. “I told him I like him a lot and he’s a great player.”

Evan Brown Q&A

By: Andrew Hattersley

Q: Talk about how practice has been the past week with Coach Mason, what has been different?
EB: Since he became head coach, he’s done a really good job I feel. He’s made practice a lot more intense; we’re doing a lot more hitting. I feel like it’s really helping us.

Q: What about Coach Tim Davis and the intensity he brings to practice?
EB: He’s definitely brought a lot of energy to the o-line, I feel he’s definitely helped us, he has over 30 years of experience and I feel he’s a great asset to this program.

Q: Talk about Kolney and how the other quarterbacks have done.
EB: You know they’ve done a great job stepping up when we had Neal and Matt go down for some injuries but Kolney and “Stich”(Krstich) have done a really good job stepping up and being there.

Q: Talk about this weekend, as an offense are you guys rallying around each other?
EB: We’re basically playing for SMU and us right now, we just got to go out there and execute now, that’s our biggest thing

Q: You guys have had two tough performances on offense, is that an extra motivating factor?
EB: You know those two games we didn’t play very well, that’s blatantly obvious and that just makes us want to go out there and perform the best we can.

Q: What about A&M’s defensive line, being so athletic?
EB: They definitely have a bunch of great football players at the SEC and A&M so it’s going to be a great challenge for us to go out there and show what we got.

Q: Talk about the new helmets and how you guys like those.
EB: Oh yeah they introduced those new chrome helmets to us recently and we’re just breaking them in right now, just getting them game ready.

Q: Talk about the music at practice.
EB: Oh yeah that was a players choice, they voted on having it out of practice, it brings even more energy to us, so, we like that, it’s good.

Q: What was the message Spike gave to the team at the end of practice?
EB: He talked to us about how he went through the rough times, the times the program was rebuilding, and he just told us it sucks to lose but you got to stand in there, and fight for us. People may turn their backs on us, the school, you just got to keep fighting, play as a team, we got to play for our team.

Q: Finally, how excited are you guys to finally play at home?
EB: Oh yeah it’s a good feeling to play here at the stadium, I’ve played here a few times in high school but playing here at SMU, as a Mustang, is going to be cool.

Brown sticking with SMU

By: Andrew Hattersley

Marvis Brown’s Little Cyprus-Mauriceville has gotten off to a shaky 1-2 start to the season, despite this; Brown has been very pleased with his play early on.

“Been doing real good so far. I’ve been finishing my blocks and playing a full game,” said Brown.

Despite realignment in divisions, the lineman’s goals for this upcoming season have not wavered.

“We just had a realignment so we want to win our district and state,” said Brown.

SMU is undergoing a transition period of their own, with the resignation of Head Coach June Jones.

Despite this transition period, Brown’s plans to stick with SMU.

“My commitment hasn’t changed, I still want to go to SMU and play there,” said Brown.

Brown spoke glowingly about the offense under June Jones, and was quick to credit the former SMU coach for that system.

“Coach Jones is a really good offensive coach,” said Brown,” He made defenses adapt and made it more of a thinking game than just running and passing the ball.”

Brown also credited the complex nature of the offense that makes it tough for opposing defenses to defend.

“All the different formations you have makes it tough to play against,” said Brown, ”I like the fast tempo, they seem like they’re just missing a couple players and they’ll be really good.”

The SMU commit has not had much contact with many of the current players on the team, but has spoken to fellow commit Kyle Kearns.

Brown was planning on visiting campus this weekend but had to put the visit on hold for a week.

“We were planning on coming up for the A&M game but something came up with my parents,” said Brown,” But I am going to go to the TCU game, it’s the perfect time where I can still get home at a decent time.”

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