The Hilltop Review

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

Is SMU's interest in Lott waning?

By: Patrick Engel

Many members of the Class of 2015 have started taking official visits to their top schools, but 3-star Byrd HS (La.) guard Chad Lott says he does not have any official visits planned, despite his intention to commit in the fall. But he says he is working on scheduling official visits, and he plans to make the two-and-a-half hour drive from Shreveport to SMU.

“I don’t have any official visits scheduled, but I may take an unofficial to SMU,” Lott said.

Lott said he will likely visit during the early part of the season, or even before the season starts. Even though he has not taken any official visits, he said LSU, Texas Tech and Rice have all come to see him during the fall live period. Lott said he is also talking to the SMU coaches, although not as much as he used to.

“Yeah, I am [hearing from SMU],” Lott said. “I talked to Coach Maligi a few days ago. I’ve gotten to know Coach Brown real well. We used to talk a lot but it has kind of slowed down. He warned me around preseason that he may be busy with the team.”

SMU has not watched Lott recently, but his interest in the Mustangs is still strong.

“I have family in Dallas, and SMU is a great school from what I’ve researched,” Lott said. “And of course Coach Brown.”

In August, Lott released his top six schools: MU, Houston, Texas Tech, LSU, UNLV and Creighton. But he has even higher praise for SMU now.

“I know top three. Top three for sure,” Lott said about SMU. “Probably Texas Tech, LSU and SMU [are my top three], just from me knowing and having a relationship with the coaches.”

Since Lott is from Louisiana, he did not hesitate to give the LSU some love.

“It’s home, so I’d be representing my state,” he said. “That’s exciting. I know Coach (Johnny) Jones pretty well. It’s kind of a home for me, but it won’t steer my decision. I’m trying go where I have the best feeling.”

Lott said his relationship with Texas Tech Head Coach Tubby Smith is a big reason why he likes the Red Raiders.

“Coach Tubby is a really good coach, and he’s a really kind-hearted guy,” Lott said. “I did my research on the school. The basketball program, they’re in the Big 12, so they play against a lot of top-notch schools. It’s a beautiful school. I have to get out there; SMU and LSU too.”

Lott wants to commit before the basketball season starts, or during the early part of the season. He said he will not make a decision until he is 100 percent confident.

SMU in Smith's top three

By: Scott Sanford

Corona Centennial point guard Sedrick Barefield remains firmly committed to SMU, but with six scholarships opening up next season, the Mustangs seem open to adding another point guard in the 2015 class.

Just three weeks ago, coaches Larry Brown and Ulric Maligi traveled to Tennessee to watch White Station (Tenn.) point guard Nych (pronounced Nick) Smith.

The Mustangs came away impressed by Smith, and were impressed enough to offer the high school senior.

Coach Brown was even supposed to visit the point guard again last week, but because of a prior engagement, had to back out at the last minute. Instead Coach Maligi made the trip by himself to watch Smith once again.

At 6-foot, 175-pounds, Smith does a good job of scoring from all over the court, but the three-star guard prides himself on another part of his game.

“A lot of people say my scoring ability is the best part of my game, but I actually think it’s just me as a leader,” Smith said. “I can be a traditional point guard, and a lot of people look at me as a combo guard, but I know a point guard has to do it all.”

SMU’s offer came as a little bit of a surprise for Smith because he had only talked to the coaching staff once before receiving the offer.

Smith, who also holds offers from Memphis, UMass, Tennessee, Auburn and Bradley University, among others, said because of Coach Brown's reputation, it doesn't matter that the Mustangs just offered him.

“Right now they (SMU) are in my top three,” Smith said. “In no particular order it’s them, Memphis and Bradley University. Just to play with a prestigious coach like Larry Brown, and Dallas is cool. It’s also not too far from home and it has just a good feel.”

Smith has yet to make a trip to the Hilltop, but the point guard said he and Coach Brown are going to set up an official visit in the near future.

Smith will also take official visits to Memphis and Bradley, and possibly others, but is still unsure whether he will sign in the early (November 12-19) or regular (April 15-May 20) signing period.

Barnes expecting SMU offer soon

By: Demetrio Teniente

At six foot 215 pounds, one expects North Crowley running back Kris Barnes to be a powerful, between the tackles runner. He is- but make no mistake, get the senior in open space and he is sure to make one or two people miss.

Barnes is a complete and about as pure of a running back as you can get. He knows this and his confidence shows.

“I think I’m just the best definition of a true running back,” Barnes said. “I’m a balanced back, so I could do it all- I can do anything coach needs me to do. I’m a big, downhill runner with break away speed and great vision. I like to switch it up from time to time. I can make someone miss, but if I see someone trying to come hard at me I like to lower my shoulder. Everyone knows though, at [my size] I can run over some people- so I like to show that I’m balanced and make people miss too.”

North Crowley is off to one of its best starts in a long time. Barnes class is the first to open a season with back-to-back wins in over a decade. The Panthers boast a 3-1 record four games into the season and are looking to for win number four against Arlington High on Friday.

“Its gonna be a good match up at UTA stadium,” Barnes said. “The season has been great so far- I have eight touchdowns and over 300 yards. So I’m ready for Friday.”

As it stands right now, Barnes doesn’t have any offers. However, he expects that to change very soon and anticipates receiving offers from SMU, Arkansas, UNT, Kansas and Iowa State.

Out of all the programs he expects to hear from, SMU is his favorite.

“You know I’ve been getting a lot of phone calls and a lot of exposure,” he says. “I’ve really been loving it all. [SMU is] the main school so far that’s been contacting me and keeping up to date with everything. I’m really interested in SMU, I have a strong feeling that they would be the school I commit to. I mean, Ive been there many times and have gotten in good with the coaches, and I love the campus. I mean, of course, I’m still open to other colleges. As of now, though, SMU is a great school and I love them.”

Barnes has also been in close contact with co-offensive coordinator and wide receiver’s coach Jason Phillips, running back’s coach Steve Broussard, and strength and conditioning coach Mel deLaura.

“I recently talked to coach Phillips after the Texas A&M game,” Barnes said. “ [My visit] was great. I loved seeing the loyal fans- like seeing everyone still into the game until the end.”

Barnes attended several camps, including SMU, this summer.

“I went to their very last camp,” he said. “I didn’t get a chance to go to some of the earlier ones. With it being so close to the season, we didn’t get a chance to the more important things you normally do at camps- like more of the competitive things. We did mostly drills and some 7-on-7. But I think it went well.”

Barnes says he learned a lot from all the camps he went to and he hopes it pays dividends in his recruitment.

“I worked non–stop over the summer,” he said. “I worked on my speed and flexibility. I worked on staying low, and making sure to stay over my pads. I got a lot of advice from a lot of college coaches and camps that I went to and I just tried to take it in and prepare for the season.”

So far, Barnes is having himself a pretty decent season. If North Crowley keeps winning, he’ll get a chance to showcase his abilities on bigger stages. Barnes is bound to attract a lot more attention and his season continues, but he really hope SMU is watching.

“I’m just being patient and waiting [for the offer],” he said. “I know my time is coming.”

O'Neil drawing SMU interest

By: Andrew Hattersley

2015 Sachse inside linebacker Kevin O’Neill was another camper at SMU this summer and loved what he saw.

“The campus was real nice I like it, I talked to Tom Mason and the linebacker coach,” said O’Neill.

O’Neill returned shortly thereafter for another visit to SMU.

“I think it was the next week I went on an unofficial and got to talk to Coach Jones, so I’ve been able to talk to all of the coaches,” said O’Neill.

The Sachse inside linebacker has received offers from UTSA, Tulsa and UNT asked about him this week, but he also gets the sense SMU is interested.

“Since Coach Mason got appointed to the Interim Head Coach I haven’t been able to get a hold of him,” said O’Neill “When I did talk to Coach it seems like they were pretty interested in me and that they were just waiting on one kid from Plano East [Austin Corbett] to see what he was going to do.” In the meantime, O’Neill is racking up some huge numbers during his senior year. “Right now I’m averaging 19 tackles per game or something ridiculous like that, I got like 3 punt blocks and a couple sacks,” said O’Neill. Even though he hasn’t committed to any schools and knows the recruiting will pick up, his biggest focus right now is on his own team. “I need to work on going forward with this season, just staying focused, working hard, and not really getting into a rush with all this recruiting,” said O’Neill “I know later in the season will be a big time for recruits, so I’ll just sit back and see what comes my way.” O’Neill is likely to visit campus later in the year, but O’Neill stressed it wouldn’t be any time soon. “When I talked to Coach Mason, he was talking about doing an official visit sometime after the season was over, maybe in December.”

Brown speaks at Hughes Trigg

By: Demetrio Teniente

On Tuesday, SMU head men’s basketball coach Larry Brown spoke to a group SMU students, faculty and guests in the Hughes-Trigg Theatre Tuesday night for the annual Maguire Ethics Lecture.

Brown was supposed to discuss values and ethics, but it quickly turned into a review of his coaching career with a sprinkling of entertaining anecdotes here and there.

Here are some of the more memorable quotes from Brown.

On the large crowd in the theatre:

“I’m kind of overwhelmed by this- I just thought I was going to speak to a sorority tonight and I had no idea what I was in for.”

On when he ran for vice president of the junior class at North Carolina:

“One of the candidates name was Howard Holsenbeck- his dad was a senator- and he came up before me and gave this unbelievable speech. I came up and said ‘Hi I’m Larry Brown. I’m running for class office and would like to be your vice president. So…I lost. And I was really ticked off. I just thought it was like politics now- you just show up, you get elected and it doesn’t matter what you do.”

What Buddy Jeannette, GM of the Baltimore Bullets, said to Brown when he was drafted in 1963:

“He said, ‘god…you're smaller than we thought you were.’ This helped my confidence a little bit. The he said, ‘Larry, how are you going to guard Oscar Robinson, Jerry West, and John Havlicek?’ At the time, they were averaging about 30 points a game, so I didn’t think anyone was guarding them.”

On New Moody and selling out games:

“I’ve always felt that if you can get girls to come to games…you're gonna have full houses eventually. And now that we have beer and girls, we are going to have to raise the roof and get more seats.”

Ford not in SMU's plans

By: Andrew Hattersley

2015 Ridge Point High School Wide Receiver Deante Ford visited SMU’s camp over the summer and is off to a solid start to the year.

“I have like 3 touchdowns, 14 receptions and like 230 yards, so we’re going good right now,” said Ford.

Ford has been working hard to get the attention of SMU coaches as the season progresses along.

“I send them my game stats, and my highlight films but they don’t really email back that much,” said Ford.

The Ridge Point High School Wide Receiver also spoke very highly about SMU’s offense.

“I know they pass the ball a lot, I think it would be a good fit for me if I were to go there,” said Ford.

Despite, Ford’s desire to come to SMU, it doesn’t appear that SMU is interested.

They have not been in touch with him since the camp and already have a lot of wide receivers committed.

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