August 2016 AAC Hoops Recruiting Roundup

Patrick breaks down the current state of AAC Hoops recruiting in his August roundup.

With the start of football season comes the start of basketball official visit season. The American Athletic Conference had a slow August (usually a slow recruiting month) with just two commits, but started September with four commits, including the league’s highest-rated commit to date. Four teams added their first commit of the class since the beginning of August, leaving Central Florida as the only team without a 2016 commit. Here’s where the conference stands with commits, recent offers and some upcoming visits.

Tulsa: four commits

Scholarships available for 2016: eight (four left)

Class recap: Tulsa continues to lead the AAC in commits and is likely to finish with the largest class in the conference. The Golden Hurricane added one commit since August: Blinn College (Texas) wing Corey Henderson Jr. He continues Tulsa’s run of landing guards in this class, but Frank Haith has still not landed a frontcourt player. Henderson joins Little Rock (Ark.) Pulaski Academy wing Lawson Korita (at top), Germantown (Tenn.) point guard Darrell Brown Jr. and Garden City CC (Kan.) shooting guard Jabar Ray in the class.

Commit spotlight: Corey Henderson Jr. The 6-foot-3, 180-pound Dallas native signed with Wichita State in 2014 and played one season for the Shockers, averaging 6.8 minutes per game. He opted to transfer after the 2014-15 season and will play this season at Blinn. He played prep ball at Dallas Episcopal School and was a three-star prospect out of high school.

Other 2016 offers/targets: Tulsa has been busy scheduling visits and offering. The Golden Hurricane will likely host Notre Dame Prep (N.Y) wing Travis Atson for an official the weekend of Sept. 18. Offers recently went to Brewster Academy (NH) shooting guard C.J. Keyser, College of Southern Idaho power forward Eugene Artison and Red Oak (Texas) forward/center Adrean Johnson. Snellville (Ga.) Shiloh wing Josh Okogie kept Tulsa in his final four with Georgia Tech, Kansas State and Tennessee. A couple of Tulsa’s targets committed elsewhere: Shooting guard Payton Willis (Korita’s AAU teammate), committed to Vanderbilt and Round Rock (Texas) McNeil shooting guard Armoni Brooks committed to Houston. Brooks had an official visit to Tulsa set for October 2. Tulsa has been solid in this cycle so far, but it needs to get some big men in this class. Artison, Johnson and Victory Rock Prep (Fla.) Gorjok Gak are three who I think would fit well at center or power forward to accompany Rutgers transfer Junior Etou.

Connecticut: three commits

Scholarships for 2016: five (two left)

Class recap: Another year, another five-star recruit for Kevin Ollie. He already landed the conference’s highest-rated commit in July – Lithonia (Ga.) Miller Grove PG Alterique Gilbert (above & No. 38 overall) – but hauled in a bigger piece when five-star Tampa Preparatory (Fla.) power forward Juwan Durham committed Sept. 2 following an official visit to Storrs. He joins Gilbert and Woodstock Academy (Conn.) power forward Mamadou Diarra in the class.

Commit spotlight: Juwan Durham. The Sunshine State native chose the Connecticut over Florida, Florida State, Indiana, Louisville, Miami and Maryland, among others. Durham is Scout’s No. 27 overall player in 2016, but he is recovering from a February ACL tear. It didn’t scare the Huskies away. He addresses a big area of need for them and forms a potent frontcourt combo with Diarra.

Other 2016 offers/targets: With Durham in tow, I’m not sure how aggressively Connecticut will keep pursuing Manchester (N.H.) Wilbraham and Monson power forward Wenyen Gabriel. The Huskies made the top five for Scout’s 10th overall player in the class, joining Duke, Kentucky, Maryland and Providence. As long as he has interest, I’d keep going after him. He’s too talented. They also made the top five for four-star Trenton (N.J.) Central wing Myles Powell, joining Pittsburgh, VCU, DePaul and Seton Hall. Connecticut made the top 11 for Friends Central (Pa.) power wing DeAndre Hunter, although 11 schools isn’t really noteworthy. A combo guard and one more big man would round out the class nicely. Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei hybrid forward Vance Jackson Jr. announced he scheduled an official visit to Connecticut, but didn’t say a date. He is the 64th-ranked player in the class.

Cincinnati: two commits

Scholarships available for 2016: five (three left)

Class recap: After a busy July, the Bearcats went commit-less. They still have a strong class with Burlington (N.J.) Life Center Academy power forward Nysier Brooks (above) and Wilmington (Ohio) wing Jarron Cumberland, whose impressive summer earned him a bump from 92 to 77 in the Scout top 100.

Other 2016 offers/targets: Cincinnati is off to a good start, but needs some backcourt help. Incoming freshman Justin Jenifer will be the only true point guard on the roster next year. George Wythe (Va.) PG Maliek White will take an official the weekend of Sept. 26. JUCO wing Bashir Ahmed will officially visit, but the date isn’t set yet, per CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein. Two Bearcats offers committed elsewhere: Raleigh (N.C.) Carlisle PG Quentin Jackson committed to Charlotte and National Christian Academy (Md.) small forward Christian Matthews committed to Georgia Tech.

South Florida: two commits

Scholarships for 2016: four (two left)

Class recap: The two-man class of three-star Tallahassee (Fla.) The Rock School combo forward Troy Baxter (above) and Orlando (Fla.) West Oaks Academy point guard Andres Feliz did not add another member in August.

Other 2016 offers/targets: The Bulls have been quiet on the recruiting front recently too. They hosted Tampa Catholic (Fla.) point guard Thomas Dziagwa last weekend. They offered Roselle Catholic (N.J.) point guard Asante Gist, High Point (N.C.) Wesleyan Christian Academy wing Jalen Johnson and Marietta (Ga.) Covenant Christian power forward Martins Igbanu in the last couple months. Those names bear watching. A good shooter (Dziagwa is one) and a combo forward are a couple areas to address in my book.

East Carolina: one commit

Scholarships for 2016: three (two left)

Class recap: The Pirates were one of the first teams in the conference to get a 2016 commit, but haven’t landed one since June 9, when Beacon (N.Y.) John F. Kennedy wing Elijah Hughes committed.

Other 2016 offers/targets: A versatile guard and big man are two of my areas of need for ECU. Little Rock (Ark.) Southwest Christian point guard Shawn Williams took an official on Sept. 5-6. The Pirates offered a bunch of players in June and July. Gastonia (N.C.) Ashbrook power forward Isaiah Whaley is one target who I think is high on ECU. Lynchburg (Va.) Virginia Episcopal PG Justice Kithcart, Millwood (Va.) power forward J.J. Matthews (who just) tore his ACL), Richmond (Va.) St. Christopher wing Nick Sherod and Weseylan Christian (N.C.) small forward Jalen Johnson are some options. Jeff Lebo quietly had a solid class in 2015 and needs to continue that momentum this cycle.

Tulane: one commit

Scholarships available for 2016: two (one left)

Class recap: Reno (Nev.) International Prep power forward Maxwell Starwood remains the only player in the class. Starwood had signed to play with Tulane in 2015, but opted for prep school and reclassified to 2016.

Other 2016 offers/targets: Tulane’s scholarship situation is tricky. The Green Wave doesn’t have much room, but could take one more player than it has room for and sort it out later (Ed Conroy has had a large amount of transfers during his tenure). Conroy would surely take New Orleans McDonogh 35 point guard DeJon Jarreau, the No. 67 player in the class. He already officially visited Creighton and announced he will take visits to Miami (Fla.), Massachusetts, Oklahoma and USC. However, hometown Tulane may still have a shot since his brother, Jernard, plays there. Good friend and teammate Bryson Gresham, a hybrid wing-forward, will make the visits with him. Another target, Las Vegas Findlay Prep PG Skylar Mays, committed to LSU in early August. Tulane did host Reedley (Calif.) Immanuel point guard Colin Slater for a visit on Sept. 3-4 and recently offered Mission Bay (Calif.) PG Justin Moore, so it has a few options at point guard. At other positions, Lancaster (Texas) wing Jacolby Pemberton is a recent offer and Reserve (La.) East Saint John’s wing Troy Green has been on the Green Wave’s radar for a while.

Memphis: one commit

Scholarships available for 2016: five (four left)

Class recap: After a tumultuous offseason, Josh Pastner’s squad got on the board in the 2016 cycle when College of Southern Idaho wing Ar’mond Davis committed on Sept. 5 at the conclusion of his official visit. The Seattle native also planned visits to Texas A&M and Alabama, per Brad Winton of Davis’ other offers included Iowa State, Missouri, Western Kentucky and Nevada. He averaged 10.9 points and 3.9 rebounds per game last year as a freshman.

Other 2016 offers/targets: Arlington (Tenn.) Bolton point guard Jaylen Fisher remains a big target. The 81st-ranked played in the class is down to Memphis, Arkansas, LSU, Baylor, Indiana and UNLV. He took an official to Arkansas the first weekend of September, but his other visits aren’t set. The Tigers have a good group of young guards, so I don’t think they will look for too many in this class. However a few have visits lined up. Four-star (79th overall) Starkville (Miss.) combo guard Tyson Carter has scheduled a visit for Sept. 18. California four-star hybrid forward Vance Jackson Jr., has a visit scheduled for Memphis, although the date isn’t known yet. Lynchburg (Va.) Virginia Episcopal point guard Justice Kithcart will officially visit on Sept. 25. A couple other frontcourt options are Connors State College (Okla.) power forward Arlando Cook, Trinity Valley CC (Texas) power forward Melvin Swift and Sunrise Mountain (Ariz.) power forward Elijah Thomas, whom Memphis offered in early September.

SMU: one commit

Scholarships available for 2016: going to be determined by NCAA sanctions, but a maximum of five available.

Class recap: The looming NCAA penalties have hurt SMU, but the Mustangs finally picked up their first commit when Oklahoma City Southeast point guard Dashawn McDowell committed following an official visit. A former Tulsa commit, he held offers from USC, Arizona State, Houston, Wake Forest, plus a few mid-majors. With likely scholarship reductions coming, getting versatile players is key. McDowell is a lengthy 6-foot-5 and can play one through three. SMU placed a high priority on him.

Other 2016 offers/targets: Things have taken an interesting twist for SMU recently. Southwest Christian Academy (Ark.) power forward Eric Curry was a big target, but SMU canceled his official visit, which was set for Sept. 11-12. Humble (Texas) Atascocita point guard Carsen Edwards was also a target for a while, but SMU backed off in July and now he’s committed to Purdue. Prestonwood Christian (Texas) center Schnider Herard (No. 39 in Scout top 100) cut SMU from his top five, but he was a long shot. At the top of the board now is Lena (La.) Northwood center Mike Layssard Jr., who will visit Oct. 2-4 and may well commit on his visit. Irving (Texas) MacArthur combo guard Andrew Jones (No. 30 overall) is also slated to officially visit.

Houston: one commit

Scholarships available for 2016: four (three left)

Class recap: Houston got on the board when Round Rock (Texas) McNeil shooting guard Armoni Brooks committed on his official visit in early September. He chose Houston over Tulsa, Kansas State, UTEP and Boise State. Brooks is 6-foot-4 and 175 pounds and can play the two or the three. He’s a great first get in this class for Kelvin Sampson.

2016 offers/targets: The Cougars has been quiet outside of Brooks’ commitment. I don’t see any glaring holes on the roster, but I think they’d like to add a couple more big men, since Devonta Pollard is a senior. Here are the players with Houston offers listed in the last recap: Reserve (La.) East Saint John wing Troy Green, Reserve (La.) Riverside Academy wing Malik Crowfield, JUCO wing Bashir Ahmed, Dacula (Ga.) wing Kevon Tucker, Klein Forest (Texas) power forward DeAndre Williams, Campti (La.) power forward Adrio Bailey and JUCO power forward Valentine Sangoyomi.

Temple: one commit

Scholarships available for 2016: six (five left)

Class recap: The Owls had some misses earlier, but added a versatile piece in Bishop Kearney (N.Y.) combo guard Quniton Rose in early August. The 6-foot-5 Rose is a little lean (170 pounds) but can play point guard through small forward, although I think his best position long-term is probably shooting guard. He held offers from SMU, Memphis, Florida State, Miami, Minnesota, Northwestern, Penn State, Rutgers Rhode Island, George Washington, St. Joe’s, St. Bona, Wake Forest, Providence, Seton Hall, DePaul.

2016 offers/targets: Temple has one guard, but it will look for a couple big men and a true wing. Montrose Christian (Md.) point guard Alani Moore took an official at the end of August and has Temple, Seton Hall, Massachusetts and Georgia Tech. Newly offered Harrells Christian Academy (N.C.) power forward Quate McKinzie will visit Temple later in September, per Jamie Shaw of Phenom Hoops Report. He’s also considering Buffalo and UNC-Wilmington. Garfield Heights (Ohio) small forward Willie Jackson will visit the weekend of Sept. 11. A few other priorities are St. Anthony (N.J.) power forward Taurean Thompson and Putnam Science Academy (Conn.) center Sedee Keita. Both have visited unofficially. Danish forward/center Marinus Mouboe, Notre Dame Prep (Mass.) power forward Chris Baldwin and Millwood (Va.) power forward J J Matthews are other players who could visit Temple this fall. Two guards Temple had offered committed elsewhere: Raleigh (N.C.) Carlisle point guard Quentin Jackson (Charlotte) and Saint Anthony (N.J.) combo guard Jagan Mosely (Georgetown).

Central Florida: zero commits

Scholarships available for 2016: three

2016 offers/targets: The Knights are the last AAC team without a commit. I’d look for a point guard, wing and big man in the class. UCF’s point guard options have thinned, with Oldsmar Christian’s (Fla.) Eric Hester committing to Florida, Quentin Jackson committing to Charlotte and Hyattsville (Md.) DeMantha Catholic’s Amani Moore cutting UCF. St. John’s (D.C.) point guard Jeff Dowtin appears focused on three schools: Rhode Island, George Mason and Wichita State, per Hoopseen’s Corey Evans. At other positions, Endsworth (Tenn.) shooting guard Jordan Bone has UCF in his top six with Tennessee, Ole Miss, Ole Miss, Iowa State and Wichita State, but I think he is a long shot. Charlotte (N.C.) Providence Day combo forward Grant Williams and Delray Beach (Fla.) Elev8 Sports Institute wing A.J. Wilson are two to watch. The Knights hosted a trio of official visitors on Sept. 3 thru 4: Columbia City (IN) wing Brachen Hazen, Montverde Academy (Fla.) center Bruno Fernando and University School of Jackson (Tenn.) small forward Clayton Hughes. All are three-star prospects.

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