We've been running around and around with a narrow list of the same few big men of public repute whom Stanford is recruiting in this 2004 class. But there are other big fish in the sea, and some of them have even gone so far as to take an official visit to The Farm. The one who slipped quietly under the public recruiting radar but squarely in Stanford's sights is 6'10" 215-pound Peter Minchella from West Lafayette, Indiana. He took his first official trip of his recruiting saga in late May, and made the journey out West to Stanford for a couple days.
"I had a great experience," he recalls. "I met a lot of great people and had some fun. I had a good time hanging with Chris Hernandez, and got to go to a class with Matt Lottich. I also joined the team for a barbecue and watched some NBA playoff action."
Minchella also sat down with the Stanford coaches to talk recruiting during the trip, and he shared with The Bootleg how that went. "They say they like my size, that I have good touch around the basketball and run pretty well," he begins. "But they made it clear that I have to be accepted by the University before anything can happen. I got an application, filled it out and then sent it in about a week ago."
With a 3.9 GPA and a 1290 SAT ("I think I could do better"), Minchella is a strong student and will surely have a strong case in that admissions process. But there is also the basketball side of the equation for Stanford to unravel. He is a good natural rebounder and does have a great feel around the basket, and the more I watch him the more he grows on me. But he can be somewhat timid on the floor, which appears to be the one thing for him to solve on his road to greatness.
"My [AAU] coach wants me to be more aggressive offensively," Minchella allows. "In AAU games, a lot of guys try to shoot the ball and I don't always fight for my shots." Mark Adams, the renowned coach of the Indiana Red AAU program, elaborates. "Pete is a great kid and a great student. He can run the floor well, shoots well. He jumps well, he is long and he can rebound," Adams articulates. "Sometimes he plays a little soft If Pete would play a little more aggressive his upside is very high."
In his junior season, Minchella played a little power forward but mostly center for his Harrison High School team, where he averaged 10 points, seven boards and three blocks per game last winter. "I'm more comfortable at the four right now," he describes. "Obviously I'm not that thick yet. I have a tough time banging with some guys, but I'm working out hard and have added 5-10 pounds in the offseason already. At either position, though, I can block a lot of shots right now. I like facing up and having a choice of whether to shoot or attack."
His developing game has been put to the test this spring with the Indiana Red at a variety of national tournaments. Down at the Kingwood Classic, Minchella played well and grabbed Stanford's attention that partially led to the subsequent official visit. Later at the big Memorial Day tournament in Bloomington, Minchella matched up against elite big man Lamarcus Aldridge, who is rated as one of the top 20 players in the nation - at least. The Indiana man defended Aldridge very well and impressed a lot of onlookers.
Upcoming summer events and plans include the Nike All-American Camp, the Nike Peach Jam and the AAU Nationals.
Minchella says that he doesn't have any other visits planned at this time, but his favorites are Stanford, Purdue and Butler. It is no surprise that with his academics that he is hearing from a number of Ivy League schools like Princeton, Brown and Columbia as well.
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