Cal basketball endured a mind-numbing streak of failure against Stanford in the mid-to-late Nineties until the Bears pulled in a 'fab five' recruiting class that would finally find the win column against their most bitter rivals. There were a handful of highly acclaimed guards and wings in that class that held the promise of all-world potential, though it was a forward with a thicker frame and a little less quickness that rose above them all. Joe Shipp tickled the twine more times than any other player in the Pac-10 last year, and his uncanny ability to hit shots from almost literally anywhere on the floor confounded Stanford fans to the tune of an unthinkable three losses during his eight career matchups.
As Joe was making waves his junior and senior years in college, his younger brother was grabbing more and more attention in Los Angeles at Fairfax High School. Though blessed with a slimmer frame and more quickness, Josh Shipp possesses that famed shooting touch and a world of potential. Cardinalmaniacs™ might resignedly assume that the younger Shipp would follow his brother's footsteps to Berkeley and attempt to carry on the family legacy of Haas Pavilion torment. Nay, nay. This Shipp is sailing in different waters as he approaches his impending college decision, with offers from USC, Washington, Arizona State, DePaul and Iowa State. The 6'5" shooting guard says that UCLA is "starting to talk" with him as well, and Stanford has shown a surge of interest.
"The coaches told me that they wanted me to break 1000 on my SAT for them to be able to really recruit me and have me apply," he says. "I got a 1010, but they said that my verbal score is too low. They say I just need to raise that verbal for them to be able to offer. Stanford and Washington are my favorites right now."
Shipp cites his great relationship with Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar for his favor toward the Huskies, and the academics available at Stanford for the Cardinal. "You can't get a better education in the country than that," he opines. "And they're also big time when it comes to basketball." The rising senior recruit also notes that he has been playing phone tag of late with Cardinal head coach Mike Montgomery, whom he hopes to see in Las Vegas this week at the Adidas Big Time. Shipp has been recruited heavily by assistant coach Russell Turner as well.
But when questions turn to the timing and direction of his ultimate college decision, the Class of 2004 Fairfax standout is purposefully vague in his future. "I'm retaking the SAT in October, but that doesn't mean I have to hold of on a decision until then. If something presents itself as the best opportunity for me, I'll take it. I'm wide open right now and will take the best offer. Joe isn't influencing me too much and says I just need to make my own decision. He says that Stanford is a great school, but he doesn't really push for or against it because of his being at Cal."
Josh Shipp says that he will take official visits to schools once his senior year starts up and lists Stanford, Oregon and Washington as his three most likely trips. If UCLA continues to step up their interest, he says that is a possibility as well. But what about the two offer schools outside the West Coast?
Iowa State - "Coach Archibald just came there from USC, and he had been recruiting me already. So they stepped up once he got there."
DePaul - "They called me one day kinda out of the blue and offered."
The wing talent, who averaged 17 points per game his junior year at Fairfax, says that he has a clear idea of what he is looking for in a school. "First, I'm going to look at the players at my position already there. Then there is the environment, player development, academics and the strength of the conference. Though most of my schools are in the Pac-10, so that may not be a big deal," he answers.
Shipp raised his stock earlier this month when he put together a breakout performance at the Nike All-American camp. Preeminent West Coast recruiting guru and talent scout Tracy Pierson of TheInsiders.com was on hand. "Josh Shipp really took his game to the next level at the Nike Camp," Pierson declares. "He did it all. He shot the ball well - was one of the leading shooters in the camp; he set up his teammates with great passing; and he showed some explosive athleticism. It will be interesting to see if he can sustain that level of play the rest of the summer evaluation period."
The off-guard recognizes that he played well in Indianapolis, but feels that he has had the talent which is only now being acclaimed. "I played pretty good," he begins. "But I was just playing my game - nothing really special. I guess one thing is that I shot the ball really well and hit a lot of 3's. I also came up big on defense in some games."
Shipp spent this last week playing in a big Los Angeles high school tournament held at Fairfax, in which his team took home the title. The scoring machine averaged some 30 points per game in the run. Up next is the Adidas Big Time in Las Vegas with his AAU team, California Team Select, though there has been some public speculation that the club might break up and not travel to the 400-team event. "Last I heard we were going, but we'll see," he flatly comments. The AAU club has also traveled this season to Boston for the Five-Star Classic and to Houston for the Kingwood Invitational; they may play in the Best of Summer in L.A. after the Big Time.
I will be in Vegas with an eye on Shipp, and the Stanford coaches will undoubtedly be watching as well. They experienced more than they cared from the elder brother and have a keen interest on how they might enjoy the talents of the 2004 edition. "I'm a very versatile player," Josh desribes. "I can post up little guards, but I can take others off the dribble and shoot real good. My brother has more of a power game, while I'm quicker and a better jumper. We both have a great shot, though."
We'll bring you our own report on his play and latest recruiting news from Vegas, as well as many other top Stanford recruits in the 2004 and 2005 classes.
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