On Monday, Westlake Prep's (FL) David Loubeau became the second Floridian to verbally commit to A&M head coach Mark Turgeon and the Aggie basketball program in the Class of 2008. The 6-foot-9, 215-pound forward, originally classified as a 2009 prospect, has the credits to graduate after this year and will reclassify to the Class of 2008 meaning he'll join the Aggies next fall as a true freshman.
So just how good is Loubeau? According to Scout.com basketball experts, he's pretty good based on his national No. 78 ranking and four-star rating. Also credited to his long basketball resume is the National MVP Award for the 16-and-under class at last year's prestigious Reebok Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions. He also garnered first team all-state honors voted on by the Florida Sports Writers Association.
Loubeau also played for one of the best AAU programs in the nation, Team Breakdown with Top 25 national prospects Eloy Vargas (2008), Kenny Boynton (2009), and Brandon Knight (2010). Team Breakdown captured the 2007 AAU National crown and was recently voted one of the top three AAU programs nationally.
So who better to ask about Loubeau's game than his AAU basketball coach Kenny Gillion, who spoke to us about his prized post man.
"The first thing that comes to mind is David's quickness for his size and his versatility to play with back to the basket or face up his man away from the goal," Gillion said. "Also, he still has a boyish body frame but he's extremely strong for his build. He'll fill out and become a very strong presence inside."
Loubeau averaged 31.8 points and 19 rebounds for Westlake Prep in Davie, Florida last season. Gillion credits his hard work and intensity for a lot of his success, especially his ability to rebound.
"Since he's played for me, I've never seen him outplayed or outworked on the court," Gillion said. "He will chase down every ball and is so single-minded in getting to the ball, like Dennis Rodman was in his prime."
Loubeau's mental focus and quickness also helps him excel defending the post.
"He doesn't just stand behind his man and let him dictate the action," Gillion explained. "He's too quick for those big post players and can front them and do different things to frustrate them, but he's also strong enough to hold his own when he needs to bang with those big guys."
Gillion indicated that Texas A&M is getting one of the best players in Florida and he feels Loubeau still has a lot of room to improve even further once he moves on to college and develops under the guidance of Coach Turgeon and his staff.
"He's just now getting comfortable with his perimeter game and that's where I think he can make the most strides," Gillion said. "As a freshman, he'll probably be a No. 4 and his game will be 12 feet and in. Eventually though, I see him as a wing. He has the quickness and natural skills to develop into a wing."
Loubeau chose the Aggies over Cincinnati, Georgetown, Nebraska, and Miami. NCAA Champion Florida was showing serious interest, and they were expected to offer him as a Class of 2009 prospect. But it was Texas A&M assistant coach Scott Spinnelli and his contacts in Florida that allowed the Aggies in the door, and Coach Turgeon eventually closed the deal.
"Coach Spinnelli has a lot of contacts in Florida and he coached one of our players (Joe McCray)," Gillion said. "Scott worked it hard and out-recruited everybody. He's one of the best recruiters out there. He got David interested in Texas A&M."
And when Team Breakdown attended the Great American Shootout in College Station this summer, and Loubeau attended A&M's Elite Camp the following day, it was Turgeon and staff that impressed the four-star prospect and put the Aggies at the top of his list that led to this week's commitment.
"He told me he was blown away by A&M. He had visited the Florida schools and he's seen places like UNC and Duke when traveling with our team," Gillion said. "But he loved A&M, and especially Coach Turgeon and the coaching staff. He really connected with the coaches and the team."
According to Gillion, Loubeau's commitment announcement ends the recruiting process.
"I think this ends the process. He's not a guy that just took the first offer given him," Gillion said. "He's seen a lot of schools and talked to a lot of coaches, and A&M is where he wants to go."
Gillion says it's too early to say whether Loubeau's highly-rated teammates like Brandon Knight and Kenny Boynton will give the Aggies a serious look although he admits that Floridians are starting to know about the emerging program at Texas A&M.
"It's too early to say whether A&M will be seriously involved with those guys or not, but A&M has certainly made a name for itself lately," Gillion said. "I don't know. Brandon (Knight) and David are very, very close friends, so I'm sure he'll be talking to him about A&M, but other than that I can't say."
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