Men's hoops: Recruiting update 2005

With his 2004 recruiting class safely signed and delivered, Vanderbilt men's basketball coach Kevin Stallings and his staff can now turn their attention toward the signing class of 2005. As the staff has been out scouting and visiting high schools and camps this month, a number of new intriguing prospects have surfaced. Here's a rundown on several of them.


Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings will lose seniors Corey Smith, Jason Holwerda and David Przybyszewski to graduation after the 2004-05 season, and thus should have three scholarships free to offer for the signing class of 2005.

All of the prospects listed below fall in the 6-4 to 6-7 range, and many of the new names seem to be in the mold of departing senior small forward Corey Smith (6-5, 230).

At 6-4-1/2, most people would think Jamelle Cornley is too small to play power forward in college, and they may be right. Yet the four-star prospect from Columbus (Ohio) Brookhaven High School is a rock-solid 230 pounds, and demonstrates the intangible qualities of determination, heart and desire that all coaches admire. Much like Corey Smith, he is a physical defender and a relentless rebounder who gets the most out of his slight height. His outside shot is a work in progress, however.

Cornley averaged 24 points per game and 12 rebounds for Brookhaven last season. He was thought to be favoring Michigan most recently, but he is remaining open and hopes to have a choice finalized by the end of summer. Vanderbilt was to have made a visit to his high school this past week.

Kendric Price is a longish 6-7, 200-pound small forward who has received some recent inquiries from the Commodores and is said to be interested. His list of schools also includes Connecticut, Syracuse, Rhode Island and Notre Dame. Considered by some to be the top player in New England, Price is from Cambridge, Mass. Buckingham Browne & Nichols, where he averaged around 18 points and 9 boards last season.

Price is also ranked with four stars by "He's a smart kid who is great academically and is just starting to really learn the game," his AAU coach told TheInsiders. "He's got great upside. He just needs to work on his ballhandling skills and personal strength. He's got to learn to play inside and out."

Commodore coaches were to have visited Charlottesville, Va. the week before last to watch Angola native Jose Garcia work out. The 6-4 wingman led powerhouse St. Anne's Belfield to a state championship in early April. He is described as a "talented and athletic swingman" with great shooting ability and leadership qualities.

Vanderbilt is a new team to express interest in Garcia, who was rumored to be a Louisville commitment through most of his junior year (it didn't pan out). He is set to visit Penn officially this weekend. Other high-majors on his list include Florida State, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Georgetown and Michigan State.

Vanderbilt coaches were reportedly taking a hard look at 6-4 guard Danny Green at the Kingwood Classic last month. The rising junior, a three-star prospect from Manhasset, N.Y. St. Mary's High School, averaged 16 points, 9 rebounds, 5 blocks, and 5 assists last season. He attended the Adidas ABCD camp last summer, and will travel this spring and summer with the New York Panthers. He weighs somewhere between 185 and 200 pounds, depending on which reports you believe.

He is said to be an excellent defender, passer and rebounder. North Carolina State and Vanderbilt are both said to be hard after Green, but Connecticut is a new team in the mix. If the nearby national champion Huskies get seriously involved, it may severely damage the hopes the Wolfpack and Commodores have of landing Green. If he does well during the summer camps, the number of teams interested could skyrocket.

Another prospect from New York state, William Harris, reportedly has an offer on the table from Vanderbilt, as well as about five or six other schools. Harris, from the Albany suburb of Troy, is a burly 6-5, 230-pound wing forward who also possesses the outside shooting ability that Coach Stallings prizes.

Harris played for Redemption Christian Academy this past year. Last summer he played for the Syracuse-Rochester Area Players (SRAP), but he is said to be considering joining a California-based AAU team for the coming summer. The two-star prospect currently reports offers from Rhode Island, St. John's, Clemson, Nebraska, Michigan State, Hofstra, Vanderbilt, and Kent State.

Finally, there's two-sport star Lawrence Wilson, a 6-6, 225-pound forward from LeBron James' old school, St. Mary's St. Vincent's in the Cleveland, Ohio area. No, he's not likely to be the next LeBron, nor did he play alongside LeBron (James had graduated before Wilson transferred in last year). But most agree Wilson has the potential to play on the next level-- the only question is which sport.

Wilson was named All-State in Division II after averaging 15 points and 7 rebounds this past season. Vanderbilt is probably the most high-profile program pursuing him for basketball, with Akron, Bowling Green, Butler and Wright State the others. Yet big football programs like Pitt, Michigan, Ohio State and Notre Dame have already offered the defensive end prospect in football, and offers of that magnitude could prove hard to refuse.

A Vanderbilt assistant football coach was spotted in Cleveland checking on Wilson last week. Vanderbilt has not yet had a football/basketball prospect under either Stallings or head football coach Bobby Johnson.

Wilson has not been rated by TheInsiders for basketball.

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