On the basketball front, number one priority Adreian Payne is scheduled to take in West Virginia's Mountaineer Madness basketball event on Friday evening, and there's little doubt that the Dayton, Ohio native is WVU's top target for the Class of 2010. Payne, an extremely skilled front court prospect with NBA potential, has long had WVU as one of his top schools of interest, and the Mountaineers will be pulling out all the stops to land a commitment from the 6-10, 220-pounder.
That makes Friday's Midnight Madness event a very important one for the future of the basketball program, as hopes are for a crowd in the neighborhood of 10,000 to welcome the 2009-10 Mountaineers to the court. West Virginia has been ranked in the Top Ten by several early preseason polls, and is expected to challenge for a championship in the Big East, which will again be the toughest conference in the nation.
Against that backdrop, the visit of Payne is a big one for the Mountaineer program. Securing a commitment from the five-start prospect (he's rated as the number five center in the country by Scout.com) would be huge for a West Virginia team that is looking to establish itself as a perennial Top 20 squad. Along with WVU, Kentucky, Michigan State, Kansas and Arizona make up Payne's final five.
As always, a handful of committed players will also be taking trips to mingle with the recruiting targets. Quarterback Barry Brunetti, running back Braylon Heard and defensive end Trevor Demko will be among those on hand who have already pledged to the Mountaineers.
A number of juniors and underclassmen will also take in the contest. Among the names of interest on that list are lineman Landon Turner of Harrrisonburg (Va.) High School and running back Allan Wasonga of Parkersburg (W. Va.) High School. Turner, the son of Mountaineer alumnus West Turner, is one of the top line prospects in the Virginia Class of 2011, while Wasonga is tearing up fields for the Big Reds as the top junior running back in the class.