With Xavier only having two scholarships scheduled to be open in 2015 and a six-man class having just arrived in 2014, the recruiting targets in a weak 2015 class seem to be dwindling. The staff doesn’t have many pressing needs that it knows of yet in this class, but it does seem intrigued by adding size.
Within the last month, the Musketeers have extended offers to a pair of huge centers in Each1Teach1’s 7-foot-5 Elhadji “Tacko” Fall and ACB Hoops’ 6-foot-11 Seth Dugan. Thursday and Friday Head Coach Chris Mack and assistant coach Travis Steele were in Louisville at the AAU Nationals and Super Showcase to watch both of their center recruits.
After not seeing much playing time at the Nike EYBL Peach Jam, Fall played well in a morning game against some overmatched competition at AAU Nationals on Thursday. Originally from Dakar, Senegal, Fall attends Liberty Christian Prep in Florida and plays with the Florida-based Each1Teach1 program.
Evaluating ultra-sized prospects like Fall can be difficult, most especially because you’re only really asking a guy that size to be a catch-and-dunk player that can clog the lane on defense. At the high school level, especially in a random AAU tournament like this and not a Nike EYBL event, anyone that is 7-foot-5 should be able to have success catching and dunking at the rim.
Fall did a lot of dunking easily over opponents who had no chance of stopping him, but he also showed some nice touch on a few baby hooks when he caught the ball a little farther away from the rim on Thursday. The other two traits that Fall showed that gives him a chance to succeed at the next level are good coordination and fluid mobility. A big that size being able to keep up with the pace of the game is always a concern, and, while Fall isn’t going to be able to succeed in a run-and-gun game, he is agile enough to move about in the half-court at both ends and run the floor adequately. He’s also mobile enough to adjust to athletes maneuvering around the lane so that he can still impact their shots at the rim.
Mack and his staff are clearly intrigued by the idea of adding a big with size rarely seen even at the elite levels of basketball, as they already landed a commitment from a 7-foot-5 player in Sim Bhullar back in the 2012 class, before that felt through and Bhullar ended up at New Mexico State. The Musketeers offered Fall at the end of June and have been recruiting him pretty heavily. He also holds offers from Vanderbilt, Purdue, Wake Forest, Florida State, Tennessee, Clemson, Kansas State, Texas Tech, Georgia Tech, UTEP and La Salle.
Here’s video from that morning viewing of Fall on Thursday:
Just within the last week, Xavier became the first high-major program to offer Dugan after clearly liking what they saw in the first two evaluation periods of July, adding to a list of 14 offers that includes names like Ball State, Eastern Michigan, Western Kentucky, Toledo and La Salle.
The most intriguing part about Dugan’s game is that he’s a developing big man that is on the rise. His game has improved significantly not only in the last year but just since the spring. He has legit size and a broad frame that still needs to be molded.
In an afternoon viewing on Thursday, he had a very tough match-up against Boo Williams’ Edrice “Bam” Adebayo, the 25th ranked player in the 2016 class with offers from Kansas, North Carolina, Maryland and North Carolina State. While Dugan mostly struggled, there were a few traits that stood out that would suggest why his recruitment has really picked up in July, chief among them being his touch on two nice post moves to the middle of the lane. In other games with Xavier’s staff watching, Dugan showed this touch off even more with his back to the basket and when facing up from the mid-range. He has good hands, and, while his feet aren’t great, he does run the floor well and looks to be in good shape. A player with that type of legit size has upside, especially after a few years in a college weight program.
While it doesn’t seem like a decision is necessarily imminent for either one, both of these big men will continue to be tracked closely by Xavier’s staff heading into the start of their senior year of high school.