Monday, June 29, 2009

Jeff Robinson to X Official

Xavier received some front line help for the 2009-2010 season today. Jeff Robinson, a 6-9 210 power forward out of Indianapolis, will be a Musketeer next season. Jeff was recently released from his LOI from Purdue and became available. Many thought he was headed to a junior college but obviously that was not the case. He originally gave his pledge to PU in February 2008 and signed last November. He also held offers from Illinois and Butler at that time. Rivals ranks him as a three star prospect and #40 power forward overall in this class.

Jeff has been termed 'soft' by some recruiting analysts. He played on an absolutely loaded Lawrence North squad (Stephen Van Tresse, Dominique Ferguson, Justin Martin among others) and did not put up very impressive numbers. This will be a nice test for Mack and staff and Jeff has potential for significant minutes if he can play hard and with desire. Jeff adds much needed insurance to our front line for next season and is a pure '4', meaning he will not see anytime at center. When he signed with Purdue originally Matt Painter commented he was one of the top rebounding big men in the NBA Top 100 camp in the summer of '08. So obviously he can go to 'war' with some talented big men on the glass. The story was Jeff needed a summer school credit (which he received) but the Boilers decided to move on. Reading in between the lines PU oversigned for this class and did not expect Jeff to be eligible this season.

Congrats to Jeff and his family on making a fine choice in his college destination.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Lance Stephenson spends weekend in Cincy

The Cincinnati Bearcats have become major players in the recruitment of Lance Stephenson. According to multiple sources the Bearcats could land Stephenson as early as Tuesday. The 6-5 shooting guard is a five star prospect out of NYC. He also comes with five star baggage if he does sign on to spend one year in Clifton. His sexual assault case is to be resolved tomorrow (Monday) and will presumably be a favorable decision for Lance. Others are involved but landing Stephenson for next season will grab major headlines for the Bearcats. They are recent to the Lance sweepstakes which has been one of the stranger recruitments out there this spring due to the legal wranglings. The young man wanted to wait until his name was cleared before committing which is noble, however it caused many schools to back away or put Lance on the backburner. He is a consensus top 15 player on the court and many feel he will only spend one season in college due to pro aspirations. Stay tuned to this one as (again) there have been numerous twists and turns with Stephenson already.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Derrick Brown to Bobcats

Derrick Brown went #40 in the second round to Charlotte during the NBA Draft Thursday night. As disappointing as it was for me to see him fall out of the first round, it had to be truly humbling for DB #5. He has no guaranteed spot and will have to work hard to make the Bobcats roster. IF he doesn't do that expect to see him play for a high level Euro team making 300-400K per season. I am not in the camp that says he made a 'mistake'. With the way talent is evaluated in the NBA and the drafting of foreign players and keeping them overseas for more development; he may not of even been drafted at all in 2010.

I hope he makes it. The question I will always have is if he didn't sign with an agent and went where he did, would he have come back? Who knows but you can't hold onto yesterday too long. Best of luck again Derrick and I will update your progress in the fall to see where you do eventually end up playing for pay.

A couple quick recruiting notes:

-XU has a real chance for small forward Jamail Jones. The entire SEC is taking a look at this kid and indications are when the new rivals rankings come out he will move even higher than his current #75 ranking. He was at X's elite camp last weekend and made a very positive impression. Jamail seems to favor Marquette and Xavier right now and I like the fact that MU already has three small forwards for the 2010 class. A long way to go on this guy but it would be great to land him. Mack and Kelsey have solid recruiting connections in the south.

-Internet 'buzz' has JD Weatherspoon making a decision this weekend. All indications are it is down to X and tOSU. I will be mildly surprised if he chooses the Musketeers as he is a Columbus kid but we shall see.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Darwin 'Dee' Davis

Dee Davis became Xavier's first committed recruit for the class of 2011. He is a rising junior and some predict he will be a top 75-100 level player when the 2011 rankings come out. He had confirmed offers from Purdue and Ohio. He was receiving interest from a host of Big 10 schools and Jody Demling reports Tennessee and Cincinnati were having early interest as well. He is a sub 6' lead guard who has emerged as a potential top 15 point guard in his class according to ESPN.

I know alot can happen between this point and when the student athlete signs his letter of intent but I have a great feeling that this kid will be on campus for the 2011-2012 campaign. He is the first recruit the new regime has landed outside of Miller connections and to get one at that high of a level boasts well for Mack and staff. Travis Steele was the lead recruiter on this one. Getting a kid out of Bloomington, Indiana is no easy task. IU already has a highly touted point signed for that class so that could have been a reason no offer was forthcoming from them.

I really started to feel good about Dee after I read he had been on campus several times unofficially for visits and played several pick up games with current players. X clearly made him and landing a point guard a priority for this class. Further good news is he plays on an AAU team (Indiana Elite) that is chock full of XU targets and high major players. Austin Etherington, Jeremiah Davis, and Justin Gant are all on Xavier's radar currently.

Let's hope we get another one soon from the 2010 class to go along with Jordan Latham. I was anticipating seeing some new offers out of the elite camp from this weekend. Who knows we may be receiving some more great news in the next day or two.

Monday, June 22, 2009

DSL Day 1, NBA Draft, Other Stuff

I did get to see some action on the first day of the Deveroes Summer League. I was there in time for the first game between McCluskey Chevrolet (NKU) and Superior Dante' Jackson and Deonta Vaughn were teammates on the Superior team. Vaughn led the scoring with 21 on 6-16 shooting and Jackson added 17 points on 5-12 and chipped in 5 steals. It was a close game with Superior winning 72-69 in the end. I still think 'athlete' when I see Dante' play as opposed to more of a skilled basketball player. He is a pure winner however making two big steals and converts for his team late in the game. I have seen Dante' hit some big shots in his career starting in the 2007 Ohio/Kentucky All Star game. I have no doubt he will be the team leader next season and that will be a good thing for Coach Mack. Vaughn added four assists and played a very solid game overall for the winners.

I only stayed for the first half of the next game between Camp's Collision and Clovernook Health Care. There were alot more players involved in this one. Looking at the box; Camps won 74-61. Of interest on the Camps team was former X player Johnny Wolf. He played with former UC recruit Danny McElroy who had a very strong first half and finished 7-10 overall from the field for the game. He will be a solid addition for Bowling Green next season. Brian Walsh and Jamel McLean played for Camps as well and both had their moments. I am excited to learn more about Brian's game over this summer. He saw limited time last season before being redshirted. Clovernook featured Brad Redford, Terrell Holloway, and Darnell Wilks. All had pedestrian games and Brad missed all his three point attempts in the first half but finished with 8 points overall. Holloway was very aggressive but it did not translate into a pretty stat line. Wilks went 1-4 overall and I didn't see anything noteworthy from him in the first half. However he is my favorite to win the new Deveroes Slam Dunk contest this season.

The NBA draft is this Thursday and I am excited to see where Derrick Brown ends up. The speculation is rampant as is the case with all major league sports drafts days before they happen. I am not a big fan of the NBA overall but the draft is always cool to watch. My hope is Derrick has a James Posey type career and he is of course the former Musketeer that DB #5 gets compared to the most. I would like to see him end up with the Celtics but who knows. The Cavs would be nice also.

Xavier also held an 'Elite Camp' this weekend and their were several blue chip recruits in attendance. It will be interesting to see what develops on the recruiting front out of that. My hope is X can land one more player before the July evaluation period.

New uniforms are in store for the Musketeers next year. I am a big fan of 'simple' because I like the classic look the best. I am not saying I want to go back to the boxer shorts but I would like to stay away from Marquette and Oregon type ensembles.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Deveroes Summer League

The DSL kicks off this Sunday at Noon. It will be back at Woodward High School and I am doing my best to get there to see some action. Being that it is Father's Day I may have to take my 21 month old son along so I don't think my stay will be that long depending on his mood. Of course there are no new Xavier recruits but it will be nice to see Brian Walsh and Mark Lyons play some I hope. Also do not count on Jason Love or Jordan Crawford to be there anytime soon. Crawford will be in Deron Williams camp with a hopeful invite to Lebron's camp in early July. Love is back east working at a 'big man' camp and reportedly excited about the possibility of seeing some time at the '4' next season.

I am curious to see Thomas, Kilpatrick, and Parker play this summer as they are new guys for the dark side (UC). They will most likely be playing on the SLATS team with two returning Bearcats from last season. Also Miami-OH has a nice class coming in and it is always nice to see what Charlie has assembled for the Redhawks. Being that they are a Division 2 school, the NKU Norse can have all their guys play on the same team, usually McCluskey Chevrolet. I have noticed the last couple of seasons the UD Flyers on the current roster stay away. I am not sure if Gregory would rather have them play in the summer leagues in C-Bus but it is a little disappointing not to see the Flyers out there.

Finally I would LOVE to see the Elite Camp down at XU on Sunday. However it is closed to the public but I am expecting some decisions to be made by the staff and potential recruits. I would not be surprised to see a commit to the X men late Sunday evening or early Monday.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Cronin Extended

The University of Cincinnati has extended basketball coach Mick Cronin's contract through 2014. Obviously done for recruiting purposes but AD Mike Thomas mentioned Mick has gotten the team to improve each year in the overall win column. He does not receive any financial increase over what his current deal is.

With this extension it appears to recruits UC is committed to Cronin for the long haul. As a Xavier fan I am glad to see him sign up for another two years. The wars between him and Mack should be great.

Best of Luck Derrick

It is now OFFICIAL that Derrick Brown will not be returning to Victory Parkway for next season. Per Chris Mack via twitter this was confirmed. He reportedly has been doing well in his workouts for various teams. This gives me a reason to watch the NBA draft. 'Haters' are already flocking to message boards and websites to pull Mr. Brown down but it looks like he is in fact going to be a first round draft choice.

I have been thinking the last few weeks that he was going to stay in anyway. The so called 'experts' say the class of 2010 will have more talent to pick from so this is a good time for Derrick to go. What's the chances he ends up in New Orleans?

Now that this is official I feel safe in saying the roster is 95% set for the Musketeers next year. In the coming weeks (and maybe after a few Deveroes Summer League games) I will have a summer preview up of the Musketeers and maybe the Bearcats and RedHawks as well.

Best of luck again Derrick and thanks for all the memories. You will always be one of my all time favorite Xavier players. You represented the team and the school very well during your time here.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Matt Pilgrim

Matt Pilgrim's scholarship at Kentucky was not renewed for this upcoming season. He was obviously recruited over by the rat known as John Calipari at UK. It happens. Now he is most likely NOT to return as a walk on I would think for 2009-2010 season. Matt joined the Wildcat program after transferring from Hampton University. Pilgrim was rather ordinary during his time playing for the Pirates. However all last season they were reports out of UK's practices that Pilgrim was developing into a warrior going against Patrick Patterson.

My hope would be the NCAA would grant Matt a waiver to play wherever he chose for next season. I wouldn't bet a quarter that they would because after all we are talking about the NCAA. You know the organization that 'cares' so much about the 'kids'.

Matt is a native Cincinnatian. He attended Withrow High School and has played a few games in the Deveroes Summer League. He is 6-8 235 pounds of man who can rebound. IF he could secure that waiver he would be a very, very welcome addition to the Xavier team in my opinion. I also think the good folks over on 'Bearcat News' are hinting about him being a "summer suprise". Wherever Matt ends up I wish him nothing but the best as I enjoyed watching him and his brother Mike playing the game of basketball. Again the NCAA has a chance to do the right thing by this young man. John Calipari is still a rat.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

He's Back

Finally some good news today for the Xavier Musketeers basketball team. Jordan Latham has renewed his commitment to XU yesterday evening. He becomes coach Mack's first official recruit as coach of the Musketeers. Latham is a Baltimore native. Congrats to Jordan, Bino Ranson, and Chris Mack for sealing this deal. According to he is a four star forward prospect and rated #81 overall in the class of 2010. Prepstars rates him higher in their Spring 2009 edition at #53. Those rankings may go up or down depending on how he does in the NBA Players Association Top 100 camp later this month. He is described as physical forward who finishes around the rim. He will make a terrific front line addition to go with Frease and McLean in the 2010-2011 season. Shannon Russell's blog indicates schools such as Boston College and Cincinnati had interest in him. ESPN's recruiting site had other schools listed such as Marquette, Virginia Tech and Arizona expressing interest. From what I have read he seemed set on Xavier and the hiring of Bino Ranson only helped seal the deal.

A couple of quick notes about some other players Xavier has been mentioned with recently:

- Noel Johnson never made it to campus as reported widely earlier this week. The indication is XU cancelled the visit. Not really clear on why. Perhaps Justin Martin (#54 by Prepstars) is nearing a decision? J-Mart fits that 6-6/6-7 wing scorer Mack has alluded to wanting previously.

-Jake O'Brien decided to stay at Boston University. Part of me thinks Jake wanted to feel the recruiting process all over as he was hurt his senior year of high school. I don't like to discredit prospects like many do after they commit elsewhere. He would have been a fine addition as a four who can hit the long range shot.

-JD Weatherspoon is going to take several visits coming up. I think X remains near the top of his list but ACC schools are starting to wade in. He may be tempted to stay in his hometown and play with several of his current AAU team mates for Thad Matta's Buckeyes. Some programs are probably questioning JD's skill development and where he will play position wise at the next level. There is no doubt he has 'high major' athleticism.

-Brandon Spearman is a backcourt player out of Chicago the Musketeers have picked up interest from. It has been some time since the Muskies had a player on the roster from the Chicagoland era. Kevin Frey maybe? Hopefully Spearman turns out a little better than Kenny Harvey if he dons the X uni.

-Jay Canty a talented wing from North Carolina is also strongly considering X due to ties with Pat Kelsey. Most of the high majors seem to be in 'expressing interest' mode with him likely due to his innaccurate jumper.

Monday, June 8, 2009

X Recruiting Updates

I thought I would post a couple notes on names that Xavier is currently pursuing:

JAKE O'BRIEN: The talented Boston University sophomore to be has not reached a decision if he is in fact transferring or not. He has visited Xavier and was entertained last week by Phil Martelli and the St. Joseph's staff. I was hoping to see something this weekend one way or another but people on the Hawk fan message board seem to think he is taking another visit to Marquette this week. I feel he is one worth waiting for. I like having players in the '4' hole who present matchup problems with strong perimeter shooting and that would fit Jake like an UnderArmour work out shirt. Some feel the longer this carries out the less positive it will be for XU.

NOEL JOHNSON: This 2009 class small forward would be a HUGE get for the Musketeers. With DBrown heading into the NBA Draft getting some frontline help for THIS season would be tremendous. And it is not like Johnson is some ho hum prospect either. He is rated with four stars from and is currently sitting at #53 overall. In other words they have him more highly rated than Kevin Parrom for this class. His father was quoted in Zagsblog that he was looking for a great academic situation and a up and down playing style. Noel was committed to USC but with the gloom and doom that program is facing with the OJ Mayo story he decided to back away. Since his de-commit from the Trojans he has visited Charlotte and UNLV just this past weekend. Word I am getting from somebody in the know at Cintas is he will be on Victory Parkway a little later this week for a visit. He is from Georgia and the home state Bulldogs are expecting a visit as well. Also SEC member Louisiana State is reportedly on Johnson's list.

JD WEATHERSPOON: This phenomenal athlete was in the Queen City this weekend for the Ohio AAU tournament. I have a friend whose son plays for Club Ohio in the rising sophomore division. Orlando Berry sure has some handle for the All Ohio Purple team by the way. Keep an eye on that guy. Anyway I took a chance to go over Sunday to Princeton's HS gym and catch JD and All Ohio Red. I only stayed for a minute and I was focused on JD. I have only seen him play a handful of times but he reminds me of Bill Walker from NCH a couple seasons ago. Right now he is an undersized '4'. It was interesting to me to see Cheeks and Jordan Crawford in attendance watching him play. Hopefully that is a good indication of the relationships he has developed with the guys on the Muskie squad currently.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Bearcat News

Some interesting things going on over in Clifton the past couple of days:

1.) George Jackson, long time Withrow HS coach, is returning to the Queen City to be a part of Mick Cronin's staff. It is assumed Chris Goggin will take on an administrative role within the program. George has a reputation of working with bigs. He obviously will have ties to the Ohio recruiting scene and will help Mick and company win some more battles locally on that front. He worked under Louis Orr at Seton Hall and Bowling Green so he should be able to help out on the east coast as well. Some more experience on Mick's staff couldn't hurt and many think this is a make or break year for Mr. Cronin.

2.) It was just announced (as expected) Jaquon Parker has signed with the Bearcats. The 6'4" combo is reportedly a strong defensive player and the Suffolk, VA native spent the past year at Fork Union Military Academy. It was widely assumed he would be re-classified to 2010 but obviously that didn't happen. He committed to Old Dominion in the fall but did not sign. Bearcat fans should be rejoicing as he can play some point if necessary and has the tools to contribute on the Big East level with good coaching.