Recruiting notebook: Duke, Kansas, UK starting to build 2013 classes
After landing just one recruit this year, Duke targeted several top '13 prospects
Known for landing blue-chippers, UK could be interested in a little-known guard
Virginia Tech enters a state of recruiting uncertainty after firing Seth Greenberg
As the AAU circuit heats up, so too does college basketball recruiting. After another busy week, here's a look at some news and notes from top programs around the nation.
The Eagles seem to be pursuing perimeter prospects, and one of their top 2013 targets is Onalaska (Wisc.) guard Matt Thomas. Boston College has also come to covet his Wisconsin Playmakers teammates, 6-foot-9 forward Toby Hegner, and have entered the three-star talent's growing consideration set. Hegner also holds offers from Iowa State, Marquette, Northwestern and Creighton, among others.
The Bearcats would like to add at least one more player to their 2012 class, and if Mick Cronin's actions are any indication, that player could be Christopher Obekpa. Cronin attended every game the 6-foot-9 big man played in Las Vegas over the weekend. Out of Centereach, N.Y., Obekpa seems to be down to Cincinnati and St. John's.
Don't expect Duke to have another one-player class in 2013. After signing Rasheed Sulaimon in 2012, the Blue Devils are already actively making headway with prized junior recruits. Among those already offered: Allerik Freeman, Ishmail Wainright, Austin Nichols and Marcus Lee. Each are members of next year's Rivals150, and -- though quite a ways from committing -- have shown early interest in Duke to this point.
Gators coach Billy Donovan spent the entire weekend in Las Vegas hoping to advance his recruiting efforts. He caught up with top uncommitted prospect Anthony Bennett (also considering Kentucky, Oregon, UNLV and Washington) late last week, and stuck around to watch 2013 five-star commit Kasey Hill. Hill's AAU teammate, touted power forward Chris Walker, is also one of Florida's junior priorities.
The Seminoles added some size to their 2012 haul, locking up 7-foot-3 Boris Bojanovsky on Tuesday. A little-known native of Slovenia, Bojanovsky played prep ball at the Canarias Basketball Academy in the Canary Islands. He seems raw, but is reportedly a fluid athlete with good hands and a frame that can carry more weight.
Illinois joined the transfer trend on Wednesday, picking up Drake shooting guard Rayvonte Rice. A big-bodied wing scorer, Rice put up big numbers during his two years with the Bulldogs (he averaged 16.8 points as a sophomore), but also took a high volume of shots (he launched 112 three-pointers despite shooting just 24.1 percent). The Champaign, Ill., native will have two seasons of remaining eligibility after sitting out in 2012-13.
Fred Hoiberg and staff have had success rebuilding Iowa State through transfers, a trend they could continue after hosting former Arizona State guard Trent Lockett on Wednesday. As a junior, Lockett averaged 13 points and 5.8 rebounds while shooting over 40 percent from three-point range. On the high school trail, four-star 2013 prospect Monte Morris has indicated he will unofficially visit the Cyclones in either May or June.
Mark Lyons is leaving Xavier before his senior season, and Kansas is among a trio of high-profile programs on his short list (Arizona and Kentucky are the others). The Jayhawks have also made offers to junior shot-blocker Marcus Lee and sophomore five-star power forward Chris McCullough, both whose recruitments should intensify as the AAU season progresses.
Kansas State elected to pass on Rivals150 point guard Josh Gray, with reports citing that the Manhattan, Kan., program wouldn't return his calls. But the Wildcats have targeted another blossoming floor general. New hire Bruce Weber offered Richardson (Texas) Berkner point guard Kendal Harris after scouting him in Las Vegas over the weekend.
Known for landing a bevy of blue-chippers, Kentucky hosted unheralded shooting guard Mislav Brzoja on a visit. A native of Croatia, Brzoja is 6-foot-5 and spent his senior season at Trader's Point Christian Academy in Indiana.
The new staff in Baton Rouge isn't wasting any time signing prospects. LSU added two players, JUCO wing Shavon Coleman and shooting guard Shane Hammink, the latter a native of the Netherlands. The 6-foot-6 recruit is also the son of Geert Hammink, a former Tigers great and the eventual No. 26 pick in the 1993 NBA draft.
At his father's request, Sam Cassell Jr. rescinded his commitment from Maryland in March to take several additional visits. Just a few weeks later, however, the Fitchburg (Mass.) Notre Dame guard is back in the fold with Mark Turgeon's bunch. Cassell is a score-first guard who can also play some point. His commitment pushes the Terps recruiting class to No. 14 nationally.
The Bulldogs added a fifth member to their 2012 class, signing 6-foot-1 point guard Jacoby Davis on Tuesday. Davis became the first addition under new coach Rick Ray, and provides Mississippi State with a powerful, offensive-minded leader. Ray initially signed with North Florida as part of their 2011 class.
After playing himself into the scouting spotlight over the weekend, East Chicago (Ind.) Central point guard Hyron Edwards could receive an influx of high-major attention. The 5-foot-10 freshman already has offers to Indiana and Purdue, and will unofficially visit the Boilermakers on Thursday. Purdue has also inquired about three-star shooting guard Caris Levert, who was recently granted a release from Ohio. The 6-foot-4 point guard is expected to visit West Lafayette sometime next week.
As expected, St. John's secured commitments out of JUCO teammates Orlando Sanchez and Marco Bourgault. Sanchez will combine with incoming four-star prospect Jakarr Sampson to provide depth on the interior, while Bourgault could make an impact as a physical three-point specialist. Max Hopper also will transfer to St. John's from Harvard.
With Kansas State out of the picture, Billy Gillispie and Co. have become the odds-on favorites to land Josh Gray. A three-star prospect, Gray would give the Red Raiders' class eight prospects if he commits.
Utah received a commitment from JUCO big man Renan Lenz late Tuesday night. A solidly build interior player, Lenz had also officially visited USC and Auburn.
The Hokies may have had their reasons to fire Seth Greenberg, but why did they wait until mid-April to do it? By waiting to let him go -- especially after many of his assistants left for other jobs this spring -- the Virginia Tech administration has little time to find a replacement. Moreover, the Hokies won't have anybody recruiting this weekend, and could have trouble keeping 2012 signees Montrezl Harrell and Marshall Wood from asking out of their scholarships. Virginia Tech has entered a state of uncertainty -- something that could dissuade many prospects from heading to Blacksburg.
For more recruiting coverage, visit Rivals.com basketball recruiting hub.
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