September 17, 2007

Weekend Update: Breaking them down

The commitments are rolling in at a quick clip these days. Last week might have been the busiest of the fall.'s Jerry Meyer gives his take on the top commitments and we look at all of the other action in the Weekend Update.

Meyer breaks down top pledges

Steve Alford and his New Mexico staff double-dipped and secured two more Texans in the 2008 recruiting class. Houston area shooter Phillip McDonald, the No. 87 ranked player in the class of 2008, and Nate Garth, a former Dallas resident, both popped for the Mountain West program.

"McDonald, as a consensus top 100 prospect, is a major recruiting coup. It's not every day that New Mexico beats out Kansas and Oregon for a prospect," Meyer said. "Landing Garth only further strengthens the inroads that Coach Alford and his staff are making in Texas."

Auburn didn't have to go very far to find its point guard in the class of 2008. In-state prospect Frankie Sullivan of Uniontown. The Rivals150 player has been a varsity starter since his middle school days and should fit right into Auburn's style of play, Meyer says.

"The one thing Sullivan is definitely going to do for Auburn is score the basketball," Meyer said. "He fits the recent mold of Auburn guards as a combo player who is athletic and aggressive."

Clemson has secured its backcourt of the future and they did it with a pair of prospects from the Peach State. Georgia native Tanner Smith verbally committed to the Tigers last Thursday, joining state mate Andre Young. The two were on campus for official visits at the same time in late August. Together, the duo boast a strong basketball IQ to build around.

"Smith can certainly shoot the ball, but I love his overall heady play with the basketball as well. I'm sure Clemson hopes he can step in and do a lot of the things that KC Rivers did as a bigger guard," Meyer said. "Smith should be a nice compliment to the smaller but speedy point guard Andre Young."

Smith was scheduled to take a visit to nearby Georgia last weekend but the Bulldogs landed Drazen Zlovaric, a top 40 power forward. The 6-foot-8 big man is now at Sagemont (Fla.) School. He rounded out Georgia's 2008 recruiting haul, just 24 hours before Smith was to take his official visit to Athens.

Zlovaric gives the Bulldogs another athletic and skilled big man to the rotation, says Meyer.

"Georgia has a couple highly skilled forwards coming to Athens in Thompkins and Zlovaric. Both have length and a lot of game," Meyer said. "Throw a big time athlete in the paint to play alongside them and you have a potent frontcourt."

Missouri secured Memphis forward Laurence Bowers earlier in the week and the 6-foot-7 prospect makes perfect sense for the Tigers up-tempo style of play, says Meyer.

"Bowers is a long athlete who could be very effective in Mike Anderson's system," Meyer said. "He is a multi-dimensional forward who is best in an open game. I don't think he is as well suited for a constricted, more physical style of play."

Other high-majors score

Michigan landed a player perfect for its new style of play in Carmel (Ind.) guard Stuart Douglass. The 6-foot-2 shooter is the second player to commit to the Wolverines in 2008, joining upstate New York center Ben Cronin.

Kelsey Barlow's commitment to Purdue continues to keep the borders closed in Indiana and adds another home grown product in the class of 2009 in the 6-foot-6 wing. He joins state mate D.J. Byrd.

LSU went to Georgia, an area that the Tigers are trying hard to gain in-roads in, and landed a commitment from Dennis Harris. The 6-foot-10 big man will likely redshirt for a season before playing for the SEC school.

Texas Tech landed Robert Lewandowski, an under the radar big man from Overland Park, Kansas.

Big week at the mid-major level

Recruiting news was hot in Philadelphia this week. St. Joe's secured a pledge from West Virginia forward Bryant Irwin, a skilled forward that fits in Phil Martelli's system perfectly. Philly native Nurideen Lindsey, a class of 2009 prospect, pledged to LaSalle.

Illinois Wolves AAU teammates Rob Belcore and Daniel Barnes both made their decisions. Belcore will play in the Ivy League at Penn. Barnes will take his game to Eastern Michigan's backcourt.

Rod Barnes and his new staff at Georgia State wanted to tap into the natural resources of the Peach State and came away with a gem of a guard in James Fields. The three-star guard visited the CAA school over the weekend and left a committed player.

New Utah head coach Jim Boylen is going national with his first recruiting class for the Utes. He already has a commitment from Jason Washburn from Michigan, Boylen's old stomping guard. For his latest pledge, he went to Wichita, Kansas for guard Jordan Cyphers.

Bradley went to Louisiana and snagged point guard Eddren McCain. Northern Illinois landed three-star forward Tyler Storm.


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