October 1, 2007

Weekend update: Commitments keep coming

Four Rivals150 members, including five-star forward Eloy Vargas, made big decisions in the past week as the commitments keep on rolling through.

Rivals.com looks at the past seven days of recruiting action in this week's edition of the Weekend Update.

Gators going after another big class

The Florida Gators know a little something about versatility in the frontcourt. After having tremendous success with Al Horford, Joakim Noah and Corey Brewer, Billy Donovan and his staff have landed a trio of forward prospects in the 2008 class who have more high school press clippings than the three who helped Florida win back-to-back championships.

Donovan and the Gators secured a commitment from five-star forward Eloy Vargas last week. The 6-foot-10 forward is the No. 10 prospect in the nation. He joins fellow five-star prospect Kenny Kadji, one of the standouts of last weekend's Team Florida workout, and Connecticut forward Allen Chaney - a top-100 prospect.

While Kadji is the only player who slightly resembles any of the former Gators in style of play (somewhat mirroring Horford), neither Vargas nor Chaney have similar games to Noah or Brewer. That isn't a bad thing, either. All three are effective in the paint, and Vargas gives the team a skilled shooter on the upswing of his improvement.

The three commitments join Florida wing Ray Shipman and New York point guard Erving Walker in the class. Rivals.com's Jerry Meyer says the Gators are putting together another dramatic group of recruits.

"After hauling in the No. 1 recruiting class in 2007, Florida continues to capitalize on its national championship run in recruiting. Presently, the Gators are in a neck-and-neck run with UCLA for the top 2008 recruiting class," Meyer said. "(Vargas and Kadji) give Florida an inside combo very similar to Noah and Horford."

ACC teams land important recruits

Virginia stacked all of its blue and orange chips on the table and went all in for New Yorker Sylven Landesberg. The gamble paid off when the four-star prospect picked the Cavaliers over Georgia Tech and St. John's in a heated recruitment featuring three teams hoping to land their first commitment in the 2008 class.

The Cavaliers have a big backcourt to build on for the future with Landesberg and current freshman Jeff Jones.

"(They) will make up quite a scoring duo on the wing," Meyer said. "Although Landesberg is great with the ball, I see his strength as being a scorer - and then secondarily a playmaker from the wing position. I love his height on the perimeter, but just don't think he has the speed to be an ACC point guard."

Virginia wasn't the only ACC school to land a top target in the past seven days. Duke went to Reno, Nev., for its latest pledge. Rivals150 forward Olek Czyz (6-7) picked the Blue Devils over Louisville.

"Duke landed a high-energy player who they plan to mold into a solid combo forward in the ACC," Meyer said. "His commitment allows the coaching staff to focus solely on Duke's top two targets - Greg Monroe and Elliot Williams."

Vandy scores top-100 prospect

Top-100 forward Steve Tchiengang moved from Houston to Orlando and enrolled at Montverde Academy for his senior year. Next fall, the 6-8 forward will enroll at Vanderbilt. He committed to the Commodores last week.

"Vanderbilt got the best of both worlds with four-star forward Steve Tchiengang," Meyer said. "He is a strong athlete who can match up with the athleticism in the SEC, but Tchiengang also has the skill base to fit in well with Vanderbilt's interchanging motion offense."

Rounding out the high-major decisions

Ole Miss went to Memphis, always a hotbed for talent, and landed scoring guard Terrico White. The 6-5 wing is the second under-the-radar prospect to join the Rebels in the 2008 class, joining Louisiana guard Brandon Wilson.

• Missouri was the first high-major school to offer Baltimore wing Kim English. After an official visit to the Big 12 school Saturday, the 6-5 prospect chose the Tigers.

• After a well-thought-out recruitment, Kansas forward Clinton Mann is headed to Iowa State. The three-star forward also visited Iowa, Northwestern, Davidson and Loyola (Ill.).

• Iowa double-dipped last week. The Hawkeyes landed former Minnesota commit Andrew Brommer, a class of 2008 prospect. Less than a week later, in-state class of 2009 prospect Brennan Cougill gave his nod to Todd Lickliter and company.

• Junior college forward Orlando Allen, a Cincinnati native who once was committed to Seton Hall, is headed to Oklahoma.

• Connecticut big man Devin Hill gave his nod to DePaul. He also considered Saint Louis and Bradley.

• Providence scored a sleeper in New Jersey forward Bilal Dixon. The 6-9 forward laid low in the summer months but has received strong reviews from the hoops mavens in his area.

• Washington State coach Tony Bennett is recruiting nationally and went to Oklahoma for fast-rising forward James Watson.

Mid-majors continue to stockpile talent

Had North Carolina point guard Andre Cornelius decided to wait until the spring to make his college decision, George Mason may not have been able to receive a commitment from the three-star prospect.

Cornelius, a speedy scoring point guard from Charlotte Victory Christian, gave his nod to the CAA school after also considering Toledo and South Carolina. Chances are, Cornelius could have attracted more high-majors had he waited until after his senior year to commit.

• The recruiting process has come full circle for St. Louis-area guard Torres Roundtree. Once committed to Southern Illinois during his junior year, the 6-3 guard opted to re-open his recruitment in July. However, he elected to stick with the Salukis.

• Winthrop has landed its second commitment in the class of 2008. Atlanta Westlake wing Gideon Gamble committed to the Eagles on Sunday while on his official visit.

• Tommy Amaker is off to a hot start on the recruiting trail at Harvard. The former Michigan coach has landed a trio of prospects who should compete well in the Ivy League. D.C.-area prospect Max Kenyi is the latest to give his nod to Harvard. The three-star guard should be a major player for the Crimson.

• Vermont coach Mike Lonergan, a former Maryland assistant, is going back to the D.C./Maryland area for recruits. After landing guard Garvey Young last week, the Catamounts secured a pledge from forward Jordan Clarke.

• Florida combo guard Zach Bailey gave a nod to Tennessee Tech.

Kendall Timmons is headed to Tulane.

• Southeastern Louisiana landed in-state guard Desmond King.

• Big man Teallen Price is headed to Centenary.

• Saint Mary's scored an important prospect in in-state forward Tim Williams, a 6-7 bruiser.

Darian Norris, a three-star prospect from Las Vegas, is headed to South Carolina State.

• Indiana center Julian Mavunga is a major get for Miami (Ohio).

Brent Eaton, an Indiana shooting guard, committed to Wisconsin-Green Bay.


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