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July 11, 2014

adidas Unrivaled: Bragg knows of two visits

RANKINGS: Class of 2014 - 2015 - 2016

CHICAGO -- Carlton Bragg knows of two schools that he will officially visit, but played coy on any others.

Bragg has been showcasing his inside-outside repertoire at the adidas Unrivaled event this week at Quest Multisport on the west side of Chicago. Rivals.com ranks the 6-foot-9, 225-pounder from Cleveland (Ohio) Villa Angela St. Joseph No. 9 overall in the nation in the class of 2015.

"It is getting a lot more serious because I am starting to narrow my decision to five schools," Bragg said. "I am trying to take in as much as I can. I am still in that process.

"I know Kentucky will get a visit for sure, and Kansas too."

Kentucky coach John Calipari and Kansas coach Bill Self both were joined with an assistant coach to watch Bragg at various points Thursday or Friday. Bragg said he knows what he's looking for on his official visits.

"I want to see the campus life, and see how it is," Bragg said. "I want to what happens when things go good and go bad, and know both spectrums. I want to see how I can fit in at."

Bragg didn't want to hint too much about what other schools are under consideration for the other three visits. Louisville, Illinois, Ohio State, UCLA, Maryland, Arizona, and possibly some new programs could be under consideration.

"I just can't say, no comment," Bragg said. "We'll see what happens."

Bragg might simply be called a forward now and he's glad that he isn't being looking at as a center anymore.

"Some schools say I am a three or four, and I won't be playing the five," Bragg said. "I've heard comparisons to Jermaine O'Neal, Kevin Garnett and Carmelo Anthony. I like the Carmelo Anthony one because I am versatile and can score the ball."

Bragg had perhaps the best game at the NBPA Camp, when he went off for 36 points and 14 rebounds. Bragg enjoys himself on the court and has perfected his gun shooting routine after he makes big jumpers, which were plentiful at the Virginia showcase event in late June. He admits a certain NBA player inspired it.

"That was pretty much the best I played at a big exposure camp," Bragg said. "Everything went right and I love it. I got the guns and holster from Russell Westbrook of Oklahoma City. I liked it. I just get emotional in the game and that is just my character."

The Thunder is his favorite NBA team, but he was excited about the news Friday of LeBron James rejoining his hometown Cavaliers.

"It's a big thing because he is the face of Ohio," Bragg said. "He is from Akron, Ohio, and he is now the face of Ohio. It is good that he came back. They'll be good. I would love to see that (Thunder vs. Cavaliers) in the NBA Finals.

Bragg said his first passion was actually baseball, but he grew from 6-foot-1 to his present listing of 6-foot-9. Bragg can light it up from outside when he gets hot, and he credits various kind of shooting games growing for developing that.

"I grew up playing 3-on-3 and 33, and just playing around," said Bragg, who won a state title his sophomore year at VASJ. "I got used to it. I feel more comfortable shooting it."

Bragg will be busy in July and August, playing in events in Cincinnati, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and New York City. Bragg did take a moment to talk about his friend Ray Smith of Las Vegas, who is ranked one spot behind him in the Rivals.com rankings. Smith tore his ACL on Thursday.

"It was a heartbreaker and I'm sorry for him," Bragg said. "He's like my brother."


Buford (Ga.) High junior shooting guard D'Marcus Simonds had a good start to adidas Unrivaled on Thursday and carried it over to Friday. He was hoping to impress one college program in particular.

Simonds, who Rivals.com ranks No. 45 overall in the class of 2016, doesn't hide his affection for Florida. Simonds and Buford High recently played in the Gators team camp, and UF coach Billy Donovan was watching his game Thursday. Getting a Florida offer would be a dream come true.

"I played pretty well down there, and the whole team did," Simonds said. "That was a good visit. I have always wanted to go to Florida. Seeing him (Donovan) here is crazy."

Simonds said he has offers from Connecticut, Mississippi State, Georgia and Texas A&M. Florida, Texas and Xavier, could be close to offering. His phone has been non-stop since coaches were allowed to text and call June 15. UConn signed his former prep power forward teammate Rakim Lubin last year.

"It was cool when they first started calling, but now it is like, 'Wow,'" Simonds said. "They call like every second, so it has gotten hard. It has gotten crazy.

"I know in August I am going up to UConn, Texas and Florida again."

Simonds and the Atlanta Celtics will be one of the top teams to watch this month. Fellow juniors Kobi Simmons of Alpharetta (Ga.) St. Francis and Braxton Blackwell of Nashville (Tenn.) are ranked No. 15 and No. 33 respectively in the class of 2016. Simonds said the Celtics will be playing in Milwaukee and Las Vegas events during July.

"I love it because it is relaxing, and you will always be there for them like they are for you," Simonds said. "We just play as a team."

Simonds other main goal is to one day make the McDonald's All-American Game. His ability to do a little bit of everything is what makes him a valued prospect.

"I want to show this week that I'm better than top 50," Simonds said. "I want to try and get into the burger game.

"I want to make my jump shot more consistent because it is really streaky. I want to get quicker laterally."


Senior center Josh Sharma became an expert on unofficial visits this past month.

The 7-foot, 205-pounder joined some of his Northfield (Mass.) Mt. Hermon teammates and toured through most of the midwest.

Sharma said they started off at Penn State before going to Ohio State, Xavier, Purdue, Notre Dame, Illinois, Marquette, Wisconsin and ended at Michigan.

Figuring out which schools to officially visit. He used one of his five visits to go to Wisconsin this past January.

"I have talked to Illinois for a while and I like Michigan," Sharma said. "I also like Notre Dame. Out of the schools that I didn't visit (in the midwest), I like Boston College, Stanford and California."

Rivals.com ranks Sharma the No. 75 overall player in the nation in the class of 2015. Sharma has great athleticism for his size and college coaches like his down the road potential. He hopes to use the adidas Unrivaled camp to get better.

"I have been to adidas Nations camps before and they are somewhat similar," Sharma said. "I know I'm playing against great competition."


Six players have reached the 20-point mark in two days, and half of those performances came during the Friday evening session.

Marietta (Ga.) Wheeler senior wing Jaylen Brown broke out with 26 points, senior power forward Chase Jeter of Las Vegas Bishop Gorman had 23 and junior shooting guard Jarron Cumberland of Wilmington (Ohio) High had 22.

Aurora (Colo.) Overland High junior center De'Ron Davis became the third player to join the 20-point club Friday afternoon. The aforementioned Simmons had 21 points and Bartow (Fla.) High junior center Tony Bradley Jr. had 20 on Thursday.

Kinston (N.C.) High senior small forward Brandon Ingram continued his quality play with head coaches from North Carolina and Duke looking on during the afternoon session. Ingram went 7-of-14 shooting for 16 points, plus hit a pair of three-pointers and grabbed six rebounds. UNC coach Roy Williams and Self watched Ingram go against Bragg's team in the nightcap. Ingram's string of double-digit games came to an end, after going 3 of 13 for six points.

N.C. State, Wake Forest, North Carolina, Duke, Louisville, VCU, Minnesota and Florida, have offered the skilled perimeter player, with Kentucky and Kansas evaluating him in July.

Developing junior center Austin Davis of Onsted (Mich.) High is finding ways to score around the basket for his Bearcats team. The 6-foot-10, 230-pounder has offers from Toledo and Central Michigan, and is getting interest from Michigan, Michigan State, Indiana and Iowa. He has unofficially visited the two in-state Big Ten programs and Indiana.

Middle Village (N.Y.) Christ the King junior wing Rawle Alkins had 12 second-half points during the afternoon session, and added 14 in the evening. NC State, Miami and Indiana, are his three most recent offers. Rivals.com ranks the 6-foot-4, 215-pounder No. 27 overall in the class of 2016.

adidas Unrivaled will have the top two teams in the camp play each other at 8:30 p.m. CT on Saturday, along with the third-place team vs. fourth. The other seeds will square off at 7:30 p.m.

The camp will feature a freshman/sophomore all-star game at 1 p.m. Sunday, followed by a junior/senior all-star game at 2:30 p.m.

The head coach traffic definitely tripled Friday in comparison to Thursday. One source thought 36 head coaches have come through this week. Some in attendance Friday included: Arizona State, Butler, Cincinnati, Duke, Georgia, Houston, Kansas, Kansas State, Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oregon, Purdue, Tennessee, TCU, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin

Point guard Jeff Teague of the Atlanta Hawks, who played for Wake Forest, also took in the action Friday. Former NBA and N.C. State player Thurl Bailey watched his son Brendan play, a 2016 small forward from Utah. Fellow ex-NBA star Jerry Stackhouse, who played at North Carolina, watched Ingram play, who he coaches on Stackhouse Elite.

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