ACCSports.com recruiting analyst Brick Oettinger is back with another update on top ACC prep targets in the senior class.
The early signing period has brought several ACC recruiting targets into the fold, with the biggest headlines going to the biggest (literally) targets.
We’re referring to 6-9, 275-pound Hyattsville (MD) DeMatha Catholic senior center BeeJay Anya and 6-9, 285-pound Charlotte (NC) West Charlotte senior center Kennedy Meeks, who both are national top 50 talents within the high school class of 2013.
Anya’s Nov. 16 announcement that he was heading to N.C. State surprised no one, considering co-favorite Indiana recently elected to back off him in order to focus its attention upon blue-chip 6-9 New Hampton (NH) School senior big forward Noah Vonleh (top 10). The Hoosiers were rewarded on Nov. 11, when Vonleh gave them a verbal commitment at the end of his official campus visit to Bloomington. Others who had been in the hunt for Vonleh were UNC, Ohio State, Syracuse, Georgetown, Connecticut and Boston College, while Anya previously had had eliminated Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Louisville, Georgetown and UCLA from consideration.
There was a bit more drama surrounding Meeks’ decision, but few eyebrows were raised when he chose his home state school, UNC, over Georgetown. This skilled post, incidentally, has lost 20 pounds since the summer, as he is working diligently to upgrade his physical conditioning, which has been an area of concern.
You probably noticed that another highly regarded low post, 6-9, 275-pound senior Dominic Woodson of Huntington (WV) Prep, declared for Baylor after N.C. State (his top choice?) apparently elected to put all its eggs into Anya’s basket. Among others that had been on Texas native Woodson’s trail are Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Memphis and Cincinnati.
While on the subject of senior centers, 7-0, 245-pound Joel Embiid (top 100) of Gainesville (FL) The Rock High officially visited Virginia but wound up committing to Kansas over Florida, Texas, Marquette, Ohio State and the Cavaliers. The native of Cameroon is not yet polished but possesses ample promise of developing into an excellent center for the Jayhawks.
The only present or future ACC team to gain recent new commitment is Syracuse. The Orange actually got the nod from a trio of prospects. First came both Ron Patterson (top 100 in 2013), a fifth-year senior wing guard at Wolfeboro (NH) Brewster Academy, and Patterson’s 6-9 Brewster teammate, blue-chip junior big forward Chris McCullough (top 10 in 2014). Long-armed Patterson hails from Indianapolis and also was courted by Miami, Boston College, Providence, Connecticut, Xavier and SMU, in addition to Syracuse. Rangy, athletic and skilled McCullough has the potential to be a special player for Jim Boeheim’s strong program.
Then during an ESPNU special last Friday, Tyler Roberson (top 40 in 2013), a 6-8 big forward out of Roselle (NJ) Catholic, also cast his lot with Syracuse. The Orange beat out Kansas and Villanova in this recruiting battle.
The top three overall prospects in the class of 2013 have not yet made their college decisions.
Potential superstar Andrew Wiggins, a 6-6 wing forward from Canada who’s now Woodson’s teammate at Huntington Prep, has the best combination of athleticism, basketball skills and intangibles of any high school wing we’ve seen since LeBron James (if you consider him a wing) or, before that, Michael Jordan! Wiggins is expected to wait until the April/May signing period to reach a college decision, with Florida State (his father’s alma mater), Kentucky, North Carolina, Kansas and Syracuse his reported top five, although others such as Ohio State and Duke haven’t given up. As we’ve noted previously, Wiggins recently reclassified into the class of 2013 from 2014, and his father, Mitchell Wiggins, grew up near Kinston (NC).
I presently rank Wiggins number one nationally in the class of 2013, followed by 6-9, 240-pound Plano (TX) Prestonwood Christian Academy big forward Julius Randle and then 6-8, 225-pound Chicago (IL) Simeon wing forward Jabari Parker. It looks as if powerful southpaw Randle will wait until the spring signing period to make a college decision, while the versatile Parker has recently said he wants to pick a school in December or January.
Randle continues to list a final six of Texas (which was reportedly attended by his mother), Florida, Kentucky, Kansas, N.C. State and Oklahoma. The Gators also are among Parker’s five (or six?) finalists, along with Duke, Michigan State, Stanford, Brigham Young and possibly Kentucky. Some sources believe that the Blue Devils have assumed the lead for Jabari, following his official visit to Durham two weekends ago. We anticipate that Parker will become a “one and done” college player, wherever he matriculates.
Around the nation, 6-8 Gladstone (NJ) St. Bernard’s senior big forward Austin Colbert (top 60) committed to Illinois over Miami, Villanova and Seton Hall; 6-8 Eads (TN) Briarcrest Christian Academy senior big forward Austin Nichols (top 20) picked nearby Memphis over Tennessee, Duke, Virginia, Vanderbilt and Auburn; 6-4 Memphis (TN) Southwind senior wing guard JaJuan Johnson (top 65) selected Marquette over finalists Florida State and Miami; and 6-9 Montverde (FL) Academy senior big forward Devin Williams (top 75) selected West Virginia over Memphis, Ohio State, UCLA, Xavier, Southern California and some interest from N.C. State.
Among those other uncommitted, touted seniors that are still considering ACC schools are 6-3 Philadelphia (PA) Roberts point guard Rysheed Jordan (top 35) and 5-8 Oklahoma City (OK) Douglass point guard Stevie Clark (top 75). Jordan’s college list contains St. John’s, Syracuse, Rutgers, Temple, Xavier, and UCLA. Leading the chase for Clark are Oklahoma State, Baylor, Florida State, UCLA and possibly Missouri.
Brick Oettinger, the basketball recruiting analyst for ACCSports.com, has covered the recruiting scene for more than 35 years. His work appears exclusively here and in the ACC Sports Journal.