Monday, September 12, 2011

Hoops Housekeeping: Oklahoma State, Houston, and North Texas add players

Regardless of what conference Oklahoma State winds up playing in come 2012-2013, Travis Ford is in the midst of asserting himself as a force on the recruiting trail.

Over the weekend, Ford landed a commitment from Marcus Smart -- the No. 10 recruit in our Consensus Recruiting Rankings -- and his high school and AAU teammate Phil Forte. Smart is a powerful and athletic 6'4" guard. He's known for his work ethic and competitive spirit -- he's more of a blue collar player than most top ten recruits -- but he's developed an all-around game to the point that he can play all three perimeter positions. Most importantly, he's a winner. Forte is just 5'11", but the PG is known as one of the best shooters in the class.

Smart and Forte join Kamari Murphy, a talented 6'8" forward out of IMG Academy by way of Brooklyn, and Adam Wing, a two-sport star from Kentucky, in OSU's 2012 recruiting class.

If Ford can keep LeBryan Nash around for more than one season, he'll combine with Smart to form one of the most physically imposing tandems in the country. It should be enough to compete at the top of whatever conference (or superconference) they end up being a part of.

Houston lands two top 100 players: Incredibly enough, a likely McDonald's all-american candidate picking a school was probably not the biggest recruiting news of the weekend.

Houston picked up commitments from two top 100 recruits on Sunday night. Danuel House, a 6'6" small forward and the No. 26 player in our Consensus Recruiting Rankings, blew up as a junior, going from a local talent to a kid that some had in the top 20 in the Class of 2012. Houston head coach James Dickey also earned a commitment from Chicken Knowles (his real name is Danrad, but there is no way we'll ever use Danrad when he has a nickname like Chicken), a skilled but skinny 6'9" face-up four.

The significance of this commitment cannot be overstated. First, the obvious -- Houston doesn't normally recruit at this level. Not since the days of Phi Slamma Jamma, at least. House and Knowles both more or less had their pick of schools in the midwest, and they chose Houston. That says something about Dickey's recruiting efforts.

More importantly, however, is that both Houston and Knowles hail from the Houston metro area. There is a ton of talent that comes from that area every year, and keeping those kids close to home is Dickey's first priority as coach.

North Texas adds more talent: Grambling star Justin Patton dominated the North Texas Mean Green a season ago, finishing with 26 points and 10 boards agaist UNT's solid front line.

This season, he'll be competing for minutes with them. After Grambling was given a one-year postseason penalty for a low APR score, Patton left the school and enrolled at UNT. He found out last week that he will be eligible to play this season.

"Justin will be a great addition to our basketball team and give us some much-needed depth,” UNT head coach Johnny Jones said. "He has the ability to play both ends of the floor and has a great knack for scoring and rebounding. That is a great combination for us."

UNT loses three longtime starters next season, and while they do add former top 25 recruit Tony Mitchell, he will not become eligible until December. Patton will be a nice way to tide Jones' club over before forming one of the better frontcourts in the midwest come Sun Belt play.

Ineligible freshmen?: Kevin Ware was ruled ineligible by the NCAA until at least December on Friday, joining Michael Chandler of UCF and Chris Jones of Tennessee as the top 100 recruits that won't be suiting up in October.

But there are also plenty of other big names that are awaiting clearance, including the three members the Kansas recruiting class (Ben McLemore, Jamari Taylor and Braeden Anderson), Amir Garrett and Norvel Pelle at St. John's, and Jahii Carson at Arizona State. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has been cleared academically, but he is awaiting to hear word about the issues he was involved in as an AAU player.

No comments: