Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Checking Out Men's Early Commitments

We all see the results ... the games. But, that's pretty much all we see.

We don't see what goes into the mix. We don't see the practices, the conditioning drills, the individual workouts ... it's all part of college basketball.

But, the key ingredient for a winning recipe is talent. Like the say goes: You can't make chicken salad out of ... well, you know what.

Coaches acquire talent via recruiting. It's the lifeblood of college basketball. Bring in good players. While that doesn't always ensure success, it's a good start. Coaches probably spend more time recruiting players, between identifying and following high school athletes sometimes as early as their freshmen or sophomore years, to viewing them in games at summer camps and, ultimately, via phone calls and letters. Finally comes the home visits and on-campus visits

Coaches have to be smooth salesmen to attract an athlete's interest and, eventually, seal the deal.

For basketball, players can make early "verbal" commitments which are non-binding but traditionally respected. But, they can't officially sign until their senior season either during the recently concluded fall signing period or the spring signing period that beings in April.

MAAC schools appeared successful, at least in terms of numbers, in bringing in players during this fall period who will join conference programs for the 2010-11 season.

Following is a rundown of what men's programs got commitments thus far.

And, as always, a word of warning. Recruiting is a very inexact science. What looks good now might not look so good later on. Or, less-regarded recruits might turn out to be better than expected.

And, your humble blogger is merely passing along names, heights, positions and statistics for the majority of the recruiting list. In very rare cases I have seen a player in person, and I'll note that if I have. Mostly, this list is just meant as a compilation of what teams got what players.

For the most part, your guess as to which ones will eventually impact conference programs is as good as mine. In no particularly order ...


- Skylar Jones, a 6-3 swingman from Mount Vernon H.S. in Washington, D.C. Jones averaged 18.5 points and 9.0 rebounds per game as a junior last season.

- Shaquille Duncan, a 6-7, 205-pound forward at Frankford H.S. in Philadelphia. Duncan transferred to Frankford in mid-season last year and was not eligible to play after his transfer, so his high school statistics are unavailable. All internet reports were that he had a strong spring/summer AAU season.


- Mike Alvarado, a 6-2 point guard from All Hallows High School in the Bronx. He averaged 13.2 points per game as a junior.

- Kidoni Brutus, a 6-1 shooting guard at Carl Albert State Junior College in Oklahoma. He averaged 11.6 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.7 points and hit 42 percent of his three-pointers there last season. Prior to that he attended Wings Academy in NYC where he averaged 15.9 points and 5.4 rebounds per game two years ago.


- Daniel Stewart, a 6-7 forward at Neuman-Goretti H.S. in the Philadelphia area. He averaged 11.5 point and 8.0 rebounds there as a junior.


- Chris Manhertz, a 6-5 forward at Cardinal Spellman H.S. in the Bronx. He averaged 18 points, 13 rebounds and 4 blocks per game there as a junior.


- Jamel Fields, a 6-1 combo guard who averaged 20.8 points per game last season at Albany (N.Y.) Academy. Fields is attending Cheshire Academy this season. Your blogger has seen Fields play a number of times. He is assertive and quick on the court who is probably better suited at the 2-spot, but can play some at the point. Also, a physical defender.

- Adam Jones, a 6-8 power forward from Winter Park (Fla.) H.S. He averaged 9.0 points and 9.7 rebounds per game there as a junior.

- Keith Mathews, a 6-5 small forward at Sebastian River (Fla.) H.S. He averaged 20.4 points and 7.7 rebounds per game there as a junior.


- Dylon Cormier, a 6-2 point guard from Cardinal Gibbons H.S. in Baltimore. He averaged 19 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists per game there as a junior.

- Justin Drummond, a 6-4 guard who is playing this season at Riverdale Baptist in the Washington, D.C. area. Through six games this season he is averaging 18.9 points. He played last season at Mountain State Academy in West Virginia, but no stats are available.


It appears that Marist received a commitment from "Ming" Folahan, a slender 6-10 center who will attend Wilbraham & Munson Academy in Massachusetts this season. Numerous internet sites have reported that Folahan gave the Red Foxes an early verbal, but Marist has not released information about a subsequent signing of a National Letter of Intent.


- Trenity Burdine, a 6-5 swingman at Reading (Pa.) H.S. He averaged 16 points per game there as a junior last season. Your blogger saw Burdine play multiple times in the GymRat Classic AAU tournament this summer in the Albany, N.Y., area His skills and versatility make for an easy comparison to the playing style of current Siena player Edwin Ubiles.

- Melsahn Basabe, a 6-7 forward at St. Mark's School in Southborough, Mass. Stats are unavailable. Reports indicate that Basabe is an athletic big man, and there are some within the Siena program who believe Basabe can be an immediate impact player next season.

Neither Iona, nor Saint Peter's reported any early signees.

COMING ATTRACTION: Within the next few days, we'll take a similar look at recruiting by the conference's women's programs.

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