Marcus Derrickson

2015 Marcus Derrickson of Paul VI is young, talented, and developing

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READING, Pa.–For a player in the Top 10 of his class, it takes some time to crack the shy outer shell of 2015 forward Marcus Derrickson of Paul VI (Va.).

Though intense, aggressive, and powerful on the court, the 6-7, 230-pound rising sophomore is reserved when talking to the media, taking a few minutes of conversation before the more colorful side of his personality emerges.

“It looked like you turned it on a little more in the second half there,” I said to him at Hoop Group Elite Camp in Reading, Pa. “You started pushing guys around a little bit.”

“Yeah, I guess I did,” he said with a smile. “I started to get more comfortable.”

Derrickson comes from two powerhouse programs in the Washington D.C. area, attending Paul VI High School in Virginia and playing for Team Takeover DC on the AAU circuit.

A number of major college programs have taken an interest in Derrickson, including Indiana. Hoosier assistant (and former Paul VI and Team Takeover coach) Kenny Johnson came to watch him this past week.

Derrickson is also drawing interest and offers from schools that include Maryland, Georgetown, NC State, Miami, Villanova, Rutgers, and others.

“Interest has coming from everywhere so far,” he told NBCSports.com this past week. “A lot of college coaches are coming out to see me play, but I’m just trying to work hard and no overdo it or anything.

“I’m just looking for a place where I can fit in,” he continued. “Where [geographically] it is doesn’t really matter, just a place where I can learn and work hard.”

He was hampered by a mild knee injury at Elite Camp this past week, but showed his versatility, including good rebounding skills and the ability to step out away from the basket on the offensive end.

With three years of high school still left for him, he will continue to develop his frame, adding muscle and maturing.

“I have a big motor when I play and I’ll do whatever,” he said. “I can take charges, set myself up on defense, and I can score the basketball.”

But with all of that time, Derrickson wants to stay grounded and not get caught up in the national buzz surrounding his name.

“I don’t really pay attention to the rankings,” he said. “I just try to be the best I can be and ignore those.”

Photo Credit: Washington Post

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Top-25 guard trims list to six

Trae Young , Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images
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One of the top points guards in the Class of 2017 has trimmed his list of potential collegiate destinations to six.

Trae Young, a consensus top-25 recruit, listed Texas Tech, Kansas, Oklahoma, Washington, Oklahoma State and Kentucky as the schools he is considering as he readies to begin his senior year of high school.

The list of the 6-foot-2 point guard is largely provincial as it includes Oklahoma, whose campus is just minutes away from Young’s Norman North High School, and fellow in-state school Oklahoma. Another pair of Big 12 schools make the list in powerhouse Kansas and the Red Raiders, whose first-year coach, Chris Beard, has spent the bulk of his career working in Texas. Texas Tech is also Young’s father’s alma mater. Washington has been on a role sending its players to the pros and recently received the commitment of top-five 2017 recruit Michael Porter, Jr.

Kentucky, of course, needs no explanation as to its attractiveness to high-level players.

Top-100 guard commits to Xavier

Chris Mack has Xavier back in the Sweet 16 (AP Photo)
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Xavier has added a top-100 prospect into its 2017 recruiting class Wednesday.

Elias Harden, a shooting guard from Georgia, pledged to the Musketeers via social media to become the second member of Chris Mack’s next class.

“The recruiting process was not EASY AT ALL,” Harden wrote on Twitter. “I wanna thank all the coaches that took time to recruit me.

“WIth that being said I will continue my academic and athletic career at Xavier University.”

The 6-foot-6 guard is ranked 92nd overall by 247Sports and had offers from Auburn, Maryland, Texas Tech and Ole Miss. He joins Jared Ridder, a Missouri guard, as part of the 2017 Xavier class.

The Musketeers return the bulk of last year’s 28-6 team that narrowly missed out on the Sweet 16.

Clemson recruit to enroll early

Brad Brownell
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Clemson will get a four-star recruit on campus a year earlier than it expected, though his on-court debut for the Tigers will remain on schedule.

A.J. Oliver, a guard from South Carolina, will enroll early at Clemson and redshirt this upcoming season, he announced via social media Wednesday.

“I woke up this morning and realized that the greatest opportunity for me is to enroll early into Clemson,” he wrote on Twitter. “I will redshirt a year & start my college career early.”

Oliver, whose mother is the head women’s basketball coach at Clemson, was a consensus top-100 player in the class of 2017 who committed to the Tigers last December. Texas Tech and the College of Charleston were involved before his commitment.

A three-star shooting guard, Scott Spencer of Virginia, was previously the only member coach Brad Brownell’s 2016 class. While Oliver’s decision to redshirt will keep him off the court for the 2016-17 season, he’ll have spent a full season in the Tiger program before making his debut in 2017

The cupboard isn’t bare in 2017 for the Tigers due to Oliver’s reclassification because Clemson received a commitment from power forward Malik Williams, a consensus top-150 player, earlier Wednesday.

Kentucky used Calipari-Chaney fight in media training

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Kentucky held some media training sessions yesterday, and one of the topics that head coach John Calipari used to make a point was … his blow-up with John Chaney. The moment was captured on SnapChat by a trio of Kentucky newcomers.

You remember that incident. Chaney, then the head coach at Temple, and Cal, who was coaching Atlantic 10 rival UMass at the time, nearly came to blows over the way that Cal handled officials during the game. Before the video below picks up, the two shared this exchange:

“Could I say this to you, please?” Chaney said, before the video above picks up. “You’ve got a good ball club. But what you did with the officials out there is wrong, and I don’t want to be a party to that. You understand?”

Cal responded: “You weren’t out there, Coach. You don’t have any idea.”

Chaney fired back: “You got a game given to you by officials right here with G.W. on three bad calls, O.K.? Then you send your kids out there pushing and shoving. You had the best officiating you could ever get here. And for you to ride them, I don’t want to be a party to that.”

And that led to “I’ll kill you”:

(h/t KSR)

VIDEO: Shaq’s son, Shareef O’Neal, with monster dunk in Vegas

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Shareef O’Neal is a top 50 prospect in the Class of 2018. In Vegas this past weekend, he threw down a monster put-back dunk.