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Which recruits were summer’s highest ranking risers?

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The problems and sometimes tainted portions of the college basketball recruiting system are well-publicized, but the flip side is that deserving players from areas lacking exposure also result in much-deserved scholarships being issued and later accepted. Every summer seems to feature a few prospects that vault up the charts and the 2013 summer was no different.

Five incoming high school senior recruits that gained in statue based on their performances in evaluation events include the following:

Karviar Shepherd, 6-9, C, Grace Prep (Texas)
It was a case of out of sight, out of mind for Shepherd (pictured), as he sat out his junior season of high school following a transfer to Grace Prep. There weren’t any signs of rust in Shepherd’s playing during the spring and summer, as he showed himself to be a highly-skilled, true post player worthy of recruitment at the high-major level. A double bonus for college coaches is that his teammate at Grace Prep, power forward Jordan Mickey, is also a high-major prospect. There are only a handful of centers in the 2013 class who can step in and play heavy minutes as freshmen, and Shepherd appears to be one.

Bobby Portis, 6-9, PF, Little Rock Hall (Ark.)
When the Arkansas Razorbacks snagged a commitment from Portis last year there wasn’t much known on the national scale about how good Portis actually was. The slender and athletic big man was highly impressive on the recruiting trail for his Arkansas Wings travelling team, and went from being unknown to a legitimate McDonald’s All-American game candidate.

Kuran Iverson, 6-9, SF, Fishburne Military (Va.)
It was a redemption story for Iverson, a defensive  mismatch for most small forwards. He was considered among the elite prospects in the class several years ago, but fell deep into player rankings. With past inconsistency behind him, and after a prolific summer in which he showed Lamar Odom-like skills, Iverson is back in most top-25 charts, and is back to being among the most difficult players to stop.

Zak Irvin, 6-6, SG, Hamilton Southeastern (Ind.)
A Michigan pledge, at the beginning of the summer, Irvin was thought of as just one of three early commits to the Wolverines as part of what looked like a burgeoning excellent recruiting class. Irvin had other plans, though, and turned it up a notch showing his lanky frame to be extremely skilled on the offensive end, as a deadly scoring threat from the perimeter. In late July, Irvin has worked himself into being a consensus top-50 player nationally.

Roddy Peters, 6-3, PG, Suitland (Md.)
While it’s true that the DC Assault grassroots program consistently pumps out players to every level of college basketball, Peters was flying under the radar at the beginning of the spring, as he was perhaps charitably described as an inconsistent shooting guard with potential. Just months later, former NBA coach Eddie Jordan and DC Assault was buoyed by Peters during live events in April and July, as he developed outstanding point guard skills in a short period of time and is now a top-20 point guard nationally in the class.

Kellon Hassenstab runs Follow him on Twitter @hoopniks.

SMU won’t appeal tournament ban, Brown suspension

Associated Press
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Last month the NCAA announced that due to rules violations found in their investigation of the SMU men’s basketball program, the team would be banned from postseason play in 2015-16 and head coach Larry Brown would be suspended for the first nine games of the 2015-16 season. With a team led by seniors Nic Moore and Markus Kennedy and just one player (Keith Frazier) being the subject of the investigation, it was assumed that SMU would at the very least appeal the postseason ban.

Friday, the school announced that while it will appeal some of the penalties handed down by the NCAA to the men’s basketball and men’s golf programs they will not appeal the postseason ban or Brown’s suspension.

“After careful consideration, however, we will not appeal the NCAA post-season ban on men’s basketball or partial season suspension of Head Men’s Basketball Coach Larry Brown,” SMU president R. Gerald Turner stated in the release. “Although we regret the severe impact on our student-athletes, the simple fact is that the NCAA penalty structure mandates at minimum a one-year post-season ban for the level of misconduct that occurred, in our case, when a former staff member completed an online high school course for a prospective student-athlete, committing academic misconduct.

“In addition, should we appeal this matter, the lengthy process and uncertainty during this period could harm many aspects of the program. Coach Brown and his staff also agree that it is in the best interests of the program to accept these sanctions and move forward.”

Among the penalties the school will appeal (with regards to the basketball program) are the “duration of scholarship losses” and how long the recruiting restrictions placed on the program will last, and the vacating of games Frazier played in during the 2013-14 season.

This a tough turn of events for players who had nothing to do with the violations, as they see their opportunity to return to the NCAA tournament taken away. As a result of the school’s decision, SMU’s season will end March 9 following their regular season finale against Cincinnati.

Kevin Marfo commits to George Washington

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Kevin Marfo committed to George Washington on Friday evening, announcing his decision on Twitter.

“I am grateful and appreciative to all the schools that recruited me. But I will be spending the next four years at George Washington University,” he tweeted.

This caps a successful week for Mike Lonergan on the recruiting trail. On Tuesday, GW landed a commitment from Darnell Rogers, a 5-foot-3 point guard. He is the son of former GW guard Shawnta Rogers, the 1999 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year. GW ends the week by adding a tenacious rebounder to a front court that graduates top rebounder Kevin Larsen after this season. Rogers and Marfo join power forward Collin Smith in the Class of 2016. Seton Hall transfer Jaren Sina will also be eligible in 2016-17.

He cut his list to 10 in August with Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, Minnesota, Boston College, UMass, Saint Joseph’s, DePaul, Rhode Island and Providence all making the cut along wit the Colonials. He later trimmed the list to five finalists: BC, Providence, DePaul, GW and Rhode Island.

The Worcester Academy (Mass.) forward played for BABC this summer in the Nike EYBL, averaging 11.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.  The 6-foot-8 Marfo is listed as the No. 148 overall player in the Class of 2016 by Rivals.