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Tracking head coaches means tracking top recruiting targets

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We’ve discussed the July evaluation period a couple of times this week, as it’s become a topic of conversation among the folks that happen to populate my twitter feed.

It all got started on Monday when Sean Miller, Arizona’s head coach, took to twitter to rant about how much he disliked the new July schedule.

In a nutshell, these coaches are allowed on the road to evaluate for 15 days in a 19 day stretch, which can be a grind for both coaches and, more importantly, the players.

Here’s the irony in all of this: Miller is one of the few coaches that isn’t out on the road evaluating. He’s not in gyms trying to spot new players; he’s there to be spotted by the players he’s already recruiting. He’s on the road to be seen. He wants each and every one of the players that he covets to know that they are important enough to demand his full attention in the limited time he has to recruit.

He’s not alone, either. Take a gander at this nugget from Dave Telep’s latest recruiting blog:

Washington coach Lorenzo Romar has this habit of being real early and staying real late when watching key targets. Give the guy credit, he’s maxing out his face time. And trust me, players notice.

Take Tyus Jones, for example. The question was directed to him: Which head coach did you see the most? “From my point of view, I saw Coach Drew, Coach K, Coach Cal and Coach Self the most because they got to the games early,” Jones said, referring to Baylor’s Scott Drew, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, Kentucky’s John Calipari and Kansas’ Bill Self. “I also saw coach Ben Johnson, the assistant from Minnesota, a lot.”

At the Peach Jam, coaches are right on top of the players so it was easy for the kids to see them. It was also easy for coaches to slide in and out of gyms with four games going on at the same time. Some coaches think they’re slick and will get there early, leave for another game and either try to claim presence the entire time or double-dip with two players at a time. Hey, there are different ways to get it done. All I’m saying is that the players notice and they talk. When Krzyzewski was the only coach in the gym a half hour before a game, he got a lot of credit.

The thing that makes Peach Jam so unique is that an overwhelming majority of the nation’s top prospects are in attendance, and since the event takes place in one facility, it makes it easy for those head coaches to bounce from game to game. This week, however, there are events in DC, in Milwaukee, in LA, in Philly. All over the place. Next week is Vegas, where all the tournaments are spread out around the city with a number of different events taking place.

Keep an eye on where those high-prolife head coaches — Coach Cal, Coach K, Roy Williams, Miller, etc. — are and who they are watching, and you should be able to get an idea of who they are zeroing in on.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Brandone Francis-Ramirez transferring out of Florida

Florida State center Jean Marc Christ Koumadje (21) fouls Florida guard Brandone Francis-Ramirez (2) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015, in Gainesville, Fla. (Matt Stamey, The Gainesville Sun via AP)
(Matt Stamey, The Gainesville Sun via AP)
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Brandone Francis-Ramirez is transferring out of the Florida program, the school announced on Wednesday.

A former top 40 recruit, Francis-Ramirez had his two seasons in Gainesville ruined by an academic issues and a loss of confidence. He was academically ineligible in 2014-15, practicing with the team during the second semester. He was granted a redshirt for the year, but he struggled to find any kind of a rhythm this past season. There was a two-month stretch in the middle of the year where he shot 6-for-58 from the floor and 2-for-31 from three.

On the season, he shot 20.2 percent from the floor and 16.9 percent from three.

“I want it to work out for him,” Gators coach Mike White said in a release. “We really appreciate what Brandone did here and wish him the best.”

One of Villanova’s title game stars undergoes knee surgery

Phil Booth, Jack McVeigh
(AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)
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The forgotten star of the national title game underwent an arthroscopic on his left knee on Wednesday.

Phil Booth, who scored a season-high 20 points in the 2016 National Title game, will be a junior next season and one of the guys called upon to help replace Ryan Arcidiacono, who graduated. He should be ready to go by the middle of the summer; according to a statement put out by the program, Booth will need 6-to-8 weeks to heal.

“Phil is as mentally tough a young man as we have had at Villanova,” head coach Jay Wright said in the release. “He continually impresses our coaching staff with his outstanding attitude. Phil will attack this recovery challenge with great determination, as he does everything in life.”

Booth averaged 7.0 points and 2.2 assists this past season.

Jennings becomes seventh player to transfer from Kentucky

Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell watches his team during the team's regional semifinal in the NCAA women's college basketball tournament against Washington in Lexington, Ky., Friday, March 25, 2016. Washington won 85-72. (AP Photo/James Crisp)
(AP Photo/James Crisp)
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell has announced that sophomore forward Alexis Jennings will transfer, the seventh Wildcat to leave the program since last fall.

Jennings’ departure comes a week after Mitchell publicly addressed the mass exodus of players and assistant coaches and stressed the need for building stability. Jennings figured to be part of that process and the coach said in a release Wednesday night that “it saddens us that Alexis did not see a path for her at Kentucky. … She felt it was in her best interest to finish her career elsewhere and we owe her that opportunity.”

The 6-foot-2 Jennings started 18 of 33 games last season and averaged 10 points and 7.1 rebounds.

DePaul adds 2018 commit

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Wisconsin guard John Diener has committed to DePaul, his grassroots program announced Wednesday night.

The 6-foot-4 Class of 2018 guard ends his recruitment rather early with offers also from instate schools Green Bay and Milwaukee. He’s known as a shooter and becomes the first commit for Dave Leitao in the 2018 class.

Diener, who plays with the Wisconsin Playground Warriors in the spring and summer, commits to the Blue Demons with them coming off a disappointing campaign, Leitao’s first in Chicago. DePaul went 9-22 overall and 3-15 in the Big East, finishing only ahead of St. John’s.

DePaul has been recruiting the Midwest hard with incoming 2016 recruits from La Lumiere School in Indiana, Sagninow, Mich. and locally in Chicago.

Four-star guard Fisher commits to TCU

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Jamie Dixon’s presence is already being felt in the Big 12 and on the recruiting trail.

TCU received its first commitment of the Dixon era when four-star 2016 point guard Jaylen Fisher announced his decision to join the Horned Frogs on Wednesday.

“Due to how comfortable my family and I are with the coaching staff,” Fisher posted from his Twitter account, “and the emphasis the university has put on making basketball a priority, I’m committing to be a student-athlete at TCU.”

Getting a consensus top-75 prospect, who was once committed to UNLV, is a heck of a coup for being just a couple months on the job. It instantly shows the Frogs are going to be a player for some of the country’s top players, which is a necessity if you have designs on making a move up the ladder of arguably the country’s best league in the Big 12.

Maybe the most gratifying thing for TCU, though, is the reason Fisher publicly stated for making his decision, the school’s “making basketball a priority.” The hoops program has suffered immensely in the Big 12 (while the football program has flourished), winning a total of eight games in their four seasons (including a winless 2014), but the school sank $72 million into renovating its arena, made an aggressive move in firing Trent Johnson and then went out and got its dream candidate, Dixon, an alum. Fisher’s commitment is the first time those moves have shown that commitment to basketball paying off.