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Wichita State gets a recruiting bump after Final Four appearance

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Gregg Marshall has made a solid living in his time at Wichita State out of developing talent that was under-recruited or under-valued at some point in the players’ career.

Marshall made a habit of scouring the junior college ranks, getting some of the best talent out of that pipeline — Carl Hall and Cleanthony Early are proof of that.

Now, fresh off the programs’ first Final Four appearance since 1965, the Shockers are able to go into gyms and homes with the firm handshake, a strong voice and a scholarship offer that will be well-received by elite recruits, according to the Wichita Eagle.

“(WSU coaches) know what works and they’re not going to change it,” National Recruiting Analyst Eric Bossi told the Wichita Eagle. “It’s going so well there because they’ve figured out a plan and it works. It’s not like you see a lot of four- and five-star guys listing them, because they’re not going after those guys.”

Marshall and his staff started that trend before they made the Final Four, really, nabbing Top 100 player Fred Van Vleet in the class of 2012. He was an important part of their Final Four run.

And even though Marshall has been in the JuCo game for some time now, he brought Steve Forbes onto his staff this season. Forbes spent the last two years as head coach at Northwest Florida State College, leading the Raiders to back-to-back NJCAA title game appearances and coaching elite players such as National JuCo Player of the Year Chris Jones, who is now at Louisville.

But as far as the high school ranks are concerned, Wichita State is now a serious player at prep powers such Prime Prep (forward Omar Sherman) Greater Atlanta Christian (Isaiah Wilkins) and has cashed in, getting commitments from players at South Kent (Conn.) School (Zach Brown). Marshall has also kept his JuCo roots solid, getting a pledge from Vincennes forward Darius Carter.

Marshall had it going early, but it’s clear now just how much a hot March can help a team in the Shockers’ situation.

Texas lands commitment from top 100 center

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James Banks announced on Thursday that he has committed to Texas, joining Jacob Young in Shaka Smart’s first recruiting class as the head coach of the Longhorns.

Banks is an interesting prospect. A 6-foot-10 center from Georgia, Banks is a still-developing prospect that was recruited more on his potential than his immediate ability.

“James Banks emerged as a good low post prospect this spring and summer,” NBC Recruiting Analyst Scott Phillips said. “With a good set of hands, some offensive potential and a frame that can add weight, Banks is a nice upside grab for Texas.”

He’s probably a few years away from having a major impact in the Big 12, but he may not have that much time to develop. Cameron Ridley, Prince Ibeh and Conner Lamert all graduate after this season, meaning that Banks is going to have to contribute immediately when he sets foot on the Austin campus for the 2016-17 season.

Texas has three commitments in the Class of 2015. Smart convinced Kerwin Roach and Eric Davis to remain committed to the program when he took over for Rick Barnes while he landed a commitment from Tevin Mack, who pledged to Smart when he was at VCU.

Memphis guard could miss season with shoulder injury

Kedren Johnson
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Memphis just cannot catch a break.


It’s to the point where I almost feel bad for Josh Pastner.

Today, reported that Kedren Johnson, a 6-foot-4 point guard that was on track towards being an all-SEC point guard at Vanderbilt, could end up missing the season due to a shoulder injury. If he can handle the pain he can avoid surgery and play with the injury, but at the very least, Johnson is going to be less than his best.

Johnson averaged 6.7 points and 2.7 assists last season for the Tigers. He sat out 2013-14 after leaving Vanderbilt and entered last season incredibly out of shape. There was hope that he would be able to make a bigger impact this season and help fill the void at the point guard spot.

This news comes on the heels of Memphis finding out that Jaylen Fisher is heading to UNLV. Who’s Jaylen Fisher? Well, he’s a point guard and top 40 recruit from Memphis that was Pastner’s No. 1 recruiting target that opted to leave the city for his college hoops instead of play for the Tigers.

That’s a bad sign, but not quite as bad as Memphis losing star center Austin Nichols — another local kid — to a transfer over the summer. Nichols transferred to Virginia.