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College Basketball Talk’s Recruiting Roundup

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(Kelly Kline/Under Armour)

Each Monday and Friday, College Basketball Talk’s Scott Phillips goes over some important news and notes in the world of college basketball recruiting. This week, Doral Moore takes an official visit to Kentucky, Texas A&M’s pipeline to the Texas Titans and do-it-all utility wing Chris Clarke cuts his list to seven.

Doral Moore visiting Kentucky

Kentucky will host a big official visit this weekend when Georgia native and 7-footer Doral Moore trips to Lexington. Moore doesn’t have the five-star rating of many of his Class of 2015 front court counterparts, coming in at No. 38 according to Rivals, but the thing you have to like about Moore is his upside is as high as many big man in the class. With great natural size, good touch around the basket and in the mid-range and length under the hoop that helps him as a shot blocker, Moore has a chance to improve greatly once he gets to college and gets in a weight room.

And while the Wildcats might actually have too many quality big men this season, many of them could leave for the NBA or for more playing time at the end of the season and Moore could use a year or two of seasoning before earning quality rotation minutes inside.

With John Calipari’s recent track record with Willie Cauley-Stein — who was also not a five-star big man as a high schooler and got better in college as a late-blooming 7-footer — Moore could be attracted to the chance to be Kentucky’s next project in the post.

Texas A&M continues Texas Titans pipeline

On Friday afernoon Tyler Davis commitmented to Texas A&M, according to Scout.com’s Evan Daniels. The commitment of the No. 35 player in the class, according to Rivals, and a 6-foot-9 center is significant in a number of ways. For one, the Aggies are getting a massive post scorer with good hands and feet who is a load to move off of the block. Kennedy getting a potential McDonald’s All-American in a class loaded with elite big men is a great start in the Class of 2015.

But another reason Davis’ commitment is big for head coach Billy Kennedy is it continues to the Texas Titans-to-Texas A&M pipeline that has developed in recent years.

The Aggies pulled in a pair of point guards from the Titans in the 2014 class in Alex Robinson and Avery Johnson Jr., and now they have started their 2015 efforts with a Titans big man in Davis.

The Titans have been one of the more successful grassroots programs in recent years and Davis, along with Texas A&M targets D.J. Hogg and Mickey Mitchell, have played with Robinson and Johnson Jr. the last two years in the EYBL. The Titans made Peach Jam in both years and the group plays well together while also being tight-knit.

As Rivals’ Eric Bossi noted on Twitter, the Aggies are getting some buzz now for both Hogg and Mitchell, who decommitted from Ohio State last night. If Kennedy can keep that pipeline open, it would be greatly beneficial, because the Titans are usually stocked with some talented players while the coaching staff there does a good job of developing players.

2015 wing Chris Clarke down to seven

One of the best winners in the class is do-it-all small forward and Class of 2015 top-100 player Chris Clarke. The 6-foot-6 Clarke had a really good summer with Boo Williams and helped the team make the EYBL final four this year.

Now, the native of Virginia has formed a list of seven, according to Corey Evans. Clarke is down to Creighton, Florida, Iowa State, Minnesota, Tennessee, UConn and Virginia Tech.

It will be interesting to see if Clarke opts to stay home and play for Buzz Williams at Virginia Tech, as Williams and staff relentlessly followed Clarke in July. Rivals puts Clarke at No. 64 in their current 2015 rankings.

Michigan State playing zone? It’s possible

Tom Izzo
Associated Press
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Throughout Tom Izzo’s tenure at Michigan State the team’s half-court man-to-man defense has been a staple, and the Spartans have generally proven difficult to have a high rate of offensive success against. The reliance on that defense is why Izzo’s conversations earlier this summer about using some token full-court pressure due to the shortening of the shot clock caught some people off-guard.

According to the Detroit Free Press there’s another wrinkle the Spartans may use, and it’s likely that this wrinkle will show up more often than the full-court press. During Friday’s opening practice the Spartans worked on a 2-3 zone, and Izzo wants his assistants to make sure the team works on the defense consistently throughout the season.

That’s also why zone in general isn’t going to get heavy play at MSU, but having it as a tool could be beneficial — especially in games with touch fouls on the perimeter called in droves.

“I told (my assistant coaches): ‘You hold me accountable to working on it every day some’ … I have a tendency to drift off on that, and I don’t want to drift off on it,” Izzo said of the 2-3 zone. “But we will be, rest assured, a 90-some percent man-to-man team still and hopefully take some of those principles to zone.”

As noted in the story one of the risks in using pressure is allowing quality shots, which is why it’s unlikely that Michigan State will go to it. But even with Izzo vowing that his team will work on the zone, that doesn’t mean they’ll be playing it as often as Syracuse does.

Man-to-man has been Michigan State’s staple and it will continue to be. But it doesn’t hurt to look for other ways to keep opponents from getting the looks they want, especially if teams have five fewer seconds to find those shots.

Virginia used 3-on-3 to adjust to new shot clock

Malcolm Brogdon
Associated Press
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When the college basketball rules committee made the decision to trim the shot clock down to 30 second from 35, one reason for the switch was the desire to improve offensive production. With offensive numbers at their lowest point in years, proponents of the move see the shot clock change as a necessary move if scoring is to improve.

Whether or not that winds up being the case will be seen throughout the upcoming season, but teams are still having to make adjustments during the preseason.

Virginia, which has played at a snail’s pace (and with great success, mind you) in recent years, made some adjustments to their summer work in anticipation of playing with a 30-second shot clock. One adjustment was more games of 3-on-3 with a 15-second shot clock, which forced all involved to be more decisive in their offensive decision-making.

While the pack-line defense will always be a staple of Tony Bennett’s teams, the feeling in Charlottesville is that they’ve got the offensive firepower needed to both play faster and be more efficient offensively than they were in 2014-15 (29th nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency per Ken Pomeroy). One of the players who will lead the way is senior guard Malcolm Brogdon, who led the team in scoring and was a first team All-ACC selection, and he discussed the team’s outlook with Mike Barber of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

And even though Anderson’s highlight-reel shot blocking was the thing that frequently fueled fast-breaks for U.Va. last season, Brogdon and [Anthony] Gill said they expect this year’s team to actually push the tempo even more.

“I think we’re going to be a team that gets out and runs more,” Brogdon said. “I think we’ll have three guards on the floor, most of the time, will be able to handle the ball as a point guard and get out in transition. I think we’ll play a lot faster.”

Brogdon and Gill are two of the team’s three returning starters with point guard London Perrantes being the other, and the Cavaliers also return most of their reserves from last year’s rotation. That experience will help them on both ends of the floor as they prepare for a run at a third straight ACC regular season title. And in theory it also allows them to extend themselves a bit more offensively than they did a season ago.