College Basketball Talk’s Recruiting Roundup

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source: AP
AP

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, Tennessee gets two commitments over Labor Day weekend, Glynn Watson’s big decision for Nebraska and a four-star guard is nearing a decision.

Tennessee lands two over Labor Day weekend

While the talk of college basketball recruiting for the last week or so has been Bruce Pearl’s commitment spree at Auburn, Pearl’s former program, Tennessee, added two additions on the wing over Labor Day weekend.

First came Admiral Schofield, a 6-foot-5 power wing from the suburbs of Chicago. Schofield is a late-bloomer and skilled, big-bodied wing who didn’t play for a shoe company team in grassroots season and was the second option on Zion-Benton’s High School team last season. But over the summer the light clicked and Schofield started going to work.

At AAU Nationals in Louisville, every high-major program in attendance was clamoring to see if Schofield was worth a scholarship offer and Tennessee was one of the programs to take a leap of faith.

Schofield’s commitment was followed by 6-foot-4 guard Shembari Phillips, an athletic back court player with some range on his jumper.

Although some will scoff at head coach Donnie Tyndall not landing a top-100 player in his first class, this is a weak class nationally and there aren’t as many difference-making players in the top 100 as usual. For Tyndall to get a pair of wings that he likes and feels comfortable with in his system — to go along with the players he recruited in the 2014 class in the spring — is not necessarily a bad start.

Tennessee has one more scholarship to give in 2015 but could have more available spots if players decide to leave the program. When you consider that Memphis transfer Dominic Woodson is also apart of this incoming group then Tennessee has three guys that could contribute in the SEC.

Nebraska gets its point guard

As has been stated numerous times on CBT, there just aren’t many good guards in the 2015 class, especially high-quality, pass-first point guards.

Which makes Nebraska’s verbal commitment from Illinois native and point guard Glynn Watson a big deal. The Cornhuskers and head coach Tim Miles are capitalizing on last season’s success and the hype surrounding their always-sold-out Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Now with a legitimate top-100 player and quality point guard in the mix, Miles and the Nebraska staff can sell other players in the 2015 class on playing with a guard that will make them better. The Cornhuskers winning games last year might have caught some people by surprise, but their success on the recruiting trail this year shouldn’t come as any sort of shock.

Miles knows how to land quality players and his charisma and all of the positives that Nebraska has to offer — a great arena, fan base and the Big Ten — are great selling points to recruits. Look for Nebraska to maintain some recruiting momentum heading into this season.

Four-star prospect to announce on Friday

Four-star guard Haanif Cheatham is scheduled to announce his decision on Friday at Pembroke Pines Charter in Florida.

The 6-foot-5 guard is the No. 68 overall prospect in Rivals‘ 2015 rankings and has Cal, Wichita State, Florida State, Georgia, Marquette, and Georgetown in his final six.

Cheatham has taken recent official visits to Cal and Marquette and the Golden Eagles are considered the favorite in this race at the moment.

Missouri lands No. 1 player in Class of 2017 as Michael Porter Jr. commits

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Missouri and new head coach Cuonzo Martin have landed the No. 1 player in the Class of 2017 a week after he took the job as forward Michael Porter Jr. committed to the Tigers on Friday.

Formerly a Washington commit under now-fired head coach Lorenzo Romar, the 6-foot-9 Porter was released from his Letter of Intent this week and many believed he’d end up back at Missouri.

The Porter family lived in Columbia for many years as two of Michael’s older sisters play for the Missouri women’s team while Michael Porter Sr. was an assistant coach for the women’s team.

When Porter Sr. was hired to Missouri to be an assistant coach on Martin’s staff this week — after losing his assistant coaching job at Washington when Romar was fired — it all but sealed the deal that the Porters would return to Missouri and Michael Jr. would play for the Tigers.

Missouri might not be an NCAA Tournament team next season after struggling to an 8-24 finish and 2-16 record in the SEC. But Porter might be the most productive freshman entering college basketball next season as he has a chance to be dominant in the SEC.

Oklahoma State promotes assistant coach Mike Boynton to head coach

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Oklahoma State has decided to promote assistant coach Mike Boynton to head coach, the school announced on Friday.

Boynton was an assistant with the Cowboys under former head coach Brad Underwood, who left Oklahoma State to take the Illinois job last weekend. Also an assistant coach at Stephen F. Austin, South Carolina, Wofford and Coastal Carolina, Boynton is a native of New York City who played his college ball for the Gamecocks.

The hire of Boynton is surprising since he doesn’t have any head-coaching experience as it follows in the footsteps of Cal promoting assistant coach Wyking Jones earlier in the day. Boynton also notably won the job over broadcaster and former Oklahoma State guard Doug Gottlieb as Gottlieb interviewed for the job but wasn’t selected.

 

Rhode Island junior E.C. Matthews will return to school

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Rhode Island junior guard E.C. Matthews will return to school for his redshirt senior season, the school announced on Friday.

The 6-foot-5 Matthews led the Rams in scoring at 14.9 points per game this past season as he returned from a torn ACL and helped Rhode Island reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1999.

Besides for being a talented scorer, Matthews is a good overall playmaker for the Rams as he also put up 4.3 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game.

With Matthews returning, it gives head coach Dan Hurley a huge weapon for next season as Rhode Island returns everyone besides the senior front court of Hassan Martin and Kuran Iverson.

Cal promotes assistant Wyking Jones to head coach

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Cal will promote interim head coach and former assistant coach Wyking Jones to head coach, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. The story was first reported by Jon Rothstein of FanRagSports.com

A native of Inglewood, California, Jones has been an assistant coach for the Golden Bears for the past two seasons as he replaces former head coach Cuonzo Martin, who departed to take the Missouri job. This promotion comes as a bit of a surprise for some since Jones has never been a head coach at the Division I level.

Jones has spent 15 years as an assistant coach at the Division I level at places like Cal, Louisville, New Mexico, Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount — where Jones spent his playing career.

Helping Louisville to the Final Four in 2013, Jones is a respected coach and recruiter who gets a great opportunity for his first head coaching job at the Division I level with Cal.

The Golden Bears made the NCAA tournament last year but finished 21-13 this season as they missed making the field of 68. Sophomore big man Ivan Rabb has already declared for the NBA Draft and it will be interesting to see what kind of roster Jones gets to work with right away.

One of the reasons Jones might have been retained is to help Cal keep its solid five-man recruiting class from bolting. While the Golden Bears don’t have any five-star talents coming in, it is a solid foundation for the program’s future led by a four-star guard in Jemarl Baker.

Florida State freshman forward Jonathan Isaac declares for 2017 NBA Draft

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Florida State freshman forward Jonathan Isaac has declared for the 2017 NBA Draft.

The 6-foot-10 Isaac was a five-star prospect out of high school as he averaged 12.0 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. One of the most versatile defenders in the country, Isaac could protect the rim (1.5 blocks per game) and also switch out to the perimeter and cover smaller wings as well (1.2 steals per game). Also showing a solid skill level, Isaac shot 50 percent from the field, 34 percent from three-point range and 78 percent from the free-throw line.

That kind of versatility is what Isaac is banking on in the NBA Draft as he’s expected to be a top-15 pick. If Isaac can prove that he’s a reliable perimeter shooter then teams could be intrigued by him as a matchup nightmare in the front court.