With the loss of all-conference forward Jalen Jones, Texas A&M was in a position where they could afford to add another front court body alongside the likes of Tyler Davis and Tonny Trocha-Morelos. Thursday afternoon head coach Billy Kennedy and his staff managed to do just that, as 6-foot-9 forward Eric Martinez Vila made his pledge to the SEC program.
News of Vila’s commitment was first reported by TexAgs.com, and the FC Barcelona Lassa (that’s the club’s basketball program) product took visits to Texas A&M, Missouri and Wake Forest earlier this spring. Vila’s viewed as more of a combo forward, with the ability to step away from the basket and hit perimeter shots, giving the Aggies some added versatility in the front court.
Vila has plenty of experience playing for both FC Barcelona’s B team (however he did appear with the A-team during the 2014-15 season), and he represented Spain in the 2014 FIBA U16 EuroBasket and 2015 FIBA U18 EuroBasket events. Vila is the fifth member of Texas A&M’s 2016 class, joining guards J.J. Caldwell and J.C. Hampton, wing DeShawn Corprew and forward Robert Williams.
With Willie Atwood and Savon Goodman among the departures from last season’s team, Arizona State was in a position where they could use another front court option in 2016-17. NBCSports.com confirmed Thursday night that Bobby Hurley and his staff added help in the form of 6-foot-9 forward Romello White, who during the course of his recruitment made pledges to Tennessee (verbal) and Georgia Tech (signed).
With Georgia Tech firing Brian Gregory the Marietta (Georgia) Wheeler product was released from his National Letter of Intent, ultimately landing with the Sun Devils. White joins fellow front court prospects Vitaly Shibel and Jethro Tshisumpa, and wing Sam Cunliffe in Arizona State’s 2016 recruiting haul.
And with rising senior Obinna Oleka being Arizona State’s most experienced returnee in the front court, the newcomers have a good shot at earning immediate minutes.
White’s ranked 87th in the Class of 2016 by Rivals.com, with Cunliffe (36th) also a top 100 prospect and Tshisumpa (110th) just outside. Given the number of departures at the end of last season, and multiple conference foes reeling highly regarded classes of their own, this quartet represents an important haul for Arizona State.
News of White’s commitment was first reported by Scout.com.
With McDonald’s All-American Markelle Fultz and center Sam Timmins having signed, Washington added a third player to its 2016 recruiting class Thursday evening in the form of guard Carlos Johnson. News of Johnson’s signing with Washington was announced by the school.
As he’d already signed a National Letter of Intent with UNLV, Johnson only signed the grant-in-aid with Washington. The rule is that prospects are only allowed to sign one NLI during the recruiting process (there’s no such rule for the grant-in-aid agreement).
Johnson attended Findlay Prep, and with his skill and athleticism should make for a good fit for the uptempo style that Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar prefers. His addition gives the Huskies another piece on the perimeter, with the team having lost guards Andrew Andrews (graduation) and Dejounte Murray (NBA Draft early entrant) at the end of last season.
Johnson joins a backcourt that’s expected to be led by Fultz, with sophomore David Crisp also in line for minutes. On the wing the Huskies welcome back three options from a season ago, including rising sophomore Mathysse Thybulle. With Johnson’s ability to play either the two or the three, Washington has another versatile option to call upon on the perimeter.
In addition to the three freshmen, Washington will also add Auburn transfer Matthew Atewe to the mix next season. The 6-foot-8 power forward sat out last season per NCAA transfer rules.
With point guard and Big East tournament Most Outstanding Player Isaiah Whitehead due to announce his decision regarding the NBA Draft on Thursday, Seton Hall is still awaiting news that will have a significant impact on their 2016-17 season. But the wait for Whitehead’s decision doesn’t mean that the Pirates aren’t looking to bolster other areas of their roster either.
Monday night Kevin Willard and his staff received a commitment from one of the better available guards, as 6-foot-2 guard Eron Gordon has committed to the program. Gordon, the younger brother of Eric (Indiana) and Evan (Liberty, Arizona State and Indiana), is a Rivals Top 150 prospect who joins Myles Powell in Seton Hall’s 2016 class to date. Considered by many as a scoring guard, Gordon gives Seton Hall another player to throw into the competition for minutes along with Powell and junior Khadeen Carrington (they also have Desi Rodriguez on the wing).
But just how good the perimeter rotation will be next season hinges on the decision of Whitehead. Should Isaiah return for his junior year, Seton Hall will have one of the nation’s best point guards running the show. But if he decides that it’s time to move on to the professional ranks, Seton Hall will have a major question to answer at the point.
Gordon may not be the last pickup on the recruiting trail this spring for the Pirates, as they’re also still in the running for 2016 forward Taurean Thompson, who earlier this month was reportedly down to Seton Hall, Syracuse and Michigan State.
After a relatively quiet fall recruiting period, Arizona’s managed to reel in a host of highly regarded recruits this spring. Sunday, Sean Miller and his staff landed another commitment, as Hutchinson CC forward Keanu Pinder committed to the Pac-12 program. Pinder, a native of Australia who previously made commitments to Nebraska and New Mexico, visited Arizona recently and also took a trip to NC State this spring.
The 6-foot-8 Pinder averaged 10.2 points and 6.9 rebounds per game at Hutchinson this season, and he was one of four double-digit scorers on a team that won 32 games and reached the title game of the NJCAA Division I tournament.
Pinder is the seventh newcomer in Arizona’s 2016 class, with UNC Asheville transfer Dylan Smith being the lone addition who will not be available to play next season. On the perimeter the Wildcats reloaded with Kobi Simmons, Rawle Alkins, Terrance Ferguson and Talbott Denny, with Denny being immediately eligible after transferring in from Lipscomb.
And in the front court Pinder joins power forward Lauri Markkanen, with redshirt freshman Ray Smith ready to go after sitting out all of last season with a torn ACL. Pinder and Markannen are important in that they provide needed skill and depth to a front court that returns Smith, Dusan Ristic and Chance Commanche from last season’s team.
News of Pinder’s commitment was first reported by JucoRecruiting.com.
N.C. State added a very intriguing piece to its Class of 2016 on Monday as Turkish star forward Omer Yurtseven has signed with the Wolfpack, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com.
Scout.com’s Evan Daniels has said that Yurtseven would have been the equivalent of a top-10 prospect in the Class of 2016, and in a loaded class like this, that is really saying something.
The 7-foot-0 240-pound center is skilled in pick-and-roll settings and could be a potentially devastating duo along with freshman point guard Dennis Smith. The Wolfpack now have two legitimate five-star talents in this freshman class and will be an intriguing team to watch in the ACC this season.
Yurtseven has played with the Turkish club Fenerbahce the last few years as he’s been a known prospect in Europe since he was a teenager.