Tag: Chris Clarke

Kelly Kline (Under Armour)

CBT’s Recruiting Roundup: Chris Clarke flips his commitment, Rutgers adds a wing

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source: AP
Buzz Williams (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, Chris Clarke flips his commitment, Rutgers adds a wing to developing class and Western Kentucky picks up a steady performer.

Chris Clarke flips his commitment

This sort of thing doesn’t happen very often in basketball recruiting. On Thursday, Chris Clarke, a four-star Class of 2015 small forward, flipped his commitment from Tennessee to Virginia Tech in the wake of the NCAA investigation and concerns involving Tennessee head coach Donnie Tyndall.

Clarke is from Virginia and is opting to play closer to home, but it looks like that this sort of move was in the works for some time. The timing was just too convenient for Clarke to find a new school when the allegations just came to light against Southern Miss under the reign of Tyndall. Clarke isn’t signed to any Letter of Intent, so this is perfectly legal, but the public doesn’t often hear about other schools trying to speak to — or even actively recruit — kids who are committed.

The Virginia Beach native is the No. 59 prospect in the 2015 class, according to Rivals, and at 6-foot-6, his activity makes a huge difference on the floor and should mean a lot for the way Buzz Williams like to play ball. Clarke had already taken an official visit to Virginia Tech in late September, so he was familiar with the program, and decided that staying closer to home and playing for Buzz Williams was the better option.

Rutgers lands a wing

Rutgers and head coach Eddie Jordan needed quantity over quality when they recruited the 2014 class. But the Scarlet Knights have used the 2015 class to focus on some better prospects with more time to observe and form relationships with the class over time. Four-star guard Corey Sanders was a quality grab for Jordan and now Sanders has a running mate in 6-foot-6 three-star wing Kejuan Johnson.

Sanders and Johnson give Jordan two quality athletes for Big Ten play and both are physical enough to hang in the league. Jordan had to turn over that roster quickly and he’s done all that he can to put new players are seniors Myles Mack and Kadeem Jack this season. But next season, those two guys are gone and Sanders and Johnson will help replace those two players.

It’s going to be tough to replace two very good players, but that’s what Jordan has to do in order to rebuild this program. Rutgers still needs a lot more talent to compete for postseason bids, but this is a start.

Western Kentucky lands a solid guard

Quietly doing a nice job on the recruiting trail the last few years has been Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers continued this stretch this week with the commitment of three-star guard Marlon Hunter. The 6-foot-2 Hunter ran with the Arkansas Wings in the EYBL and showed flashes of promise while averaging 13 points, 4 rebounds and 3 steals per game on 47 percent shooting.

If Hunter can improve his perimeter shot, he can be a versatile, all-around guard for Western Kentucky, and as it is, he could crack the rotation early because he can be an impact on the defensive side of the ball.

Combined with three-star point guard Chris McNeal and this is a nice backcourt tandem for Western Kentucky in this class. The Hilltoppers have had their fair share of good guards over the years and they’re hoping that McNeal and Hunter can be the next tandem.

CBT’s Recruiting Roundup: UCF lands a unique center, Tennessee’s impact wing, Saint Louis gets rising center

Kelly Kline (Under Armour)
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Chris Clarke (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, Central Florida lands a unique center, Tennessee gets an impact wing and Saint Louis grabs a rising center.

Central Florida lands a unique center

After a poor first season in the American that saw them go 13-18 and 4-14 in the league, head coach Donnie Jones needed an influx of talent at UCF.

This week, Jones picked up a unique three-star center to join a solid four-man class in 2015. Tacko Fall, a 7-foot-5 center pledged to the Knights earlier this week and his massive size means UCF can throw a different defensive look out on the floor for a few minutes a game.

Due to his massive size, Fall doesn’t move the best from end to end, but he does present a major vertical threat as a rim defender. Just ask defenders who faced E1T1 in the EYBL when Fall was under the rim: he makes it challenging down there because you don’t see that kind of size very often.

Putting Fall under the basket in a zone for a few minutes of game should help the defense, especially holding a lead and slowing the game down.

Fall joins three-star prospect Chad Brown, sharpshooter Chance McSpadden and JuCo transfer Tanksley Efianayi in UCF’s 2015 class and they should get some wins in the American if everything goes right.

Tennessee gets an impact wing and a winner

Donnie Tyndall hasn’t gotten people fired up about his landing some three-star prospects in the 2015 class — and they’re good players who should contribute — but landing four-star wing Chris Clarke is a great grab for Tennessee. The Volunteers beat UConn, Creighton and Virginia Tech for one of the highest motored players in the 2015 class.

Clarke helped lead EYBL member Boo Williams to a lot of success and wins this past grassroots season and his effort on the defensive end is contagious to others on the floor. CBT‘s Rob Dauster made mention of Clarke comparing effort-wise to a player Tyndall helped put in the NBA in his former Morehead State star Kenneth Faried. They’re different positions, like Rob mentions, but it’s the same kind of hustle plays that separates them from their peers.

Getting a player like Clarke is a recruiting win because players want to play with high-energy guys who making winning plays like Clarke. This is a really nice win for Donnie Tyndall.

The Volunteers now own commitments from Clarke, the No. 59 player in the 2015 class, three-star 6-foot-4 shooting guard Shembari Phillips and three-star wing forward Admiral Schofield.

Saint Louis lands a rising center

Matt Neufeld had a strong July live evaluation period and garnered high-major scholarship offers from all over the country. The 6-foot-10 Neufeld is doing a postgrad year and grabbed scholarship offers from Saint Louis, St. Mary’s, Colorado and Clemson.

After narrowing his focus to the Billikens and St. Mary’s, Neufeld received a call from Duke, according to Scout.com‘s Evan Daniels, but ultimately chose Saint Louis because of his strong relationship with the coaching staff.

Landing the three-star center is a nice grab for the Billikens, who need some big bodies to compete with some strong incoming forwards at other A-10 programs like VCU.

Tennessee beats out UConn, Virginia Tech for key four-star recruit

Kelly Kline (Under Armour)
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Tennessee landed a commitment from four-star wing Chris Clarke on Thursday afternoon.

Clarke, who stands 6-foot-6, is ranked as the No. 71 overall recruit in the Class of 2015 according to Scout.com, and while he’s not a program-changing talent, this is a key pickup for new Vols head coach Donnie Tyndall.

Since Tyndall took over for Cuonzo Martin, he’s done an excellent job and bringing players into the program in the form of transfers, JuCo kids and late commits. What he needs now is an infusion of talent capable of turning Tennessee into a top 25 team.

Clarke is that kind of a player. The teams that Tyndall beat out for this commitment? Reigning national champ UConn and Virginia Tech, which is an in-state school for Clarke and coached by Buzz Williams. Creighton was also in the mix as well.

Clarke is the prototype Donnie Tyndall recruit. You may not find a player in the country that plays harder or is more competitive than he is. Remember, when Tyndall was at Morehead State, he sent Kenneth Faried to the NBA. I’m not saying Clarke is going to be the next Faried — he’s smaller and more of a wing than Faried was — but he plays with than same motor, that same edge. As he adds a jump shot and becomes a better ball-handler, he’ll be a very good player for this system in the SEC.