recruiting roundup

Steve Lavin

CBT’s Recruiting Roundup: Brandon Sampson to St. John’s, four-star could reclassify, New Zealand native visits three

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(Under Armour)

Each week, College Basketball Talk’s Scott Phillips goes over some important news and notes in the world of college basketball recruiting. This week, four-star 2015 guard Brandon Sampson commits to St. John’s, 2016 four-star guard could reclassify and New Zealand big man Tai Wynyard takes three visits this week.

Brandon Sampson is huge for St. John’s

When Louisiana native Brandon Sampson gave his pledge to head coach Steve Lavin and St. John’s this week it signified a major grab for a program that has recently struggled to win big recruiting battles. As the No. 40 overall prospect and a talented 6-foot-4 shooting guard, Sampson is the kind of guard who can come in and play with Rysheed Jordan once D’Angelo Harrison, Jamal Branch and Phil Greene run out of eligibility after this season.

It also signifies that Lavin can still win major recruiting battles. Since landing junior Chris Obekpa, only sophomore Rysheed Jordan has been an impact the last two classes, with the Red Storm really struggling for depth right now.

Now with Sampson and three-star guard Samir Doughty, St. John’s is off to a nice start in 2015 and they can still add some more pieces in the next few months that will see the floor next season.

Four-star 2016 guard Bruce Brown could reclassify

Adding intrigue to recruiting this spring could be the reclassification of 2016 guard Bruce Brown to the 2015 class. One of the better scoring guards in the country, Brown can get rolling getting baskets with only a few touches and would make for another good guard, along with Kobie Eubanks, who have reclassified to 2015.

The news of Brown potentially reclassifying was first reported by‘s Evan Daniels and UConn could be in the picture right away. The No. 58 guard in the 2016 class is 6-foot-3 and also has offers from Boston College, UMass, Miami, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech and Indiana.

If Brown changes over to 2015, he would might not be the only member of his class to do so. There are rumors of others from the 2016 class looking to do the same like center Thon Maker or guard Jamal Murray. If some of those guys jump up a class, it would add a lot of high-end talent to college basketball next season.

International big man visits three schools

There’s been a lot of buzz about New Zealand native Tai Wynyard in the international basketball community the last 12 months and the Class of 2016 big man visited three schools within the last week. According to‘s Evan Daniels, Wynyard visited Kentucky, Villanova and Texas this week.

The 6-foot-9, 230-pound big man is supposed to be rapidly improving and very physically mature for a junior. It will be interesting to see how this recruitment plays out and if Wynyard plays in the United States at all this spring or summer before his senior season.

Along with La Lumiere big man Isaac Humphries, Wynyard is another intriguing international big man looking to play college basketball in America.

CBT’s Recruiting Roundup: Issac Humphries’ American debut, UNC involved with 2016 center, Jamal Murray’s big start

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Isaac Humphries (Getty Images)


Each Friday, College Basketball Talk’s Scott Phillips goes over some important news and notes in the world of college basketball recruiting. This week, the 2016 class is the main focus as big man Isaac Humphries is coming to America, a big man lands a North Carolina offer, and a Canadian guard is playing well.

Issac Humphries lands in America

Australian center Isaac Humphries made a splash at the U17 World Championships in Dubai this summer and he’s coming to the United States. A source told that Humphries will arrive in the United States today to debut with La Lumiere on Dec. 21 at the City of Palms Classic.

The 7-foot Class of 2016 center should make a major impact for La Lumiere and is also attracting a lot of college attention. Arizona, California, Duke, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, New Mexico, Oregon and UCLA have all been involved in recruiting Humphries the source told and Rivals as Humphries as the No. 26 overall player in the 2016 class.

Playing against American competition for the first time, we’ll have to see how Humphries fares and develops. He seems to welcome physical contact and is naturally big with active feet and hands, so his skill level should translate once he adapts to the speed of the American game. It will also factor in the type of competition he sees and how much he gets the ball and in what spots. His teammates will have to get comfortable with him as well.

But Humphries is one of the most exciting foreign big men to enter the high school basketball scene in some time and unlike Steven Adams, who was committed to Pitt when he went to Notre Dame Prep from New Zealand, Humphries has all of the nation’s elite college programs interested. This will be fun to track.

North Carolina gets involved with 2016 center

Whenever Roy Williams gets involved in a recruitment, you know things are getting serious. The North Carolina head coach watched a game of 2016 Florida center Tony Bradley with an assistant coach on Monday and called him later in the week and offered Bradley a scholarship, according to Evan Daniels of

Bradley is a 6-foot-10 center with scholarship offers from over 30 schools, according to Daniels’ story, but one from North Carolina always stands out and they’ll likely be major contenders along with Florida schools and Kansas. Other schools will certainly be involved as well, and Bradley is leaning towards deciding next fall or later.

Rivals rates Bradley as a four-star center and the No. 42 player in the 2016 class. Bradley broke out with a strong July live evaluation period and played well in Chicago the first week at adidas Unrivaled camp.

Jamal Murray is off to a big start

As a five-star guard and elite Class of 2016 prospect, Canadian guard Jamal Murray has a lot of expectations for the season. The 6-foot-3 guard went for 31 points in an Orangeville Prep win over Malik Newman and Jackson Callaway.

The No. 19 prospect in the 2016 class, according to Rivals, Murray is hitting tough pull-up jumpers and getting a lot of complicated baskets this high school season and looks like every bit of a five-star prospect. Murray mentioned to Rivals‘ Eric Bossi that Illinois, Louisville, Michigan and Michigan State have been involved, as well as many other schools.

He’ll be among a great crop of elite guards in 2016 to monitor in their junior seasons and one of the more intriguing long-term prospects because of his size and length as a point guard.

CBT’s Recruiting Roundup: Senior point guard, center emerging, Kobie Eubanks a hot name after opening up recruitment

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Each Friday, College Basketball Talk’s Scott Phillips goes over some important news and notes in the world of college basketball recruiting. This week, senior point guard Traci Carter’s emergence from injury, senior center Yankuba Sima is emerging at center after moving from Spain and Kobie Eubanks is a hot name after parting ways with Baylor in November.

Traci Carter comes on strong

With a limited amount of guards left in the 2015 class, New Jersey native and senior point guard Traci Carter has generated a lot of recent interest from high-major programs. The 6-foot guard from Burlington Life Center Academy missed the spring and summer grassroots circuit in front of scouts and college coaches because of a torn meniscus and he’s finally getting a lot of looks this fall now that he’s healthy.

Cal, Florida State, Louisville, Manhattan, Memphis, Providence and St. John’s have all been involved, according to a report from‘s Eric Bossi. Since a lot of programs still need guards for next season, it’s easy to see why Carter would get a lot of hype.

Upon seeing him this fall, Rivals bumped Carter up to four-star status and he’s almost assuredly in the next set of 2015 national rankings. This will be an interesting recruitment to track, since it’s starting very late.

Yankuba Sima emerges as new senior center to watch

A native of Spain, Yankuba Sima is turning heads in the prep school ranks this fall as a 6-foot-11 center playing at Arlington Country Day in Jacksonville. Sima has already put up some prolific defensive and rebound numbers with the Spanish national team in the U18 European Championships.

(Canarias Basketball Academy)

The senior led the event in rebounding at 12.1 per game and was second in blocks at 2.1 per game.

That kind of production and the ability to change the game inside has led to interest from Arizona, Auburn, Baylor, Louisville and Maryland, according to Evan Daniels of

If Sima is intent on playing college basketball, he could immediately help a program because of his size and ability to rebound. His offense might take some time to develop, and that could prevent him from playing major minutes initially, but if he can defend, he’ll get playing time and would be a nice, late pickup for some of these teams that need another big body.

Kobie Eubanks a hot name in recruiting since parting ways with Baylor

Since opening up his recruitment in late November, 2015 shooting guard Kobie Eubanks has been a hot name, with many schools calling and asking about the high-scoring 6-foot-5 wing.

According to Evan Daniels from, Boston College, Connecticut, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Iowa State, Louisville, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Oregon and Providence have all expressed interest in the Elev-8 guard.

With a complete scoring package and an extra year to refine moves and add strength, Eubanks is the perfect spring recruit for a high-major program looking for a guard that can give some punch. At the very least, Eubanks should probably be able to come in and score off the bench immediately.

CBT’s Recruiting Roundup: Arizona’s interior depth, Oklahoma gets rolling, another Memphis recruit reclassifies

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TJ Leaf (adidas)

Each Friday, College Basketball Talk’s Scott Phillips goes over some important news and notes in the world of college basketball recruiting. This week, Arizona continues to add interior depth, Oklahoma gets rolling in 2016 and Memphis has more commitments reclassifying.

Arizona continues to added talented forwards

When Arizona added five-star Class of 2016 forward T.J. Leaf on Wednesday, it gave the Wildcats another blue-chip talent, but it also stabilizes head coach Sean Miller’s depth at power forward for the foreseeable future. Leaf still has another two season of high school basketball before he begins his college career, but his pledge means that Arizona has a good feel for its interior depth the next few years.

Junior Brandon Ashley and freshman Craig Victor currently give Arizona a talented duo at the four, and if Ashley opts to leave early for the 2015 NBA Draft as some have speculated, then the Wildcats will still have depth without him. Boston College transfer Ryan Anderson is currently waiting in the wings as a redshirt and could fill in for Ashley in the starting lineup and Victor would be a valuable backup again as a sophomore.

Once Anderson leaves Tucson after his one season playing for the Wildcats, Victor would likely assume the starting power forward role and Leaf, a freshman, would be the stretch-shooting backup. Miller has to love the depth he has in place at this position the next few seasons. If that projection played out as I just laid it out — and injuries and players exceeding or failing expectations could certainly change that — then Miller would have an upperclassman starting at that position in three straight seasons with a talented underclassman backing him up.

Let’s focus more on Leaf for a second. With his skill level and ability to stretch the floor, he provides valuable additional shooting off the bench in his first season or two as he adjusts to the physicality of the college game. While many teams in the college game will space the floor at forward, Leaf’s 6-foot-10 size gives him an immediate advantage over his peers at the position.

Leaf will need to get a little tougher on the inside and become a more consistent rebounder, but he has two years to add strength and get more comfortable with his size before arriving in college. Arizona continues to roll on the recruiting trail and Leaf is a great start in the 2016 class.

Oklahoma lands a key piece in 2016

Lon Kruger has a lot of positive things going at Oklahoma right now. The Sooners are a trendy darkhorse Final Four pick and Oklahoma looks like it should be able to score points in bunches again this season. That on-court momentum has also translated to recent recruiting success as Kruger landed a commitment from Oregon native and four-star 2016 guard Payton Pritchard on Tuesday.

Adding Pritchard means that Kruger has another high-octane guard who can push tempo, create shots for himself or find others with the pass. Oklahoma now has the luxury of having a skilled guard in place to mold the next few seasons before Pritchard is asked to take over for Jordan Woodard.

Woodard should be a senior when Pritchard is a freshman and the two guards could spend time playing alongside each other and forming a potent scoring backcourt while Pritchard can also get points off of the bench.

This is a nice start to the 2016 class for Oklahoma, and as the No. 38 overall prospect in Rivals’ 2016 national rankings, this is the most highly-touted commitment Kruger has reeled in.

More Memphis reclassifying

Memphis has been all about reclassifying commitments this fall as the Tigers already had two different verbals move classes to balance things out a little better for the future. In a previous recruiting roundup, I went over Memphis putting Dedric Lawson with his brother K.J. in the 2015 class and former 2015 center Nick Marshall moving to the 2016 class.

Now, the Tigers are at it again, as guard Randall Broddie is moving back up to the 2015 class from the 2016 class, according to Evan Daniels of Given the early-season struggles for Memphis with its guard play, this really comes as no surprise.

Broddie is a combo guard capable of scoring or doing a little bit of distributing and he’ll at least push the competition level at guard next season if he isn’t ready to come in and play major minutes right away. Josh Pastner has done a lot of tweaking with this 2015 class, but based on his team’s slow start, it’s become apparent that he needs a shot in the arm on the perimeter and this next group should bring some help.

CBT’s Recruiting Roundup: The impact from this week’s Signing Week commitments

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Kentucky commit Skal Labissiere (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, a look back on the impact of Thursday’s four top-100 commitments.

Kentucky keeps the five-star ball rolling

John Calipari certainly knows how to land impact recruits. The Kentucky head coach recruits multiple five-star prospects every season, and on Thursday, that trend continued as the Wildcats landed commitments from five-star big man Skal Labissiere and five-star point guard Isaiah Briscoe.

The commitments of Labissiere and Briscoe are significant for Kentucky not just because these are future pros and tremendous basketball players, but now the 2015 class is beginning to take shape for Calipari. With Briscoe, Labissiere and four-star guard Charles Matthews committed, Calipari can focus more of his recruiting efforts on filling out that 2015 class with even more potential five-star talent while also spending more time monitoring younger classes of players.

It’s also attractive to unsigned recruits knowing that arguably the nation’s top point guard in the 2015 class, Briscoe, will give Kentucky another good guard who can distribute and get things done with the ball in his hands. Briscoe is big enough to play alongside Tyler Ulis next season — assuming the Harrison twins declare for the 2015 NBA Draft — but he can also take the reigns by himself and get into the paint whenever he wants. If Calipari opts for platoons again next season like he’s currently doing with his team, he could even have Ulis on one team and Briscoe on the other. The amount of talent that Kentucky has on its roster gives them tremendous line-up flexibility going forward and that’s a good problem to have for Calipari.

source: AP
Isaiah Briscoe

The murky situation of Labissiere’s recruitment probably affects Kentucky the least of any of the potential schools that could have landed the Haitian big man. While the NCAA will surely investigate Labissiere’s current prep school situation and the motives of his legal guardian, Gerald Hamilton, Kentucky already has an insane amount of front-court depth on its roster and it wouldn’t hurt them nearly as much as other programs if Skal never played a game of college basketball.

Kentucky has also dealt with situations like this before. Enes Kanter never played a game at Kentucky but spent a season in school before going to the NBA and Anthony Davis was in the news for a report that his recruitment might have had improper benefits but that obviously never changed anything about his future at Kentucky. Nerlens Noel also faced questions concerning his eligibility, but those concerns ultimately didn’t impact his status.

Kanter obviously didn’t help Kentucky on the floor, but Davis helped lead Calipari to his only national championship and nobody seems to remember — or care — about the Davis or Noel allegations since they were both cleared by the NCAA and played only one season in Lexington before turning pro.

We won’t know about the future of Skal Labissiere until many months from now, but Kentucky has gotten through situations like this in the past and they’ll be fine going forward with or without the five-star forward.

UNLV pulls in a talented four-star wing

Kentucky was the big winner of Thursday’s commitment spree, but UNLV had to be pleased to land a commitment from four-star forward Derrick Jones.

The Philadelphia native took a visit to campus and felt comfortable enough to end things for the Runnin’ Rebels and now Dave Rice has a potential replacement for some playing time if UNLV freshman Rashad Vaughn has a big season and declares for the Draft.

UNLV commit Derrick Jones (Kelly Kline/Under Armour)

Vaughn and the 6-foot-7 Jones are different players with different skills, but Jones has outstanding run-and-jump athleticism and he should thrive in that uptempo system in Las Vegas.

If he can become more consistent with his jumper and ball handling, Jones could see himself potentially in the starting line-up next season, if certain pieces like Vaughn don’t return. Coupled with four-star guard Jalen Poyser, UNLV has a lot more quality talent coming to the desert.

VCU makes a statement with Tevin Mack’s commitment

Many fans and media have questioned Shaka Smart’s decision to stay at VCU after turning down so many high-profile jobs the last few offseasons.

But Smart has CBT‘s No. 13 ranked team in the 2014-15 preseason and has now won the services of two four-star recruits this fall by defeating former national championship-winning head coaches.

Tevin Mack and Jordan Murphy’s commitments to the Rams on Thursday is the latest bit of good news. The late chatter had UConn and VCU battling it out for Mack, the four-star wing from Columbia, South Carolina, but Smart ultimately won out and defeated the defending national champs in an important recruitment.

The 6-foot-6 Mack and 6-foot-7 Murphy join 6-foot-3 guard Kenny Williams in VCU’s 2015 class and the trio gives Smart plenty of firepower from the perimeter. Mack and Williams are both known as deep threats while Murphy can put the ball on the floor and attack the basket.

VCU had to outlast North Carolina to land Williams and UConn to land Mack and Smart is proving to be one of the better recruiters in the country, regardless of conference affiliation.

CBT’s Recruiting Roundup: Pair of South Carolina prospects and Skal Labissiere, Isaiah Briscoe set decision dates

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Skal Labissiere (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, a pair of standouts from South Carolina set announcement dates, and Skal Labissiere and Isaiah Briscoe to announce this week.

Perry Dozier sets an announcement

One of the best guards in the country — and best uncommitted players — is committing on the first day of the November signing period on Wednesday. Four-star guard Perry Dozier will decide between Georgetown, Louisville, Michigan, North Carolina and South Carolina, Rivals’ Eric Bossi confirmed..

The No. 34 player in the class, according to Rivals, hails from Spring Valley High School in Columbia, South Carolina and many view the Gamecocks as strong contenders along with Louisville for the 6-foot-6 guard who can run some point or play off the ball.

Dozier took official visits to all five programs, but Louisville was the last visit among his stops. South Carolina and head coach Frank Martin have made a hard push for Dozier to stay home and play alongside Tevin Mack. His commitment will be a major shakeup on signing day either way.

Tevin Mack will also decide this week

Speaking of Mack, the four-star guard and No. 77 prospect in the 2015 class will decide on Tuesday as he chooses between Clemson, Georgia, South Carolina, UConn and VCU.

The 6-foot-6 scoring wing is also from Columbia, South Carolina, but attends Dreher High School. Mack, like Dozier, took all five official visits during the recruiting process and took the last visit to South Carolina. According to Rivals‘ Eric Bossi, Mack also took a visit to a South Carolina practice last week, as well, so the Gamecocks have some momentum here.

Mack isn’t a major difference-maker like Dozier could be almost immediately, but he’s still a really coveted piece who could be a valuable role player early on. Mack’s potential decision this week will be important as well.

Isaiah Briscoe and Skal Labissiere to decide on Thursday

According to a release from ESPN, a pair of five-star prospects will announce their college decision on Thursday.

As the No. 4 overall player in the 2015 class, and a prospect with some of the best upside, Labissiere will be an intriguing announcement for a number of reasons. For one, the 6-foot-11 native of Haiti was recently linked to a new prep school created by his legal guardian to play his senior season.

Baylor, Georgetown, Kentucky, Memphis, North Carolina, and Tennessee are still involved in the recruitment, according to the ESPN release and there are more questions than answers surrounding the big man’s future. Will he qualify academically? Will Skal go and play professionally overseas for a year?

Meanwhile, Briscoe, the No. 9 overall player in the 2015 class, is down to UConn, Kentucky and St. John’s. Kentucky and St. John’s are the two leaders in the clubhouse for the nation’s best point guard prospect.

The 6-foot-3 New Jersey native is a major playmaker as a passer or a scorer and would be a major impact in a class that doesn’t have many guards.

If Kentucky is somehow able to land both Briscoe and Labissiere, then John Calipari would be off to a great start in another class and has more potential one-and-done NBA prospects.

It should be an exciting week on the recruiting trail with so many marquee players making choices.