Tyler Davis

ACC Basketball Tournament: Florida State v North Carolina

College Basketball Talk’s Recruiting Roundup

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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, Florida State’s big weekend, Texas A&M continues momentum and can Tom Crean and Indiana pull together a solid recruiting class?

Florida State basketball puts together a huge weekend

Florida State is fresh off of a national championship on the football field and many fans of college athletics wouldn’t associate the school with having a strong basketball program.

But Leonard Hamilton made major waves in the college basketball world over the weekend by landing two high-level wings in Georgia native Malik Beasley and in-state five-star wing Dwayne Bacon. When you couple those two with previous Florida State 2015 wing commit Terance Mann, the Seminoles have the makings of a class that competes with ACC juggernauts like Duke, North Carolina and Louisville.

Bacon, Beasley and Mann all do different things well and when you add a shooter like Xavier Rathan-Mayes to the equation, then the Seminoles have the makings of a fantastic dearth of wing talent for years to come.

Now, can the Seminoles keep the recruiting momentum going by adding an elite point guard or big man with this group in the next year or two? That remains to be seen, but recruits absolutely notice Florida State’s athletic department thriving and basketball should be a sport that is included in that equation.

But if Florida State wants to annually compete with the big boys of the ACC they’ll still need to add a high-level floor general to get those wings the ball and a post presence that can make Leonard Hamilton’s free-flowing offense tough to stop. The wings are a start, and give Florida State a lot of playmaking talent, but they need to keep going if they want to win championships on the hardwood.

Texas A&M continues to pull in talented players

Billy Kennedy and Texas A&M continued its Texas Titans-to-A&M pipeline over the weekend with the commitment of four-star small forward and perimeter shooting threat D.J. Hogg.

The addition of Hogg and Tyler Davis in the 2015 class goes along with Texas Titans guards Avery Johnson Jr. and Alex Robinson in the previous class. Simply put, this is one of the biggest grassroots-to-college pipelines we’ve seen in quite some time and other recruits are starting to notice the influx of talent as well.

Prized five-star guard Malik Newman — not a member of the Texas Titans, but from Mississippi — has scheduled his first official visit to Texas A&M, according to Courtney Cronin of the Clarion-Ledger, and the Aggies also remain in the mix for Titans wing and former Ohio State commit Mickey Mitchell.

Despite resurgent 2013-14 campaigns from in-state rivals Texas and SMU, the Aggies have built recruiting momentum in Texas, and elsewhere, using in-state connections and the hard work of assistant coaches Kyle Keller, Rick Stansbury and Amir Abdur-Rahim.

Texas A&M is already off to a great start in 2015 and more important commitments could be on the way.

Can Indiana put together a strong class?

Indiana and head coach Tom Crean aren’t in the mix with many elite five-star prospects in the 2015 class, but can the Hoosiers still piece together a good group?

That’s what Hoosier fans are hoping for and a big piece of that equation will come on Wednesday when four-star forward Juwan Morgan decides between Indiana and Vanderbilt.

Although Crean and his staff aren’t involved with many All-American candidates, in-part because Indiana’s high school prospects are a bit down in 2015, Crean has still done plenty of good things with under-the-radar prospects that he later develops.

During both his time at Marquette and Indiana, Crean has developed guys like Dwyane Wade and Victor Oladipo from under-recruited prospects into NBA lottery picks. That’s not to say Crean and Indiana will work that sort of magic with this 2015 class, but it goes to show that talent development is a big part of what Indiana can accomplish.

If Indiana ends up with Mokan teammates Morgan and Shake Milton, the Hoosiers are getting two players that helped lead that program to Peach Jam while each player had a strong spring and summer.

They might not be the All-Americans that Indiana fans are craving, but Crean has shown that he can still win a lot of games without those types of recruits.

Top 50 small forward verbally commits to Texas A&M

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Having already received a verbal commitment from 2015 four-star center Tyler Davis, Texas A&M head coach Billy Kennedy managed to land another product of the Texas Titans program Sunday afternoon.

6-foot-7 small forward DJ Hogg, considered by scouts to be one of the best shooters in the Class of 2015, announced his decision to become an Aggie via his Twitter account Sunday afternoon. Hogg’s decision comes just after his official visit to Texas A&M, and Davis was also in attendance over the weekend. In Rivals‘ 2015 rankings, Hogg is currently 32nd in the class with Davis five spots ahead of him at 27th.

RELATED: The Texas Titans-to-Texas A&M pipeline has been good for the Aggies

As a junior at Plano West HS in Plano, Texas, Hogg averaged 20.1 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.6 blocked shots and 2.3 assists per game. During Nike EYBL play with the Titans Hogg averaged 15.6 points and 3.7 rebounds per game, shooting 45 percent from the field and 38 percent from three-point range.

When Hogg arrives on campus he’ll join an experienced group of wings, including Antwan Space, Davante Fitzgerald and Houston transfer Danuel House, and he’ll have the opportunity to earn playing time upon his arrival when considering the Aggies’ offensive struggles in 2013-14. Texas A&M finished last season with just one player averaging double figures (House will help them offensively when he becomes eligible), and they ranked 13th in the SEC in scoring offense and 12th in field goal percentage.

Hogg becomes Texas A&M’s second commitment in the Class of 2015, and the 2014 and 2015 classes could be critical for Kennedy’s program if Texas A&M can take advantage of the momentum gained. In Kennedy’s first three seasons in College Station the Aggies have yet to reach the NCAA tournament, but with Kennedy having recently received a contract extension the athletic director feels that the program is moving in the right direction.

Texas A&M’s work on the recruiting trail of late certainly backs that up. The next step: making a similar progression on the court.

College Basketball Talk’s Recruiting Roundup

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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.

Four-star 2015 center Tyler Davis loses weight to transform game

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Tyler Davis is on the cusp of being among the Class of 2015’s best big men. The native of Plano, Texas had a strong showing this July and in a class that is filled with five-star front-court players, Davis is sitting right in the next tier of players.

But after multiple big games at Peach Jam, Davis might be in the discussion thanks to his soft hands, developing post game and a good feel for the game. It also doesn’t hurt that the 6-foot-10 big man has put in a tremendous amount of work re-shaping his body with trainers from his Texas Titans grassroots program.

“I’ve lost about 70 pounds. We’ve got a great trainer on the Titans. And he just got on me and got my eating habits right and helped me put in a workout plan and get in the gym a lot more and work out every day,” Davis told NBCSports.com. “Spending more time in the gym obviously is going to help your play. So that’s helped me raise my level of play. The Titans, they have great coaches all around so they help me a lot.”

The work that Davis has put into the gym has definitely paid off. Elite schools from across the country are reaching out to Davis and right now he’s honing in on some visits that he would like to take. Davis mentioned, however, that with July being a focus for him that recruiting would come more into focus this month.

“I’ve been really focused on my game. I’ve had the Peach Jam and LeBron James Academy and Big Man Academy, so I haven’t really had time to talk it over with my family with what’s going on, but after July I’ll be sure to take the time to get that done,” Davis said. “My two biggest [offers] are Kansas and Arizona but I have Baylor, SMU; I’m open to everybody right now. I’ll focus on the recruiting stuff in August.”

Davis mentioned to NBCSports.com that Arizona and Kansas would likely receive official visits from him and he likes the way both programs use their big men. With both programs having recent pro-level talents playing in the front court, it’s easy to see why.

“Just the way they use their bigs. The high-low, obviously [at Kansas.] At Arizona, their bigs do everything, they have a complete offense, so that intrigues me,” Davis said. “College this year I watched Joel Embiid a lot. I watched how they worked with him. That was one big thing.”

MORE: Quotables Part I | Part II | Part III | All content from the 2014 July Live Period

Besides monitoring how certain programs use their big men, Davis is also focusing on some other factors in his recruitment as he has a couple of other things he’s looking for.

“Development, a great coaching staff and I want to have a good relationship with the coaches that are there,” Davis said. “And also, win. I want to win some games in college and possibly move on to the next level.”

Currently a four-star prospect, Davis said that he doesn’t pay too much attention to rankings, although he’s confident in his game and doesn’t shy away from playing big-name players. Rivals currently has Davis as the No. 35 overall player in the Class of 2015.

“Rankings, to me, don’t really mean anything. Whoever they think is up there, that’s fine. As long as I play my game and work hard. I think I can go somewhere,” Davis said. “I think I’m one of the best bigs in the country. So I just keep playing and if I play one of them, we’re going to go at it.”

July Live Period Week Two Superlatives

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The second July Live Period came to an end on Sunday. Scott Phillips and I were in Georgia for the Under Armour Finals and the Nike Peach Jam. Here are our awards from the week:

MORE: Week one superlatives

PLAYER OF THE WEEK:

  • Ben Simmons: With his performance at Peach Jam, Simmons proved he’s the No. 1 player in the 2015 class. He passes well with both hands, attacks the rim with either hand and has great handles. He also defends laterally pretty well and rebounds and pushes tempo. If his perimeter jumper improves, look out. (SP)
  • Isaiah Briscoe: Simmons is the best prospect in the Class of 2015, but Briscoe was the best player this week. He averaged 22.4 points — second best at Peach Jam only to Allonzo Trier — and 3.8 assists while leading the Playaz to a title. (RD)

BEST PROSPECT:

  • Jayson Tatum: This is currently a tough category to fill, since I saw so many elite 2015 and 2016 prospects this week, but with Tatum’s skill level and size, it’s easy to see why some have him at No. 1 in 2016. While Josh Jackson and Malik Monk were up-and-down this week and Harry Giles is still recovering from his knee injury, Tatum kept on chugging along and putting up great numbers. (SP)
  • Ben Simmons: I think I actually agree with Scott here, but in the interest of differing opinions I’ll go with Simmons. The 6-foot-8 forward certified himself as the best player in the class in North Augusta. (RD)

MOREQuotables Part I | Part II | Part III | All content from the 2014 July Live Period

MOST UNDERRATED RECRUIT:

  • Quinndary Weatherspoon: A borderline top 100 recruit, the 6-foot-5 Weatherspoon put on a pair of scoring displays at Peach Jam. He can be a bit inconsistent, but any high-major program that needs perimeter firepower should be tracking this kid.
  • Levan Alston: The 2015 guard from Team Final is tough on both ends of the floor and a fiery competitor. Coming in just outside of Rivals top 100, I’ve seen a lot of guards ranked ahead of him that I wouldn’t take over him.

NON-TOP 150 SLEEPER:

  • Braxton Beverly: A 2016 point guard from Hazard, Ky., Beverly was terrific at Peach Jam. He finished third in the tournament in assists while protecting the ball and showing he could his a three-pointer with time and space. He’s tough, too. I saw him fight through a sprained ankle to beat Mac Irvin Fire with three driving buckets in the final five minutes. (RD)
  • Jalen Poyser: The CIA Bounce 6-foot-4 Class of 2015 guard surpassed his EYBL high scoring mark twice at Peach Jam and had multiple productive outings in the event. Multiple college coaches were intrigued by Poyser’s ability to attack and he has a natural smoothness about him. (SP)

RELATED: Peach Jam takeaways: ScottRob | UAA Finals takeaways

LEFT ME WANTING MORE:

  • Josh Jackson: It’s not that I wanted more out of Jackson’s talent, of which he has plenty, but I wanted to see the elite 2016 wing take better shots and use his passing more to set up teammates. The 6-foot-6 Jackson was benched during one game at the UAA Finals with five minutes left in a one-point game and that should never happen to an elite player. (SP)
  • DeAndre Ayton: Ayton is believed by some to be the best prospect is all of high school basketball, but the 6-foot-11 big man from the Class of 2017 is nothing more than a prospect at this point. He’s got terrific physical tools but the rest of his game still needs polishing. The good news? He’s got plenty of time. (RD)

BEST LEAD GUARD:

  • Jawun Evans: Since I already went with Briscoe as the Player of the Week, I’m going to mix it up at the lead guard spot, so it should come as no surprise to anyone that follows this site that I am picking Evans as the best lead guard from this week. The 5-foot-11 Texas native is, for my money, the best pure point guard in the Class of 2015, and he played that was in Atlanta for the UAA Finals. (RD)
  • Donovan Mitchell: There are better point guard prospects in the 2015 class, but nobody had a better week than Donovan Mitchell. Whether it was the elementary school day campers at Suwanee Sports Academy or national championship-winning head coaches, they all went nuts over Mitchell’s play this week. (SP)

BEST OFF-GUARD:

  • Malik Monk: The 40-point performance at Peach Jam was epic and once Monk gets more strength, he’ll be able to put up performances like this with more consistency. Sometimes Monk hunts highlights too often, and while the 2016 class is talented, I don’t see how Monk isn’t a top-5 player at this current juncture. (SP)
  • Allonzo Trier: Trier was the leading scorer at Peach Jam, averaging more than 30 points in the give games that he played, including the 42 that he put up while handing Briscoe and the Playaz their only loss of the event. Trier’s had a great spring and summer while shooting up the national rankings. (RD)

BEST WING FORWARD:

  • Jayson Tatum: The game just comes easy to Tatum. Although the 6-foot-8 wing was a man among boys playing in the 16U ranks at Peach Jam, you can still see he has all the necessary tools to be a star. (SP)
  • Ben Simmons: I see Simmons playing a role similar to that of Royce White at the collegiate level, which would make him more of a point forward than a wing forward. (RD)

BEST SHOOTER:

  • D.J. Hogg: There aren’t many great shooters in this class but Hogg can fill it up when he gets hot and he has a shooter’s mentality with good size at 6-foot-7. Once he gets in better shape, Hogg’s shot will be more consistent because right now. (SP)
  • Camron Justice: Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings was front and center while tracking his his commitment. The No. 136 recruit in the Class of 2015 shot very well throughout Peach Jam. (RD)

BEST LOW POST BIG:

  • Tyler Davis: Again, not the best prospect I saw as a low post player, but Davis was the most productive big man I saw last week. The 6-foot-10 Davis is impossible to move off the block, owns a good set of hands and has improving footwork and counter moves in the post. He’s right on the cusp of elite status. (SP)
  • Diamond Stone: Davis was easily the best low-post big man at Peach Jam, and Stone was just as impressive at the UAA Finals. He’s getting into a habit where he is settling too much for perimeter shots, but some of that is a result of Stone trying to prove that he has expanded his game. He’s known for his ability to score on the block already. (RD)

BEST DEFENDER:

  • KeVaughn Allen: Allen was one of the biggest stock-risers in Georgia this week, averaging 19.0 points in eight Peach Jam games. The Florida-commit showed off an improved three-point stroke, but where he was most impressive was on the defensive side of the ball. He will thrive in Gainesville. (RD)
  • Chris Clarke: I would take Chris Clarke on my team in any game. The Class of 2015 wing plays hard, defends on the perimeter, hustles after every loose ball and generally lifts the energy of the teammates on the floor with him. He’s just the kind of player that makes winning plays. (SP)

ONE MORE GUY DESERVING OF ATTENTION:

  • Franklin Howard: Franklin Howard is already ranked and committed to Syracuse, but I was impressed by his recovery from a major knee injury that forced him to miss the high school season. Howard doubled his minutes during the Peach Jam from the EYBL and looked pretty good despite shooting the ball poorly. (SP)
  • Alterique Gilbert: A 5-foot-9 PG, Gilbert is No. 92 in the Class of 2016 on Rivals. He’s a quick, shifty point guard that can get to the rim and finish in traffic. He also doesn’t appear to get rattled by big moments or big plays. He averaged 18.2 points in the event. (RD)