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Three-star guard Wade Baldwin commits to Vanderbilt

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Kevin Stallings and Vanderbilt received the first commit in the Class of 2014. St. Joseph’s High (N.J.) senior shooting guard Wade Baldwin announced that he had verbally committed to the Commodores on Sunday morning.

Baldwin had been on an official visit to the Nashville campus, and used his Twitter account to break the news. In early August, the 6-foot-3 shooting guard cut his list of offers to five: Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Vanderbilt and Virginia Tech.

It appears that Vanderbilt’s hiring of former Harvard assistant coach Yanni Hufnagel is paying dividends. The Crimson had offered the New Jersey native in July 2012, and some recruiting insiders believe he helped sway Baldwin to the Commodores.

This addition should bring optimism to a Vandy program that was looking for some this summer. Once sophomore guard Kevin Bright elected to turn pro in July, Stallings’ entire 2012 recruiting class had left the program. Vanderbilt has a two-man class beginning this season, which includes four-star center Damian Jones.

Baldwin, ranked No. 177 overall in the Class of 2014, is high school teammates with Kentucky commit Karl Towns.

2014 guard Wade Baldwin of SportsU/Immaculata talks recruiting, continues to pick up college offers

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HAMPTON, Va.—After playing two games on Saturday at the Southern Hoop Group Jam Fest, 2014 Immaculata (N.J.) guard Wade Baldwin returned to his hotel room.

But in the middle of this AAU tournament, he didn’t go back to get some food or watch a movie or take a nap.

He hadn’t shot as well as he typically does in those first two games, and he wanted to make sure his third game didn’t end up that way.

“I wasn’t getting the lift on my shots that I wanted,” Baldwin told NBCSports.com by phone. “So I just did a drill where I lay on my back and shoot the ball into the air and make sure I catch before it comes back down. It straightens my shot out.”

Baldwin is a 6-3, muscularly built 180-pound guard who, after his performance this spring, is beginning to see mid- and high-major interest and offers.

After his showing at the Pittsburgh Jam Fest in April, he picked up offers from Massachusetts, Boston University, and Seton Hall, to go along with existing offers from Iona and Northwestern.

His list of interested schools continues to grow, now including Louisville, Houston, Georgia Tech, Miami, Maryland, and Stanford, among others.

It is still early in his recruitment, but he has a basic outline of what he is looking for in a program.

“I want a coach who I can relate to and fits into my play,” he said. “There are really high-profile coaches that are good, and lower-level coaches who are good too. Mostly, I just want someone who fits my attitude toward the game.”

Baldwin said he is not bound by geography at this point in his recruitment and remains open to any interested schools.

Playing for the SportsU (N.J.) AAU program, Baldwin, on the 16U team, gets to practice with 17U Temple-bound guard Josh Brown and strong mid-major guard Hallice Cooke, an experience that, Baldwin says, has helped to grow his game.

“It’s tremendous to be able to play with them,” he said. “[Brown] is a heck of a defender and they’re both St. Anthony (N.J.) guys, so you know that they’re well-coached.”

Over the summer, Baldwin is looking to continue to build on his game, including his ballhandling and continuing to refine his shot. He is also attending a leadership conference, which he hopes will translate to the court.

“Recruiting has been good, but stressful,” he said. “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, so I’m just grateful for everything I get.”

Photo courtesy of Kelly Kline/Under Armour

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_