Recruiting rundown: Where unsigned top-100 players leaning


Depending on what recruiting website or scouting service you prefer, there are approximately a dozen or so remaining unsigned and uncommitted top-100 prospects remaining from the 2012 high school class. It’s fair to say that many college programs across the land have one or more of this group of players on their holiday wish lists, and some of the listed players are closer to making decisions than others.

Here’s the status of each of the undeclared top prospects that high-major programs are chasing right now, with the next several months being a marathon towards April’s regular signing period:

Amile Jefferson, 6-8, power forward, Friends Central (Penn.)
The talented forward was considering signing a letter of intent in the early period, but didn’t pull the trigger. His final six has been set for some time with Villanova, UConn, Kentucky, Ohio State, N.C. State and Temple. It’s not clear that there’s any favorite at the time for Jefferson, who could push his recruitment out until April.

Shabazz Muhammad, 6-6, wing, Bishop Gorman (Nev.)
Though there are nominally still six schools on the top senior in the country’s list, many believe that only four are realistic destinations: Kentucky, Duke, UCLA and UNLV. During the summer, many believed the Bruins were the clubhouse leader, but the early season troubles affecting the Bruins are believed to have carried over to their recruitment. At this point, expect an arduous several months of recruiting for the involved schools.

Anthony Bennett, 6-7, power forward, Findlay Prep (Nev.)
A top-10 player, and native Canadian, Bennett’s recruitment has been surprisingly quiet. There are theories on where Bennett will end up, but those thoughts can be mostly classified as shots in the dark. Bennett has yet to take an official visit, and still lists nine schools when given the opportunity. At this point, it’s anybody’s guess where Bennett ends up.

Jarnell Stokes, 6-8, power forward, Southwind (Tenn.)
After graduating high school in the last week, Stokes will declare his college intention Thursday, and will most certainly attempt to join the college hoops ranks at midseason. At 250 pounds, he’s a load inside, and a legitimate top-25 prospect. Opinions vary as to how much he will help this season, but there’s little doubt he’ll help going forward. Tennessee is getting the buzz as of late, though Memphis and Arkansas are also frontrunners.

Devonta Pollard, 6-7, wing, Kemper County (Miss.)
Pollard has pushed his recruiting timetable back in order to play football last fall. The bouncy wing is mostly considering SEC programs, with Alabama and Mississippi State having proximity to Pollard, while Texas, Georgetown, Kentucky and others are still involved.

Tony Parker, 6-9, center, Miller Grove (Ga.) – The beefy post prospect hasn’t had much movement in his list, as UCLA, Memphis, and Duke are considered the front-runners at this time. Parker has Kansas and Ohio State on the outside looking in, and could be taking a wait and see approach to UCLA’s fortunes this year.

Ricardo Gathers, 6-7, power forward, Riverside Academy (La.)
Formerly committed to St. John’s, Gathers is a burly forward with a take no prisoners attitude. He’s highly sought after by numerous schools, including the Johnnies. Their chief competitor at this time could be LSU, or perhaps Duke, which recently got involved as a way to hedge their bets on Tony Parker.

Torian Graham, 6-4, shooting guard, Arlington Country Day (Fla.)
After re-opening his recruitment following a commitment to N.C. State, Graham has entertained interest from a variety of schools, but doesn’t appear to be anywhere near making a decision. Graham teams with former South Carolina guard commits Carlos Morris and Ian Baker at Arlington Country Day, which will clearly be a frequent stopping point for colleges in need of guard help this winter and spring.

Winston Shepard, 6-8, power forward, Findlay Prep (Nev.)
The lengthy and lanky athlete is a native of Texas, but could be Mountain West bound, with San Diego State, New Mexico and UNLV all among the schools involved. Shepard could be a sleeper heavy contributor as a freshman in the right situation, if he decides to go with the Mountain West.

Savon Goodman, 6-6, wing/power forward, Constitution (Penn.)
Some believe the former Villanova pledge will ultimately reclassify to the 2013 class and hit prep school next year, though those close to the strong forward say it isn’t so. He’s got a handful of Big East offers, but appears to be far from making a decision.

Nino Jackson, 6-2, point guard, Ardmore (Okla.)
Once considered to be a Kansas lean, the Jayhawks have moved on, and Jackson has battled eligibility and off the court issues after largely disappearing over the summer. He’s considered a likely candidate for maturation in the junior college or prep school ranks.

Wannah Bail, 6-8, power forward, Lamar Consolidated (Texas)
The Bahamas native was set to commit in fall, but canceled. At that time, Houston, Oregon and Texas Tech were options he listed, but it wasn’t clear how any of the three was going to work Bail and teammate Michael Carey on to their respective rosters given their scholarship situations. He could be a sleeper spring pickup, with or without Carey joining him.

Zena Edosomwan, 6-8, power forward, Harvard-Westlake (Calif.)
Though he’s received a variety of high-major offers, all indications are that Edosomwan’s heart is on attending Harvard. He has yet to reach the academic bar set by Harvard just yet, but they appear to be in position to land him if he qualifies.

Top-25 wing Brannen Greene makes Kansas commit
The 2013 recruiting class is shaping up to be potentially a blockbuster group for the Jayhawks, as 6-7 wing Brannen Greene of Mary Persons (Ga.) pledged Tuesday, joining Conner Frankamp, an in-state guard and member of USA Basketball’s Developmental National Team.

Greene is considered by most to be among the top handful of wing prospects in the country in the junior class, as he’s got a unique skill package capable of impacting a game in a variety of ways. Greene had numerous high-major offers, including UConn, Louisville and others.

Several of the elite prospects in the 2013 class are also considering joining Frankamp and Greene at Kansas, and Christ the King (N.Y.) shooting guard Isaiah Lewis is reportedly considering making a post-Christmas college decision, with Kansas considered the favorite.

Kellon Hassenstab runs Follow him on Twitter @hoopniks.

Iowa’s Caitlin Clark wins AP Player of the Year

caitlin clark
Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports

DALLAS — Caitlin Clark has put together one of the greatest individual seasons in NCAA history with eye-popping offensive numbers.

Iowa’s junior guard, though, saved her best performance for the game’s biggest stage, recording the first 40-point triple-double in NCAA history to get Iowa to the Final Four for the first time in 30 years.

Clark was honored Thursday as The Associated Press women’s basketball Player of the Year. She received 20 votes from the 28-member national media panel that votes on the AP Top 25 each week. Voting was done before March Madness began.

“It’s a huge honor,” Clark said. “I picked a place that I perfectly fit into and that’s allowed me to show my skill set. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t mean something. It’s not the reason you play basketball, it’s just something that comes along with getting to do what you love.”

The Iowa coaching staff surprised Clark by sharing that she won the award while they were visiting the Iowa Children’s Hospital – a place near and dear to her. It also has huge ties to the Hawkeyes athletic department.

They put together a video of some of the children in the hospital congratulating Clark on an outstanding season, and in the middle of it, Iowa coach Lisa Bluder popped on the screen to tell her she won.

“I’m there for inspiring the next generation and being there for the people that you know are going through a hard time,” said Clark, who grew up in Iowa. “Being able to give joy to people that watch you play and watch your team play is amazing.”

She averaged 27.0 points, 8.3 assists and 7.5 rebounds during the season to help Iowa go 26-6. Clark has 984 points, the sixth-most in a season by any player in Division I women’s history. She also has over 300 assists.

“She is spectacular. I don’t know how else to describe what she does on the basketball court,” Bluder said.

Next up for the Hawkeyes is undefeated South Carolina in the national semifinals. The Gamecocks are led by Aliyah Boston, last season’s winner of the award. She garnered the other eight votes this season.

“There’s so many great players, more than just me and (Aliyah),” Clark told the AP. “You can go on and on and list the tremendous players. I think that’s really good for our game when there’s a lot of great players. That’s what is going to help this game grow more than anything else.”

Whether it’s hitting deep 3s from the Hawkeye logo at home games, hitting off-balance game-winning shots or throwing pinpoint passes to teammates for easy baskets, Clark has excelled on the court this year to get Iowa to a place it hasn’t been in a long time.

“It’s funny, because the better the opponent, almost the better she plays,” Bluder said. “It’s like she locks in on those, when we’re playing against Top 25 teams. That’s when her statistics even go up even more, against great opponents.”

Clark is the second Iowa player to win the AP award in the past few seasons, joining Megan Gustafson who won it in 2019.

UCLA guard Jaylen Clark declares for NBA draft

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES – UCLA guard Jaylen Clark has declared for the NBA draft, weeks after a leg injury forced him out of the season’s final six games.

The junior from Riverside, California, announced his plans on his Instagram account Wednesday.

“Thank you to UCLA and coach (Mick) Cronin for believing in me,” Clark’s post read. “I’d like to announce that I am declaring for the 2023 draft.”

Clark didn’t indicate whether he would hire an agent ahead of the June 22 draft or retain his remaining eligibility. He has until May 31 to withdraw and be able to return to Westwood.

He suffered a lower right leg injury in the regular-season finale against Arizona on March 4. Clark averaged 13 points and six rebounds while starting 29 of 30 games. He led the Pac-12 in total steals with 78, tying for third all-time in single-season steals for the Bruins.

He was a second team All-Pac-12 selection, was named the league’s defensive player of the year and made its five-man All-Defensive Team.

AP college basketball: and and

Penn State hires VCU’s Rhoades as men’s basketball coach

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Penn State hired VCU’s Mike Rhoades on Wednesday as its men’s basketball coach, bringing in the Pennsylvania native to take over a program coming off its first NCAA Tournament appearance in more than a decade.

The Penn State board of trustees approved a seven-year deal worth $25.9 million for Rhoades, who is from Mahanoy City in eastern Pennsylvania.

Just a few hours after Rhoades was named at Penn State, VCU hired Utah State coach Ryan Odom to replace Rhoades.

Rhoades replaces Micah Shrewsberry, who was hired away by Notre Dame last week.

Shrewsberry, an Indiana native, was at Penn State for two seasons. The Nittany Lions went 23-14 this season, reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2011 and won an NCAA game for the first time since 2001.

Rhoades, 50, was 129-61 in six seasons at VCU, including three NCAA Tournament bids. He also spent three seasons at Rice, going 23-12 in the final year with the Owls before returning to VCU.

He was an assistant at the Richmond, Virginia, school from 2009-14 under then-head coach Shaka Smart.

Odom was 44-25 at Utah State in two seasons, with an NCAA Tournament appearance this season.

He previously spent five seasons at Maryland-Baltimore County, going 97-60. In 2018, Odom’s UMBC team became the first No. 16 seed to upset a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament when it beat Virginia.

Temple hires Penn State assistant Fisher to replace McKie

Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

PHILADELPHIA – Temple named Penn State assistant Adam Fisher just its fifth coach since 1973 on Wednesday.

Fisher’s goal will be to turn around a program that hasn’t made the NCAA Tournament since 2019.

Fisher replaces Aaron McKie, who was transferred out of the coaching job earlier this month after four seasons and a 52-56 overall record with no tournament berths. McKie is now a special advisor to the athletic department.

Fisher takes over a team in flux with six players in the transfer portal. Temple has yet to find any steady success in the American Athletic Conference.

Fisher spent eight years as an assistant with Miami before he joined Micah Shrewsberry’s staff last season at Penn State. Shrewsberry has since moved on to Notre Dame.

“I am confident we have found the right person to lead Temple men’s basketball,” athletic director Arthur Johnson said. “We look forward to welcoming coach Fisher to the Temple community and returning to the NCAA Tournament under his leadership.”

Fisher also worked as a graduate manager at Villanova under Hall of Fame coach Jay Wright from 2007-09.

The Owls have traditionally given their coaches significant time on the bench, though McKie’s tenure was the shortest since Ernest Messikomer from 1939-42. The next five coaches all lasted at least 10 seasons, notably Hall of Fame coach John Chaney’s tenure from 1982-2006.

Cal hires Mark Madsen as basketball coach

Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

BERKELEY, Calif. – California is hiring a former Stanford star to revive its struggling basketball program.

The Golden Bears announced Wednesday that Mark Madsen was signed to replace the fired Mark Fox following the worst season in school history.

“We conducted an exhaustive search, and one name kept rising to the top – and that’s Mark Madsen,” athletic director Jim Knowlton said. “Mark is a person of high character, high energy, high intensity, and he’s done it the right way. He’s intense. He’s passionate. He loves his student-athletes, and he loves competing. We want an ambassador for this program who is going to make us proud and develop our young men – both on and off the court. I am absolutely thrilled that Mark will lead our program into the future.”

Madsen played at Stanford under Mike Montgomery, who later coached at Cal, from 1996 to 2000 and helped the Cardinal reach the Final Four in 1998.

After a nine-year playing career in the NBA that featured two titles as a backup on the Lakers in 2001-02, Madsen went into coaching.

He spent time in the NBA’s developmental league and a year at Stanford before spending five seasons on the Lakers staff.

Madsen then was hired in 2019 to take over Utah Valley. He posted a 70-51 record in four years with a 28-9 mark this season before losing on Tuesday night in the NIT semifinals to UAB.

“Having grown up in the area, I have always admired Cal as an institution and as an athletic program, with so many of my teachers, coaches and friends impressive Cal graduates,” Madsen said. “We will win with young men who have elite academic and athletic talent and who will represent Cal with pride.”

Madsen is the third prominent coach to flip sides in recent years in the Bay Area rivalry between Cal and Stanford. The Cardinal hired former Cal quarterback Troy Taylor to take over the football program last season and Bears women’s basketball coach Charmin Smith played and coached as an assistant at Stanford.

Madsen is faced with a tough task, taking over a program that went 3-29 under Fox and set a school record for most losses and worst winning percentage in a season.

Cal went 38-87 during Fox’s tenure, ending his final season on a 16-game losing streak. Fox’s .304 winning percentage ranking second worst in school history to predecessor Wyking Jones’ 16-47 mark (.254) in the two seasons before Fox arrived.

The Bears haven’t been to the NCAA Tournament since 2016 and haven’t won a game in the tournament since 2013 under Montgomery.

Adding to the issues for Fox was the complete lack of interest in the program. Cal’s home attendance averaged just 2,155 this season for the lowest mark among any team in the Power 5 or Big East. That’s down from an average of 9,307 per game in Cuonzo Martin’s last season in 2016-17 and from 5,627 the year before Fox arrived.

Cal had the worst winning percentage among any school in the six major conferences during Fox’s tenure. The Bears also were the lowest-scoring team (62.4 points per game) in all Division I under Fox and had the worst scoring margin of any major conference team under Fox.