Recruiting rundown: Under-the-radar classes to watch in 2012-13

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College basketball recruiting junkies have no doubt heard about the impressive 2012 incoming class hauls that have been reeled in by UCLA, Kentucky, Arizona and other perennial blue blood programs. Often, BCS conference teams dominate team recruiting class rankings, by virtue of pulling in the most publicized and touted of recruits.

Still, recent NCAA tournament history indicates that not only are non-BCS schools relevant, they also have a significant share of talented players, which they identify and land on the recruiting trail.

In looking at non-BCS schools, the efforts of Houston, Xavier, Memphis, and UNLV have been well-publicized by virtue of each school landing multiple top-100 prospects. With that in mind, here are a handful of non-BCS recruiting classes that could have an impact as early as next year, which haven’t received as much attention.

Head coach Greg Marshall has plenty of options in keeping Wichita State’s juggernaut going, given the talented group he assembled for next year. Junior college guard Nick Wiggins (the older brother of the top prospect in the nation’s 2014 class, Andrew Wiggins) could provide an instant offensive infusion. Skilled point guard Fred Van Vleet is on the way from Illinois, and forward Teddy Hawkins locked up an Ohio state championship. JUCO power forward Cleanthony Early should be set to help anchor the inside. Make no mistake, Marshall has a stellar group headed his way next year, which is not a shocker given the program’s recent success.

Marshall locked up five players that will keep the Herd program going. The last, and probably most-important signee is former Louisville-commit Ryan Taylor, a 6-6 forward that is seasoned from a year of prep school. Two of the top prospects from Texas’ junior college basketball ranks, Elijah Pittman and D.D. Scarver both look ready to contribute, while high school guards Kareem Canty and Tamron Manning are both extremely solid. This group looks to have five players that are nicely suited for Conference USA.

While many fans are aware of the storyline that led 7-footer Robert Upshaw to Fresno State, the reality is that coach Rodney Terry’s first full recruiting class addresses the program’s needs and should set them up in good position for the future. While Upshaw is a top-50 prospect and clearly the headliner, there’s other room for excitement. 6-5 forward Broderick Newbill is a glue guy, and former Kansas-signee Braeden Anderson should have a niche in the frontcourt. Another newcomer with some acclaim is 6-3 shooting guard Marvelle Harris, reportedly one of the most underrated players in SoCal.

By no means is San Diego State going to sneak up on anyone, but their three man recruiting class arguably has the most bang for its buck at the non-BCS level. The icing on the cake came when top-50 forward Winston Shepard decided to pick the Aztecs over numerous suitors, as he becomes an immediate mismatch at 6-8 against most of their slate. Two other talented prospects from Southern California, bouncy wing Matt Shrigley and slender but talented center Skylar Spencer, will be hard for coach Steve Fisher to keep off the floor.

Coach Pat Skerry’s first season at Towson was ugly and undoubtedly difficult to watch for any observers that slogged their way through a 1-31 season. Skerry has a background as a successful recruiter as an assistant coach in the Big East and that has carried over to his tenure at the helm for the Tigers. In high school guards Jerome Hairston and Frank Mason, Skerry has a base to build from for the future. Forwards Barrington Alston and Timajh Parker-Rivera both should also be very solid CAA players. Near the end of the period, Skerry also added the services of two wings, Marquis Marshall and Rafriel Guthrie. With presumably almost every starting slot open to consideration the talent newcomers figure to have more than first crack and revitalizing the ailing Towson program.

Kellon Hassenstab runs Hoopniks.com. Follow him on Twitter @hoopniks.

VIDEO: Mixtape for Duke commit R.J. Barrett, potential 2019 No. 1 pick

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Last week, after the NBA draft officially concluded, we posted a mock draft for the lottery in 2019.

At the top of that list was R.J. Barrett, a Duke-commit and Canadian-native that has NBA scouts wowed and intrigued. This mixtape should give you a good feel for why.

Trae Jefferson to transfer out of Texas Southern

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Texas Southern guard and NCAA tournament darling Trae Jefferson announced on Saturday that he’s leaving the school.

The 5-foot-7 Jefferson was sensational at times during his sophomore season with the Tigers as he put up 23.1 points, 4.6 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game, helping lead Texas Southern to a victory in the 2018 NCAA Tournament’s First Four in Dayton over North Carolina Central. One of the most entertaining talents in college basketball, Jefferson is leaving Texas Southern in-part because former head coach Mike Davis took the job at Detroit this offseason.

While Detroit is going to be the favorite to land Jefferson, because of his connection to Davis, it’ll be interesting to see what his transfer market looks like. Jefferson also made it clear on his Twitter page that he would like to be closer to his hometown of Milwaukee so that he can be closer to his ailing grandfather.

Given NCAA transfer rules, Jefferson would likely have to sit out next season before getting two more years of eligibility. But he could be applying for a waiver if he’s trying to be closer to home to deal with his family situation.

Nevada’s Josh Hall transfers to Missouri State

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Nevada lost a talented player from last season’s team as rising junior Josh Hall opted to transfer to Missouri State on Friday night.

The 6-foot-7 Hall is a former top-150 recruit who played a key part in the Wolf Pack’s postseason run as he elevated his play to average 13 points and 4.7 rebounds per game during the 2018 NCAA Tournament. Hall also made the game-winning bucket to lift Nevada past No. 2 seed Cincinnati in the second round.

Although Hall picked up his play late in the year, he was coming off the bench most of his sophomore campaign as he averaged 6.9 points and 3.9 rebounds per game last season.

Since Nevada took in some talented transfers, while players like Jordan Caroline and the Martin twins opted not to turn pro, it left head coach Eric Musselman with too many scholarship players for the 2018-19 season. It looks like some of those issues are now going away as Hall is leaving for Missouri State and graduate transfer guard Ehab Amin opted to decommit from the school.

Nevada is expected to be a preseason top-10 team next season with all of the talent they have returning to the roster, along with the addition of some new pieces like McDonald’s All-American big man Jordan Brown.

Hall will likely have to sit out next season due to NCAA transfer rules as he still has two years of eligibility remaining.

Chris Webber accepts Jim Harbaugh’s invitation to be honorary Michigan football captain

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The frosty relationship between Chris Webber and the University of Michigan could be thawing — thanks to an invitation from football head coach Jim Harbaugh.

On Friday, Harbaugh called in to WTKA’s “The M Zone” as show host Jamie Morris had Webber on the show. Harbaugh offered Webber the opportunity to be an honorary captain for the Michigan football team next season, to which Webber replied that he would love the opportunity.

Webber, a former member of the “Fab Five” who helped the Wolverines to two consecutive NCAA tournament title-game appearances in 1992 and 1993, has not associated directly with the school, or with other members of the Fab Five, for many years.

The NCAA mandated that Webber and Michigan not associate with one another for 10 years after the Ed Martin booster scandal. Webber has always been reluctant to participate in anything Michigan or Fab Five related. When the famous Fab Five documentary was made a few years ago, Webber was the only member of the quintet not to participate in the making of the film. Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson all have a solid relationship with the University of Michigan at this point.

Webber later criticized the film during an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show, as King and Rose fired back with responses to reignite the feud. In the past, Rose has also been vocal in his belief that Webber should apologize for what happened at Michigan, as the group is hoping to move forward.

Although Webber still isn’t mending fences with the other Fab Five members, or the basketball program, returning to Michigan in some kind of official capacity is a big deal considering his past with the school.

Harbaugh and Webber haven’t decided on a game for next season yet as that will be something to watch for over the next several months.

Akoy Agau returning to Louisville as graduate transfer

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Louisville received a boost to its frontcourt rotation on Friday as former big man Akoy Agau will return to the Cardinals as a graduate transfer.

The 6-foot-8 Agau originally committed and enrolled at Louisville for a season and a half to begin his college hoops career before transferring to Georgetown. After leaving the Hoyas to play at SMU last season, Agau received a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA after battling injury for much of his career.

Agau gives Louisville an experienced forward who should earn some solid minutes next season. With the Mustangs during the 2017-18 season, Agau averaged 5.0 points and 3.6 rebounds per game in 16.1 minutes per contest.

While this isn’t the biggest splash for the Cardinals, they have plenty of scholarships to use for next season as new head coach Chris Mack tries to find a stable rotation. Getting a graduate transfer like Agau, who should be familiar with the school and the conference at the very least, is a nice step for a one-year placeholder.