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So I have been slacking on the recruiting front, and that is unforgivable when considering the strides the program is taking.
If you remember, Bill Edwards’ surprise commitment in the spring signing period filled the last available scholarship for the next two seasons. Instead of saving the scholarship for the 2010 class, DeChellis and his staff thought Bill deserved it. Therefore, as of right now, Taran Buie will be the only addition in the 2010 recruiting class. PSU, for the first time in DeChellis’ era, will not have open scholarships after the fall signing period. That’s very critical when you see how college basketball recruiting has evolved. Prospects are committing earlier and earlier. It is essential to be able to focus your efforts more on recruiting underclassmen or juniors in HS, if you want to be successful. We are now able to do that and it’s very encouraging when you look at the scholarship breakdown. Once Talor Battle’s class graduates, there are going to be major holes to fill. That’s a full 2 seasons down the road, but since we have gotten a jump on our recruiting, we can focus on replacing that 2011 graduating class. Looking at the 2011-2012 roster right now, the 2/3 position is stacked (Babb/Woodyard/Edwards/Marshall/Buie) and we’ll have Tim Frazier at the point. I think the ideal class with these 5 scholarships would be a PG, and at least 3 F/C prospects. Sasa Borovnjak is the only guy on that roster who can play in the paint. So not only do we need to bring in at least 3 big men, they’re going to be depended on to play right away.
For our PG prospect, Trey Burke committed about 3 weeks ago. You should check out his ESPN, Scout, and Rivals profiles. It’s far too early to predict where he’ll end up in the rankings, but he proved this summer on the AAU circuit to be a big-time scoring PG. He had to prove it during the summer, because he plays for Columbus Northland HS. He has Jared Sullinger, a future McDonald’s All-American, and J.D. Weatherspoon, on his team, both are OSU commitments. They won the state championship last year.
Trey was being recruited by a lot of schools, but we were one of the first big name programs to offer him. He had offers from MAC schools and Butler, but many Big Ten programs were looking at him like Purdue, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Ohio State. He had visited Dayton, Ohio State, and West Virginia before he committed.
Jamelle Cornley had an impact on his decision. A little sidenote, Trey Burke’s coach is Satch Sullinger, father of J.J. and Jared. You might not know that you’ve seen him before because the Penn State Basketball story interviewed him for their feature on Jamelle. But anway, the Burke and Cornley families are apparently good friends, and Jamelle had advised him that he would be used a lot like Battle is being used today. That was encouraging to Burke’s family and they pulled the trigger. Burke’s father, Benji, was quoted saying:
“For one he wanted to play in the Big 10 and the style of play was huge for him,” said Trey’s father Benji Burke. “They see him coming right in with Talor Battle leaving and getting minutes as a freshman. Trey and Talor are very similar both being able to play the one or two. Secondly, they had all three courses of study that interested him. Finally, it is big time basketball and we wanted to pull the trigger to get it over.”
Lewis Preston was credited for doing the bulk of the recruiting. You can check out Burke highlights, below:
There will be much more information on Burke as he progresses throughout his high school career (he’s still got 2 years left), but early signs say he is a stud. CityLeagueHoops will provide us with plenty of highlights over the next 2 years. It’ll be nice to be able to follow known recruits for such a long time before they arrive on campus. Check out BWI’s free interview with Trey, here.
So that leaves us with stocking up the frontcourt, which brings me to some of the most exciting recruiting news in our history. This weekend is without a doubt the biggest recruiting weekend for this program. I had been hearing this from a lot of people, but Nate Bauer released the names of visitors for the Ohio State game. In addition to Buie and Burke, these three 2011 prospects will be in attendance:
- Rakeem Christmas – Scout, Rivals, ESPN – Consensus Top 10 – #1 Center
- Malcolm Gilbert – Scout, Rivals, ESPN – Consensus Top 150
- Desmond Hubert – Scout, Rivals, ESPN – Consensus Top 75
Along with these 2012/2013 prospects:
- Amile Jefferson – Scout, Rivals, ESPN – 2012 prospect
- Savon Goodman – Scout, Rivals, ESPN – 2012 prospect
- Marcus Gilbert – Malcolm’s brother – 2012 prospect
- Miles Overton – 2013 prospect – Doug Overton’s son
It has been very rare for us to have any one of these caliber prospects on campus, but 5 in one weekend is just mind-blowing. Rakeem Christmas is just coming for the ride, for now. Not surprising, since he already cut his list down to 8 over the summer, but all of the other recruits, we have a legitimate chance of landing. It’s also worth noting that Christmas, Malcolm and Marcus Gilbert, Savon Goodman, and Miles Overton all attend Academy of the New Church, a private, christian school 30 minutes north of Philly in Bryn Athyn. These are good kids to be attending and succeeding at this school. Dan Earl is responsible for the in-roads with this program.
I’ll dive deep into these prospects’ recruitment at another time, but for right now, if you’re going to be in State College this weekend for the exhibition game, Rally in the Valley, or the football game, be loud and be proud. We’ve got some program changing recruits in the house.