One of the best shot-blockers is actually a 6-foot-6 forward. Jordan Bell (Long Beach, Calif./Poly) is listed at 6-8 but that’s a stretch.
Why is a kid this size such an adept shot-blocker? To me, there’s something about lying in the weeds, not being an intimidating 7-footer and using it to your advantage.
“I get up so quick I can stay on my man and wait for him to jump,” Bell said. “It’s scary because if you don’t react you could get dunked on in a quick second. Once they get up, I go up.”
USC, Oregon, Alabama, Oregon State and Washington State are in the running for the former football player.
Lyle is a championship level recruit
JaQuan Lyle (Evansville, Ind./Bosse) used this spring to prove that he belongs in the ESPN 25. He’s a bigger point guard with size and vision. You can break it down like this: Lyle is an impact recruit because of his skill set as a point guard and the fact he can run a championship level team.
Ohio State, Louisville and Michigan State rolled off his tongue at the EYBL in Dallas. Each is on solid ground at this early stage in his recruitment.
Thornwell has plenty of suitors
Sindarius Thornwell (Lancaster, S.C./Oak Hill) is a bit of a success story. Despite being a top-50 recruit, he was missing something and he was wise to address a deficiency. There were times last year when his play on the floor and his approach were lackadaisical.
“The biggest change from last year is my shot, ball-handling and my attitude … playing hard every game,” he said. People told me that you never know who is watching.”
This year, like he said, he’s tightened it up and the bottom line is he’s more invested into the games. His production is up, his shots are down and his reputation as a player is rising.
Clemson and Miami, Florida State, NC State, Wake Forest, Georgia, Memphis, Cincinnati comprise his list.
South Carolina, under Darrin Horn, had his ear. Now Frank Martin is the coach and the Gamecocks continue to work him over. He’s trended more towards South Carolina than Clemson.
Smith, another shot-swatter
Jarquez Smith (Haddock, Ga./First Presbyterian) will have options. Some of them will depend on his play through the spring and into the summer. He’s a unique recruit, caught in positional limbo. Smith’s top attribute appears to be his length and shot blocking. He can step out and make shots but the question is will that be a consistent enough part of his game for colleges to hang their hat on and recruit him as a 3-man?
Florida State, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Auburn, Missouri and South Carolina are at or near scholarship offers. North Carolina and NC State are entrenched in the process evaluating him.
Smith made good impression
Had a chance to bump into guard Dayshon Smith (Bronx, N.Y./Putnam Science). Tennessee, Duquesne, Fairfield, St. Peter’s, Quinnipiac, Robert Morris, Syracuse, Providence, Virginia Tech and Miami are peeking.
Has Indiana improved with Anya?
Tom Crean has Ken Johnson, a former Paul VI and Team Takeover assistant on his staff. BeeJay Anya (Hyattsville, Md./DeMatha) plays for Takeover and is a big timer in the Class of 2013 from the center position. Indiana offered him his freshman season. Johnson’s presence and the recent commitment of 2013 winger Stanford Robinson (Fairfax, Va./Paul VI) can’t hurt but the competition is stiff.
Ohio State, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Kansas, Florida, UCLA and DePaul are in the mix. Pittsburgh has his former high school teammate, James Robinson, who will be a freshman next fall for Pitt.