Tracking the College Basketball Stars of the Future
Sunday, August 18, 2002
By Thad Mumau
C-USA recruiting news comes in 'big' packages
There is big news in Conference USA basketball recruiting — as in big
names and big men.
Memphis landed two top-20 prospects and a total of three players in the
same week, while Louisville corralled a couple of big men as Conference USA
schools have run their total of 2003 basketball commitments to 13.
Memphis and Louisville have three each, with Marquette getting a pair.
East Carolina, DePaul, Charlotte, Houston and Texas Christian University
have one apiece. TCU’s catch is one of the top 100 prospects in the nation.
Meanwhile, East Carolina has added a fifth member to its 2002 recruiting
class. Garth Grindley is the third junior college transfer in that class. A
6-8, 250-pound power forward, he averaged 10 points and six rebounds per
game at Monroe College in the Bronx (NY) as a sophomore.
The native of Jamaica will have two years of eligibility with the
Pirates. He joins 6-7 1/2 small forward Corey Rouse, 6-3 combination guard
Belton Rivers, 6-4 small forward Derrick Wiley and 6-4 wing guard Luke
Mackay as ECU newcomers for the current season. Wiley and Mackay, like
Grindley, were jucos last year.
Kendrick Perkins and Sean Banks announced for John Calipari’s Memphis
Tigers in a period of four days, and sandwiched between them was the
decision of Michael Ford.
Perkins, a 6-11 center from Beaumont (TX) Ozen, is ranked No. 3 among the
country’s rising seniors by Prepstars.com. Banks, a 6-7 small forward from
Oradell (NJ) Bergen Catholic, is No. 20. Ford is a 6-8 small forward from
Fitchburg (MA) Notre Dame who is not ranked in the top 100.
Most people who follow recruiting don’t expect Perkins to set foot in a
college classroom the fall of 2003. Instead, look for him to be selected in
next summer’s NBA draft. He averaged 24 points, 12 rebounds and five blocked
shots last season.
Perkins will qualify for freshman eligibility as he has a 3.0
grade-point average and 900 on the SAT.
His other finalists were Texas, North Carolina, Texas A&M, Alabama and
Banks scored 17 points and pulled down 6.7 rebounds per game as a junior. He
chose Memphis over Maryland and Pittsburgh.
Louisville received commitments from 6-10 Nouha Diakite out of Barton County
Junior College and 6-10 James Lang of Birmingham (AL) Central Parkway.
Lang, who weighs 305 pounds, is ranked No. 84. He averaged 18 points, 14
boards and five blocks his junior season. His other favorites were Alabama,
Cincinnati, Purdue, Connecticut and Alabama-Birmingham. He could go straight
from high school to the NBA.
Diakite, a native of Mali, started only five games as a freshman at Barton
County and averaged six points and almost seven rebounds. His list included
Kentucky, Arkansas, Alabama, St. Louis, DePaul and Nebraska.
The Cardinals already had a promise from the No. 100 prospect, 6-2
combination guard Brandon Jenkins of Detroit (MI) Southeastern.
Neither of Marquette’s commitments is from a top-100 player. James Matthews
is a 6-7, 230-pound power forward at Detroit (MI) Denby, while Dameon Mason
is a 6-5 wing guard/small forward from Aurora (IL) West High School.
Mason averaged 23 points and nine rebounds as a junior. He picked Marquette
over Notre Dame, Illinois, Oklahoma and DePaul. Matthews, who got 18 points
and 14 boards per game last season, also liked Michigan State, Illinois,
Texas A&M and Southern Cal.
DePaul received good news from 6-5 combo guard Sammy Mejia of Cornwall on
Hudson (NY) Storm King High School. He threw in 27 points a contest as a
junior to go with seven rebounds and five assists.
Mejia, who is not in the top 100, chose DePaul over Syracuse, Seton Hall,
Connecticut, Rutgers and Florida State. Louisville, South Florida and Miami
also showed considerable interest.
Sharpshooter Blake Adams committed to Texas Christian over Oklahoma State,
Virginia, Nevada-Las Vegas and Arkansas. The 6-5 wing guard averaged 16
points and seven rebounds last season for Houston (TX) Nimitz. He is ranked
Houston landed Lanny Smith, a 6-3 point guard from Missouri City (TX)
Hightower. Smith, who averaged 12 points and five assists last season, also
had offers from Baylor and Texas Christian. Georgia Tech, Texas and Oklahoma
East Carolina and Charlotte already had received commitments. In the fold for
the Pirates is 6-9 center/power forward Keith Foster, who has played on
three state champions at Winston-Salem (NC) Reynolds. The 49ers have a
promise from 6-11 center Martin Iti of Winchendon (MA) School. He is ranked
Of the 13 prospects who have announced for Conference USA schools, five are
6-9 and taller. Five are ranked in the top 100.
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02/23/2007 02:39:30 PM