Tracking the College Basketball Stars of the Future
Sunday, July 21, 2002
By Thad Mumau
Lutz, Pitino get the jump on 2003 recruiting
Charlotte and Louisville are off to fast starts in the 2003
basketball recruiting wars as both have received commitments from rising
high school seniors, while a prime East Carolina target has decided to play
in the ACC.
The 49ersí addition is the most prominent, with 6-11,
235-pound center Martin Iti promising to play for Bobby Lutzís team. He is
ranked No. 38 in the class of 2003 by Prepstars.com.
Rick Pitinoís Cardinals got the word from 6-3 combination
guard Brandon Jenkins, who is No. 100.
Jeremy Ingram, a 6-3 wing guard from Kinston, announced for
Wake Forest over ECU, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech. Maryland also showed
strong interest. He is No. 62 in the rankings.
Iti averaged 11 points and seven rebounds last season at
Winchendon (MA) School. A native of Australia, he has also attended high
schools in California and Florida.
He visited Charlotte unofficially this summer. Two years
ago, Iti was rumored to have committed to Southern Cal. Connecticut was also
While Itiís potential and skill levels are high, his
consistency is not. Many coaches have questioned his ability to play hard
every game. But he does do some talking.
Newspapers quoted Iti as saying, "I am going to Charlotte to
win in Conference USA and to take the team to the Final Four ó my first year
There are those who think Iti wonít ever play for the 49ers,
that he will go straight from high school to the NBA. Those same people
think he has enough talent to do that, and at least 10 NBA teams have
At this point, Iti says he isnít thinking about going
directly to the pros, but dollar signs have been known to change a player's
mind on more than one occasion. He does say, however, that he would probably
leave college early for the NBA.
Itiís commitment follows a very good recruiting year for
Charlotte, one that saw the 49ers sign a pair of top-100 prospects in
Vincent Grier and Curtis Withers. A 6-8 power forward from Charlotte (NC)
West High School, Withers was No. 79 in the final Prepstars.com rankings.
Grier, a 6-6 wing guard from Raleigh (NC) Bonner Academy, was No. 100.
The Niners also added 6-9 power forward Tyler Best (No. 236)
of LaFayette (IN) Central Catholic and 6-2 point guard Brendan Plavich, a
transfer from Vanderbilt, who will be eligible in the fall of 2003.
Lutz is stocking his cupboard pretty well.
Jenkins chose the Cardinals over Texas, Missouri and
Pittsburgh after taking an official visit to Louisville. He had also been
there unofficially and for a camp.
He averaged 21 points, nearly six assists and five rebounds
as a junior. Jenkins can score off the dribble and is a slick playmaker. He
has shown he can play point and wing guard.
Ingram averaged 17 points, eight rebounds, four assists and
two steals while playing mostly point guard as a junior. He will be at the
two spot next season and with the Deacons.
East Carolina had been recruiting Ingram for the past year.
The Pirates signed his Kinston High teammate, 6-7 1/2 small forward Corey
Rouse, in November and hoped that would give them an edge with the guard.
Ingram joins a Wake class that has commitments from two
other North Carolina players. They are point guard Chris Paul of Clemmons
West Forsyth and 6-8 power forward Todd Hendley of Sanford Lee County. Paul
is ranked No. 16.
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