Tracking the College Basketball Stars of the Future
Saturday, September 14, 2002
By Thad Mumau
Seventy-First's Long likes Pirates' C-USA ties
East Carolina’s five basketball newcomers this season include a power
forward, a couple of small forwards, a shooting guard and a combination
guard. That leaves a point guard as a key recruiting goal for the Pirates’
Casey Long of Seventy-First High School in Fayetteville, NC, is one of
the point guards ECU really likes. But he isn’t leaning toward the Bucs. In
fact, he doesn’t have any leaders at this point.
"There are some good schools recruiting me," Long said, "and I’m just
going to take my time and look around. East Carolina has offered me a
scholarship, and I like the idea of playing in Conference USA. There are
some good teams in the league, and they will get a lot of exposure."
Tulane, UNC-Asheville, UNC-Wilmington, College of Charleston, Coastal
Carolina, Western Carolina and Florida Atlantic have also offered. Florida
State (which has Long’s former Falcon teammate, Michael Joiner, on its
roster) has shown quite a bit of interest.
Long averaged nearly 14 points along with five assists, three rebounds
and three steals as a junior, helping Seventy-First reach the state 4-A
championship game. The Falcons finished 27-3 after losing to Winston-Salem
Reynolds in the finals for the second time in three years.
He scored 21 points in the title game, had a season-high 27 against
Raleigh Broughton and dished out 13 assists to go with 16 points against
Some people list the 6-2 Long as a combination guard, but he looks at
himself as a pure point.
"I feel I’m a natural point guard," he said. "Passing has always come
naturally for me, and I’m confident I can get in the paint and set people up
at almost any time. Also, I love to play defense."
Seventy-First coach Bernie Poole feels Long has not received the
attention he deserves from college coaches.
"I think people are overlooking Casey," Poole said, "and that’s mostly
because he doesn’t have the flashy stats some other guards have. But that’s
because we have had some very good inside players, and Casey has gotten the
ball to them. That’s his job as our point guard, and the fact that he does
it so well is a big reason we have won so many games.
"He is a very smart player. His ball handling and quickness are far above
average. I think he could play for any college team in the country."
Long has a 3.7 grade-point average and has scored 900 on the SAT.
C-USA gets six more
Six more basketball commitments have been added by Conference USA
schools, bringing the total for the 2003 recruiting class to 20. The latest
promises have a "mature" look as four are in junior colleges and another is
a fifth-year senior at a prep school.
Louisville leads the way in C-USA commitments with four after landing
Nate Daniels, a 6-8 small forward/wing guard from Broward Junior College in
Fort Lauderdale, FL. He made his decision following a visit to Louisville.
Daniels chose the Cardinals over Texas Tech, with St. John’s and Missouri
Brandon Bell is the third catch for Marquette. He’s a 5-11 point guard
from Detroit (MI) Southeastern High School. Bell picked the Golden Eagles
over Pittsburgh and also had scholarship offers from West Virginia, Nebraska
and Butler, while Arizona was very interested.
Charlotte picked up its second promise when Marcus Bennett decided on the
49ers over Nebraska, Alabama-Birmingham, Wyoming, Kansas State and Iowa
State. Bennett is a 6-3 combination guard who signed out of a Detroit high
school with Michigan in 2001. After being declared academically ineligible,
he went to Schoolcraft Junior College in Livonia, MI, but did not play last
year. He will have three years of eligibility at Charlotte.
Cincinnati penciled in its first commitment when Nick Williams visited
the campus, then announced. The native of Texas averaged nine points at
Kansas State last season before transferring to Chipola Junior College in
Marianna, FL. Williams is a 6-3 shooting guard.
Tulane also grabbed its first commitment. He’s Chris Moore, a 6-4 wing
guard at Pittsfield Maine Central Institute.
South Florida got on the board with Ricardo Freeman, a 6-3 point guard
from Seward County Community College in Liberal, KS. He averaged 10.7 points
and almost seven assists per game last year.
Alabama-Birmingham, Southern Mississippi and St. Louis are still without
Here is the complete list of C-USA hoops commitments for 2003 as we have
- CHARLOTTE — Martin Iti, 6-11 center, Winchendon (MA) School; Marcus
Bennett, 6-3 wing guard/point guard, Schoolcraft Junior College.
- CINCINNATI — Nick Williams, 6-3 wing guard, Chipola Junior College.
- DePAUL — Sammy Mejia, 6-5 wing guard/point guard, Cornwall on Hudson
(NY) Storm King.
- EAST CAROLINA — Keith Foster, 6-9 power forward/center, Winston-Salem
- HOUSTON — Lanny Smith, 6-3 point guard, Missouri City (TX) Hightower;
Parker Pinkalla, 6-4 wing guard, Houston (TX) Strake Jesuit College Prep
- LOUISVILLE — Brandon Jenkins, 6-2 point guard/wing guard, Detroit (MI)
Southeastern; Nouha Diakite, 6-10 power forward, Barton County Junior
College; James Lang, 6-10 center, Birmingham (AL) Central Parkway; Nate
Daniels, 6-8 small forward/wing guard, Broward Junior College.
- MARQUETTE — James Matthews, 6-7 power forward, Detroit (MI) Denby;
Dameon Mason, 6-5 small forward/wing guard, Aurora (IL) West; Brandon
Bell, 5-11 point guard, Detroit (MI) Southwestern.
- MEMPHIS — Kendrick Perkins, 6-11 center, Beaumont (TX) Ozen; Sean
Banks, 6-7 small forward, Oradell (NJ) Bergen; Michael Ford, 6-8 small
forward, Fitchburg (MA) Notre Dame.
- SOUTH FLORIDA — Ricardo Freeman, 6-3 point guard, Seward County
- TEXAS CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY — Blake Adams, 6-5 wing guard, Houston (TX)
- TULANE — Chris Moore, 6-4 wing guard, Pittsfield (ME) Central
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