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Tracking the College Basketball Stars of the Future

ECU & C-USA Hoops Recruiting Report
Sunday, August 31, 2003

By Thad Mumau
Special Correspondent

ACC casts long shadow over recruiting trail

All HOOPS recruiting headlines...
Thumbnails of 2003 commitments...

Clemson, Virginia Tech zero in on ECU target...
Pirates' W-S Reynolds ties heat up again...
ECU in the hunt for 'hot' combo prospect...
Herrion navigates summertime recruiting...
Charlotte, ECU classes among region's Top 5...
Pirates in contention for Top 100 prospect...
Cards set pace for '04; ECU considers guard...
ECU battles Stanford, UVa for 2004 target...
Herrion on lookout for frontcourt transfer...
Kentucky snatches ECU post target...
Robinson brings multiple talents to wing...
Whirlwind week of visits for big man 'Woo'...
Point guard McNeil brushes off late suitors...
NYC guard will get early chance to shine...
Versatile Robinson picks East Carolina...
ECU, South Carolina contend for Gonner...
Pirates chase talent for this year and next...
Cook poised to shore up ECU backcourt...
Son of a coach gets it done with hard work...
Help in the post on ECU recruiting agenda...
ECU backcourt adds "slasher", "shooter"...
Guard's coach wants ECU in recruiting mix...
"Old School" guard has ECU in sights...
East Carolina on the hunt for guards...
Gridiron prospect a rebounding machine...
Pinnock back in Pirates' recruiting mix...
Prolific scorer Atuahene warms up to ECU...
Driesell still thorn in ECU's side...
Reynolds' Foster makes it official...
ECU high on lists of backcourt slashers...
Prospects Cook, King put off decisions...
'Power guard' Cook books ECU excursion...
ECU still beating bushes for point guards...
Fayetteville guard likes ECU's C-USA ties...
C-USA teams lure big men, big names...
Jamaican joins ECU's international cast...
49ers, Cards snare key '03 commitments...
Ranking the Carolinas recruiting classes...
Foster has plans to bulk up for C-USA...
Wiley refining his game for C-USA wars...
Holcombe-Faye 'pipeline' flows eastward...
'Hot Hand Luke' sold on ECU & C-USA...
Juco wings top off dazzling class...
It's a wrap ó ECU signs Moberly's Wiley...
Pirate recruiting class almost complete...
JC Transfer Mackay Makes It Official...
Herrion Snares Aussie Shooting Guard...
High-scoring Rivers signs with ECU...
Pirates seek experience in Juco targets...
Rivers attracted by 'tough' schedule...
'Minges Maniacs' impacted decision...
ECU makes early offer to Enloe junior...
C-USA transforms Pirates' recruiting...
ACC schools' pursuit of Rouse too late...
Mumau's C-USA recruiting roundup...
Kinston forward Rouse officially signs...

©2003 Bonesville.net

James Mays is impressed with East Carolinaís basketball program and the progress it has made in recent years under the direction of Bill Herrion. But thereís a little problem when it comes to making Greenville his college destination.

Itís the Atlantic Coast Conference. Like every other kid growing up in North Carolina, ACC basketball is a way of life, with a tradition so rich and a reputation so strong that high school players who are talented enough almost automatically choose a college from that conference.

This is not to say Conference USA ó Louisville, Cincinnati, DePaul, Marquette and Memphis are no slouches themselves when it comes to hoops ó is not a league with clout. And, if it doesnít get broken up, C-USA will gain in stature. But the ACC is still hard to beat.

"Itís tough for other schools when ACC schools are recruiting kids from around here," said Eddie Gray, Maysí coach at Garner High School. "James has grown up with the ACC.

"He hasnít eliminated East Carolina, but thatís not one of his favorites right now. You never know, though."

Mays, a 6-8, 220-pound power forward ranked No. 68 in the country by Prepstars.com, plans to take official visits to Virginia Tech, Clemson, Maryland and South Carolina. South Carolina, Virginia Tech and Clemson are showing the most interest right now.

"Virginia Tech coming into the ACC makes a big difference," Gray said. "I donít know that James would be considering them otherwise. Clemson coaches came around early. (Former Tigersí head coach) Larry Shyatt came when James was a sophomore. But the new Clemson coaches are coming after him, too."

Mays averaged nearly 20 points and 12 rebounds per game as a junior, when Garner finished 18-8 after a loss to Lee Senior in the state 4-A playoffs. Mays added around three blocked shots and 3.5 assists a contest.

A starter since his first game as a freshman, Mays averaged 11 points and seven boards that season and 16 points and almost 10 rebounds as a sophomore.

"James has elevated his game each year," Gray said. "He has gotten better at shot-blocking, but he alters a lot more shots, and thatís just as important. His presence is the big thing.

"He used to try to do too much, forcing things that werenít there. He is starting to understand that more is not always better. He lets the game come to him, while continuing to play very aggressively. He takes the ball to the basket hard.

"James is a slasher," Gray said, "who is more comfortable flashing and squaring up than he is doing drop-steps and up-and-under moves. He likes to take the ball facing the basket. At the same time, he realizes that, with his size, he needs to play some with his back to the basket.

"He has to get better at that because he will have to go inside-out in college. He is a four (power forward) for college. He is working at developing his jump shot. He is an excellent passer and often had five or six assists in a game. He could have had more, but we missed a lot of easy shots.

"James played particularly well the second half of the season when he began to play with his back to the basket the way we needed him to do. It was tough for him because he had to carry us. There werenít many games he wasnít our leading scorer.

"I think he is going to have an outstanding senior year," Gray said. "Taller kids mature at a different rate than others. Sometimes you see a guy that tall and expect too much. James has really come along, and he will continue to get better. He may grow two more inches.

"We have him in a weight program. He has the frame to carry a lot more weight."

Marquette has a commitment, its first from the class of 2004. It comes from 6-8 power forward Ryan Amoroso of Burnsville (MN) High School. Amoroso, who averaged 24 points per game as a junior, chose Marquette over Minnesota.

Cincinnati is one of seven schools mentioned by top-50 prospect Joe Crawford after wiping off an earlier commitment. The 6-3 wing guard from Detroit (MI) Renaissance is still looking at Michigan despite backing out of his promise to the Wolverines. Ranked No. 38 by Prepstars.com, Crawford is also interested in Clemson, North Carolina, Kentucky, Illinois and Notre Dame.

Dominique Williams, a 6-2 combination guard from Fort Worth (TX) Dunbar, likes South Florida, Iowa State, Southern Methodist, Wichita State and Colorado State. Williams said a reported commitment by him to Texas-Arlington was a misunderstanding. He said that he had mentioned that the school was No. 1 on his list, and it erroneously came out that he had committed.

Send an e-mail message to Thad Mumau.

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02/23/2007 02:40:10 PM

 

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