College coaches are crisscrossing the country visiting with the top stars in the high school Class of 2013 in hopes of persuading them to choose their schools.
In Texas, after Kentucky coach John Calipari showed 6-foot-9 forward Julius Randle his 2012 NCAA championship ring, North Carolina coach Roy Williams one-upped Cal.
Or should we say, 29-upped him.
Williams brought a case of 30 rings to his home visit with Randle, including Michael Jordan’s 1992 Chicago Bulls championship ring.
“He said Jordan gave it to him to show his players what they could achieve with hard work and determination,” Randle told USA Today. “I was just shocked. I couldn’t believe I was holding Jordan’s ring.”
Asked if Jordan’s ring was better than Calipari’s, Randle said, “Come on now. It’s Jordan. No comparison.”
Here are the Sheridan Hoops Top 20 prospects in the Class of 2013 and where they stand with their college lists or commitments.
1. Andrew Wiggins, 6-8, SF, Huntington Prep (Huntington, W.V.)
Wiggins is still deciding whether or not to reclassify to 2013 from 2014. Considered the top overall high school player regardless of class, he is being pursued most heavily by Kentucky and Florida State, his parents’ alma mater (he is the son of former NBA player Mitchell Wiggins). If the Canadian sensation does move to 2013, it will have a profound impact on the 2014 NBA Draft, as I covered in this story on ZAGSBLOG. He will visit Kentucky for Big Blue Madness Oct. 12.
2. Jabari Parker, 6-8, SF, Simeon (Chicago)
The Sports Illustrated cover boy has cut his list of prospective schools to BYU, Duke, Florida, Michigan State and Stanford, with Duke and Michigan State considered the favorites. Expected to commit in the fall. At the end of his junior season he was named national boys’ basketball Gatorade Player of the Year. He was the ESPN HS National Player of the Year for his class and an Illinois High School Association (IHSA) state champion as a freshman, sophomore and junior.
3. Julius Randle, 6-9 PF, Prestonwood Christian (Plano, TX)
Randle hosted nearly 10 schools for home visits and is considering a Who’s Who of colleges, including Kentucky, Kansas, North Carolina, Duke, Florida, Baylor and N.C. State. He will announce in the spring. Some college coaches hoped to lure Randle to their school by speaking negatively about other programs. Some coaches said that Duke and North Carolina didn’t properly develop players, while others said Kentucky had too many highly talented players. “It’s crazy,” Randle told SI.com. “But I have a mind of my own. Every school has pros and cons and the same school that’s dissing a certain school isn’t talking about their cons. I look at it as the coaches just hating.”
4. Andrew Harrison, 6-4 PG, Travis (Richmond, TX)
He and his twin brother, Aaron, chose Kentucky over Maryland. As I first reported on ZagsBlog, the twins have a different opinion than their father on where they should go to college, a Division 1 source said on condition of anonymity. “The boys want to go to Kentucky, the dad wants them to go to Maryland,” the source said. “The dad’s from there. He and [Maryland coach] Mark Turgeon have known each other a long time since Mark’s days at Texas A&M. But the boys want to go to Kentucky.”
5. Aaron Harrison, 6-4 SG, Travis (Richmond, TX)
The Division 1 source who correctly predicted that the Harrisons wanted to play at Kentucky said Andrew and Aaron are reaching out to Julius Randle and James Young to have them join them in Lexington. If Calipari also gets Wiggins, he might have his best recruiting class ever — which is saying something.
6. Aaron Gordon, 6-8 SF, Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, CA)
Blake Griffin clone is considering Washington, Arizona, Kentucky, Kansas and Oregon and will announce in the spring. Why the Blake Griffin comparison? Because he is a sick dunker. Sick.
7. Noah Vonleh, 6-9 SF, New Hampton School (New Hampton, NH)
Just reclassified from 2014 and is considering Duke, Louisville, Boston College, Indiana, North Carolina and Ohio State, among others. Reclassifying is a trend that had been gaining popularity since 2010. The movement has its roots in New England where many of the nation’s elite prep school and postgraduate programs reside. The guy who did it last year was Nerlens Noel, who I profiled here in an earlier post for SheridanHoops.
8. Kasey Hill, 6-1 PG, Montverde Academy (Montverde, FL)
Committed to Florida. In this fantastic profile piece by Joe Williams of the Orlando Sentinel, we learn that Hill’s father is in prison and his mother is rarely around. He lives with the family of Loyola (New Orleans) sophomore Kyle Simmons. “It was rough, but there are a lot of people in the world who have it rougher,” said Hill. “Everybody has their problems. I have come out of it stronger.” Committed as a junior after attending Florida’s win over Yale in late December. Hill tweeted, “I am a GATOR!!!!”
9. Chris Walker, 6-10 PF, Holmes County (Bonifay, FL)
Another member of Billy Donovan’s fantastic recruiting class, he also has committed to Florida. “In Indianapolis [for a travel-ball tournament], when I saw the way me and [Hill] played, I saw the bigger picture with us possibly competing for a national title,” Walker told ESPN.com. Walker chose UF over Louisville and Kansas.
10. James Young, 6-6 SG, Rochester (Rochester, MI)
Considering Kentucky, Kansas, Syracuse and Michigan State. Made an unofficial visit last weekend to Kentucky. He is considering is considering taking an official visit there Oct. 12 for Big Blue Madness. “That is the date that we’re looking at,” Sean Mahone, Young’s Godfather, told me Monday. “We haven’t committed to it but that’s the date that I know we were asked.”He is consider
“Yes, we are taking an unofficial visit,” his godfather, Sean Mahone, told me Thursday night by phone. “We haven’t taken any visits whatsoever,” Mahone said. “Over the past week and a half we’ve had an opportunity to go through the home visit process. The other schools were here, which gave us an opportunity to get to know those programs and coaching staffs much better. Now it’s time to take the next step and get on campus and see firsthand what the schools have to offer, and this is that first step. And because of the proxmiity of Kentucky, this is a great opportunity for us to take advantage and go visit Kentucky.”