Sunday, July 6, 2003

UC, XU court future players

Summer viewed as important recruiting time

By Dustin Dow
The Cincinnati Enquirer

College basketball's July evaluation period begins Tuesday, which means University of Cincinnati and Xavier University coaches will spend 20 of the next 24 days away from home on the recruiting trail, each staff looking to add the final touches to their 2004 classes.

Cincinnati and Xavier both have five players in their incoming 2003 classes, which allows for no more than three 2004 recruits. Xavier already has secured two commitments in Detroit Denby's Darryl Garrett and Indianapolis Ben Davis' Stanley Burrell. Cincinnati has one commitment, from Jamar Butler of Lima Shawnee.

Coaches will make final evaluations of seniors-to-be at July summer camps as well as work ahead by checking out the best of the juniors - the 2005 class.

Cincinnati is looking to add a wing player and a big man with its pair of scholarships to complement Butler, a 6-foot-2 guard who committed during his junior season.

"If we get involved with two high-level wings, we may do that as well," said Cincinnati assistant coach Andy Kennedy.

Finding a big man may become a priority for Cincinnati now that incoming junior-college transfer Robert Whaley has said he plans to stay for just one season before entering the NBA draft.

Xavier will have to choose between a point guard and a post player with its last scholarship. The Musketeers are involved with some highly regarded players at both positions, including Moeller's Josh Duncan, a 6-7 forward, and Philadelphia Cardinal Dougherty point guard Kyle Lowry, ranked No. 32 in his class by's Dave Telep.

"We have a good idea of what we want," said Xavier coach Thad Matta, unable to pinpoint which position Xavier would recruit the hardest.

Xavier's current incoming class lacks a true point guard, and sophomore point guard Dedrick Finn will be a junior by the time the 2004 class arrives. Other point guards besides Lowry include Churchill Odia of Montrose Christian (Md.), A.J. Ratliff of Indianapolis North Central and Troy Mathis of Laurinburg (N.C.) Institute. Ratliff is ranked No. 50 by Telep.

Burrell, however, is capable of playing the point, which means Xavier isn't locked into going after that position. Along with Duncan, the Musketeers have gone after other big men, including Alfred Horford of Grand Ledge (Mich.) High School, James Mays of Garner (N.C.) High School, Aaron Agnew from Bellaire (Ohio) High School and Taj Gray of Redlands (Okla.) Community College.

Big men pose a greater recruiting challenge than guards because taller players typically develop later. Coaches have more of an idea about who they are getting with a guard than a post player, which makes finding a solid big man all the more valuable.

For this reason, Cincinnati is interested in wing players more than big men.

The Bearcats will travel to several top-flight summer camps to continue recruiting such wing players as Oak Hill (Va.) Academy star Isaiah Swann, who at 6-2 possesses excellent leaping ability and is ranked No. 30 out of 50 on .Cincinnati also will go after Shawne Williams, a 6-8 wing from Memphis, Tenn., ranked No. 28 in the nation, and 6-2 Jason Rich from Orlando, Fla., who comes in at No. 41.

The primary post targets for UC are Horford; Hatila DeSouza, 6-9, from Laurinburg (N.C.) Institute; and David Gomez a 6-7 forward from Baton Rouge, La.

Coaches generally do not expect to get verbal commitments during the July period because they are not allowed to talk to recruits at summer events.

"We're not one to rush into someone," Kennedy said.

Instead, most commitments will come before or just after classes get underway in September.

List of UC, XU prospects

Cincinnati's recruiting targets for 2004

Oral commitments

Pos. Player Height School
G Jamar Butler 6-2 Lima Shawnee
Uncommitted players (Cincinnati has two scholarships to give)

Pos. Player Height School
G Isaiah Swann 6-2 Oak Hill (Va.) Academy
G Jason Rich 6-3 Dr. Phillips (Fla.)
G Lorenzo Wade 6-5 Las Vegas Cheyenne
G Tyree Evans 6-2 George Wythe (Va.)
G Chamberlain Oguchi 6-4 George Bush (Texas)
G Steven Neal 6-4 Minneapolis Henry
G/F Shawne Williams 6-8 Memphis (Tenn.) Hamilton
G Chris Lofton 6-1 Mason County (Ky.)
F Alfred Horford 6-8 Grand Ledge (Mich.)
C Hatila DeSouza 6-9 Laurinburg (N.C.) Institute
F/C David Gomez 6-7 Episcopal (La.)
Xavier's recruiting targets for 2004

Oral commitments

Pos. Player Height School
G Darryl Garrett 6-4 Detroit Denby
G Stanley Burrell 6-2 Indianapolis Ben Davis
Uncommitted players (Xavier has one scholarship to give)

Pos. Player Height School
G Kyle Lowry 6-0 Philadelphia Cardinal Dougherty
G A.J. Ratliff 6-3 Indianapolis North Central
G Churchill Odia 6-4 Montrose Christian (Md.)
G Troy Mathis 6-0 Laurinburg (N.C.) Institute
G Danny Morrissey 6-2 The Pendleton School (Fla.)
F Josh Duncan 6-7 Moeller
F Alfred Horford 6-8 Grand Ledge (Mich.)
F James Mays 6-8 Garner (N.C.)
F Justin Orr 6-5 La Salle
F Taj Gray 6-7 Redlands (Okla.) Comm. College
C Aaron Agnew 6-10 Bellaire (Ohio)


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