- RECRUITING - Coaches await harvest of signatures

Wednesday, February 7
Coaches await harvest of signatures

Pardon all college basketball coaches if they seem a bit woozy these days. The dizzying stretch run for the fall signing period is upon them and commitments by top prospects are golden.

The pressure is on -- only 24 of the Top 100 remain uncommitted and all but a handful will sign between Nov. 10 and 17. Although lists of the leading prospects are subjective, signing new talent always brings hope to the hearts of fans.

Both Duke and Indiana are awaiting the decision of forward Jared Jeffries of Bloomington-North, Ind. Jeffries could be coach Bob Knight's most important and necessary recruit in his 34 years of college coaching.

Is forward Darius Rice of Jackson-Lanier, Miss., already secretly committed to Kentucky? Many think so, but he denies the rumors. The Wildcats lead, followed by Mississippi State, Arkansas and Miami.

The nation's tallest prospect, 7-6 center Neil Fingleton of Worcester-Holy Name, Mass., is deciding between UNC, Wake Forest, and Boston College.

Forward T.J. Cummings of Homewood-Flossmoor, Ill., seems down to UCLA, DePaul and Duke. He is the son of NBA veteran Terry Cummings.

Another offspring of a famous player, Chris Walton, from San Diego-University, Calif., and youngest son of Hall of Famer Bill Walton, has committed to San Diego State and first-year Aztecs coach Steve Fisher. The forward turned down UCLA, where his father led the Bruins to two national championships and was a three-time national Player of the Year. Chris, who averaged 15 points as a junior, told the San Diego Union-Tribune that he never felt pressure to follow in his father's footsteps: "I've been living with that my whole life. I got over that a long time ago. UCLA has a great tradition and incredible athletes, but I feel SDSU's system is a better fit for me. I'm sure my dad would have been extremely happy had I chosen UCLA, but I also know he would never want me to be someplace I wasn't happy. He has always wanted us to make our own decisions."

Top guard Omar Cook of Middle Village-Christ the King, NY., is stunned over North Carolina taking Adam Boone of Minnentoka, Minn. Cook is now looking at St. John's and Miami, or reopening recruiting.

Other remaining top forwards
Darius Miles of East St. Louis, Ill: St. John's, DePaul, Saint Louis, Kentucky, North Carolina, Minnesota, NBA.

Rolando Howell of Hopkins-Lower Richland, SC: South Carolina or Kentucky.

Travon Bryant of Long Beach-Jordan, Calif: Kansas, Missouri, California, Kentucky, Utah or Oregon State.

Abdou Diame of Mouth of Wilson-Oak Hill, Va: Probable spring signee.

Omar Weaver of Compton-Centennial, Calif: Miami, Missouri, Georgetown, Alabama.

Taurance Johnson of Grove City-Republic, Pa: UMass, Duquesne, juco.

Nick Anderson of Baton Rouge-Southern Lab, La.: Texas A&M, Tulane.

Lou Wright of Memphis/Raleigh-Egypt, Tenn: Memphis, Georgia Tech, USC.

A.J. Moye of Atlanta-Westlake, Ga: Indiana, Georgia Tech.

Jeff McMillan of Oakdale-St. Thomas More, Conn.: Ohio State, Villanova and Fordham.

Garner Meads of Salt Lake City-Brighton, Utah: Stanford, Utah, BYU.

Andrew Zahn of Redondo Beach-Redondo Union, Calif.: Washington, Washington State, Oregon, Oregon State.

Other remaining top centers
Chris Wilcox of Raleigh-Enloe, N.C.: NC State, Maryland, Tennessee, West Virginia.

Modibo Diarra of Fitchburg-ND, Mass.: Kentucky, Kansas, Louisville, Ohio State, West Virginia, Clemson.

Derrick Dawes of Salt Lake City-Cottonwood, Utah: Utah, Arizona State, BYU, Ohio State.

Other remaining top guards
Imari Sawyer of Chicago-King, Ill.: DePaul, Miami, Georgia.

Demetrius Smith of Hogansville-Callaway, Ga.: Georgia, Alabama.

Eddie Starks of Miami-NW Christian, Fla.: Miami, St. John's, Rutgers.

Luke Ridnour of Blaine, Wash.: Kentucky, Washington, Oregon, Gonzaga and Utah.

Latest basketball commitments
Guard Adam Boone from Minnentoka, Minn., cancelled his official trip to Minnesota and is set for North Carolina over Duke. Boone, who averaged 17 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists as a junior, also considered Kentucky and Miami.

In addition to Walton, San Diego State has a commitment from forward Aerick Sanders of Gardena-Serra, Calif., over Oregon State and Northwestern. Forward Luke Jackson of Creswell, Ore., will play at Oregon. Guard Tommy Johnson of Los Angeles-Crenshaw, Calif., has committed to Washington State. Guard C.J. Massingale, of Tacoma-Mt Tahoma, Wash., has given a verbal to Washington over Saint Louis. Pepperdine received commitments from center Will Kimble of San Bernardino-Pacific, Calif., and forward Robert Turner of Anaheim-Western, Calif. Forward Kevin Roberts of Petaluma-Casa Grande, Calif., committed to Long Beach State. Weber State has a verbal from guard John Hamilton of Greenfield-Central, Ind., over Purdue. Nationally rated forward Patrick Dennehy of Mountain View-St. Francis, Calif., has chosen New Mexico.

Iowa's new coach Steve Alford has a top class with the commitment of center Jared Reiner from Tripp/Tripp-Delmont, S.D. Reiner, who had interest in UConn, Utah and Kansas, averaged 20 points, 11 rebounds and 6 blocks as a junior. Illinois has 7-1 center Nick Smith of Valrico-Bloomingdale, Fla., who picked the Illini over South Florida and Florida State. Forward Mike Wilkinson of Mazomanie-Wisconsin Heights, Wis., is expected to chose Wisconsin over Iowa. As a junior, he averaged 21 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, two steals and three blocks. Minnesota is expected to receive a commitment from guard Kerwin Fleming of Kennedy-King Junior College, Chicago, Ill., over UNLV and Rhode Island. Forward Andre Brown of Chicago-Leo, Ill., is expected to play for DePaul over Michigan.

Kansas State picked up guard E.J. Harris of Los Angeles-Crenshaw, Calif. Texas Tech has a verbal from guard Marcus Shropshire of Grand Prairie-South, Tex. Texas A&M has a verbal from forward/guard Brennon Martin of Rancho Santa Margarita-Trabuco Hills, Calif., over Wyoming. As expected, guard Fred Williams of Evans, Ga./Mississippi Delta College, Miss., will play for Texas. Forward Corey Vaslin of Port Arthur-Lincoln, Tex., will play at TCU. Missouri has the soft commitment of national-quality guard Wesley Stokes of Long Beach-Poly, Calif., on coach Quin Snyder's first recruiting class.

Rated one of the top guards in the nation, Taliek Brown of Astoria-St. John's Prep, NY., has made it official for UConn. Recognized as one of the best ever to come out of New York, Brown chose the Huskies over Kentucky, UMass, Syracuse and St. John's. Georgetown has a commitment from RaMell Ross of Burke, Va., but the guard will first attend Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia. Chris Exilus, a guard from Farmington-North Marion, W.Va.., committed to Virginia Tech. Guard Jay Joseph of Lansdale-North Penn, Pa., is set for UNC-Greensboro after decommitting from Pittsburgh.

Kentucky received its first commitment in center/forward Michael Southall of West Salem, Wis. Southall also considered Utah, Georgia, Tech, Michigan and Ohio State. Auburn has its third commitment in guard/forward Brandon Robinson of New Market-Buckhorn, Ala. Robinson averaged 18 points, 8 rebounds and 5.5 assists as a junior. Morehead State has a commitment from forward Corey Seegers from Columbus-North, Ind.

Louisville has beaten New Mexico for forward Luke Whitehead from Mouth of Wilson-Oak Hill Academy, Va. Forward Wayne Tinsley of Salisbury-The Salisbury School, Conn., has chosen Tulane over Boston College and Oregon State.

Latest football recruiting
Shreveport-Evangel Christian, La., receiver Justin Hermes has given Kentucky and coach Hal Mumme a verbal commitment over Florida and LSU. Teammate of the nation's top quarterback prospect, Brock Berlin, Hermes has 93 receptions for over 1,300 yards and 17 touchdowns in his career. Running back/defensive back Ronald McClendon of Ponchatoula, La., verballed to Tulane. Others were LSU, Florida State, Georgia, Auburn, Alabama, Purdue and Notre Dame.

Defensive back Brandon Hall of Portsmouth-Churchland, Va., has become Virginia's 11th commitment. Hall picked the Cavaliers over Virginia Tech and had interest from North Carolina and Tennessee. Pittsburgh has an offensive lineman and its 7th verbal in Jonathan Pressnell from Lakewood, Ohio. Virginia Tech gained a commitment from outstanding offensive lineman Jon Dunn of Virginia Beach-Tallwood, Va., who picked VT over Florida State and Georgia Tech.

Nebraska has its 14th football verbal and fifth offensive lineman in Jake Andersen of Denver-Mullen, Colo. Kansas picked up commitments from offensive linemen Tony Coker of Hoisington, Kan., over Kansas State and Colorado State, and Richard Pope of Evanston, Ill. Georgia Tech and Kentucky had offered.

Linebacker/defensive lineman A.J. Single of Chula Vista-Bonita Vista, Calif., has chosen USC. Quarterback Chris Lombardo from Newbury Park, Calif., has committed to Oregon. San Diego State has its second quarterback recruit in Jon Stoner of Glendale-Cactus, Ariz. Quarterback/defensive back Danny Armstrong of Palm Springs-LaQuinta, Calif., had verballed earlier.

Bill Hodge is the executive editor and director of recruiting coverage at For daily columns on prospects and commitments, plus databases, go to's recruiting index.