ROSELLE, NJ - As coach Kevin Boyle made his return to New Jersey with a new team, Montverde Academy (FL) and their loaded squad stole the show at the Holiday Hoops for Troops event on Wednesday night.
Russell Working On Game
While he may not get the most attention from fans, D'Angelo Russell is beginning to take his game to another level. With a very smooth and unique game, the 2014 6-foot-4 shooting guard originally from Kentucky is on his way to a special year.
Ranked No. 10 in the Rivals150 to begin the season, Russell has improved his handle, jumper, shooting range, and has done a really impressive job at creating space in order to shoot or create a play off the dribble. As he has matured a great amount, Russell does everything he needs to in order to win games.
With a long list of offers, the five-star prospect listed Ohio State, Indiana, Louisville, Georgetown, Missouri, Florida, NC State and North Carolina, among others, as the schools involved with him. In his mind, the Buckeyes, Hoosiers, Cardinals, Hoyas, Tigers and Gators have been recruiting him fairly hard.
As he plans on visiting Missouri, Florida, NC State, North Carolina, Ohio State and Louisville in the near future, Russell has a long way to go.
While some believe Louisville has an inside track on him because it is home, Russell certainly isn't denying it.
"I might go there," he told Rivals.com. "But for now I'm wide open and looking at all options."
Attention For Dakari
The last time World Wide Wes came to a high school player's games, it was a top recruit coached by Boyle. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist wound up at Kentucky out of St. Patrick (NJ) and ended up as the No. 2 pick in this past years NBA Draft. Five-star recruit Dakari Johnson was on that St. Patrick team during his freshman year and is in a similar situation now.
On Wednesday, William Wesley was front and center to see the the No. 13 player in the Rivals150 play with friends and family watching. Johnson, who is down to Syracuse, Kentucky and Georgetown, still has a lot of decisions to make, but has recruiting pitches being thrown at him every which way.
While the Hoyas remain on his list, they may not have room for Johnson after landing a commitment from UCLA junior transfer Josh Smith, who committed to Georgetown on Wednesday.
Johnson spent his middle school days in Kentucky, but has been recruited by Syracuse assistant Adrian Autry since middle school. He fits the Syracuse 2-3 zone defense well, but will any of the Orange's big men leave for the NBA after the season? A number of questions remain, but Johnson is preparing to take official visits to his final three schools, for now, after the season.
Montverde's Young Backcourt
The new 2014 backcourt of Jalyn Patterson and Rivals150 talent Justin Bibbs is giving Montverde plenty of depth.
Bibbs, a native of Ohio, and Patterson, who transferred from Milton (GA) midseason, have very different games but both can shoot the ball well, put it on the floor and help to run the offense with their high IQ's.
With Dayton, Xavier, Boston, Akron, Cincinnati, Wright State and others checking out the 6-foot-5 shooting guard, he is far from a decision as he wants to see his stock rise as the No. 136 player in the Rivals150.
Patterson has Auburn, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgia State, George Mason, Florida State and others on his side as the home schools are trying to get him to come back.
Australian Coming to America
Highly-tougted 2015 6-foot-8 forward Ben Simmons will become the latest high-major recruit to make his way to America.
Simmons, who broke out at Pangos All-American Camp last year, will play his ball at Montverde. He plans on joining the team when the second semester begins around January 9th.
This is huge for the longevity and stability of the team's success with their two big men, Johnson and West Virginia bound Devin Williams graduating. It will also be an amazing opportunity for colleges to get in with Simmons in order to have him play at their school in a few years.
For the latest in college basketball recruiting, head to TheRecruitScoop.com for the latest details and notes on offers, visits, commitments and more. To contact Alex Kline, you can reach him by email at MaryKlineClassic@gmail.com or on Twitter at TheRecruitScoop.