HACKENSACK, NJ - With an established amount of older players in New Jersey, the New Years Jump Off on Sunday featured a number of talented junior, sophomore and freshmen prospects with a bright future ahead of them.
Top Juniors Battle
While the class of 2014 isn't the best in the Garden State, it is very top-heavy and talented guards Eli Cain and Rashard Figures are a few who represent that notion.
Cain, a 6-foot-5 combo guard from Medford Tech (NJ), has an improving mid-range jumper and the ability to create plays because of how good he is at passing the ball. With tremendous size and an excellent opportunity to boost his exposure playing in the Nike EYBL this spring, Cain is a junior whose stock could rise significantly and turn him into a high-major prospect. Binghamton, George Mason and St. Joseph's have offered, and Phil Martelli's squad is doing an excellent job of getting the rising star on their campus for games and visits. A boatload of schools are taking an interest in him, though, as Robert Morris, Rutgers, VCU, Wake Forest, La Salle, Delaware, Seton Hall and others are interested.
Figures, a 6-foot-4 combo guard from Hackensack (NJ), continues to improve at driving to the basket and do an overall strong job of putting the ball in the basket. Figures, who will look to rise his stock in the backcourt with Cain this spring, has benefited from camps with his recruitment taking off last spring. Rhode Island, Seton Hall, St. Joseph's and Delaware have offered the No. 142 player in the Rivals150, while Washington and Memphis are showing a fair amount of interest. As the four schools who have offered thus far are showing the most intrigue, they could certainly make it to the finish line because of the level Figures can perform at going forward.
Difference In Diagne
When Moustapha Diagne began his career at Pope John XXIII (NJ), his defensive habits were fantastic and he ran the floor well. Offensively, however, he was raw. A few weeks later, things have changed.
The class of 2015 6-foot-9 power forward, by way of Senegal, did a tremendous job of finishing around the rim on a consistent basis. While he wasn't as physical on the boards as he was, his skills are developing and he is quickly beginning to become an elite big man.
College coaches are noticing, as well. After starting out with a scholarship from Cleveland State, Diagne now holds offers from Oregon State, Rhode Island, West Virginia, La Salle, George Mason, Rutgers and UConn, his head coach Jason Hasson told Rivals.com. As more coaches will likely offer following his performance Sunday, he is beginning to elevate himself into a highly coveted status, and plans on keeping it that way.
Battle for Briscoe
Most know the storylines of Isaiah Briscoe, his sister, and close ties to Syracuse's basketball team. The Orange have had an in with him early and often as he has been to campus dozens of times to see his sister and explore the basketball world that belongs to Jim Boeheim in Central New York.
With that being said, Arizona is the team that is pitting the biggest challenge to land the 2015 6-foot-3 point guard from St. Benedict's Prep (NJ). With offers from all over, these two schools are making the biggest push for him, and Arizona won't be backing down without a fight.
As he has already been to the Pac-12 campus, and has the majority of the offers he wants to sort through, his timetable is not closing in. A college decision will be determined after a few underclassmen guards make their decisions later on in the year, and possibly next.
Big Offers to Come
Two underclassmen big men remain without an offer, to the surprise of some. That could change soon, though, as both Abdul Lewis and Rodney Miller have a chance to be great.
A number of high-major schools are very interested in Miller, a class of 2016 6-foot-10 center from St. Benedict's Prep (NJ), but no one has offered yet to his knowledge. His offensive skill set, physicality and post moves are improving. Miller has a very bright future ahead of him.
Lewis, a class of 2014 6-foot-8 power forward from Newark Eastside (NJ), isn't as active or physical in the paint as he could be, but his length in the lane and improved help defense gives him a favorable advantage as a big man who will be highly recruited by mid-major schools soon. George Mason is close to offering, but other than that he is picking up some interest from Quinnipiac and Delaware.
Young Revamps Game
Last year, Mike Young was a talented power forward who didn't bring that much to the table. Now, committed to Pittsburgh and enrolled at St. Benedict's (NJ), his approach on-and-off the court has changed. The No. 97 player in the Rivals150 - a class of 2013 6-foot-8 combo forward - Young can now play on the perimeter, as well as in the post. He can bang inside, and shoot the three-ball. He is proving his value as a top-100 player.
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.