Basketball Recruiting Big Board - 7.2.13

Jonathan Daniel

Time for a summer hoops crootin' update.

Penn State hosted their annual Advanced Skills Camp this past weekend. The camp is a major opportunity for recruits to earn a scholarship offer, much like incoming freshman Julian Moore did a year ago. With that, and the live July recruiting period right around the corner, it's time to take stock of the players Pat Chambers and co. are looking at to fill their remaining scholarships. These lists are not comprehensive--they are simply an accumulation of the information currently available. With that said, here we go:

2014 Class - 1 scholarship available

PLAYER HOMETOWN POSITION STARS NOTES
Terry Larrier
Bronx, NY
HS: The Phelps School, Malvern PA
AAU: Team SCAN
Small Forward
6'8"
205
12998_medium12998_medium12998_medium12998_medium
Offered
Visited 6/18
Kyle Kuzma
Burton, MI
HS: Rise Academy, Abington, PA
AAU: Dorians Pride
Small Forward
6'7"
200
NR
Offered
Visited 5/28
Ben Bentil
Middletown, DE
HS: St. Andrew's, Middletown, DE
AAU: We-R-1
Power Forward
6'8"
230
12998_medium12998_medium12998_medium12998_medium
Offered
No reported visit
Tory Miller
Lees Summit, MO
HS: New Hampton HS, NH
AAU: KC Run GMC
Forward
6'8"
235
12998_medium12998_medium12998_medium
Offered
No reported visit

Names to Watch: Reid Travis (F), Wade Baldwin (G), Donte Grantham (F), Ja'Quan Newton (G), Ryan Skovranko (F), Ryan Luther (F),

As you can see, the focus for the lone remaining scholarship has shifted to the frontcourt. Both of the current 2014 commits (Shep Garner and Isaiah Washington) are guards, and logic dictates the staff would be very happy to sign any of the four prospects listed above. Of this group, Larrier, a top-50 recruit, would be the most difficult to land. His offer sheet is extensive to say the least, and many already have him pegged to head to a Florida school. Getting him on campus was a major accomplishment in and of itself, but Penn State probably isn't a destination for elite recruits like Larrier quite yet.

Kuzma is a late-bloomer who reportedly grew 14 inches over the last three years. His guard skills have stayed with him and he's now starting to draw high-major interest--fortunately for PSU, Chambers has been proactive in getting in early with recruits (e.g., 2015 commit Mike Watkins, 2014 commit Isaiah Washington), and all signs indicate the Nittany Lions are prime contenders for his services once he decides on a school early in his senior year.

Where PSU, or any school, for that matter, stands with Bentil is a bit of an unknown. A consensus top-100 power forward, he's been very hush-hush about his recruitment thus far, stating that he'd rather let his high school coach handle much of the contact with interested colleges. He recently stated Georgetown, Kansas State, Marquette, Notre Dame and UCLA were the most persistent in their communication, but his recruitment appears to be far from over. Academics appear to be a big factor with him, so it sounds like Penn State might still have a fighting chance.

Last but not least, Tory Miller has already named his top 4--and Penn State is in it, along with Colorado St., Marquette and Nebraska. Obviously this list could change (and already has, for all we know--that list was tweeted back in February), but Chambers and co. should in good standing.

As for the names to watch, it's a mixture of too little and too late in many regards. Reid Travis has ties to some current Lions, (cousin of Ross Travis, former AAU teammate of Graham Woodward), but he hasn't shown much interest in joining them. Gonzaga appear to be the front-runners in his recruitment. Baldwin was once a big target for the Nittany Lions, though it's unclear how his recruitment has changed since the commitment of Shep Garner. Grantham and Newton both have claimed offers in the past, but neither appear to have much interest in Penn State. On the other side of the coin, Pittsburgh-area prospects Skovranko and Luther have not publically reported a PSU offer, but could become bigger targets with a big July evaluation period.

2015 Class - 3 scholarships available

PLAYER HOMETOWN POSITION STARS NOTES
Traci Carter
Philadelphia, PA
HS: Life Center Academy (NJ)
AAU: Team Philly
Point Guard
5'10"
160
NR
Bryant Crawford
Washington, DC
HS: Gonzaga College HS
AAU: Team Takeover
Point Guard
6'2"
170
12998_medium12998_medium12998_medium12998_medium
Offered
Visited 10/27
Derrick Jones
Radnor, PA
HS: Archbishop Carroll
AAU: We-R 1
Small Forward
6'6"
180
12998_medium12998_medium12998_medium12998_medium12998_medium
Offered
No reported visit
Jamil Hood Jr
Albany, NY
HS: Green Tech Charter
AAU: Albany City Rocks
Point Guard
6'2"
170
NR
Offered
Skills Camp Attendee
Shawn Alston
Haverford, PA
HS: The Haverford School
AAU: Team Final
Point Guard
6'4"
165
NR
Tyler Kohl
Trenton, NJ
HS: Trenton Catholic HS
AAU: We-R-1
Guard/Forward
6'5"
230
NR
Jarvis Johnson
Minneapolis, MN
HS: De La Salle HS
AAU: Howard Pulley Panthers
Point Guard
6'1"
170
12998_medium12998_medium12998_medium12998_medium
Justin Jenifer
Gwynn Oak, MD
HS: Milford Mill Academy
AAU: Team Takeover
Point Guard
5'9"
160
12998_medium12998_medium12998_medium12998_medium
No reported offer
Sam Miller
Washington, DC
HS: Gonzaga College HS
AAU: DC Assault
Forward
6'7"
215
NR
Offered
Visited 10/27
Skills Camp Attendee

Names to Watch: Sean Lloyd (G/F), Malik Ellison (G), Marcus Floyd (G), Milik Gantz (G), Ernest Aflakpui (F), Horace Spencer (F)

2015 is an important year for Penn State. With three scholarships to fill and a boatload of talent in the Philadelphia area, a successful season in 2013-14 would go a long way towards landing one of the top talents in the region. Right now, the number one target for Chambers appears to be Traci Carter, once a high school teammate of Shep Garner's at Roman Catholic before the rising junior transferred to Life Center Academy in New Jersey. Like Watkins and Washington, the staff got to work on Carter early, getting him to visit last September for a football game. He currently sports offers from most of the Big 5 as well as Iowa and Xavier.

Derrick Jones is *the* top prospect in the region, and despite Penn State's best efforts, the Top-25 prospect appears set on playing at Syracuse or Kentucky. File this one in the "pipe dream" section.

Jamil Hood could be considered the most likely of the bunch to commit next. He earned his offer back in the spring, and if his AAU team rings a bell, it should--Talor Battle is an Albany City Rocks product. Hood is reportedly a big fan of Battle's and performed well at last weekend's camp. The point guard sports offers from Seton Hall and a bunch of MAAC schools, so it seems as if PSU is currently in great standing with Hood's recruitment.


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