By DARRYL MAXIE / firstname.lastname@example.org
Rivals.com calls John Wall the nation’s top prospect, point guard or otherwise. Scout.com calls him the top point guard and the second-best player overall.
And he’s all Kentucky’s.
The Wildcats are expected to get Wall, a 6-foot-4, 180-pound guard from Word of God Christian Academy in Raleigh, N.C., to sign a national letter of intent today, the final day of the basketball signing period for players who plan on enrolling this fall. That’s largely because they lured coach John Calipari away from Memphis just in time for him to have a major impact. Wall says Calipari is the main reason he’s Lexington-bound.
“It came down to where my heart was,” Wall told rivals.com. “Every time I talked about schools, Coach Cal was the first thing that I always talked about.”
Calipari’s coup sends a message, Dave Telep of scout.com told the News and Observer.
“I think right now everybody’s on notice,” Telep said. “This is old-school Kentucky right now, and the rest of the country has been served notice. This is the real deal. These guys are coming after players, they’re getting guys, and they have a powerful product to sell.”
NEWEST DOG NEEDED A LITTLE ‘ME’ TIME
Tennessee State shooting guard Gerald Robinson Jr., who’s transferring to Georgia, says his move has nothing to do with John Cooper replacing Cy Alexander as TSU coach. “It didn’t have anything to do with Tennessee State, either,” he told The Tennessean. “I appreciated what Tennessee State did for me and I had some great times there. It’s just mainly about me.” He’ll have a year to work on himself, sitting out the 2009-10 season per NCAA transfer rules. His teammate, former Chestatee High star Parker Smith, who was named to the Ohio Valley Conference’s All-Newcomer team, also is transferring, but hasn’t specified to what school.
THE TOP UNSIGNED RECRUITS
It looks like there’s a one-in-three chance that 6-6 Brooklyn guard Lance Stephenson will wind up at an ACC school, where Georgia Tech would have to contend with him. Maryland and Wake Forest are among the six schools that are in the running for him. And the other blue-chipper, 6-7 Latavious Williams of Humble Christian Life Center in Texas, apparently has whittled his list to four schools. The most prominent is Memphis, but now that Calipari has moved on, maybe Georgetown or Kansas State has a better shot. Of course, new Memphis coach Josh Pastner is lauded for his recruiting skills, so if anybody can overcome the Calipari factor, it might be him.
A STATE-RECORD SIGNEE
Georgia Tech’s football team is getting a state record-setting long jump champion in Miller Grove’s Stephen Hill. His leap of 25 feet, 8 3/4 inches set an all-classification record, breaking the mark of 25 feet, 6 inches that brought Sandy Creek’s Christian Taylor a Class AAA championship in 2007. For Hill, it was all the more impressive considering that his championship winning long jump last year was “only” 24 feet, half an inch. Hill, a 6-4 receiver signee, also won the 300 intermediate hurdles and was a part of championship relay teams for the 400 meters and the 1,600 meters. Small wonder that Miller Grove won the Class AAAA title.
NATIONAL SCOUTS’ RAVE REVIEWS
Georgia’s Orlando-area commitments, defensive end B.J. Butler and linebacker Marc Deas, get favorable reviews from national scouts who opined for the Orlando Sentinel. Tom Lemming (ESPN, Sporting News, USA Today) says of Butler, in part, “He comes off the edge really well and really quick for a 250-pounder.” And Tom Luginbill (ESPN Sports Inc.) says of Deas, who’s expected to shift to safety, “He’s played everywhere, so when he plays on defense, he has great instincts and great football awareness.”
HE MAY BE “A HECKUVA ENGINEER” ONE DAY, BUT HE’S NO RAMBLIN’ WRECK
Gabe King, a 6-6, 253-pound defensive end from Greensboro, is listed by the Charlotte Observer as one of North Carolina’s top 25 recruits and wants to be an engineer. But Georgia, not Georgia Tech, is among his reported finalists.