"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Tom Crean Goes JUCO

Coach Tom Crean has been meandering across the great state of Texas this week, looking for a JUCO big man to add to the incoming class next fall. Along the way, Crean visited the central Texas hamlet of Brenham this week -- home of incomparable Blue Bell Ice Cream and the six-time state champion Brenham High School Cubs baseball team (Cecil Cooper is an alum, and who can forget the amazing Jon Peters -- the only high school pitcher to make the cover of Sports Illustrated in the last 30+ years).

But I digress.......lets look at three new kids on the MU radar -- two of whom are confirmed for official visits this weekend.

Eric Whitehurst
TC wasn't in Brenham to tour the creamery, but he did pay a visit to Blinn Junior College where the talented Eric Whitehurst, a 6-foot-9, 210-pound sophomore forward, toils in the paint. After a season at Alleghany College, the Virginia native originally verballed to VCU but landed up at Blinn after Jeff Capel packed his bags for Norman. Previously, Whitehurst was recruited by Virginia Tech, St. Bonaventure and Wake Forest.

Quintin Thornton
In addition, MU is pursuing 6'9", 225-pound sophomore forward Quintin Thornton of Odessa Junior College (Larry Johnson's alma mater). Thornton started all 26 games last season for the Odessa Wranglers. He shot an impressive 54% from the field and was the team's second leading rebounder.

No word on whether or not Thornton will visit, though premium content on Hoopmasters has a teaser on their front page indicating that Thornton will visit a Big East school this weekend. Let's figure MU is getting that visit, just for fun -- eventhough its not confirmed.

Per Rivals, as a high school senior Thornton was offered by Illinois, Tennessee, Virginia Tech and St. Joseph's. Scout.com rated him as the Sunshine State's 24th best prospect for 2005. As a junior at Orlando's Edgewater High School, Thornton teamed up with former Memphis star Darius Washington to lead the squad to a state championship.

Looks like JUCO recruiting is here to stay at MU. Marcus Jackson, Jamil Lott and Trend Blackledge all fit the same pattern - - TC keeps his options open for the last scholarship every year looking for the best player available, presumably one who can contribute immediately. What's different about Whitehurst and Thornton is MU's relatively early interest in them - - Jackson, Lott and Blackledge were late signees for Crean. Looks like TC wants to wrap things up in November rather than April.

Even if Thornton is not visiting, the Whitehurst visit to campus is encouraging. The program is in need of a productive big man - - maybe he can fill the void.

Carlon Brown
According Fullcourtpress.net, Brown is a promising combo guard:

Brown is a terrific, but very underrated national combo-guard prospect that will be one of the top West Coast surprises this spring! Very savvy balhandler has nice size for a lead guard as well as real ability to bury the deep perimeter shot. Very good student too.
Another guard? This makes sense to me - - if TC believes there's a good possibility of Dominic James moving on to the NBA after his sophomore season. And let's face it . . . he just might. Per Scout.com, Marquette has already offered Brown.

Per the resourceful Todd Rosiak - - its confirmed that at least Whitehurst and Carlon Brown will visit MU this weekend.

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