"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, October 10, 2006

Items of interest: Top Freshmen and a New Recruit

The prolific Eric Silver (where would CHN's Big East coverage be without him) churned out a thoughtful analysis of the top freshmen in the Big East. Eric nearly boils the ocean here, analyzing incoming players in two installments. It takes time to cover 56 players. Part one ran on Monday and focused on "Role Players, Almost Certainly Won't Start, Possible Starters". The most interesting bunch here is the Louisvile trio of Caracter, Smith and Clark -- projected as those who 'Almost Certainly Won't Start'. Maybe I'm nuts, but I dont see enough talent on the Cardinals' roster to keep all three of these guys out of the starting lineup for long.

In part two, Silver evaluates freshmen who are "
Almost Certain Starters, Probable Starters, All-Rookie Team". Lazar Hayward is smartly listed as an almost certain starter. "Hayward is an excellent outside shooter who is being counted on to play the same role Steve Novak did last year. Unlike Novak, however, Hayward is capable of putting the ball on the floor and driving or pulling up for a mid-range jumper." Read the entire article here.

On to recruiting
.......for the last several weeks there's been chatter about Marquette recruiting another player for the freshman class of 2007. Despite appearing 'full' in terms of available tenders, MU is actively recruiting 6'7" PF Damian Saunders from Waterbury, CT. Saunders, a cousin of former UConn standout Edmund Saunders, will prep at Notre Dame Prep (MA) this year. As a senior last season, Saunders led Crosby High School to a state title while averaging 25 ppg. Interestingly, Saunders' AAU coach for at least one summer was Gino Auriemma, the head coach of the UConn Lady Huskies.

According to Notre Dame Prep head coach Bill Barton,
"Marquette, Cincinnati and Tennessee have shown the greatest interest........It's not just Providence and (Rhode Island)." Per this thread on Rivals, Saunders favors Marquette at the moment. No word on whether an official visit is forthcoming.

Scout.com has a detailed look at Saunders' recruitment in this premium article.

The Saunders interest is intriguing given MU's apparent scholarship limitations and the program's last two verbals -- both coming from power forwards. Still, history shows that MU undergoes unexpected attrition on an annual basis -- much of it good. Just to play along, here are a few possibilities that might result in an extra scholarship for 2007:

1) Dominic James goes pro. Lets not kid ourselves -- there's a strong possibility that DJ is two and done;
2) Mbakwe fails to qualify and goes to a prep school;
3) MU endures another transfer;
4) Lazar Hayward is ruled ineligible;
5) One of MU's current verbals renegs.

In any event, its good to see that TC is still out there recruiting talented kids for next season, particularly another one from the East Coast. Edmunds sounds like a player.

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