Today, Martin and I sat down and had a chat about 2011 basketball recruiting. We discussed some of the known top prospects that Wake Forest is after as well as what we think should be done with the remaining two scholarships for the class.
Click through for the chat and feel free to weigh in with your own thoughts.
Jake: Coach Bzdelik wasted no time reeling in his first 2011 recruit, 3-star shooting guard Chase Fischer out of West Virginia. If the Deacs have no other departures, the staff has two other scholarships to give to members of the 2011 recruiting class. So I'll get this started by asking you, Mr. Rickman, what direction you think we will be going position-wise with our final two grants.
Martin: You know Jake, the Chase Fischer signing is a headscratcher for a number of reasons. But we can get into that another time. I was assuming we were going to go PG, SG and a big for the 2011 class. Now that we've signed a "combo" guard in Fischer, that will probably rule out one of the SG/PG as our target. I still think Wake will go after a big. It's hard to believe they wouldn't. So I guess the question to pose back to you Jake is, do you see the Deacs pulling hard for a PG or still going after a shooter and hoping that Tony Chennault, CJ Harris, JT Terrell and Fischer can do enough ballhandling. Or, does Wake go after another combo guard like Bishop Daniels or Jabari Brown and just hope that they can spread the ballhandling duties around?
Jake: I think the top priority is still to get NY point guard Jabarie Hinds in the fold. In last night's release of the updated Scout rankings Hinds jumped to #47 overall and he was really playing at a high level before he went down with an ankle injury at the Pitt Jam Fest. Hinds is jet quick and a very effective scorer and distributor. He is set to make his return over Memorial Day Weekend at the Tournament of Champions in NC. Wake was in very good shape with him before Coach Gaudio was fired, so it will be interesting to see if we can get him on campus and renew his confidence in Wake with the new leadership.
After Hinds, I think Jabari Brown is another guy on which Wake will turn the heat up. Brown was recently hailed by Rivals.com's Jerry Meyer as one of the best shooters in the class. If Wake could get the top shooter in the class two years in a row it would be pretty special to watch in the coming years.
Martin: When I spoke with Brown in November, his list was about 4-5 schools long. When I spoke with him last week, that list had grown to about a dozen. He did mention that Coach Bzdelik's staff was recruiting him at Colorado and he has continued to be recruited by Wake, so the Deacs are in the hunt. But when Brown lists his favorites, Wake is often absent. How realistic are Wake's chances with Brown in your opinion? Do you think Bishop Daniels is out with the signing of Chase? As to Hinds, Wake looked to be in great shape and the Dino firing seemed like the worst possible timing. Rankin had just committed to Virginia Tech, making Hinds priority #1 and it was looking like he was going to visit soon. Since then, it has been relatively quiet regarding Hinds.
Jake: Actually, Brown has listed Wake in the past three or four articles that I have read about him. He specifically mentioned that he would be going to the CP3 camp in Winston-Salem this summer and he would obviously be able to take a visit to Wake during that time. While it will be tough to get him off the west coast, Wake and Maryland seem to be the only schools high on his list on this side of the country. If he has a good visit this summer, you never know what could happen.
While I am a huge Bishop Daniels fan and think he is really going to do big things in college, it looks like that ship may have sailed with the Fischer signing. However, if Wake fails to deliver Brown, Hinds, Boatright, Larkin and others, I could see us potentially turning back to Daniels as an underrated combo. Let's turn the page and talk about the big men. Who do you see us focusing on there?
Martin: This is an area that I'm not 100% sure about. Somehow Wake's name came up with Cody Zeller lately, but I doubt that will go anywhere. I've heard Julian Royal mentioned before and even Desmond Hubert floated out there. I'd love to see Wake pull the AAU package of Brown and 6'9" PF Kyle Wiltjer, but that one is a stretch too. The problem is that Wake just isn't in with any great big men in this class. They can pull out all the stops on the above guys, or take a safe player like Jackson Simmons or John Cannon. The other interesting prospect (and some could say wildcard) of this is Adjehi Baru. Baru plays for Team Loaded, the same team as Tyler Lewis, and Baru seems to be really putting it together lately.
Jake: Yeah that's the way I see it as well. Wiltjer and Zeller are both skilled big men ranked in the top 30 overall, so getting either would be a pretty good haul. They are both rather skinnny, but I am not sure that a traditional back-to-the-basket post guy is what Bzdelik wants anyway. These guys both seem to fit his style of play, with versatile guys at all five positions. We heard recently that Bzdelik was one of several head coaches in a Georgia gym to see Julian Royal, who would fit that versatility role as well. He doesn't have the size that Wake is likely looking for in this class, but he seems to fit the Travis McKie mold. Wake will definitely have plenty of forwards with work with considering the Deacs already have McKie, Stewart, Tabb and Desrosiers.
Baru is more of the banger, rebounder that I think Wake really needs in this class. Rebounding is going to be a deficiency that our current group may not have the tools to combat other thanand possibly Melvin Tabb. Therefore, I would like to see Wake turn up the heat a bit on him.
Martin: I agree. And it seems like Baru is a special case in that he has progressed dramatically lately and not much is known about him. But Wake has assuredly seen Baru play since their team is loaded (no pun intended) with guys that the Demon Deacons have been out to see. I agree with you in that Wake needs that bulldog rebounder. They've been missing that for years and it has showed. While Aminu was a strong rebounder (and underrated in that regard), Wake really needs to find a player in the Trevor Booker mold. So Jake, rank the targets and give the Deacs' realistic chances at landing each. So Jake, who would you take out of this class out of the guys you think Wake has a realistic chance at?
Jake: Since we only have two grants left, I think we should go all-in for Hinds, Brown and Baru. If Wake could snag one of the guards and Baru, I think most would be satisfied with Bzdelik's first class. Obviously, I would not be disappointed if we managed to grab Wiltjer or Zeller, but, again, I see rebounding as a huge area of concern going forward.
Overall, information has been tough to obtain since the coaching switch. We are doing our best to find information from the players themselves since Bzdelik and staff are not letting much out about potential targets lately. I think this will definitely become clearer as Bzdelik hosts his first elite camp in mid-June and when the coaches are allowed to get out and watch the players at AAU events.
Martin: I also think it will be easier to evaluate what is going on after the Bob Gibbons' Tournament of Champions next weekend, at which Blogger So Dear will be in attendance. It may be that Coach Bzdelik is keeping his intentions quiet, or that he isn't quite sure where he wants to go until he starts to see kids for himself, but either way, Wake needs to start making moves soon on this class. I would agree, if Wake can grab Brown or Hinds and Baru, fans will be pleased and this would give a very deep and skilled team.