This summer will prove to be a big one for Wake Forest basketball on the recruiting front, as the staff looks to build on a solid 2012 class with even stronger classes in 2013 and 2014. AAU tournaments and player development camps take place throughout the entire summer, and they represent great opportunities for college coaches to not only learn more about the kids they are already recruiting, but also the possibility of discovering new talent.
While not all these events take place during NCAA live evaluation periods, in which division one coaches can actually be at the event to evaluate, staffs still have plenty of resources to track the players' progress. This past weekend's Reebok Showdown at the YWCA in Winston-Salem took place during a quiet period, so coaches were not allowed to attend. Nevertheless, an abundance of talent was on hand, including multiple players being recruited by Wake.
Here is some analysis of the Wake targets I saw with updates on their recruitment.
Kedrick Flomo 2014 PG:
Court awareness is a valuable skill for point guards, and Flomo has it. The 6'1 lead man played with Team Charlotte, coached by former UNC stud and NBA player Jeff McInnis, this past weekend and helped them win the 16U championship. His speed and fluidity in the open floor fits perfectly with Team Charlotte's up-tempo, athletic style, and it paid off, as his team put up big scoring numbers.
Flomo has a good outside shot that really keeps the defense guessing. That, along with his quickness, makes him tough to keep out of the lane. Defensively, the floor general has very quick hands, which allows him to get his hands on a lot of passes to create loose balls and steal opportunities. His slight frame, however, does make it tough for him on the defensive end at times, and he will need to gain strength moving forward.
Overall, he is a very solid prospect who is part of a loaded 2014 class of North Carolina point guards. He gave me a list of schools that included Wake Forest, Clemson, Xavier and Murray State. He has been given an invitation to attend the Wake Forest Elite Camp on June 2 and said he expects to attend.
Jalen Jones 2013 SG:
Jones is another very smart player who did a great job at getting to the free throw line and making free throws. He is very poised and has good form on his shot that extends out to the three point line, yet he will need to improve his consistency from deep. The 6'4 wing competes every possession and helped the SEBL team win the 17U age division by doing so.
Jones is not a great athlete, but is still effective at getting to the rim that is simply more often than not attributed to sheer determination. Defensively, he does not move that well laterally but is a solid rebounder for his size. His lack of elite athleticism and size may make him a better fit for a mid-major school, but he is still one to keep an eye on.
Jones seemed to be a very polite kid and gave me a list of Wake, NC State, Princeton, Columbia and a few Big South schools. He also is expected to attend Wake's Elite Camp.
Christian Hairston 2013 SF:
Hairston is the type of guy who loves to get out in transition, and rightfully so because when he does he is very tough to stop. Whether it was off a make or a miss, Hairston called for an outlet pass and attacked the rim at full speed. The majority of his points came in these situations. The 6'7 athletic wing played a lot of point forward for Team Cobra 17U, as his ball handling is very impressive for a player of his size.
An area of improvement going forward for Christian is to become more effective in the half court setting. Right now, he can hit outside jump shots occasionally but is not consistent with it yet. Nevertheless, his athleticism and versatility at 6'7 make him a very solid prospect that would be a perfect fit for a team that likes to get up and down.
Wake has cooled off on him a little bit lately, but that could change. Hairston currently holds offers from Appalachian State, Tulane, George Washington, Gardner-Webb and James Madison.
RJ Curington 2013 SG:
I got a chance to see the 6'4 wing play for Oak Hill earlier this year when they played Kennedy Charter, and he didn't play many minutes. When he was in the game, he did what he is most known for: shooting the ball. To me he looked like purely a shooter that has a pretty stroke from deep and can knock them down with consistency.
On Saturday, however, he really impressed me and showed that he is more than just a long-range threat. Playing with Team Loaded 17U, Curington has improved ball handling and finishing ability around the rim. Multiple times he caught the ball on the wing, beat his defender off the bounce and scored at the rim. He does not have elite athleticism, but he makes up for it with the energy he brings to the court every time out.
Curington competes and enjoys doing it. In my opinion, he is more of a mid-major plus prospect right now but with continued improvement, that could change. Curington holds offers from Cornell and Stanford, with Wake showing interest in the past.
I may as well do them together because they are very similar players. Both are 6'7 athletic wings and are high major prospects. The Team Loaded duo get after it on both ends of the floor and are very fundamentally sound. Caleb is the better shooter of the two, while Cody is more of a slasher. Neither of them dominated the tournament, but they affected the game in ways other than scoring and were also playing up in the 17U division.
Caleb showed off his versatility when he hit a pretty pull up jumper off the dribble, and then just a couple minutes later threw down a one-handed alley-oop in transition. Cody did a great job on the defensive end, as he hounded his defender on multiple possessions and pulled down tough defensive rebounds. The next step for both of them is to gain strength and assert themselves on the offensive end more because each has the ability to take over games.
They will be a package deal and are listing Wake, NC State and Virginia Tech.
Sidy Mohamed Djitte 2013 PF/C:
Djitte is relatively unknown and currently has not heard from Wake, but I included him on here because if division one programs were smart, they would offer him now. The 6'10 Senegal native is absolutely a high major prospect. The fact that he has only been playing basketball for two years makes him that much more attractive because there is so much room for improvement.
He has a STRONG body and goes hard every single possession. His commitment to rebounding was evident every time down the floor when he got low and boxed his opponent out with ease. It showed up in the box scores, as he had multiple games with double digit rebounds. His mobility is equally impressive. Frequently, he beat smaller guards up the floor and on one occasion, he stepped out and played solid defense on the opposing team's point guard, showing off his lateral movement.
Offensively, he is raw but still scored in double digits a couple of games, getting a lot of points off of tip-ins and put backs. He did also show an ability to finish fairly well around the basket when given the opportunity. Overall, Djitte has a lot of potential and is someone who could already be a force on the defensive end.
According to his host guardian, he is an above average student and is hoping to hear from upper-level schools soon. Right now, he has offers from Davidson and Coastal Carolina, with Xavier showing interest.
Demery is a 2014 6'4 wing out of Oakwood School who plays his summer ball with Team Charlotte 16U, alongside Flomo. He is another high major prospect. His athleticism is off the charts, and he does a great job slashing to the basket and finishing above the rim (his head was actually at or above the rim on a couple of highlight dunks). Demery was named MVP of the 16U division.
Newkirk, a 2013 Word of God product, is being recruited by a few ACC schools, including NC State and Georgia Tech, and plays for D-One Sports 17U. He is incredibly quick and very tough to keep out of the lane.
Graham plays with Newkirk at Word of God and D-One Sports. He originally was an NC State commit but de-committed and reclassified to the 2013 class. Graham is a shot jacker but is also a shot maker. He is a threat to score from anywhere on the court and can get off a shot at will due to his incredible elevation on his jumper.
The Reebok Showdown was a great event run by Rick Lewis and was just one of many tournaments that I will attend this summer, as I will be tracking Wake recruits throughout the entire offseason. So stay tuned for more updates.