Wake Forest Basketball has had a busy summer on the recruiting trail, and it has paid its dividends. We have seen one commitment and plenty of other developments in just the past few months, and there should be plenty of other news in the coming months, as well. The following will serve as a recap of all that happened this summer in the world of Wake Forest recruiting and also provide some prospects to keep an eye on moving forward.
Class of 2013:
Obviously, the biggest development in this class was the commitment of small forward Greg McClinton. The 6'6 Winston-Salem native chose Wake over Louisville, Xavier, Missouri and Georgia Tech. My scouting report of McClinton's game can be found here. To sum up, he is an athletic wing who makes plays on both ends using this athleticism. Not necessarily a scorer, McClinton helps in other ways. He is a terror in transition and rebounds well on both ends out of his position. The summer has been very kind to him, as he has consistently turned in productive performances on the AAU circuit with his CP3 All Stars squad. He will be attending Hargrave Military Academy for his senior season before arriving to Wake next fall. His commitment was a big one and was a good way to get the ball rolling in that 2013 class.
The next step in this class is a shooting guard, and the staff has been pursuing multiple. Right now, the most promising option appears to be Davon Reed. He was featured in my recap of the NBA Top 100 Camp, and that can be found here. The 6'5 wing recently said he has scheduled three official visits for the fall. Those visits include a trip to Wake on the weekend of September 8th, Miami (FL) the weekend of the 15th, and Xavier the weekend of October 6th. Those three schools are his finalists, and he is hoping to commit sometime in October. Reed gets the job done with versatility and hard play. He won't usually do anything that "wows" you, but he buys into the team philosophy and can contribute to a team in a lot of different ways.
A second shooting guard target is Kameron Williams, out of Baltimore, Maryland. I don't believe his scouting report has been posted on this site, and I got a chance to watch him a few times down in North Augusta at Peach Jam in July so will provide one now:
For a 6'2 pure shooting guard to play at the high major level, he usually must make up for his lack of size with something else. With some guys, it's elite athletic ability. For Kameron Williams, it's a fearless mentality and an unbelievable feel as a scorer. The Mount St. Joseph (MD) product can score from anywhere on the floor. He does it in a countless number of ways: shots off the catch, midrange pull-ups, floaters, and others. Williams owns great concentration, and that allows him to shoot and score over his larger defenders. Although he could still be more aggressive in his cuts, Williams moves well without the ball and has good court sense.
To further sum up his offensive ability, Williams is a pure scorer who can act as a shooter coming off picks or as a creator for himself with the ball in his hands. My bet is that while he may not immediately turn in big time scoring efforts on a nightly basis at the next level, he will continue to contribute in a major way on that end of the floor. That makes him a high major prospect.
However, that team will have to accept occasional defensive lapses. It's not his effort or commitment that is the issue, but Williams' size puts him at a disadvantage on that end of the floor. Nevertheless, Williams clearly is a guy who expects a lot from himself and accepts challenges by embracing them, so I expect continued improvement from this competitor.
Due to his high scoring performances this summer, he has seen his recruitment blow up as of late. Williams would be a big time get for the Deacs and while Miami (FL) is the perceived favorite at this point in time, Wake remains somewhat in the hunt. Other schools pursuing this hot shooting wing include Virginia Tech, Villanova, Rutgers, Providence, Florida State, Boston College and others.
A third possibility at the two guard spot is St. Joseph's Prep (PA) standout Miles Overton. The 6'3 wing has visited Wake's campus before and is reportedly looking to make a college decision in the coming months. Brian Bosworth of NBE Basketball reports an offer list that includes the likes of Wake, Temple, Villanova, Penn, La Salle and St. Joseph's, with interest from Xavier, Virginia Tech, Rutgers and Seton Hall. Overton is a physical wing with range to his jumper and, while probably a step below Reed and Williams as a player, appears to be the shooter type that Wake is searching for in this class.
Tim Quarterman is another shooting guard to keep an eye on in the 2013 class. Hailing from Savannah, Georgia, Quarterman has a multitude of offers from schools in the ACC, SEC, and Big 12. Owning good size at 6'5, he is known to be a very versatile guard who can make plays on both ends of the floor. His productive summer paid dividends for him.
One more 2013 wingman to keep an eye on is California native Jordan Matthews. This 6'3 scorer had a very busy and successful summer, as he scored the ball well in multiple events including the prestigious EYBL Finals at Peach Jam, where he led his California Supreme team in scoring. His offensive abilities gained the attention of multiple high majors, including Wake Forest, California, Marquette, and UConn. One other school, however, has proven itself to be a major competitor for Matthews, as well. Gonzaga is in hot pursuit and could be a tough one to beat in this race. Matthews said he plans on visiting Wake on September 15, Gonzaga on September 29 and Marquette on October 12. He also plans on taking a visit to California at some point.
A couple other names to keep an eye on in 2013 at the shooting guard position are Jon Severe (combo guard), Austin Ajukwa, and Justin McKie (in my opinion more of a mid-major prospect). Guys like Jajuan Johnson and Xavier Rathan-Mayes (absolute stud - incredible feel as a scorer) have been pursued in the past but are no longer legitimate possibilities. Nevertheless, it is obvious the staff is set on landing a better than average two guard to replace CJ Harris, and it appears that the Deacs are in good position with a couple of them.
The other area of interest in that 2013 class is down low. Despite a heavier Daniel Green, along with the additions of Devin Thomas, Andre Washington, and stretch four man Tyler Cavanaugh, Wake remains thin in the paint. The Deacs will most likely be forced to go small again at times this year, and this makes the power forward/center position a priority on the recruiting trail.
There are a few names worth tracking. Tosin Mehinti and Lamarcus White have both received interest from Wake lately, and Sidy Mohamed Djitte has heard from the staff in the past. Power forward Schuyler Rimmer held a Wake offer but recently committed to Billy Donovan and Florida.
The 6'9" Mehinti runs with Southern Stampede's AAU squad in the summer and has only been in the US for two years, as he hails from Nigeria. His name and play have become popular lately, as Miami (FL), Murray State, and Stanford have all reportedly offered. Wake has shown interest, and Mississippi State will have the athletic big on campus for a visit.
White is kind of an unknown to me, but he is listed by Rivals as a 6'9" 210 pound power forward. He recently named a top five of Auburn, Clemson, Florida State, Wake Forest, and UTEP.
Djitte is a 6'10 athletically-built big who originally comes from Senegal. He claims offers from Memphis and VCU, with interest from Marist, Xavier, Clemson, and Wake. The Northwood Temple (NC) product had started to make a name for himself this summer, but misfortune struck before the live July evaluation period when an injury to his ankle kept him out for the rest of the summer. Nevertheless, look for Djitte to rebound this upcoming high school season and surprise some people. I have had the opportunity of watching him a few times, and his scouting report included in my NBA Top 100 Camp recap is found here.
While there may be other big man prospects on the radar, these three appear to be possibilities. Lefty center Kyle Washington had interest from Wake and would have been a great pickup, but it appears that option is no longer realistic. Chinonso Obokoh and Youssoupha Kane were two other names thrown around in Wake recruiting conversation, but it appears unlikely that either of these two bigs end up in a Wake uniform. Obokoh has seen his stock rise dramatically lately and reportedly holds a Syracuse offer. The 6'9" Kane, although very talented and owning good upside, would be a project that requires time and patience.
It is possible that the staff decides to wait on a big until the 2014 class. Despite the necessity of additional manpower down low, delaying the signing of a big until 2014 may be the best option if no quality post man presents itself as an opportunity.
Class of 2014:
Regarding that class of 2014, a few names to remember are Shelton Mitchell, Keith Pinckney, Josh Perkins, Gary Clark, Isaac Copeland, Shane Hall, and Jacob Hammond. There are plenty of others that Wake has expressed interest in, but these guys are definitely worth tracking. It appears that a top priority in this class lies at the point guard position.
The number one, and possibly the most likely, target at the lead man spot is Cuthbertson (NC) stud Shelton Mitchell. His recruitment has really picked up lately, as the big dogs have come out to play. North Carolina and Duke have both expressed interest lately and plenty of others are chasing this 6'3 lead man, as well. Wake, however, is in a very good spot. The staff has been on him for a while now, and this could prove to be a deciding factor in his decision. Don't be surprised if Mitchell makes a decision in the coming months.
I have been fortunate enough to watch Mitchell play multiple times this summer. One of those times was at the CP3 All Stars Invitational in July. This is what I saw:
Mitchell is one of those guys who does not have to score to dominate a game, as he is one of the best facilitators I've seen all summer. His court vision and passing ability are unmatched by most, and he flat out knows how to run an offense. Having a point guard who can lead a group of players is crucial to a team's success, and Mitchell knows how to do this with the best of them. He directs out there and is that quarterback on the court whom every coach desires. Additionally, the floor general has a feel and instinct for the game that are hard to find at his age.
He would benefit any type of offense, whether that be an up-tempo style or one that likes to slow the game down, because he can make things happen with his playmaking ability in either situation. Mitchell accumulates assist after assist on the stat sheet, and he controls the pace of the game, helping his team win in doing so. He will need to improve his on ball defense, but Mitchell is an unbelievable leader and is absolutely one of the top three or four prospects in that 2014 North Carolina class.
Keith Pinckney is another point guard who has garnered the attention of Wake's staff. I got a chance to speak with him at the Top 100 Camp in June, and he listed Miami (has an offer), Georgia Tech, Clemson, Georgia, Stanford, Virginia Tech, Tennessee, Charleston and Alabama as schools that were also recruiting him. Pinckney mentioned that he likes an up-tempo game and cited his playmaking ability and leadership qualities as strengths. The 6'1, 170-pound point said that the relationships with the coaching staff and current players of the team will be determining factors in his recruitment.
A third possibility at the point guard spot is Colorado native Josh Perkins. He flew all the way out to Wake for the elite camp in June, so it is obvious that there is mutual interest between the two parties. From watching him at the camp, Perkins is clearly a playmaker. He is very quick with the ball in his hands, and his ball skills and athletic ability allow him to make plays for himself and others. Defensively, he uses his quickness to hound ball handlers and is very adept at slipping ball screens. Perkins, in my opinion, will need to improve his pure point guard skills, but he is definitely a very solid prospect with good potential. Along with Wake, Perkins holds offers from other schools, including the likes of Arizona State, Colorado, Wyoming and San Diego State.
Transitioning to the forward spot, one to watch out for is Gary Clark, out of Clayton High School in North Carolina. He's another one who I've gotten the chance to watch several times this summer, and each time I came away impressed. My most recent viewing was at the CP3 All Stars Invitational, where he showcased his talent with the NC Red Storm. This is what I had to say:
Clark has the potential to be a big time player. He is oozing with talent and is already very skilled for his age. The 6'7 forward can play down low but has also developed his perimeter skills to the point where he can play on the perimeter, as well. His ball handling ability for his size is solid, and his passing and court vision are equally impressive. While he did force a few passes in the game I saw that resulted in turnovers, Clark had a few bounce passes in transition that could have left people thinking he was a guard. Clark's outside shooting ability and rebounding prowess add even more to his versatility. He has a good stroke with good rotation and can knock down the long ball when left open. Clark also has very quick and strong hands, allowing him to corral rebounds in and out of his area. His length doesn't hurt him on the boards, either.
As you can see, he is turning into a very complete player. He's an interesting player to watch, too. Clark's laid back demeanor on the court gives off an air of calm confidence, and it is somewhat surprising when he shows off his athleticism by exploding for a transition jam, just as he did twice at the end of a morning game to put the exclamation point on the win. It should also be added that Clark's feet are massive. Maybe he has a couple more inches left in him? Whether this is the case or not, he is definitely tracking as a high major prospect.
Schools are starting to notice his upside, as Wake, Clemson, VCU, and others are showing interest.
Isaac Copeland is another one with tremendous upside, and he has seen his recruitment blow up this summer. Running with Garner Road (Raleigh, NC) on the summer circuit, Copeland now has high majors on his tail after showcasing his versatile game over the course of these few months. The 6'9 standout is listed as a power forward but is much more than that. His game is developing to the point where he can play the three spot and do so effectively. I saw him at the Hoop Group Southern Jam Fest at Boo Williams earlier in the summer, and he didn't disappoint.
Copeland showed he can step out to the three point line and knock down jumpers with regularity. His handle is advanced for his size, and his athleticism only adds to his attraction as a prospect. He was active around the rim on defense, and his bounciness around the rim allowed him to block and alter shots on that end of the floor. I would love for Copeland to add strength and develop his back to the basket game, but he is without a doubt a great talent with big time upside. He holds interest from Wake, and recently took unofficial visits to NC State and North Carolina.
Shane Hall and Jacob Hammond are both somewhat unknown to me, as I have never seen them play, but each of them has reportedly received interest from Wake's staff in the past. Hall is a somewhat undersized power forward at 6'8, but he reportedly makes up for it with his athleticism and motor. Hammond seems to be a mystery to most at this point, as he is home schooled in Oklahoma. Nevertheless, his 6'9 frame has garnered the attention of a few scouts recently and also interest from the Sooners' staff.
Down the Road..
Looking way ahead to the 2016 class, keep tabs on in state product Harry Giles. He attended Wake's elite camp and is a great talent and player at his age. At 6'7" Giles can handle it and has a very impressive feel for the game. He obviously still has a lot to improve, but the potential is there. In the fall, he will be teaming up with 2014 stud Theo Pinson at Wesleyan Academy (NC).
Taking it all in:
There are a couple main takeaways to remember moving forward. The 2013 class will more than likely yield a shooting guard and possibly a big man. The following year (2014) should produce a quality point guard and potentially a post man, depending on what happens in 2013. Another scholarship could also be used in this class on some other position - maybe a combo forward type like Gary Clark. Regardless of what happens it will be fun to track these players in the coming months and years.
These next couple years on the recruiting front are crucial, as Wake looks to build off the solid 2012 foundation class and get the program headed in the right direction. The staff has clearly done a good job discovering talent early, and it appears they have set themselves up for a successful couple years on the trail. There will be plenty of news to report in the fall, especially the decision of Davon Reed, so stay tuned for more updates.