BBall Recruiting & Scout’s 2007 Summer Top 100

I haven’t followed basketball or football recruiting with any real attention for quite a few years now. The slow death of my overall enthusiasm for NC State Basketball over the last decade combined with the exhaustion of the incessant spin from Herb Sendek’s basketball staff that almost every player the staff signed was a “diamond in the rough who is really going to suprise” completely killed my interest in the topic.

My disillusionment with recruiting (as it related to Sendek) started very early in Herb’s tenure in Raleigh when his first true recruiting class – ranked the #9 recruiting class in the country and 2nd in the ACC (with three top 60 players) never played in a single NCAA Tournament. Then I watched State’s HORRIBLE 2000-01 season unfold with the #9 class in the country playing as SENIORS on a squad supplemented by three highly ranked classes that included the #7 ranked recruiting class in the country (Gibbons).

To be fair, I don’t know what played a greater role in my dis-interested in recruiting — was it:
(a) the Groundhog Day-like selling of “the next great steal” or
(b) the relative underachievement of the more highly ranked recruits that Sendek landed. (Each of whom, of course, were supposedly much better than their rankings and were “steals” in their own right).

With all due respect to Anthony Grundy, Ilian Evtimov and Cornelius Williams…the ‘leaks’ of the last decade that every Rouldra Thomas, Dom Mejia, Mike O’Donnell, Justin Flatt, Trey Guidry, Adam Simons, Mike Bell and (insert name here) was going to be a huge surprise was just exhausting. The status quo lovers listened and believed all the while as NC State led the Atlantic Coast Conference in transfers and premature defections. These ‘secret weapons’ made zero impact on our program other than to kill our graduation rate and put us behind in the initial APR rankings released by the NCAA. (Trevor Ferguson and Dennis Horner are now on deck as the final two Sendek-recruited ‘sleepers’ that were sold to the world as ‘steals’.)

Additionally, a majority of the highly rated names that State did manage to sign in the last decade never really lived up to their high school rankings. Take a look at some of the following and tell me if their college performance matched their rankings (rankings primarily from Prepstars pulled from previous editions of ‘The Wolfpacker’):

Damon Thornton – Top 65, Prepstars
Archie Miller – #39 nationally, Prepstars; #36 nationally, Francis
Ron Kelley – #45 nationally, Prepstars; #47 nationally Recruiter’s Handbook, Gibbons
Kenny Inge – #57 nationally, Prepstars
Adam Harrington – #20 ranked recruit by Prepstars & Parade A-A
Keith Bean – #38 ranked recruit by Prepstars
Damien Wilkins – #10 nationally, Gibbons; McDonald’s AA
Marshall Williams – #32 nationally, Prepstars; Parade all-american
Clifford Crawford – #57 nationally, Prepstars
Scooter Sherrill – Top 25; McDonald’s AA
Marcus Melvin – Top 75 Prepstars
Michael Bell – Top 100 Prepstars
Julius Hodge – #7 nationally, Prepstars; McDonald’s AA
Levi Watkins – Top 40 nationally, Prepstars; Parade AA (same team as Rashad McCants)
Josh Powell – Top 80 nationally, Prepstars

Now that Sidney Lowe has been hired as NC State’s Basketball Coach, I have a renewed interest in following the recruiting game a little bit. The blog will definitely NOT go overboard with recruiting coverage…but we won’t totally ignore it, either.

Barring any unforseen defection and assuming that Andrew Brackman leaves the program to play baseball after next season, Coach Lowe/NC State should have five scholarships available to award in the 2007 recruiting class. Johnny Thomas, a swing forward from Greensboro, has already committed to one of those spots (Link to Thomas’ commitment as well as projected roster spacing) has released their updated rankings of the Top 100 high school basketball players in the Class of 2007. (Link) . The rankings will most definitely change as these players showcase their skills on the summer camp circuit that begins tomorrow and throughout their senior year in high school.

For those that care about rankings, Johnny Thomas was not included in Scout’s Top 100; he was listed as the #29 swing forward in the country. You need to realize that NC State’s coaches believe Thomas is the best player in the State of North Carolina next year and made a conscious decision to pursue Thomas over more highly rated recruits at the same position like Eric Wallace (to UVa) and Evan Thomas (to Ohio State). A word of caution if you follow the rankings — Thomas he turned down an invitation to the prominent ABCD Camp this summer where he would have had the opportunity to raise his personal ranking because his AAU Team has a tournament scheduled during the camp and he did not want to fall short of his team responsibilities.

Ignoring any swing forwards that may still be listing the Pack as option (because of the Johnny Thomas commitment), the following are the (currently) most highly rated names the Wolfpack is known to be pursuing for the final 3 or 4 scholarships in the 2007 class:

Chris Wright, PG, #18
JJ Hickson, PF, #24
Julian Vaughn, PF/C, #34
Dorenzo Hudson, SG, #48
Jamelle McMillan, PG/SG, #98

Quick Bytes:

* Some people close to the program have hinted that State may choose to use only four scholarships in next year’s class in order to have at least two scholarships for the 2008 class.

* Despite this^ conjecture, I would expect Coach Lowe to use his full allotment of five scholarships if State was in a position to land fantastic recruits a position of particular need – like in the paint. For example, I wouldn’t be suprised if the Pack took both Julian Vaughn and JJ Hickson if the program could be so lucky as to receive commitments from them both.

* Despite a lower ranking, Jamelle McMillan (Nate’s son) is somewhat of a key recruit because of his versatility to play both the point or the shooting guard position.

* With the presence of Courtney Fells on the roster for three more years, shooting guard is the least of State’s priorities in 2007. This need would be further decreased with a commitment from McMillan.

* The recent commitment of Farnold Degand will end up being fantastic insurance if State fails to land both Chris Wright and Jamelle McMillan…OR Degand may ultimately create a logjam at the guard position in 2008 – 2010 if State does land both of these guard prospects who could play the point.

* Degand’s presence would be PERFECT if the NCAA would allow him to play this season as opposed to mandating that he sit out of a year because of the transfer.

* We can dream about a “Fab Five” class of Thomas, Wright, McMillan Vaughn, and Hickson can’t we?

Basketball Recruiting General NCS Basketball

62 Responses to BBall Recruiting & Scout’s 2007 Summer Top 100

  1. Dan 07/05/2006 at 2:55 PM #


    Jeff: Don’t care what you ‘think’ or ‘understand’ about the site, Dan. Couldn’t make that point more clear often enough.

    We have been dealing with a rash of recent comments wanting to discuss or make criticisms of “this site� or “these authors�. The purpose of supplying an option for comments is NOT so that every comment can become a referendum or a discussion regarding the macro issue of “StateFansNation.� I am sure that you can understand the risk involved in allowing comments in EVERY ENTRY to evolve into a conversation about the blog or the way that it is administered.

    These are my feelings on recruiting and WHY I choose to feel that way. Feel free to talk about recruiting if you like

    To criticize sleeper recruiting during a stretch of time when we have seen a 7’2″ rail thin, two-star, Polish center, a guard that was forced to red-shirt his freshman season because he wasnt good enough to get enough minutes, and the 29th ranked swing guard is pretty bold stuff. I understand why they (Degand and Lew) were brought in. I’m ok with it more and more. But one thing is for sure. They are sleepers, and the former staff would have burned at the stake for even offering them.

    Jeff: You somehow missed my comments.

    Who criticized ‘sleeper recruiting’?

    I criticized the LIES and the SPIN that accompanied the “sleeper recruiting” of the past. I have not heard the first whisper from the staff that the Polish kid is going to do much. If his name were “Adam Simons” the internet would be on fire with leaks from the staff and comments from the likes of 1985 Grad about how he was going to help us next year.

    I did NOT criticize the concept having players on the roster that probably won’t play much but may ultimately grow to contribute in year 3 or 4 as contributors holding the #11, #12, and #13 scholarships. I COULD have spent a lot more time criticizing the last staff’s inability to retain those types of players in the program…but I didn’t

    Regarding Brackman’s scholarship: It will be made available far too late to be any use to the ’07 season. Brackman will not be forced to make a decision until after the MLB draft, which occurs in June. The early signing period is this fall, and the highly ranked players will be signed by then. And your hope for a big haul in ’07 would have been far more likely had Big Lew, the sleeper, not been given one of those ‘ships. Not to mention that Lowe is far behind for ’07 through no fault of his own. The ’08 class will be his first without former staff baggage.

  2. Dan 07/05/2006 at 3:36 PM #

    No one is crying here. I am glad for the change. If you read my posts you will see that.

    What you wont see is the need to exaggerate how awful it was going to the NCAA four years in a row and having two consecutive top 20 NBA draft picks. I just want more. But I dont need to make the last four years less than they were in order to feel good about the gamble.

  3. Dan 07/05/2006 at 3:49 PM #

    Its easy to win a debate when you can delete your opponents argument.


    SFN: It is the TOPICS that are open for debate that is the issue.

  4. sautz 07/05/2006 at 4:00 PM #

    I would like to be as optimistic, but the results so far is that we have replaced four top 100 players in Werner, Davis, Wright, and Evan Thomas (who said he was going to sign at the ToC) with 3 players not ranked in the top 100.
    I’m not knocking our recruits, but I see the dream class in this article as being nothing more than a dream. In my opinion we need to show that our coaching staff can win some games and develop players before we can get that many top 100 recruits. How long that would take is unknown. Hopefully very soon! (and hopefully we can actually get that class for 2007)

  5. Mr O 07/05/2006 at 5:08 PM #

    Personally, I think Herb recruited well at NC State and I think his results were about what should have been expected considering the makeup of his classes and the teams we competed against. Some players panned out moreso than others(Marcus Melvin, Cameron Bennerman, Ilian Evtimov). Others didn’t pan out, but a lot of those guys had mental and/or physical issues(Thornton’s temper, Kelley’s injuries, Damien Wilkin’s family, etc….).

    Again, Herb recruited well during his tenure at NC State and his results support that opinion. He didn’t recruit UNC or Duke well, but he recruited Maryland, Wake and GT well and his results were in the ballpark of those programs.

    It will be extremely interesting to see how our new staff does in the 07 class. We could be down for several years if we don’t have a quality class.

  6. nsj 07/05/2006 at 5:10 PM #

    Its easy to win a debate when you can delete your opponents argument.

    Not to get off topic here, but last I checked, it was their blog, their message board, and their computer. I’m no fan of deleting good, clean arguments, especially when the counterargument is good, but it’s his sandbox, and he’s free to play in it as he sees fit.

    The guidelines are clearly spelled out and are reiterated regularly, and the owners of the blog — of which I am not one, to be sure — make it clear that this is not a democracy. So, if’n you don’t like the rules in their sandbox, go find another to play in… or build your own.

    “Freedom of the press is limited to those who own [the press].”
            –AJ Liebling

  7. redfred2 07/05/2006 at 6:15 PM #

    Mr O

    Herb Sendek did recruit fairly well, I have always said that. Where you get off track is that results were always consistently under the players true talent levels. He had the make up for some pretty competitive teams over the years. I would point to this past year’s squad as a prime example. If you think they were well coached, or even came anywhere close to their true potential, then I would suggest you refer to the UNC game reels from last season. That was coaching done to achieve every possible success with the make up of the players in mind.

  8. tcthdi-tgsf-twhwtnc 07/05/2006 at 6:18 PM #

    Mr O… ahummm Maryland won a National Championship while the Sendekians brag about our 4 uninspiring trips to the NCAA’s and the worst NCAA tourney record of the teams that have gone at least for the last 5 years in a row.

    J-Hodge did carry the team on his back won year despite Sendeks best effrots to sabotage that season by sitting Hodge out for a game for some reason or another and produced at least one somewhat of an exciting year of college basketball. Hodge gave Sendek another year by not leaving after his Junior year and that man sat him out for what may of been Hodge’s last regular season TV game. Talk about disrespect. If it wasn’t for Hodge, Sendek wouldn’t be making a million a year in the desert.

  9. redfred2 07/05/2006 at 6:28 PM #


    I couldn’t agree more with your analysis of recruiting and how it became an exercise in futility. I love college basketball, watching and researching potential recruits as they made decisions about where to go was an exciting event.

    I have no problems with the recruits chosen so far by Lowe and staff. I already know that they will be coached and given an opportunity to improve the whole time they are NC State. Some will most likely out shine the more sought after players that the former coach landed and did absolutely nothing with.

  10. redfred2 07/05/2006 at 6:43 PM #


    More of the class acts of Herb Sendek brought to light. Thank you.

  11. VaWolf82 07/05/2006 at 6:53 PM #

    He didn’t recruit UNC or Duke well, but he recruited Maryland, Wake and GT well and his results were in the ballpark of those programs.

    Depending on which results you concentrate on:

    UMD…ACC regular season championship, ACCT championship, Final Four, and National Championship

    WF…ACC regular season championship and one Sweet 16

    GT…Final Four

    NCSU….One Sweet 16

  12. 70wolf 07/05/2006 at 7:22 PM #


    Nail….head….I actually agree with Mr O that Sendek’s recruiting was remarkable when one looks at his results. After year 3 it was clear that he was a looser and yet the McDonalds and Parade AA’s still came. By any measure that counts he was a looser….ACC record – looser; record vs top 10 teams looser; recpord vs top 50 teams looser. Sendek was a lot like Charlie Manson in that he seemed to “blind” his Herbites to the point where he escaped all rebuke and all of the top 100 players you have acurately listed were trashed as overrated – not by those in Durham or CHapel Hill but by our own Herbite fans by the time they graduated. Hopefully all this is past. As far as I’m concerned no mater what Lowe does I feel better about NCSU basketball.

  13. redfred2 07/05/2006 at 7:28 PM #


    “and all of the top 100 players you have acurately listed were trashed as overrated -not by those in Durham or CHapel Hill but by our own Herbite fans by the time they graduated.”

    Exactly!!! Case closed.

  14. Big Daddy Wolf 07/05/2006 at 7:42 PM #

    Herb did recruit well. Problem was as was pointed out. Herb had a very high transfer rate/defection rate. Also three years ago when Herb was getting some heat and was on the fence. Many people including Dick Vitale even stated that the recruits/players under Sendek never seemed to get any better. Same thing the Wilkens family, transfers, and I have said. Players like Josh Powell come to mind where even though they were not going to be drafted they still saw more future potential in playing elsewhere than spending another moment under Sendek. Even Hodge lost his shot. Nuggets still trying to help him find it. Even a Nugget official remarked, “how did we end up drafting a guy that can’t shoot?”. Sendek ran a system to promote Sendek and benefit Sendek. Player development just didn’t happen. I love Etimov but how much better was he from Soph to senior season?? Look at Cedric Simmons he was fighting for playing time under Sendek and when he finally got it he put up 28 points vs Duke and what did Sendek do, he quit passing the ball to him for most of the second half of the season. I agree with the opinion of this site recruits fell way short of their billing and got lost in a system that is designed for sub par talent to keep the score close against superior talent. Most teams keep hussel stats such as rebounds, steals, block shots, etc. State was near the ACC bottom almost every year under Sendek, which means the player where running the system but not giving extra. Which fans clearly noted at the end of the season last year and at the ACC tournament. Even Mike Giminshi remarked the players had no fire and didn’t seen to care. I give Sendek credit he ran a system to give him a shot to win and he won more than he lost. But in order to achieve greatness you must put trust in your people and take some risk. Sendek never trusted his players and never took any risk thus we had no great success. We played not to lose. I hope we play to win from here on out!

  15. Big Daddy Wolf 07/05/2006 at 7:54 PM #

    Was I the only one that noticed Sendek and his teams never talked about winning and media people had to ask Sendek if he wanted to win?? Sendek and his teams said, you can’t beat system/offense when you run it right? We can’t lose if everyone trust the system. It was always about not losing, can’t be beat, we can only beat ourselves, etc. Never, we have a formula for winning!! Never about winning but about not losing. I am glad that attitude is gone!!

  16. johnny 07/05/2006 at 8:07 PM #

    IMHO Herb did recruit well and looked like he had good 2006 class and an even better 2007 class coming in. What he did with that talent is another issue. But I do think he did recruit well. It looks like it will take some time for Lowe to land highly ranked recruits(hope I’m Wrong), but then again Lowe may be able to get better results from players not as highly ranked. Wonder if Lowe will be able to continue our NCAA appearance
    streak(Hope SO). We will see.

  17. ncsu96 07/05/2006 at 8:40 PM #

    Does anyone have more info on Degand’s situation?

    From what I remember reading on that ‘other’ website, he/we petitioned the NCAA b/c Iowa State may be under sanctions this year. I believe a few of UGa player successfully did this when Harrick got the boot. Knowing our history with NCAA not likely but we can hope, this would be huge.

    I’m really excited to see how July goes for Lowe and staff, It would be huge if we could snag a few more touted recruits. Just keep in mind it’s laaaaaate in the recruiting cycle for ’07 guys, so please no meltdowns if Sid doesn’t land the guys we hope he will.

  18. yannes 07/05/2006 at 8:43 PM #

    Degand _chose_ to redshirt as a freshman at Iowa State behind two NBA-bound guards. Also remember that he was undersized and young (16 or 17) when he started. He has since improved and could very well end up being a draft pick in the NBA like Blalock. No, he isn’t Chris Wright, but he also isn’t Justin Flatt. I think that he will be at least as good as Bethel, and certainly could be the best point guard in a long time. Also, he will be able to start from day one because of his experience.

    I believe that Mike Bell turned out OK outside of State. He led his conference in a number of stats and ended up being drafted into the CBA after working out in the NBA. He wasn’t a tough sell like some of Herb’s “projects”.

    Dan (again):
    I think that Thomas should turn out to be as good of a recruit as Wallace or Turner, if not better. What is the difference between a 3 and a 4 star ranking anyway? A few big shoe games? Thomas is a solid team player that can put up big numbers. He will be an important part of the team.

    Herb was a fine recruiter, but he never did so much with the (often) fantastic recruits that he had. On the flip side you have teams like BC that bring in the 3 star sleepers and win big in the regular season with them. If I had to chose between big time recruits or big time wins, I think that I will take big time wins. Hopefully Sid is gearing up to bring us those wins with whatever recruits he can bring home.

  19. BJD95 07/05/2006 at 9:06 PM #

    Regarding Sendek – he proved he could get pretty good recruits with poor talent/recruits, and could get pretty good results with blue chippers. Thus, I lost all interest in Sendek’s recruiting.

  20. JT 07/05/2006 at 9:41 PM #

    Sendek was a solid, not spectacular recruiter. By the time he left he was a similar sort of coach. He grew as a coach while he was here, but he was never going to challenge the best in the ACC. And he had some pretty colossal busts- pretty highly rated players who didn’t do shit (Harrington, Wilkins, etc.). Whether that’s coaching or misjudging talent, it all added up to average results. Lowe needs to recruit and coach a lot better than Sendek, having very high highs, even if it’s not a constant high. I sense the program is going to be a lot more exciting under Coach Lowe.

  21. Wolf-n-Atl 07/05/2006 at 10:22 PM #

    “Pretty highly rated players who didn’t do shit (Harrington, Wilkins, etc.)”

    Harrington- was a ball hog that didn’t play defense. Not exactly Sendek’s fault and I don’t think he improved at Auburn

    Wilkins- didn’t show anything more at Georgia either. I was amazed he made a NBA roster.

    If anything, it was the system that restrained the players, but I do think they developed. I think Grundy, Cam, Scooter and others all developed in their tenure at State. It wasn’t as obvious due to the offense, but they did improve.

  22. ncsu96 07/05/2006 at 10:23 PM #

    I hate to prolong the sendek debate but I have to add my 2 cents…
    I always thought his recruiting problem was inconsistency (with one key early departure of Powell). The Melvin/Sherril/Crawford class was very good and Hodge’s class was great but it was followed up by two absolutely lowsy classes ( only netted bennerman and atsur). To be sure the lowsiness of those classes was a reaction to the disaster 2000 season but hey that’s coaching.

    I believe we were a chris paul or hell even mike o’donnell away from Sendek sticking it out here. Either one of those guys and we very likely would’ve had back to back sweet 16 appearances or better. You just can’t afford any bad recruiting classes to be elite and you better have more great than good.

  23. VaWolf82 07/05/2006 at 10:44 PM #

    Hopefully Sid is gearing up to bring us those wins with whatever recruits he can bring home.

    Odds are that big-time wins without big-time recruits will be few and far in-between.

  24. OwenDorm83 07/05/2006 at 11:17 PM #

    Adios, Herb.
    Welcome Home, Sid!

  25. Mr O 07/06/2006 at 7:27 AM #

    Vawolf82: Paul Hewitt had multiple losing seasons. Gary Williams missed two straight NCAAs. Skip Prosser finished last in the ACC this year.

    Sendek was much more consistent than any of those programs in terms of recruiting and performance. Did those coaches have better individual seasons? Absolutely. But he also didn’t have the low points these programs have had the last five years either.

    Sendek recruited well at NC State. He also put together pretty good teams with those recruits. I don’t think he underachieved at all. He was actually a good coach while he was here.

    For us to make a jump above that level, then Lowe is going to have to be able to convince some big-time recruits to come to NC State. I think he has a good shot to make it happen.

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