June 21, 2012

News and notes after another busy week of Division-I basketball recruiting developments:

During the Pangos-All American Camp earlier this month, Bothell (Wash.) High's Zach LaVine gushed over his recent visit to UCLA. The Bruins had led in his recruitment for a while, and many in the area felt that he'd eventually end up in Westwood.

Few, however, suspected it would happen so suddenly. The 6-foot-4, 170-pound guard committed to Ben Howland's program over Arizona, Cal and Washington, among others, on Wednesday night.

"It just came to me," said LaVine. "[I] had been planning to do it in August. But we decided to it because it felt right."

LaVine has the ability to play either the one- or two-guard and has boosted his stock since the beginning of the AAU camp circuit. He's well aware of UCLA's recent recruiting success (top prospects Shabazz Muhammad and Kyle Anderson pledged in the 2012 class), and he hopes to improve -- and be positioned to make an immediate impact -- before his arrival to campus in 2013.

"I can score, but I need to work on my fundamentals as a point guard," LaVine said. "I come with the mindset that I feel like I'm better than anyone I step on the court with."

During last weekend's NBPA Top 100 Camp, four-star Kendal Harris got off to a bit of a slow start. By the end of the weekend, though, the 6-4 point guard from Richardson (Texas) Berkner was instrumental in helping his team win the title.

A candidate to make a move up from his current spot of No. 100 in the Rivals150, Harris should condense his lengthy candidate list now that he's taking visits. He hit LSU at the beginning of the month and will visit Arkansas on June 28 and TCU on June 29. He's also looking to visit Texas, which has begun recruiting him more intensely, on the 30th. He's planning to visit Marquette in July if time allows.

Harris wants to commit during the early signing period and plans to cut his list down after July. In addition to the school listed above, he has received interest of late from Alabama, Missouri, Kansas State, USC, Washington State, Texas Tech, Virginia, Gonzaga and Creighton.

Speaking of Creighton, the Jays have been on quite a run over the past three days.

On Monday they added three-star big man Toby Hegner from Wisconsin. On Tuesday, Arkansas swingman Darian Harris pledged. Then on Wednesday, they got their third commitment of the week when class of 2014 point guard Nick Norton from Missouri committed.

Hegner is a thin, skilled big man who can run the floor and has excellent hands. Harris also has excellent skills and size at around 6-6 and boasts deep range on his jumper. Norton, the lesser known of the three, is a 5-10 point guard who is all about toughness and making the right play. After a recent unofficial visit to Omaha, Norton didn't see any reason to keep looking and was pretty straight forward about why he chose to end his recruitment early. "There aren't any other schools out there that I would rather go to," the Columbia (Mo.) Rock Bridge product told Rivals.com. "There was no point in waiting any longer to make the decision."

Like Hegner and Harris, Norton also sang the praises of the Creighton staff, fans and players.

"The coaches are amazing and I just felt it was a great place for me," said Norton. "The atmosphere is one of the best around averaging 16 thousand on gameday. It doesn't get much better than that."

• Valpo picked up a nice addition Wednesday in Illinois power forward Jubril Adekoya. Checking in at 6-6 on a generous tape measure, Adekoya is slightly undersized but makes up for his lack of height with animalistic rebounding, intense effort and a willingness to do anything it takes to win.

• As reported last week, Moses Kingsley will move from Mississippi to attend Huntington (W.V.) Prep for his senior season. The 6-9 senior is a low post hustler with length who uses his energy and athleticism to contribute as he works on his overall skill level. Lately, he's been racking up college interest and now claims offers from the likes of Florida, NC State, Louisville, Alabama, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Arkansas.

• The New Hampton (N.H.) Prep -- and Mass Rivals -- trio of Noah Vonleh, Jeremy Miller and Mike Leblanc has been busy over the past few days. The No. 2 player in 2014, Vonleh has been joined by the 6-9 rising sophomore Miller and 6-6 senior-to-be LeBlanc on visits to Providence and UMass over the past few days.

• Look for class of 2014 point guard Shaquile Carr to enter his class' rankings when they are updated in early July. Tuesday, the 5-11 floor general from North Las Vegas (Nev.) Canyon Springs visited hometown UNLV. After touring the facilities, Carr met with the coaching staff and received a scholarship offer. Arizona, Colorado, Oklahoma, Oregon and Utah have also expressed interest.

• Coming off his solid performance at the Nike Elite 100, rising junior point guard Clayton Custer from Overland Park (Kan.) Blue Valley Northwest has been adding offers. His most recent offers came from South Carolina and Tulsa. Custer also holds offers from Kansas State, San Francisco, Houston, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Iowa State is among the latest schools to show interest and the six-foot point guard will take an unofficial visit there Monday. After visiting the Cyclones, Custer will head to Stanford for its elite camp and plans to visit South Carolina in August. Custer also mentioned that he's likely to see OU again in the fall. Oregon State, Santa Clara, Kansas, Harvard, Creighton, Lehigh, Rice and Nebraska have also contacted the rising junior since the beginning of the contact period.

• A pair of DC Assault teammates will head to prep school together in the fall. Wing Ahmad Fields and big man Damonte Dodd will both transfer to Woodstock (Va.) Massanutten Military Academy. A skilled jump shooter with size and strength, Fields is a three-star wing who is currently being recruited by the likes of Towson, George Washington, Richmond and St. Joseph's. Dodd, of course, signed with Maryland during the spring but will use prep-school to better prepare for college and is a strong candidate for the 2013 Rivals150.

• In other DC Assault news, coach Damon Handon reports that Rivals150 point guard Roddy Peters has added new interest from Georgetown, Memphis, Cincinnati, Texas and Virginia. In the class of 2014, combo guard Romelo Trimble has new offers from Cincinnati, Notre Dame and Xavier. Finally, class of 2012 Rivals150 big man Elijah Macon will not be heading directly to West Virginia. Instead the Ohio native, who spent his senior season at Huntington (W.V.) Prep, will take a detour to Wolfeboro (N.H.) Brewster Prep, where he will work on beefing up his academics.

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