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Weekly Recruiting Beat (2-5-12) – Noel makes move towards top slot, ‘Bazz answers

It didn’t take 6′-6″ wing Shabazz Muhammad long to respond to recruiting services that have moved Nerlens Noel, a 6′-10″ center into the top slot in the 2012 class.Noel rejoined his original class after several years considered a 2013 prospect, this week. Muhammad’s response to the debate came on the court, in his first game on a national stage after ESPNU and others placed Noel over Muhammad in the top slot in the class.

Shabazz Muhammad - Bishop Gorman

Muhammad led the charge as Bishop Gorman (NV) stopped Whitney Young (IL) in the Nike Extravaganza at Mater Dei (CA) on Saturday, in a televised game, to the tune of 41 points, and was perfect from 3-point land, as he went 6 for 6, on a night where he shot 13 of 20 from the floor, according to It was a performance that has come to be relatively pedestrian for a player that hadn’t faced a serious challenge for his position and top billing in the 2012 class since Andre Drummond decided to enroll at Connecticut in August.

Nerlens Noel has been the flavor de jour among recruiting analysts in the 2013 class, including some that had posited that he should be in the conversation to take the top spot in the class from Jabari Parker, a 6′-7″ forward from Simeon (IL). Noel entered the national picture as a tremendous defensive presence for BABC on the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League circuit, and has since increased his offensive prowess as well. Still, the lanky big man has a ways to go before analysts talk about something other than his shotblocking first.

Muhammad, on the other hand, has been extremely good, with years of a track record of all-around performance. This appears to be yet another, in the long line of potential vs. production arguments regarding college, and NBA, basketball prospects. One thing is for certain, don’t expect Muhammad to lose his status without a prolonged, and intensive fight.

Hoopniks Newsstand

Quick Notes

  • In his short time at the help at Providence, coach Ed Cooley has worked at upgraded the talent level left in the program by former head man Keno Davis. The best incoming backcourt in the country in Kris Dunn and Ricardo Ledo is an unreal start, but now the Friars have added Arizona transfer Sidiki Johnson to the mix. Johnson’s run at Arizona was in reality over before it started, so there’s not much that can be gleaned. Johnson has an intriguing package of size and length, but was well-traveled in high school. If he can stick for the Friars, he’s an important addition.
  • Brewster Academy (NH) head coach Jason Smith dispelled rumors that 6′-7″ forward Jakarr Sampson has narrowed his college list to Providence and Kansas, as Smith tweeted that Sampson is “still open”. He also mentioned that other schools in the mix to land Sampson include Baylor, Florida and St. John’s.
  • One recruit that is still awaiting signing for 2012 is shooting guard Darrick Wood. The former St. John’s commit is plying his trade at Bridgton Academy (ME), and while he is considering the Red Storm, other schools are in the mix according to a report from Northstar Basketball. Wood claimed offers from Washington, Connecticut, Texas, Memphis, Providence, Maryland, and Oklahoma State to go with St. John’s. He’ll certainly be a sought after spring addition to whichever school can score his services.
  • Two of the top high school basketball coaches in the country were tabbed to lead the United States into action against the World team in the 2011 Hoop Summit. The full rosters for the event are expected to be listed shortly, but the selection of Kevin Boyle of Montverde Academy (FL) was named the head coach, with an able assistant in Mike Jones of DeMatha Catholic (MD). Jones also assists the USA Basketball Developmental National Team.
  • It’s not out of sight, out of mind, for 2014 star Shaqquan Aaron according to a post on The Recruit Scoop. After being ruled ineligible following his transfer from Mater Dei (CA) to Taft (CA), Aaron’s recruitment has not fallen off in the least bit. Aaron told The Recruit Scoop that he currently holds scholarship offers from  Arizona, Connecticut, Syracuse, UNLV, UCLA, St. John’s, Washington and San Diego State. Aaron is an intriguing prospect with a high-upside. He’s very slender, but has a versatile game similar to classmate Justin Jackson of HCYA (TX).
  • 6′-7″ power forward Jordan Bell of Long Beach Poly (CA) is one of the top defensive presences in the 2013 class, particularly in terms of his ability to block shots. He told that he holds scholarship offers from virtually all of the Pac-12, as well as other high-major schools. Bell’s offensive game still needs work, but he’s an undeniable presence on the interior, at this point.

Commitment Tracker

  • Ray Rodriguez, 6′-3″, 2012, G, North Florida
  • Raul Delgado, 6′-2″, JC, G, BYU
  • Jarvis Haywood, 6′-2″, 2012, Jacksonville
  • Nigel Pruitt, 6′-7″, 2012, Kennesaw State
  • Dylan Greene, 6′-4″, 2012, Lipscomb
  • Richard Kuzma, 6′-3″, 2012, Navy
  • Jarius King, 6′-9″, 2012, Hofstra

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About K.J. Hassenstab

K.J. Hassenstab is the publisher of the College Basketball Newcomers Guide book and He founded in 2009, and has contributed to SlamOnline, Dime Magazine's, and, along with other publications in the past. Hassenstab has covered grassroots, high school and basketball recruiting for over a decade. Follow on Twitter, @Hoopniks.

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