Basketball Recruiting HS Basketball

Recruiting Notebook: Duke lands a package deal, Thon Maker cuts list to four, and more

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Last week was a big week for high school and college basketball. The college basketball season officially started the nation’s rising stars made their collegiate debut. On the high school side of things, players were making their commitment to college official as they signed their National Letter of Intent.

Notable Boy’s Basketball Players That Signed/Committed

Harry Giles Forward Oak Hill (VA) Duke Signed
Jayson Tatum Forward Chaminade (MO) Duke Signed
Frank Jackson Guard Lone Peak HS (UT) Duke Signed
Dennis Smith Jr. Guard Trinity Christian School (NC) NC State   Signed
Markelle Fultz Guard DeMatha Catholic (MD) Washington Signed
Wenyen Gabriel Forward Wilbraham & Monson Academy (NH) Kentucky Signed
De’Aaron Fox Guard Cypress Lakes High School Kentucky Committed
TJ Leaf Forward Foothills Christian High School (CA) UCLA Committed
VJ King Forward Paul VI (VA) Louisville Signed
Seventh Woods Guard Hammond School (SC) North Carolina in Chapel Hill Signed
Ty Jerome Guard Iona Prep (NY) Virginia Signed
Kevin Huerter Guard Shenendehowa Central HS (NY) Maryland Signed
Mario Kegler Forward Oak Hill (VA) Mississippi State Committed 
Harry Giles
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Duke scores big time during early signing period

It’s safe to say that the Duke Blue Devils has dethroned the Kentucky Wildcats when it comes to recruiting and being a school filled with one-and-done talent. Last week, power forward Harry Giles (Oak Hill), small forward Jayson Tatum (Chaminade HS) and point guard Frank Jackson (Lone Peak HS) made their commitment to Duke official.

Harry Giles is a five-star power forward out of Winston-Salem but attends school at Oak Hill Academy (VA). Unfortunately, Giles won’t play for Oak Hill this season due to a torn ACL he suffered in the first game of the season. But the 6 foot 10 power forward should be ready for his freshman season with Duke. In the ESPN Top 100, Giles No. 1 player in the 2016 class and expected to be the No. 2 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. 

5-star small forward Jayson Tatum is one of the many elite prospects in the 2016. The 6 foot 9 senior is the second best player in his class and predicted to be the first pick in the 2017 draft according to Draft Express. Tatum is a solid all-around player with tremendous size. He has good ball handling skills and is a big time scorer. Jayson averaged 19. 3 points per game in the 2014-15 EYBL, FIBA U19 World, and the Nike Trip combined. During his junior season with Chaminade, Jayson Tatum averaged 25 points per game.

Point guard Frank Jackson is the best point guard in the state of Utah and the 14th best player  in the 2016 class. Jackson is a great scorer, especially off the dribble. Frank can get his teammates involved but his great scoring ability makes him one of the top point guards in the country.


Kentucky lands 5-star point guard De’Aaron Fox 

One of the nation’s top point guard and the No. 7 player in the 2016 De’Aaron Fox announced he was committing to Kentucky. Fox is an athletic guard that can play as a point guard or shooting guard. He is a solid ball handler and passer that can score in transition. Last year, Fox averaged 23.8 points and 6.1 rebounds a game. Besides De’Aaron Fox, Kentucky picked up forward Wenyen Gabriel who is the No. 23 player in the country, according to ESPN.

Dennis Smith signed with NC State and expected to enroll early 


Point guard Dennis Smith Jr. signed with NC State last week but also announced he will be graduating high school early so he can enroll into college in January. Due to a torn ACL, Smith can’t play his last year in high school. He is the No. 4 player in the 2016 class and expected to be a lottery pick in the 2017.

Tar Heels trying to escape recruiting slump  

The University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill had a hard time landing big time recruits. They are hoping things will change as they signed three solid prospects. Seventh Woods is a four-star shooting guard from South Carolina and is ranked No. 53 in the country. Woods is a very quick and has good leaping ability. He is a solid defender but he has to work on developing a consistent jump shot and being a true point guard. Center Tony Bradley is the 26th best player in the nation. The five-star senior out of Bartow High School is a good shot blocker and low block scorer. Then there’s Brandon Robinson who is rated as the No. 61 player in the country. Robinson is a good three-point shooter but he can hit the pull-up jump shot as well as the floater.

Notable Uncommitted players

Josh Jackson Forward Prolific Prep (MI)
Malik Monk Guard Bentonville High School (AR)
Bam Abebayo Forward High Point Christian Academy (NC)
Rawle Alkins Guard Word of God Christian Academy
Kobi Simmons Guard St. Francis High School (GA)
Jarrett Allen Center Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School (TX)
Marques Bolden Center DeSoto High School (TX)
Dewan Hall Forward Miami Norland High School (FL)
Udoka Azubuike Center Potters House Christian (FL)
Thon Maker Center Orangeville Prep (Canada) 

5-star Thon Maker cuts his list of schools down to four

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7-foot center and one of the top centers in the country, Thon Maker, has cut his list of schools down to four. Known for his ridiculous hoopmixtapes, Maker is considering Indiana, Arizona State, Kansas and Kentucky. According to Evan Daniels from, Maker is likely to enroll into college in the second semester. Maker is a good ball handler and perimeter shooter, but still has a lot more developing to do before he can make an immediate impact in the collegiate. The South Sudan native will bring great long-term potential to whatever school he decides to go to.

Josh Jackson and Malik Monk still available 

Probably the biggest recruiting question now is where will players like Josh Jackson and Malik Monk end up. Josh Jackson is third in his class and has offers from the top programs in the country. Schools like Maryland, Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina, Arizona and Kansas wants the five-star small forward. According to’s Crystal Ball Predictions, there is a good chance he will end up in either Michigan State or Arizona. Jackson has the potential to be a star in the collegiate level and a lottery pick. Five-star shooting guard Malik Monk is rated as the No. 5 best player in the country and has offers from Kentucky, Kansas, Oregon, Florida State, Alabama and Arkansas. In the Crystal Ball Predictions, there is a 65% chance he lands in Kentucky.  

Ryan McFadden is a freshman at Iona College and alumni from DeMatha Catholic High School. He is the founder of Inside The Locker Room and plans to major in Mass Communications. Follow him on Twitter @RMcFadden15. 

Follow Inside The Locker Room on Twitter @lockerroom2015

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