By Joe Henricksen
There is no real news concerning the top four unsigned prospects in the Class of 2009 as Marshall’s Darius Smith, Whitney Young’s Marcus Jordan, Lake Forest Academy’s Angus Brandt and Washington’s Dyricus Simms-Edwards all play out their senior year and play the waiting game. The story, though, is how wide-ranging the recruitment is of these players and how it doesn’t appear any of them will be ending things anytime soon.
Smith, who has vaulted to the No. 2 prospect in the Hoops Report’s Class of 2009 player rankings, is wide open, according to his high school coach Henry Cotton. “He’s open, listening to anyone,” Cotton said on Thursday. “He’s not close to narrowing it down.”
Several programs are in pursuit and plenty more are getting involved, with a few of the regulars that have been mentioned with Smith in the past — Arizona State, Missouri, DePaul, Kentucky as well as several others — following Smith closely.
One thing is for sure, whatever school lands Smith in the April signing period is getting one heck of a player late in the process. The Hoops Report can’t remember in recent memory a better player from Illinois signing in April.
As far as Jordan is concerned, according to Whitney Young coach Tyrone Slaughter, “that perfect school, the perfect fit” hasn’t materialized just yet for his powerful guard. The recruitment of Jordan, however, especially once Miami-Florida gave its last scholarship out, has been kept so under wraps that it’s difficult to gather just where it stands and who is definitely in or out of the mix.
While Brandt, the 6-8 multi-talented forward, has reportedly narrowed his list down to Georgia Tech, Oregon State, New Mexico and Michigan, the Hoops Report has heard that Michigan is the frontrunner.
Simms-Edwards recently took an unofficial visit to Saint Louis, where he took in a game. Evansville has really picked up its interest, Wichita State remains involved, Colorado has shown interest and Nevada has come in a few times recently to evaluate the 6-2 point guard.
In the junior class, Glenbrook North’s Alex Dragicevich has received offers from Colorado and Utah. The 6-6 shooter continues to receive interest from Michigan, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Marquette, Oregon State and Rhode Island.
Mundelein’s Ben Brust has a bevy of mid-major offers on the table, with Butler doing a terrific job of recruiting the big-time scorer and staying in the mix. But Brust, who is out for the year with a fractured right tibia but should be able to resume playing again in late March, has a trio of Pac-10 schools — Stanford, California and Washington State — recruiting him. Iowa and Notre Dame have shown a lot of interest with Brust, who was averaging 27 points a game before his injury. Don’t be surprised if Stanford is the first high-major to pull the trigger and offer Brust.
DeKalb’s Jordan Threloff’s interest continues to pick up, with California, Indiana and Minnesota keeping tabs on the 6-10 big man. Threloff already has several mid-major offers and has made a few trips recently to catch Illinois State in action, but with such a premium placed on size who knows where his recruitment will lead him.
Alex Rossi of New Trier has been offered by Northwestern, while California and Washington State have turned up their recruiting efforts for the 6-5 junior. Notre Dame, Minnesota and Arizona State have stayed involved.