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July 12, 2010

Tales for Future Players

Filed under: Basketball,Recruiting — Chas @ 8:19 am

A couple stories on Pitt basketball recruits for 2011 and 2012, both via NBE Blog.

Ray Mearngh has a story on watching John Johnson at a small tournament in Indiana, he caught the action and did a brief interview.

Afterwards Johnson told me he was really “focusing on playing good D, passing the ball and getting my midrange game going.” I asked him about Pittsburgh and told him that a lot of folks are eager to see him play there and he smiled shyly.

“When I went on my visit there it was like a family,” Johnson said, “the coaches can be like father figures to me and that’s important because I don’t want to go to college just for basketball…I want to become a good man too.”

Johnson is a shy kid, preferring to talk to me away from his teammates because he seemed embarrassed by the attention, but he’s all baller when on the court. He’s a talent offensively that Pitt hasn’t seen at the guard spot in quite some time, very quick. Almost a quicker Scottie Reynolds type. He’ll need some coaching but he’ll get it. His upside is very high.

Meanwhile Chris Dokish tracked down the coach of the mysterious Kiwi known as Steven Adams.

At this point, one may wonder why such a talent has gone unnoticed. According to [Kenny] McFadden, that is easily explained.

“In our part of the country you have to pay to be at the top level and his financial situation wasn’t the best. He was the best big man in the country at 15 and should have played in the Under 19 World Championships, but he just couldn’t. But now that he’s older he will be able to play in them.”

McFadden says that Adams, whose mother is Tongan and father is English, has never been to the U.S. but that will change tomorrow when the New Zealand team will play for two weeks in Las Vegas.

“We did fundraising for a year so that we can make the trip and get our kids noticed.”

That may explain why Dixon made the push for Adams now, before the rest of college basketball becomes more aware of the Kiwi behemoth. And for that Dixon can thank McFadden.

“We played professionally in New Zealand together many years ago,” says McFadden, who played for George Raveling at Washington State. “And we have been friends ever since. When Jamie was down here for the World Championships, we sat down and I told him about my players. He was interested in Rob Loe (6?11? center) at the time, but he went to play at St. Louis. And I told him about Steve, and I told him that he was even better. He is bigger and more skilled than Rob was.”

And to show the range of the eighteen member Adams household, McFadden adds, “Both Jamie and I played with one of Steve’s older brothers. He was in his forties and Steve is just sixteen.”

One of 18 siblings. That’s, um, a fertile family. The potential downside. When working with the “pro” players in New Zealand. It includes Eric Devendorf. Let’s hope not too much of the Devo-tude rubs off on him.

It will be interesting after playing in Vegas for a couple weeks what recruiting sites and people who see him say. I expect “raw” and “upside” to be slightly overused. Perhaps a smattering of “sleeper.”

Is it too early to get excited about Johnson?? Because I am.

Comment by jason 07.12.10 @ 11:21 am

He seems to be highly underrated by most recruiting sites. The people at NBE have seen him often. Dokish called him a top 50 player and Mernagh called him another Scottie Reynolds. Sounds damn good to me.

Comment by Mark 07.12.10 @ 12:26 pm

That was an interesting read on the big kid from NZ. And while I’m certainly not a Devendorf fan in any way, a little “tude” on the Pitt hoops team might not be a bad thing.

Comment by Chris 07.12.10 @ 12:35 pm

I know Jamie is probably going to go hard after a big body to fill out the class of 2011 but I would like to see Michael Taylor who holds an offer from Pitt fill out the class.

He’s a NYC 2-guard who shoots it as well as Gibbs and Ramon but is bigger and faster than either of them. As a sophomore he went head to head with Lance Stephenson in a high-profile NYCPSAL game and got the better of him. I know its just high-school and a lot can happen with these kids but I really think this kid is going to be heard from at the next level.

Comment by Pabs 07.12.10 @ 3:00 pm

You guys are missing perhaps the most important fact regarding this kid – and it has nothing to do with basketball… the fact that he’s half Tongan. Seriously.

When I read we had a 7’+ tall kid from New Zealand I just figured “Tall White Kiwi” But the fact that one of his parents is from Tonga means he’ll be one mean son of a bitch.

Think about how bad ass Samoan football players are and multiple it because Tongans get crapped on by everyone else and they carry a huge chip on their shoulders.

Take it from me – after living in Hawaii and sailing the South Pacific for three years I feel perfectly justified in saying this.

Comment by Reed 07.12.10 @ 5:41 pm

Here’s a picture of Adams from, I’m pretty sure, last years U17 FIBA tourney…he definitely looks like he can put on some more muscle, and from the descriptions of him and this single photo, I’m pretty optimistic about his athleticism/agility. Exciting times..HTP

Comment by Corey 07.12.10 @ 8:58 pm

whoops, forgot the whole reason I was posting..

link to

Comment by Corey 07.12.10 @ 8:59 pm

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