For those of you who miss Woo already, let me introduce you to the best Polish player I've ever seen in the HS ranks...2008 recruit Aleksander Czyz (pronounced "heck if I know") has been rapidly improving since he arrived in the USA 3 years ago. Last year he was a good player. Last night, he was a beast! This guy has a motor that will not quit and quick feet and great footwork. He hit a few 3's and handled the ball just like you'd expect a typical Euro big (6'7 in socks...6'8 like most list height). The thing that sets him apart is his super aggressive play on both ends of the court. He loves playing D and really gets after his man and clogs the passing lanes. He is as sound fundamentally as any player at this camp. Now, I'm not sure that this guy is top 50 or so....but he is continually improving and has the attitude that coach Gillispie seems to love. I also know that from Czyz's point of view, he is interested in UK. I do not know if that interest is mutual for right now. This Las Vegas Prospects summer AAU player will burst onto the scene this summer....starting last night.
Other players who looked good last night in only 2 hours of games.... 2009 6'2 PG Justin Hawkins ran his team with poise and skill in the mold of Andre Miller...2008 5'10 PG Anthony Hill was deadly from 3....2008 6'1 PG Brandon Jennings was exactly what you would expect from a top rated Arizona commit and plays in the style of Allen Iverson...2009 6'6 Combo Terrence Shannon from the Atlanta Celtics AAU was incredibly athletic in his debut performance...2008 6'5 Wing Dequan Jones continued to impress with his high flying act and showed some improving perimeter game...2008 6'5 SG Malik Story shot the ball extremely well despite a total lack of defense and should provide immediate help for Clemson....2009 6'9 PF Shawn Kemp Jr. is listed as in attendance but I have not been able to view him play yet (yeah, I'm just curious)...There are a number of players who are arriving for today's events. Many are currently at the USC testing center to take the SAT exam.
Josh Pastner from Arizona fame is lobbying strong for a spot on Billy Gillispie's staff. He is an amazing recruiter and his father, Hal, is in charge of the Houston Hoops AAU program and the top two summer tournaments. Josh Pastner is often credited as being the guy who turned Mike Bibby into the shooter he is (Pastner was a walkon at AZ who worked with players as a walk on). He is as clued in to Texas basketball as anyone in the nation. Pastner is extremely close to Lute Olsen, but Olsen is close to retiring and brought in Kevin Oneil to take over the top spot...I think this is the reason for the search.
There has been lots of misquotes and misunderstandings about the recruitment of the South American PG. UK is looking and this player is interested. He still has to pass his SAT which he is taking right now. Until those scores are back, there will be no commitment. Nothing is close to happening and we may never see the kid because UK will take Jai Lucas if he leaves Florida like I expect. UF will require all 2007 signees to speak to it's new coach prior to releasing any player from his binding Letter of Intent (common practice and fair IMO). As I reported yesterday on my site, John Lucas has contacted UK to see if there was still a scholarship available. There is much debate among UK fans concerning whether we should take Lucas or not, which is funny considering the recent years when UK fans complained about not getting any McDonald AA's. Lucas may not be the prototypical PG that Gillispie normally likes, but he is a very good player who makes his team better and doesn't turn the ball over.
Former Donovan assistant and current VCU coach Anthony Grant is the choice to be the next Gator coach. As I reported two days ago, Grant called a meeting with his VCU staff on the eve of the Donovan to the Magic story breaking. Grant had spent almost a full week in Florida with Billy Donovan and knew that the UF offer was coming. He has privately expressed some reservations about following in Donovan's footsteps versus striking out his own path. Personally, I think it would be the dumbest move in NCAA coaching history to turn down the Gators. I can't imagine a better offer coming anytime soon for Grant. Sure, things aren't going to be the same at Florida, but it's still a 2 time national championship program in the SEC. I can only imagine the flak Gator fans would face if Grant turns down the job....I just can't see that happening.