- HIGHSCHOOL - Basketball recruiting buzz: Falling into place

Wednesday, July 16
Basketball recruiting buzz: Falling into place

Many are calling this week's commitment by top-five prep star Kelvin Torbert of Northwestern High (Flint, Mich.) the most significant commitment Michigan State has received since Magic Johnson decided to play for the Spartans in the late 1970s.

The battle for Torbert's services were intense, as UConn, Cincinnati and Michigan were all in the hunt. But the 6-foot-4 wing guard reportedly committed to the Spartans despite not taking any of his official visits.
Nate Anderson
Minnesota's Alan Anderson is one of three blue-chip recruits headed to Michigan State next year.

Torbert averaged 25 points, 10 rebounds and four assists per game last year and dominated summer play while playing with the Michigan Mustangs. Torbert joins Alan Anderson of Minneapolis, Minn., and Chris Hill of Indiana as the Spartans' three signees.

Just as some of the elite male prep players are starting to fall into place, so are some of the top female stars. According to Doug Herakovik of the Women's Basketball Journal, Khali Sanders of Douglassville, Ga., committed to Clemson over in-state favorite Georgia.

"A lot of the top girls players are starting to commit," said Herakovik. "I think a lot of them really just want to get it over with now so they can concentrate on the their senior season."

Herakovik said only eight of the top 25 girls remain uncommitted. One of those, however, is perhaps the most coveted. Consensus No. 1 player Shyra Ely of Ben Davis High (Indianapolis, Ind.) is still uncommitted. Purdue may be the leader so far, but Ohio State, Tennessee and Georgia may have something to say about that.

Ohio State could score a package deal if Ely and her Ben Davis teammate, Ashley Allen, enjoy their visit to Columbus this week. Allen is also considering Arkansas and Georgia.

Although most recruiting analysts list Ely as the top player in the nation, some others, like Brett McCormick of All-Star Girls Report, like Kara Braxton of Westview High (Beaverton, Ore.) best. A number of publications reported last week that Braxton committed to Florida. But Braxton and her high school coach haven't accepted calls since the announcement, fueling rumors that she's still considering Rutgers and Louisiana Tech.

"The Florida assistant coach told me that Kara assured her that she was coming," said McCormick. "But she could very well change her mind. She's liable to turn around and go somewhere else. They aren't returning phone calls. I don't think she'll wind up at Florida."

Loree Moore of Narbonne High (Lakewood, Calif.) is another highly rated player still on the market. Tennessee could land Moore, but Notre Dame is also a serious contender. Top 25 senior Courtney Young of Buena High (Buena, Calif.) also lists Tennessee.

One of the best boys' basketball players in the nation fell off the market last week when 6-foot-8 Matt Carroll of Smoky Hill High (Aurora, Colo.) gave an oral commitment to Purdue. As a junior, Carroll averaged 16.8 points and nine rebounds per game.

He is considered one of the top three power forwards on the West Coast. In the classroom, Carroll has posted some pretty impressive stats as well, with a 3.5 GPA and a strong 1020 on the SAT. Carroll chose Purdue over Utah and Vanderbilt. ...

Another stellar student-athlete announced his college decision last week. Chris Jackson, a 6-foot-11 center from Los Alamos High (Los Alamos, N.M.), gave an oral commitment to Utah over New Mexico, Stanford and Purdue.

Jackson averaged 20 points, 10.8 rebounds and 4.4 blocks per contest as a junior. He appears on his way to finishing high school with a perfect 4.0 GPA, which would go nicely with his phenomenal score of 31 on the ACT. ...

The University of Arizona got some much-needed frontcourt help last week when 6-foot-10 Rick Rickert of East High (Duluth, Minn.) committed to the Wildcats over local favorite Minnesota. Considered one of the most polished, all-around offensive big men in the class of 2001, Rickert averaged 30 points and 15 rebounds per game as a junior.

Some recruiting analysts have rated him as high as 10th in the nation. Iowa, Duke, Michigan State and Florida all showed great interest in the early going.

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