Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Return of the Big Man

I'd love to see stats on this to understand if it is just coincidence or maybe something in the food supply 18 years ago, but seems like the big man is coming back to college basketball.

Wake Forest lands 7-footer

Wake Forest made an impressive start on its 2008 basketball recruiting class by receiving a commitment from Wilmington 7-footer Ty Walker.

A likely top-50 prospect when new rankings of the rising seniors come out at the end of the current school year, Walker chose the Deacons over N.C. State, Virginia, Clemson, Virginia Tech, Maryland and Miami.

All of those schools offered scholarships, as did East Carolina and UNC-Wilmington. North Carolina showed considerable interest, but did not get to the offering stage. Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arizona and Texas were among about 40 other Division I schools that were in the hunt.

Walker, thin at 215 pounds, averaged 14.8 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.1 blocked shots as a junior for Wilmington New Hanover High School, which defeated Charlotte Vance to win the state 4-A championship.

He rejected eight shots, while scoring 12 points and grabbing six rebounds in the Wildcats’ 39-35 title game victory and was named most valuable player of the game. New Hanover finished 29-4 in winning its first state hoops championship in 39 years.

Although there were a slew of big-name schools pursuing Walker, his choice of Wake Forest was pretty clear-cut. New Hanover coach Linc Lyles was quoted as saying, “I don’t think there was a second choice. It was basically Wake and then everybody else.”

More ACC promises

Three other Atlantic Coast Conference schools have received promises from juniors, with N.C. State, Clemson and Virginia Tech getting two apiece.

LaRon Dendy, a 6-8 power forward from Kings Mountain Hope Christian, and 6-1 point guard Cashmere Wright of Savannah (Ga.) Urban Christian have picked Clemson; 6-5 Jack Britt small forward C.J. Williams and Julius Mays, a 6-2 point guard from Marion (Ind.) High, have chosen N.C. State; and Virginia Tech has pledges from 6-6 power forward J.T. Thompson of Kings Mountain Hope Christian and 6-3 wing guard Shamarr Bowden of Charlottesville (Va.) Miller.

All seven of those prospects plan to sign letters-of-intent in November.

Ty Walker
Ht: 7-0 Wt: 220 PPG: 19.0
Position: C, PF
Year: Class of 2008
AAU Team: Boo Williams
High School: New Hanover HS

N.C. State is one of several schools trying hard for Ralph Sampson III. The son of the 7-4 former Virginia standout is a 6-11 power forward at Duluth (Ga.) Northview. Virginia, Georgia, South Carolina, Indiana, Auburn and Oklahoma State are also in pursuit.

Sampson (the No. 42 junior), who averaged 14 points and 11 boards, scored 25 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in a matchup with Wolfpack 2007 signee J.J. Hickson (No. 19), a 6-9 power forward from Marietta (Ga.) Wheeler. More...

Sampson is planning on attending another high school, for his junior year. Check back with i95ballerz.com for updates regarding which school that will be.

Another 2008 big man targeted by the Pack is in-state prospect Catalin Baciu, a 7-0 center from Fletcher Veritas Christian. The native of Romania has visited N.C. State twice on his own, while also taking unofficial trips to Clemson, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech and Tennessee.

Catalin Baciu
Ht: 7-0 Wt: 225
Position: C
Year: Class of 2008
High School: Veritas Christian Academy

Most of this article is from Thad Mumau