NCAA Basketball Recruiting: Pro-Player Comparisons for 5-Stars in Class of 2015

Coaches at the nation’s top college programs are eminently familiar with the NCAA basketball recruiting class of 2015, but fans may not have gotten to see much of the next crop of young stars. As these top prospects prepare for their senior years of high school, one way to get some perspective on what kinds of players they are is by looking at the pros they could grow up to become.

Isaiah Briscoe, for example, is an undersized shooting guard whose toughness lets him play bigger than his height. That’s a playing style that has helped Dwyane Wade earn bushels of All-Star appearances in his NBA career.

While Briscoe certainly isn’t on Wade’s level now, the Heat veteran makes a great role model for the New Jersey-based youngster. Read on for a closer look at that pairing, plus NBA counterparts for the rest of’s 5-star prospects in the 2015 class.

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Michigan Basketball Recruiting: Why the Wolverines Are TJ Leaf’s Best Option

Comparisons will vary, but T.J. Leaf appears to have a dash of Adreian Payne mixed into his impressive repertoire. And that freakishly incredible skill set would fall in line with Michigan’s mission statement. 

At 6’9” and 210 pounds, the 5-star power forward can drive to the basket like a guard, shoot from the perimeter like a guard, pass like a guard, defend like a guard, run (almost) like a guard and adjust on the fly—just like Payne, who developed into a fine four-year player for Michigan State coach Tom Izzo.

The long, super athletic do-all should provide similar results for coach John Beilein at Michigan. As of mid-August, the Wolverines were among the Foothill Christian (El Cajon, Calif.) junior’s top choices.

Beilein made it to the 2013 title game with help from Mitch McGary, a versatile 6’10″ F/C. Without a major inside presence, the Wolverines reached the 2014 Elite Eight.

Beilein needs another big to get the job done. 

Sure, playing for Coach K’s Blue Devils wouldn’t be a bad idea; and Tom Crean’s Hoosiers certainly would provide a comfortable environment for Leaf, who could follow in the footsteps of Cody Zeller and become a program player in Bloomington.

Michigan certainly isn’t the only team in the nation that’s competing for conference titles and vying for extended dances in March. 

However, given Beilein’s style, approach to development—he’s the best NBA developer, per ESPN’s Jeff Goodman—and ability to recruit “coachable” preps, Leaf would be doing himself a favor by packing his bags for Ann Arbor. No disrespect to the other potential suitors, but Beilein would be a phenomenal mentor to Leaf and most likely get the most out of him. 

Again, other programs have molded excellent frontcourts, and others would suit Leaf. But Beilein’s tempo would allow Leaf, who visited May 19 (UO) and was offered June 15, to far exceed the standard duties of a power forward. In the past, Wolverines fans have seen forwards set the tone for the offense and defense, often becoming the team’s best player and leader.

Just because Leaf is 6’9” and growing doesn’t mean that he’ll be stuck in the paint. He could choose to do that elsewhere, but he’s swift with the ball, moves well away from it, and has an eye for the play at hand, meaning that he knows where to be and when to be there.

Why confine that?

Beilein probably won’t have to spend much time on fundamentals, which means that he can immediately begin to refine Leaf’s polished skill set. If his past is of any indication, Beilein would have Leaf doing everything—again, something like what Izzo did with Payne, but maybe sooner.

This season, Kameron Chatman, a 6’7” forward, will get his feet wet. Next year, it’ll be Jon Teske, a 6’10”, 210-pound center and excellent defender who just committed to Michigan’s 2016 class. The future looks bright for Beilein’s team and dim for those who face the challenge of beating one of the fastest frontcourts in the country.

Per Dylan Burkhardt of, Leaf likes the “flexibility” offered by Beilein—who is recruiting the “hardest”—not to mention the coach’s reputation for…well, here’s that word again: Development.

“They have a great reputation of developing players and when they get there they should be good, but when they leave they are well developed and they gain a lot of areas of their game,” Leaf said. “I love them because they play a lot of people in multiple positions like me and they run the ball a lot.”

Option? Yeah. Obvious fit? That’s probably more likely. Beilein doesn‘t offer to offer, he courts players who mimic his design. Leaf is tailored for it. 

Follow Bleacher Report’s Michigan Wolverines basketball writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81

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Villanova Basketball Recruiting: Would Briscoe or Brunson Suit Wildcats Best?

Over the past week, the Villanova Wildcats were handed a few blows in the recruiting department, as Donovan Mitchell and Bryant Crawford removed the program from the list of their prospective schools. 

Mitchell, who saw his stock rise significantly this summer, committed to Louisville via his Twitter account, while Crawford trimmed the Wildcats off his list of potential suitors. 

Crawford’s list of seven potential suitors includes a pair of Villanova’s Big East rivals, Georgetown and Marquette.

Now that two more prospects have eliminated the Wildcats from their respective recruitment processes, there are just two players left to court at the guard position. 

Isaiah Briscoe and Jalen Brunson are the two guards that Jay Wright and his staff still have a chance at bringing to the Main Line, but both offer different skill sets, and more importantly, a different recruitment process. 

Briscoe, who attends Roselle Catholic in northern New Jersey, has narrowed his search down to five schools, four of which are reasonably close to home, including Villanova. 

The one outlying school in that quintet is Arizona, but with four regional schools in his final five, it looks like he is leaning toward staying close to home. 

On the surface, you would think Villanova has the easy edge over Seton Hall, St. John’s and Rutgers based on recent success, but the two other Big East schools in competition for Briscoe are close to making a breakthrough in the small conference. 

Briscoe is a player who would suit Wright’s system perfectly, as he is able to play both guard positions, which wouldn’t lock up the point guard position exclusively to him, and he has the build of a player ready to enter the college ranks at 6’3″ and over 200 pounds, per Yahoo

Being physically ready to play in his freshman season is a big boost to Briscoe’s game, but he is not fully guaranteed a spot in the rotation at Villanova because of the crowd at the position, which includes Ryan Arcidiacono, Dylan Ennis, Josh Hart and incoming class of 2015 player Donte DiVincenzo. 

If Briscoe were to head to any of the other three local schools, he could easily break into the starting five, which is a factor that shouldn’t be taken lightly by Wright. 

Ideally, Briscoe is the man to go after and secure, but Brunson would not be a bad option for the Wildcats. 

Brunson, who is a few inches shorter than Briscoe at 6’0″, is a point guard with strong court vision, per Those qualities could benefit Wright in the search for Arcidiacono’s permanent replacement at the position starting with the 2016-17 season. 

If Wright is to get Brunson to commit to the Wildcats, he will have to pry him away from Illinois, Michigan State, Temple and Purdue. 

The Illinois-based player is not as physically mature as Briscoe is at the moment, but that could all change in the time between now and the first time he steps on a collegiate court. 

As more of a pure point guard, Brunson would be limited in his flexibility on the court, but he would be given a year to work under the experienced Arcidiacono to grow into a more complete player. 

Regardless of who the Wildcats spend most of their energy on, they will get a quality player, but at the moment, Briscoe is the more complete player of the two. 

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Drake’s recruiting costs Raptors $25,000

The team ambassador for the Raptors decided to get an early start on his team’s recruiting.



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Michigan State Basketball Recruiting: Best-Case Scenarios for MSU’s 2015 Class

With Kenny Kaminski released from the team, the once-limited remaining potential for Tom Izzo’s 2015 class has expanded. Now, there are two scholarships available for the prospects within Izzo’s sights.

The more scholarship space, the more possibilities.

Izzo was initially in a much more difficult spot with the precariousness of which recruit would fill that void after Eron Harris and Bryn Forbes transferred. State’s signal-caller has located several highly targeted high school seniors and extended offers.

Last week, one of those players, Montaque Gill-Caesar, signed on with the Missouri Tigers. That eliminates one prospect on Izzo’s radar, with several still remaining.

Given the team’s current personnel, Izzo will have to emphasize which recruits are most important to acquire.


Securing Swanigan

In terms of personnel in 2015 and sheer talent level, garnering Caleb Swanigan must be at the top of Izzo’s priorities. Not only is he ESPN’s highest rated recruit out of MSU’s offers, but his skill set also perfectly addresses Sparty’s biggest issue: frontcourt talent.

Branden Dawson is the only returning forward from last year’s team who played meaningful minutes. Role players Matt Costello and Gavin Schilling also return, but neither played a key role last season. Both players are inexperienced and lack offensive skill.

Skill is certainly present with Swanigan. And so is size.

The 6’8″, 275-pound forward imposes his will with physicality. Still developing a solid jump shot, he has a soft touch around the rim and fantastic perception of nearby defenders.

Swanigan seals opponents deep into the paint and finishes right over them. He knows how to use his robust frame to dominate in the post, and his skill around the rim makes him such a difficult cover.

A player with that type of skill set and mindset fits MSU perfectly. Once Dawson graduates after the 2014-15 campaign, State will have to rely on Costello, Schilling and Deyonta Davis, who is Swanigan’s AAU teammate and a talented stretch 4.

Despite Davis’ potential, that frontcourt needs some help. Swanigan is already a polished post player, something that seems more and more distant in today’s guard-dominated world of college and professional basketball.

Think Zach Randolph.

Like Randolph, Swanigan uses his overpowering size and craftiness around the rim to score. Combine his bruising mentality with Davis, who complements him wonderfully, and MSU will have one of the most complete lineups in recent memory.

The guard play will be loaded. If Swanigan is acquired, the frontcourt will boast similar potential, though it won’t retain as much depth.

He is evidently the most important target for Izzo because of the team’s desperate need for size and talent down low.


Acquiring Brunson after official visit

Jalen Brunson is one of the top point guards in the 2015 class. For a while, Temple was a plausible destination for the 6’2″ scorer after his father was hired by the staff.

But now, it appears as though MSU is back in the running.

According to 247Sports’ Crystal Ball Predictions, Brunson is most likely to sign with Michigan State. If this were to happen, MSU would boast one of the most talented backcourts in the nation, if not the deepest.

With Tum Tum Nairn running the point, transfers Harris and Forbes shooting from the perimeter and Denzel Valentine showing his ubiquity on the wing, the guards are already appearing formidable.

But if Brunson, who is arguably more talented than any of the aforementioned names, were to sign, this would be one of Izzo’s best backcourts he’s ever had.

Brunson can distribute to teammates and run the show. He can certainly light it up as well.

For Izzo, acquiring the necessary fit for his system and personnel situation is often most important. But Brunson is so talented and polished that he would immediately become a dynamic threat on the perimeter, despite the overload of options MSU has.

Izzo’s “small-ball” lineup with those mix of players would be deadly. Brunson is reportedly scheduled to visit MSU in the near future.

The prospect of him joining this loaded backcourt certainly is exciting for Spartan fans.

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NCAA Basketball Recruiting 2015: Projected Roles for Top Committed Players

Although there are still plenty of big names up for grabs, the picture for NCAA basketball recruiting 2015 is becoming clearer. Now that some of the best high school prospects have chosen their future college teams, we can start predicting how they’ll fit in with those teams as freshmen.

The latest big name to come off the board is Chase Jeter, a slender power forward who (as of last week) is heading for Duke. The athletic Nevadan has a great chance to be an instant starter for the Blue Devils and not just because Jahlil Okafor will probably be headed to the NBA next spring.

Herein is a look at which Duke veteran might take a backseat to Jeter, along with potential freshman-season scenarios for the rest of the 20 most promising commits in the class of 2015.

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UNC Basketball Recruiting: Sales Pitches for Top 2015 Targets

UNC basketball recruiting focuses on such ultra-elite prospects that even the winning tradition of Michael Jordan’s alma mater isn’t enough to seal the deal. Roy Williams is one of the country’s most accomplished salesmen when it comes to attracting NBA-bound talent, but even he needs to work hard to bring in the kinds of stars that keep the Tar Heels at the top of the national rankings.

In the class of 2015, that means landing players such as shooting guard Malik Newman, the No. 1 uncommitted prospect in the country, according to Williams has an edge on many of his coaching rivals in this race, because his celebrated fast-break offense is an unbeatable setting to show off the Mississippi native’s scoring ability.

Read on for more arguments in favor of Newman becoming a Tar Heel, along with potential approaches for Williams to take as he woos UNC’s most prominent 2015 target at each position on the floor.

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Michigan Basketball Recruiting: Latest Updates on Wolverines’ 2015 Targets

John Beilein is searching for the one. 

No, really. He is. According to Verbal Commits, the eighth-year Michigan coach has a single scholarship to offer a 2015 prospect. 

Signs point to Beilein taking either a shooting or point guard. However, he could go against the grain and sign another forward/winger or center. When it comes to recruiting, Beilein doesn’t swing and miss very often. If his track record is an indicator, his next selection will easily plug into the Wolverines’ existing roster. 

Using 247Sports and UM Hoops as guides, this slideshow will provide updates on Beilein’s top targets.

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Michigan Basketball Recruiting: Best-Case Scenarios for Wolverines’ 2015 Class

As John Beilein and the Michigan basketball program get prepared to reel in another fine recruiting class for 2015, the best-case scenario may actually be if they land a small class.

You see, the Wolverines basically have just one scholarship to give out at the moment, according to Now, things could change.

With Caris LeVert and Zak Irvin catching the eye of NBA scouts and general managers—ESPN’s Chad Ford has both of them in his top 50 NBA prospects list—they could be candidates to declare early for the NBA draft, and therefore, their departures would open more scholarships.

Most Michigan fans would elect to see LeVert and Irvin come back to Ann Arbor for their senor and junior years, respectively, than to see their scholarships used elsewhere.

But that may not be a viable option.

Throwing a wrench into the plans is that Michigan is set to host Division III transfer Duncan Robinson (Williams College) shortly, as Chris Balas at reported (subscription required).

Robinson played for Beilein’s former assistant coach at West Virginia, Mike Maker, at Williams College last year.

But now that Maker is the head coach at Marist, Robinson is looking for a new start on the big stage. Thomas Beindit also reported on the visit:

Also of note is that there could be other transfers or issues freeing up scholarships, so it’s a fluid situation to monitor.

Here then are a few best-case scenarios for the Wolverines’ 2015 class.


1. LeVert and Irvin elect to stay at Michigan while the Wolverines add the best player available.

It’s probably safe to say most Michigan fans would prefer LeVert and Irvin stay at Michigan, while in the process the Wolverines restrict the scholarships they could use in 2015. I’m guessing that’s the same feeling Beilein has as well.

If Michigan gets LeVert and and Irvin to stay, and no else leaves for unforeseen reasons, the Wolverines conceivably may be able to land only one 2015 prospect.

At that point, it may be in Michigan’s best interest to land the best overall prospect it can considering its 2015-16 squad would be a deep one.

If that’s the case, Michigan would consider itself lucky if it can secure the services of point guard extraordinaire Jalen Brunson, perhaps the highest-rated recruit—No. 17 overall, according to—they have a legitimate shot of landing.

Granted, point guard is not a pressing need with Derrick Walton Jr. expected to stick around for a while, but on a deep team, grabbing a high-end player like Brunson may be the route to go.

Brunson, from Lincolnshire, Illinois (Adlai E. Stevenson HS), is an electrifying floor general who makes steady decisions with the ball in his hands. He can set up his teammates just as well as he can torch the nets from deep.


2. LeVert unfortunately declares for the NBA draft, but Michigan uses his scholarship on a promising wing with Irvin also returning.

Say LeVert becomes an all-Big Ten performer and perhaps earns All-American status, too. Then the 2014-15 season will likely have been considered a success, right?

If the Wolverines get 20-plus wins and enjoy another deep NCAA tournament run, LeVert could leave. We can live with that trade-off.

If that were to happen, look for Michigan to use a scholarship on a versatile wing like Jalen Coleman, Eric Davis, Prince Ali or Perry Dozier, all of whom are viewed as top-50 (or close to) recruits in the 2015 class.

While you don’t want to see LeVert leave, the replacement player for him could be a great consolation prize, as all of the aforementioned targets have upside through the roof.


3. Both LeVert and Irvin regretfully leave Michigan, but the Wolverines nab a three-man recruiting class that ranks among the best in 2015.

Again, Michigan would prefer not to lose the services of LeVert or Irvin. However, let’s say both players erupt this year and leave—similar to the way Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson did this past year.

Then it would be best if the Wolverines can recover and garner a top-10 or top-20 class to offset what they might lose.

This is the not the ideal way you want to shape up the 2015-16 roster, but it could be a reality.

So, if that were to come to fruition, the best way to rebound from that would be to recruit a well-rounded class that has a bit of everything.

Maybe you start with Brunson at point guard. Add a wing in Coleman, Davis or Dozier and then add a big man to complete the class.

That big man could be Trevor Manuel, who is an overlooked but skilled big still developing his game.

In all, the Michigan basketball program is in good hands with Beilein at the helm.

Whether Michigan signs one player or perhaps three or more, the 2015-16 season should be a year the Wolverines are equipped for another successful run.

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Ohio State Basketball Recruiting: Buckeyes’ Top Remaining Targets in 2015 Class

If Thad Matta strikes out on every available prospect for the rest of the 2015 recruiting cycle, he will still have one of the nation’s best classes. 

Ohio State currently boasts the No. 3 class in America, per 247Sports, thanks to the commitments of shooting guard Austin Grandstaff, center Daniel Giddens, small forward Mickey Mitchell and point guard A.J. Harris. All four players are 4-star prospects, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings.

What’s more, Matta has added depth to every single position on the floor except power forward thus far in his 2015 group.

That doesn’t mean Ohio State is done yet. If the Buckeyes can land any of the three following targets, they have a legitimate chance at securing the No. 1-ranked class in the country come signing day.


Carlton Bragg

Carlton Bragg, who is a local kid from Cleveland, would immediately fill that power forward need for this class. He would also add some more Buckeye State flavor to a group that features three out-of-state prospects. 

Bragg is a 5-star game-changer who checks in at 6’8” and 205 pounds. There are some serious heavyweights that have pursued Bragg this offseason, including Kentucky, Kansas, UCLA and Arizona. Jeff Borzello of CBS Sports highlighted why some of the best programs in the country are after the power forward:

Bragg is a double-double machine who brings elite-level athleticism to the table down low. His offensive arsenal includes a strong post-up game thanks to his overall strength, but he can stretch the floor with perimeter jumpers if needed.

Outside of the rebounding and formidable scoring, Bragg swats plenty of shots on the defensive end because of his quickness and nose for the ball. 

Bragg is the entire package at power forward and the top-rated prospect in the state of Ohio for 2015. He is one of those special kids Matta needs to secure if the Buckeyes are going to be seen as the team to beat for elite Ohio prospects going forward.


Doral Moore

Doral Moore is a Georgia native and 4-star prospect who measures 7’0″ and 220 pounds. Kentucky and Louisville are both going hard after him in addition to the Buckeyes, which means Matta certainly has his work cut out for him.

The Buckeyes already have Giddens as a center in the 2015 class, so landing Moore may not be quite as important as Bragg. Still, we are talking about a lengthy and athletic center who would immediately improve Ohio State’s frontcourt on both ends of the floor.

On the offensive side, Moore can stretch the defense with a mid-range jumper and mix in an array of low-post moves. He has impressive touch around the rim and even mixes in a soft hook shot when the opportunity presents itself. 

Moore will also swat plenty of shots and grab any rebound within his vicinity. The combination of Moore and Giddens would be particularly worrisome for the rest of the Big Ten.


Ivan Rabb

Matta is clearly looking to add more size in this class that currently features three perimeter players. Ivan Rabb is another power forward/center type who checks in at 6’10” and 210 pounds. Arizona, Duke and Kansas are among the other squads pursuing the 5-star prospect.

That means the Oakland native could be heading far away from home, which may not be a problem if his recent comments are any indication, via Laura Keeley of The Charlotte Observer:

“I’m not really a guy that gets homesick. I used to be, actually. I take that back. Freshman year in high school I used to get homesick, but now I’m used to being away from home.”

Rabb’s ability to finish with either hand immediately stands out on the offensive side, but his footwork should not be overlooked. He has the potential to develop into an elite post scorer because of his quickness and collection of moves down low.

His offensive skill level may already be at a college level, but his rebounding and defense should also appeal to the Buckeyes. As to be expected for a top big-man prospect, Rabb is an impressive shot-blocker and controls the boards on both sides of the floor.

Landing any of these three players would give the Scarlet and Gray a complete 2015 class. Perhaps it will be the one to finally lead Matta to that elusive national championship.


All rankings courtesy of 247Sports.

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