Monday, December 27, 2010

Recruiting News

Below, some recruiting news from around the Ivy League...

For a list of committed players to attend Ivy League schools, including profiles of incoming Cornell recruits, and a listing of Cornell's prospective recruiting targets, click here. For a list of general Ivy League prospective recruiting targets, click here. Please note that we update these lists daily.

Class of 2011

Sai Tummala (Brophy Jesuit Prep) Scottsdale, AZ, 6-7, F, a stellar student, accepted a full academic scholarship to Michigan and will walk-on the basketball team as a preferred walk-on. He had heavy Ivy interest, particularly from Dartmouth, Yale and Harvard.

Max Biefeldt (Notre Dame HS) Peoria, IL, 6-7, F, is also another top Ivy target, but has high major interest. He already has a preferred walk-on role at Illinois (and is being given consideration for a scholarship). Western Michigan, Illinois Chicago, Ball State and Wright State have all made scholarship offers. Ivies in pursuit include Dartmouth, Penn and Brown.

Joey Gripper (Abington Friends School) Abington, PA, 6-1, G has an offer from Hampton. Other schools that are showing varying levels of interest include, Rider, Rice, Kent State, Appalachian State, Brown, Harvard, Quinnipiac, UNC-Wilmington and Marshall.

Kenny Johnson (Abington Friends School) Abington, PA, 6-3, G is hearing from Penn, Elon, Brown, Lafayette, Bryant, and Bucknell.

Prince Okoroh (Eleanor Roosevelt HS) Greenbelt, MD, 6-3, G, claims offers from Brown, Columbia, Howard, UMBC, and Mount St. Mary’s.

Patrick Lucas Perry (Powers HS) Flint, MI, 5-11, G, has seen a number of schools pull out his recruitment, since an ACL tear during the offseason. Before the injury, Lucas Perry had seen interest from several high major schools. He is now predominantly hearing from low majors such as Oakland and Penn.

Class of 2012

Glenn Baral (St. Mary's HS) Berkeley, CA, 6-4, G, is hearing from Penn, Cal Poly, Portland, and San Diego predominantly and has an offer from Cal Poly.

Kellen McCormick (Notre Dame Prep) Pontiac, MI, 6-8, F, already has offers from Miami-OH, Toledo, Western Michigan, and Oakland. Yale is on his trail as well.

Dominic Arts (Salesian HS) Vallejo, CA, 5-9, G, has a list of suitors including Harvard, Stanford, Washington State, Georgia Tech, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, San Francisco, and Seattle.

Devon Edwards (Alcovy HS) Covington, GA, 5-10, G, has interest from Harvard, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Clemson, Wichita State, Tulane and Charleston.

Darius Graham (Sacramento HS) Sacramento, CA, 5-9, G, lists Yale, Cal, Washington St. and Portland among his college suitors.

Craig Bradshaw (Greenbriar HS) Greenbriar, TN, 6-3, G, lists Yale, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, Tennessee, and Middle Tennessee St.

Eric Fanning (The Perkiomen School) Pennsburg, PA, 6-5, G, has interest from Colgate, The Citadel, Penn, Army, Quinnipiac, Stony Brook, St. Francis, Coastal Carolina, and Maryland Eastern Shore.

Donovan Jack (Reading Central HS) Reading, PA, 6-9, C, has offers from Bucknell, Lafayette and James Madison, but is also fielding interest from Columbia, Harvard, Princeton and Yale

Drew Charles (Azle HS) Azle, TX, 6-2, is hearing from Stanford, Vanderbilt, Texas-Arlington, SMU and Princeton.

Amadou Sidibe (Cardinal Hayes HS) New York, NY, 6-8, F has heard from Yale, Columbia, Dartmouth, Princeton, Iona, Quinnipiac, Marist, Stony Brook, Davidson, Holy Cross, and Fordham. Of this group, Yale, Quinnipiac, Marist and Stony Brook have offered.

Below, we provide the bios of Cornell's five committed recruits in the high school class of 2011.


Shonn Miller (St. Ignatius HS) Cleveland, OH, 6-6, 195, F-Miller was first recruited by Cornell's former coaching staff with the current staff continuing his courtship throughout the summer and fall of 2010.

As a high school junior at St. Ignatius, Miller averaged 13.8 points and 8.3 rebounds while shooting 63% from the field, 30% from beyond the arc and 86% from the charity stripe. He was named a 2009-2010 Associated Press Northeast Lakes All-District Second Team selection and Honorable Mention All-State Division I.

Despite incurring a fractured pelvis during the winter of 2009 which limited his AAU exposure with his AAU team, the King James Shooting Stars, Miller's summer performances landed him numerous Division I scholarship offers including from Miami (OH), Toledo, Bucknell, Northeastern, Western Michigan, Central Michigan, Columbia, Cleveland State, Akron, James Madison, and Louisiana-Lafayette, among others.

Miller attended Cornell's Elite Camp and committed after the visiting campus during September. He canceled scheduled visits to Bucknell, Northeastern, and Miami. (OH) Miller previously visited Toledo. At the time of his commitment, other schools still in the mix and recruiting Miller were Miami (Fl) and Notre Dame among other high level BCS programs. In an interview following his announced decision, Miller said he found the "right fit" in Cornell and noted, “I like him [Cornell head coach, Bill Courtney] a lot."

Miller's head coach at St. Ignatius High School, Sean O'Toole told The Cornell Basketball Blog, "Shonn is the hardest working kid I've ever coached. He's very young, he just turned 17, his best days on the basketball court are ahead of him." When asked to described Miller's physical attributes, position and game, O'Toole noted, "He's 6''6", but a long 6'6", wiry strong, athletic. He is very versatile, he is a point-forward, he play the 2, 3 or the 4." He continued, "Right now Shonn is a finesse player... almost too comfortable shooting from three, we are working to toughen him up and to take contact in the lane and get to the foul line. He is also a terrific defensive rebounder."

Asked about Miller's college recruitment, which included the above confirmed offers from Miami (OH), Toledo, Bucknell, Northeastern, Western Michigan, Central Michigan, Columbia, Cleveland State, Akron, James Madison, and Lousiana-Lafayette, O'Toole noted that the Ivy League is a perfect fit for Miller. "He's a really smart kid. He could've gone to other high schools in the area [such as national basketball power St. Edward's] with more established basketball traditions, but he came here for the academics and Cornell in the Ivy League is an ideal situation for him." O'Toole noted, however, that had Miller remained uncommitted or attended a prep school, many other higher level schools could have also offered scholarships. "Duquesene [of the A-10] offered him an official visit and could've offered Shonn during his trip... I just spoke with coaches of Notre Dame, his recruitment by them was very real, they were following Shonn very closely."

Miller is an inside-outside athletic guard. He previously told, “I can do it all. I can post up and play the perimeter. I am a good shooter from mid-range to 3.” As for weaknesses, he says he needs to be more aggressive and drive more often. He also says one of his best attributes as a player in his work ethic. “I am a hard worker. Anything that needs to be done, I am willing to do it.”

Rick Bolus High Potential Basketball Recruiting Service ranks Miller among the top 75 players in Ohio while HoopScoop ranks him No. 334 in the nation (17th in Ohio).

Rated an 82 by ESPN Insiders/ScoutsInc., ESPN evaluated Miller as follows during April 2010: "Shonn is a skilled and athletic Small Forward. He plays mostly inside for his high school team out of necessity. On his summer team he is allowed to roam on the perimeter. Miller has solid athletic ability and decent foot speed. He is a solid shooter with his feet set all the way out to 20 feet. He has been soft in the past but he has definitely improved his toughness over the past year. Shonn is now a solid rebounder inside who will compete inside with other big men. He is a decent rebounder but the perimeter is his future. He is an ok defender that struggles some in space right now. He is more comfortable defending on the block right now. Shonn is talented and should be a solid Division I player."

Brian Snow of evaluated Miller during January 2010 and noted, "Miller is a big wing who has a lot of talent. An excellent athlete, Miller can hit threes as well as finish down low. The release on his shot is low, but it is effective as when he got his feet set the ball went down. Miller ended up finishing with a team high 15 points, and also added several rebounds. The next step for him will be finishing through contact better." Snow reevaluated Miller during July and noted, "The word coming out of Chicago was Miller turned the corner, and he showed again his improved play. Pushing 6-foot-6 with a great frame and big time athleticism, Miller has the physical ability to be a major contributor. On Monday he was hitting shots from the outside, finishing through contact, and also had a big dunk in transition. That aggressiveness needs to be there consistently, but he looked like a much improved player from the spring with his play."

Miller has a 3.4 GPA and scored a 1540 on the SAT. He is leaning toward majoring in business finance and is expected to enroll in Cornell's Dyson School of Business.

Galal Cancer (Christian Bros. Academy) Albany, New York, 6-2, G-Cancer, a point guard, was recruited by among others, Penn, Brown, Columbia, Northeastern, Davidson, Wichita State, Albany, Lafayette, Lehigh, Colgate, Army, Navy, Bucknell, Manhattan, Citadel, Elon, Furman, LIU, Wagner, and Quinnipiac.

The Cornell Basketball Blog interviewed the head coach of Cancer's AAU team, the Albany City Rocks, Jim Hart, about Cancer's commitment to Cornell.

When asked about the details of Cancer's college recruitment, Hart indicated that before selecting Cornell, Cancer was offered scholarships during the summer by Albany, Citadel, Navy and Manhattan and was pursued by the schools listed above. He also indicated that Columbia and Brown had asked Cancer to take visits to their campuses with the expectation that offers would be made during the visits. But Cancer's recruitment was by no means limited to just these above schools. "Stanford and Rice wanted to see more of him," noted Hart. Hart noted that Cancer visited both Albany and Cornell and then made his decision to the end process.

"If I had to describe Galal, I would call him a 'closer' like Mariano Rivera with the New York Yankees. He will help you win games down the stretch," said Hart. "He will do whatever it takes to win you the game. I remember during July, Cornell's head coach Bill Courtney was watching our [Albany Rocks AAU] team down at the Peach Jam Tournament in Georgia. Against one of the best teams in the country, I think Galal scored something like 14 of our last 20 points, just took the game over for us."

Hart credited Courtney and Cornell assistant, Marlon Sears for handling Cancer's recruitment.

When asked about Cancer's preferred position, Hart explained that Cancer could play either point guard or shooting guard and described him as both a "strong" and "athletic" player. "But I think he will be a point guard in college. He is the most unselfish human being I've ever seen. He can score when he wants, but he looks for his teammates first," Hart emphasized.

Despite some recruiting services suggesting that Cancer is not a consistent outside shooter, Hart disagreed. "He has all the shooting mechanics and has the ability to go off and hit two or three three-pointers in a row. Right now, he is just not asked to shoot as much as a point guard."

Hart emphasized, "Galal plays for one of the best high school coaches [Dave Doemel] in the state of New York. Galal is ultra disciplined, he will get better and better, his shooting will also get better [when he is asked to shoot more]."

Doemel told the Albany Times Union, “I talked to the [Cornell] coaching staff and he was their top recruit — Galal was the guy they wanted."

Speaking to media after his commitment, Cancer said of his decision, "I just thought about college and when I'd be done playing basketball... I felt that Cornell would present me with more opportunities with the alumni connection they have." (see the video interviews with SlopeTV, CBS and YNN).

A two-star recruit on and Rated a 75 by ESPN Insiders, ESPN evaluates Cancer as follows, "Cancer is a strong guard who does his best work going to the rim. He changes speeds well off the dribble, can attack his defender to both sides, and finishes well. He'll take smaller defenders to the low post and is also a good defender. He must continue to develop his overall ball skills, make the jump shot a more consistent part of his offensive arsenal, and improve his decision making." Meanwhile which ranks Cancer among the top 32 players in New York, writes, "An attacking guard who is deceptive due to his ability to change speed."

Scouting Cancer during July, writes, "Nice floor leader surely opened some eyes with his play here, as he played well at both ends of the floor. He’s not a jet, but he got to the basket all day by finding gaps and passed on the move very well and scored on some of his drives, using the left (off) hand a couple of times. He also defended well, and while his body isn’t there yet he has good size for his position. Mid-major prospect." wrote of Cancer, "This tough guard knows how to get to the rack and is an excellent defender. Cancer is a real winner and team leader on the floor."

The Albany Times Union also noted of Cancer, "one of the quickest guards to grace the upstate, NY hardwood in recent years...can cross you up from either side, step back and hit the jumper or burn you with an alley-oop pass. It is this kind of versatility that makes him [the] Most Valuable Player in the Section. He has the talent and the tools to do it all."

For Christian Brothers High School, New York's AA State Champions, Cancer averaged 11.2 points and 7.6 rebounds per game as a junior alongside Division I recruit, Kam Ritter (a freshman at St. Francis, PA).

Cancer collected numerous awards and honors as a junior including honorable mention All Big 10 Conference selection, Troy Record All-Area Team, the Basketball Coaches Association of New York (BCANY) First Team, the BCANY Top 50 Team, 7th Team All State (AA) by the New York Sportswriters and the 2010 NYSPHSAA Class AA All-Tournament team. Cancer was also named a NBC News (News Channel 13 Albany) All Star (click here for video).

Below, Galal Cancer interviewed during June 2010 Rumble in the Bronx AAU event with his team, national power, the Albany City Rocks.

Below, highlights of Christian's Brother's AA state championship game win over Half Hollows Hills West High School:

Below, highlights of Christian's Brother's AA Section II state championship game win over Shen High School:

Devin Cherry (Meridian HS) Meridian, MS, 6-3, G-Cherry visited Cornell in September, but only committed to Cornell following his visit to Penn the very next weekend.

Cherry's head coach Randy Bolden at Meridian High School told The Cornell Basketball Blog, "Devin's a very smart player with a very high basketball IQ. He's a winner and makes the players around him better. With Devin he's an "interchangeable 1-2" and can play either guard spot for us [at Meridian] or on the college level." He continued, "Devin is our best defender, we play him on the opponents' best guards. He's a great shooter... Yes, he is athletic. Is he a guy that jumps above the rims all the time? No. But he can jump and he has very good speed. He is definitely 'athletic.'"

When asked about Cherry's college recruitment, Bolden noted that Cherry held offers to Penn, Wofford, Jackson State, and SE Louisiana (Southland Conference). He also noted that Western Kentucky, Murray St., Princeton, and Bucknell were others involved, but Cherry had narrowed his schools down by the end of the summer and opted to focus on Penn and Cornell. After visiting Cornell and Penn, Cherry made his decision. "He just really felt comfortable with Coach Courtney and Coach Sears."

"He is such a hard worker. I told Coach Coach Courtney they are gonna have to run him out of the gym after practices. He's always trying to get better, always working," Bolden added.

After his commitment, Cherry told the Meridian Star, "
I know the opportunities that I will have available to me up there. In the recent years the basketball program has been getting a lot better and I just fell in love with the campus. I really believe in what coach [Bill] Courtney is doing there." He added that the academic standards of Cornell also played a major role in his commitment. "That was a big factor because I wanted to go to a school with great educational values. I believe you can't go wrong with the Ivy League. That combined with the improving basketball program makes it a great combination for me."

Ranked as the No. 32 overall prospect in Mississippi by Hoop Scoop Online, Cherry posted 11.6 points per game his junior year as Meridian's second leading scorer. He was named Honorable Mention All-State by the Clarion Ledger. His teammate, Rodney Hood, is ranked No. 2 in Mississippi by Hoop Scoop Online and by as the No. 21 overall player in the U.S. (No. 49 overall by Meridian is ranked among the top 50 high school basketball teams by several national rankings.

Cherry plays AAU basketball for the Southern Phenoms program.

Deion Giddens (Willow Canyon HS) Surprise, AZ, 6-9, 195, C-The "word" on Giddens is "high major" size and athleticism, but still very much a developing offensive player that could take time to fully mature.

The son of Freddie Giddens, an officer in the Air Force, Giddens spent the majority of his life living in Germany while his father was stationed with the 52nd Medicine Support Squadron. Still adjusting to the physicality of the American style of basketball, Giddens has been described as having BCS level upside once he polishes his fundamentals and adds strength.

As a junior for Willow Canyon, Giddens averaged 8.7 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.o blocks per game while shooting 56% from the floor and 63% at the free throw line.

In April 2010, Dave Telep of evaluated Giddens at the Pump Spring Classic as follows: "Arizona Pump ‘n Run [AAU program] has a post player named Deion Giddens. He played high school ball last year after spending 8 seasons in Germany. He’s a lower level DI prospect in the 2011 class but has upside."

Rated a 77 by ESPN Scouts Inc., ESPN evaluated him in May 2010 and noted, "Giddens is a long, thin and athletic post player. Deion fills the lane in transition and can catch the ball on the move and finish off two feet in traffic. When in the post, he needs angles to score. When teams play him physical, he does not handle himself well. Defensively, he can cause problems for opponents because of his length, but Deion is going to have to improve on his strength and ball skills to solidify himself as Division I player."

During May 2010, wrote, "6-foot-9, 195-pound junior forward Deion Giddens has loads of potential and he is working very hard to develop his body and game for the collegiate level... Giddens is still very raw offensively, but has excellent potential as a prospect on the defensive end of the floor, as he is capable of blocking and changing shots around the painted area. Giddens is still very thin physically as well, causing him to have success against smaller opposition or those his size, but struggle at times when competing against bigger, stronger post players. As Giddens gains in size physically, he will become much more of an offensive threat. Giddens is working hard now in the weight room on his own to add more strength to his body and make himself more attractive to college coaches. He may need a red-shirt year at the collegiate level, or, even better yet, a year of post-graduate prep school work to prepare himself for the rigors of college basketball... Giddens is also an excellent student with a 4.4 CUM GPA, and he also speaks several languages including German, since he is an army brat and lived in Germany before he recently moved to the state of Arizona."

Later scouted by in July, the site noted, "Giddens has been very good this week, as he has played tougher and with more aggression all summer long. While he is still a raw talent, the young man has improved a great deal over the past four months and has many college programs very intrigued with his unlimited potential as a college prospect. Should see a large number of schools showing interest in this one after the evaluation period."

During August 2010, updated its evaluation and noted that "No player in Arizona's 2011 class of players improved more this off-season as a college prospect than Willow Canyon High School's 6-foot-9, 195-pound senior post prospect Deion Giddens."

After visiting Princeton during September (and receiving an offer on the trip), Giddens decided to commit to Cornell.

While speaking with us, both Hurst and Ray noted that Giddens was a person of high character. "In Deion, [Cornell] is just getting such a good kid. He is very disciplined, respectful, and comes from a military family. He is one of those kids that says 'yes sir' to everything. You just don't see kids like him these days with his level of integrity and manners," said Hurst.

Hurst pointed out that Giddens' character, motivation and drive are key elements in Deion's development as a basketball player. "Deion is definitely a great athlete for a kid his size, he can get up there, has good timing, he blocks shots and is a good rebounder. If you throw it up there for him, he will dunk it." But Hurst explained, "You have to understand though that when Deion joined our program back in February or March of this year, he was really raw offensively, the kid had two left feet on the floor." Hurst continued, "But with Deion, it was about just building his confidence. And with the added confidence, he really improved his footwork and started to develop some little inside moves like a baby hook shot."

Ray echoed Hurst's sentiments. "When Deion gets to practice in college and plays against that level of competition, his game is going to improve leaps and bounds because he is such a hard worker... With him, it is all about his tremendous upside."

When discussing Giddens' long term potential, Hurst said that "[Giddens] needs to develop more of a body, more strength, but with his new dedication to basketball, his desire to play and get better, [Cornell is] getting a kid that can be a real player."

But don't let Giddens' developing physical frame deceive you into thinking he is a soft player. "He wants to mix it up in there on defense. He's physical and will defend for you," said Hurst.

Ray noted that in addition to offers from "most of the Ivy League schools" as well as Bucknell and Houston Baptist, he noted that schools still recruiting Giddens, just prior to his commitment to Cornell, included a "long and healthy list" such as UC-Riverside, Pacific, UT San Antonio, Montana, and Northern Arizona. Ivies which extended offers included Columbia, Dartmouth, Princeton and Yale, while schools such as Utah, Washington State, Boise State, Pepperdine, San Francisco, and Lamar were involved at earlier points in the process.

Giddens told his high school newspaper about his commitment to the Big Red, “I feel great about my deci­sion. I can’t wait until I get to play in college and experience what college is going to be like. I feel like Cornell is the best place to get an education and play some college ball at a higher level.” On his recruitment he noted, “They brought their head coach, liked what they saw and offered me.”

The Dysart School District in Arizona issued a press release announcing Deion Giddens' commitment to attend Cornell.

The Academic All West Camp and both named Giddens to their Second Team Academic All State during the 2010-2011 preseason.

Below, a short highlight package of Giddens from his summer play.

Image for MaxPreps Video.

Dave LaMore (Dexter HS) Whitmore Lake, MI, 6-10, 220-LaMore averaged 11 points and 6 rebounds per game as a junior a year ago for the 15-8 Dexter Dreadnaughts and was named First Team All-Southeast Conference White Division and First Team All-Washtenaw County (Class A).

Among his junior year highlights, LaMore created a buzz in the Detroit area on March 8 in a district game against Ann Arbor Pioneer. But it wasn't LaMore's 18 points that caused the region to talk about his performance. Instead, it was a LaMore dunk in the 4th quarter which broke a bolt on the backboard at Huron High School, causing a 55-minute game delay after the backboard fell to the ground. When the teams finally got back to action, his back-to-back low post baskets late in game wrapped up a 51-38 win over Pioneer.

A broken backboard during a Michigan high school game, courtesy of Cornell recruit, Dave LaMore.

Observed during July 2010 by at the Brawl for the Ball Tournament in Grand Rapids, Michigan, wrote of Lamore, "Dave Lamore is a solid post defender and the 6’8” 2011 center surprised more than a handful of coaches when he was successful in guarding future division one four-man Ben Lanning. Lamore runs the floor well and is efficient in the post while he put up double-double performances. The phenomenal student needs to work on a go to post move as he lacks explosiveness and can get caught by more athletic post defenders. He plays very wide and is sneaky strong as he moves players out of their desired post position. Lamore has the interest of Patriot League and Ivy League programs."

During August, Inside Preps Sports wrote of LaMore, "David Lamore (Dexter) is a 6’8” senior center/power forward who obtained his first division one scholarship a little over a week ago from James Madison University. Lamore is a solid student who has put together a solid season away from his high school team. He has a solid frame that will take to the weight room well and should join the high school season as a leader on and off the court."

LaMore was listed among the state's top 30 unsigned seniors by during August, before choosing Cornell later in the fall.

The Cornell Basketball Blog spoke with Randy Swoverland, head coach of Dexter High School about LaMore following his commitment to Cornell during October. On LaMore's recruitment, Swoverland noted a lengthy list of schools that pursued LaMore, including Tulane, James Madison, Navy, Harvard, Holy Cross, UNC Wilmington, Detroit, Eastern Kentucky, Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Western Michigan, Pacific, Loyola-Chicago and Old Dominion. Of this group, Swoverland confirmed that LaMore held scholarship offers from Tulane, James Madison, and Navy and indicated that LaMore visited Navy and Bowling Green, but canceled a visit to Tulane when decidng on Cornell. Swoverland also indicated that he took recruiting calls from the coaching staffs at Harvard, Penn and Evansville, while Loyola-Chicago visited Dexter High School and continued to recruit LaMore.

When asked about LaMore's strengths, Swoverland said, "Dave is a versatile big guy, he can go inside or out on the perimeter, he can make the mid range shots and has really expanded his game." He added, "Any reports that he is still working on a low post game [against college size players] is not accurate. Dave is very good with his off hand, he has a variety of post moves, some of which he hasn't even used in high school because he hasn't had to at this level." He added, "I would describe Dave as both a finesse player and a guy that mixes it up, he'll do both for a team."

In terms of weaknesses Swoverland noted, "Dave needs to get stronger and improve his lateral quickness. He is quick moving in a straight line up and down the court, but he needs to work on that lateral quickness and get stronger... I just measured him two weeks ago and he was 6'9" and 224 pounds, but he is definitely still growing. He just grew in the last six months since I last measured him," noted Swoverland.

"He is such a hard worker, I will use the phrase 'gym rat' to describe his work ethic. He's very well respected among classmates and the other athletes here at Dexter... this [recruiting] process [was the culmination] of a plan Dave set for himself as a freshman, to use basketball as a means to get himself into a college of his choosing."

LaMore' commitment during October 2010 was recapped on and in the Dexter Leader, which noted LaMore's stellar academic background, including a 3.9 GPA in high school.

Below, a video highlight package of Dave LaMore. See also a video interview with LaMore during the 2010-2011 preseason.

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