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Seth Davis runs down the 2012 recruits


It’s a slow weekend for UK athletics and pobably one of the last slow weekends for us bloggers for say the next nine months or so.  But CBS basketball guru Seth Davis never takes any time off and he recently took some time to size up some of the 2012 recruits for Sports Illustrated.com and as expected, some of the names have Kentucky ties:

Brandon Ashley, 6-9 forward, Oakland, Calif. I was surprised to see Ashley listed at this height, because he seems taller to me. I liked his game last summer, and he has really expanded his repertoire since then. Ashley does great work around the rim, but he now has a jump shot that extends to 18 feet. Even so, he does not roam around the perimeter excessively like a lot of big high school kids these days. Ashley is transferring to Findlay Prep in Nevada for his senior season and his list of seven finalists includes UCLA, Arizona and Kentucky.

DaJuan Coleman, 6-8 forward, Dewitt, N.Y. Coleman’s weight is listed at 280 pounds, so that should give you a sense of how he’s built. He is a below-the-rim post player with excellent footwork, putting him in the mold of Jared Sullinger or Sean May. Even though he’s ranked pretty high, Coleman strikes me as the kind of player who has limited potential as a professional but could be effective in college. Kentucky and Ohio State are on him hard, but Syracuse has the homecourt advantage on this one. It also doesn’t hurt that the son of Coleman’s summer coach with the Albany City Rocks is a walk-on guard at Syracuse.

Ricardo Ledo, 6-5 guard, Fitchburg, Mass. Ledo has great size for a two-guard and he makes nice plays from the wing, but he has more red flags on his profile than any other top prospect. Ledo committed to Providence in early January and then de-committed three weeks later, well before the school fired coach Keno Davis. This fall he will be attending his fourth high school in four years. Ledo lists Kentucky as one of his top choices, but I have a feeling he’s more interested in UK than UK is interested in him. Ed Cooley, the new coach at Providence, is recruiting Ledo hard, but Cooley may not feel like he has no choice because Ledo lives a few miles from PC’s campus. I hope it works out for the kid, but let the buyer beware.

Shabazz Muhammad, 6-6 forward, Las Vegas. Is it damning Muhammad with faint praise to say that the best part about him is his intangibles? Perhaps. Muhammad is a crafty lefty wing player, and while he isn’t a great three-point shooter, he has a terrific midrange floater than he can get off anytime he wants. But what he does best is attack, attack, attack. Muhammad is a classic example of someone who is a great scorer more than a great shooter. He really brings his A game every time he steps on the floor, which is really rare in summer ball. Muhammad was nursing a badly sprained ankle in Vegas, but he sucked up the pain and brought his Dream Vision team to the championship game. UCLA is the team to beat here, but Dave Rice, the newly hired coach at UNLV, is making a strong push to try to convince Muhammad to stay home.

Nerlens Noel, 6-10 center, Everett, Mass. (JUNIOR) I normally wouldn’t highlight a player who’s basically a specialist, but when he does that specialty so well you have to tip your hat. In this case, Noel is the best shot blocker in high school, regardless of class. He is plenty tall but has the wingspan of someone several inches taller. He also has that uncanny presence and timing that all the great shot blockers have. Noel is also an effective rebounder who can make you cringe when he attempts a 10-foot jumper, but given how young he is I doubt that will dissuade any of the big boys from going after him.

Rodney Purvis, 6-3 guard, Raleigh, N.C. Purvis made headlines in the spring when he reneged on his commitment to Louisville and opened up his recruitment. His reasoning was that the Louisville assistant who was recruiting him, Tim Fuller, left to work for new Missouri coach Frank Haith, who was an assistant coach at Wake Forest when Fuller was a walk-on there. Louisville is now totally out of the hunt, but Missouri is going to have a hard time beating out N.C. State. Purvis is a very chiseled 185 pounds, but while he’s an explosive athlete he’s not a very good shooter. Nor does he do much to make his teammates better. Purvis gives me the same misgivings that I had about Florida guard Kenny Boynton when he was in high school, although Purvis is much bigger. At any rate, he’d be a huge get for new N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried.

Julius Randle, 6-8 forward, Plano, Texas. (JUNIOR) There will be a fun debate next season as to whether Randle or Chicago swingman Jabari Parker is the best player in the Class of 2013. If Parker is the ultimate finesse player, Randle is all power, a sturdy left-hander who prefers to score through people as opposed to over them. Randle has a bad habit sometimes of trying to show people he’s a point guard, which usually only shows that he’s not. But when he’s focused and intense — and angry — he is a load on the block. It’s too early to have a good idea where Randle is headed, but I do know that Baylor coach Scott Drew was at every one of Randle’s games at the Peach Jam. Given the recruiting inroads Baylor has made the last couple of years, it will be interesting to watch this play out.

Kaleb Tarczewski, 7-foot center, Southborough, Mass. For the over-40 set, Tarczewski reminded me of Eric Montross. For the younguns among you, think of him as a more mobile Cole Aldrich. In other words, he’s big, he’s white, and he cuts his hair real short. He can also score over both shoulders and loves to play with his back to the basket (which is rare these days). Once again, though, he’s a big man playing summer basketball so his teammates rarely get him the ball. Kansas, North Carolina and Arizona are the big three giving chase.

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