- HIGHSCHOOL - UMass gets Basden

Wednesday, July 16
UMass gets Basden

As the crucial summer evaluation period comes to an end, the recruiting wars that inevitably follow are just starting to heat up.

With the trend of players making oral commitments during the summer rather than during the school year, the number of prep stars who have already committed is staggering. The total number of players having already committed has passed the 200 mark.

The most recent commitment was announced Saturday when top 75 prospect Eddie Basden, a 6-foot-5 guard/forward from Eleanor Roosevelt High (Greenbelt, Md.), gave an oral commitment to the University of Massachusetts. Basden chose UMass over Villanova, Maryland, Georgetown and George Mason. The Minutemen may have a strong complement to Basden if they can land either top-100 prospect Tony Bethel, 6-foot-1, of Bishop McNamara High (Forestville, Md.) or Jeremiah King, 6-foot-2, of Patterson Catholic (Patterson, N.J.).

UMass men's basketball coach James "Bruiser" Flint, who signed six top players last year, isn't involved with in-state product 6-foot-3 Jermaine Watson of Tabor Academy (Mass.), as Boston College, Georgia Tech, Miami and Vanderbilt are the leaders.

Gators on the hunt
The University of Florida would love to add to its already impressive recruiting class, which includes one of the nation's top players in 6-foot-11 Kwame Brown of Glynn Academy (Brunswick, Ga.) and highly regarded James White, who may transfer to Hargrave Military Academy this year. Gators coach Billy Donovan appears to be on the verge of landing 6-foot-8 Alabama resident Marco Killingsworth of Durham Emmanuel High (Dothan, Ala.), who is also considering Auburn and LSU and Florida. The ABCD Camp standout took an unofficial visit to Auburn a couple of weeks ago and plans to visit LSU and Florida this month.

The Gators haven't shown interest in in-state prep star Mark Stiles, a 6-foot-7 forward who upped his stock after a strong week at the Five-Star Pitt IV camp. He lists Duquesne, Virginia Tech, Lehigh, Eastern Michigan, Austin Peay, Harvard, Central Florida and Jacksonville as his top schools.

'Cats after Bell
The University of Kentucky remains in the hunt for 6-foot-11 center Chad Bell of Los Angeles, Calif., who has added North Carolina and Memphis to his list of serious candidates. New Mexico, USC and Villanova are also in the hunt.

The Wildcats are also a contender for Jason Maxiell of Neuman Smith High (Carrollton, Texas), but will have to beat out Cincinnati, Michigan and Oklahoma.

The Short of it
Matt Short, a 6-foot-10 center from Yreka, Calif., made an oral committment over the weekend to the Oregon Ducks. Arizona State appears to be the loser here, as the 'Cats were thought to be the leader only a few weeks ago.

Other orals
Other recent oral commitments include:

T.J. Thompson, a 5-foot-10 point guard from the Newport School (Kensington, Md.), reportedly gave an oral commitment to George Washington University last week.

Mike Jensen, a 6-foot-8 forward from Kentwood High (Covington, Wash.), committed to Washington.

Rory O'Neil, a 6-foot10 center from Burroughs High (Ridgecrest, Calif.), committed to USC.

Nick Lewis, a 6-foot-9 forward from Brophy Prep (Phoenix, Ariz.), committed to San Diego.

Matt McCollom, a 6-foot-2 guard from Mount Zion High (Mount Zion, Ill.), committed to Ball State.

Aaron Fitzgerald, a 6-foot-2 guard from Kennedy High (Seattle, Wash.), committed to Portland State.

John Allen, a 6-foot-5 guard from Coatesville High (Coatesville, Pa.), committed to Seton Hall.

Ricky Morgan, a 6-foot guard from Northern High (Pontiac, Mich.), committed to Iowa State.

Ben Gordon, a 6-foot-1 guard from Mount Vernon High (Mount Vernon, N.Y.), committed to Connecticut.

Devin Boddie, a 6-foot-1 guard from Jordan High (Durham, N.C.), committed to East Carolina.

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