June 18, 2011

The Recruiting Corner: Hoops Edition

When the clock struck midnight on Tuesday night, college coaches were allowed to call 2013 prospects for the first time, and like every other coach, Alabama's Anthony Grant has stayed busy on the phone.

One of the first recruits Grant reached out to was Forsyth, Ga., guard/forward Brannen Greene, the No. 37 ranked player in the Rivals 150. Greene has spoken with Grant before and said the call was more of a checkup on how he was doing.

The 6-foot-7, 200-pound wing player also received calls from the likes of Duke, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville and Ohio State among others, but the call from Grant was right up there because the UA head coach has been recruiting him the longest.

"They have been recruiting me since the middle of my freshman year, which is the probably the longest of anybody," Greene said. "It shows that when I really wasn't known as much, they still wanted me and they still offered me a scholarship. It helps to know they didn't offer just because I'm one of the top players in the country now."

Grant also reached out to local star Jimmie Taylor on Wednesday to see how he was doing and how the USA Trials went.

Taylor, a 6-foot-9 big man from Greensboro High School, tried out for the 16-Under USA national team in Colorado Springs, Colo., last weekend. Although he didn't make the team, Taylor made an impression while he was out there.

"Taylor has steadily improved during the trials," Rivals.com basketball recruiting analyst Jerry Meyer said. "Tied with Anya for the highest reach in the trials, Taylor is becoming more of a factor around the rim. Opponents are finding it difficult to score against him, and he is coming up with more rebounds and buckets himself."

Other schools that have called Taylor this week include Georgia, Marquette, Miami, Mississippi State, Penn, Tennessee and Vanderbilt.

In addition to current 2013 commitments Shannon Hale and Jaren Sina, Grant also made phone calls to Kasey Hill, Greg McClinton, Chris Walker and Troy Williams this week.

Pollard's recruitment picks up
Alabama hasn't picked up a commitment for its 2012 class yet, but Porterville, Miss., forward Devonta Pollard may be the Crimson Tide's top target.

It may be tougher to land the Rivals.com five-star now as he's beginning to get noticed at a national level and has seen his recruitment take off over the last few weeks. Pollard has recently picked up offers from Duke, Kentucky and North Carolina State.

Pollard, the nation's No. 6 overall player, already had offers from Alabama, Georgetown, LSU, Mississippi State and Ole Miss.

It doesn't sound like he's in a hurry to get his recruitment over with either.

"All of the schools are equal and right there together," Pollard told Devils Illustrated. "I will probably start narrowing things down early, but will probably make my decision in the spring. I will probably narrow it down to a top five or three."

Despite the elite competition, expect Alabama to be among his finalists. This weekend, Pollard is competing at the NBA Top 100 camp at the University of Virginia.

Tide hosts first skills camp
Alabama hosted its first individual skills camp of the summer last weekend, and it was a smaller group, as well as a younger group.

In-state players DeOndre Haynes and JaCorey Williams were two of the only 2012 players who competed, and while neither has an Alabama offer, both players are receiving mild interest from the Crimson Tide staff.

Some of the younger prospects who made the camp included local 2014 target Demetrius Houston and DeOntaye Curtis, a 2013 prospect from Birmingham. Houston is a 6-foot-3 guard from Central High School who has a chance to be a top 50 player nationally.

Terrance O'Donohue and Grant Bryant were a few of the names who came in from out of the state to participate in the camp.

Alabama will host another skills camp later in the summer that should feature a larger group and will include the two members of the 2013 class, Hale and Sina.

Lacey to report in August
The gem of Alabama's 2011 recruiting class, Trevor Lacey, still has not made it to Tuscaloosa yet.

TideSports.com has learned that Lacey and Retin Ojomoh, the Crimson Tide's other late signee, will not be attending summer school at the University of Alabama, but both players are expected to report in August.

It's not unusual for a player who signs late to miss the summer session, and Lacey is still expected to qualify and be down on campus in August.

2013 commit changes schools
Shannon Hale, a 2013 commitment, will be changing schools this year. Hale, who previously attended Science Hill High School in Johnson City, Tenn., is transferring to Christ School in North Carolina with his teammate Jaylen Allen.

"I'm looking for a better opportunity to become a better person down there and a better basketball player," Hale said. "I want to get that college experience away from home, living on campus and stuff like that."

Christ School is where all three Plumlee brothers went to school.

Reach Greg Ostendorf at greg@tidesports.com.

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