Including today, just two days remain of this summer's three all-important July evaluation periods. I've provided Seton Hall-related recruiting updates from Wednesday through Friday below as well as insight from the 2014 'Live in A.C.' AAU tournament that wrapped up yesterday afternoon.
To begin the live period on Wednesday afternoon, Seton Hall head coach Kevin Willard and associate head coach Shaheen Holloway were in Las Vegas for showcase games at Fab 48, followed by pool/bracket play on Thursday while assistant coach Fred Hill was in South Jersey for Live in A.C. on Wednesday night.
Sports U (Markis McDuffie, Chris Silva), New Heights (Dupree McBrayer), Gym Rats (Horace Spencer), and the N.J. Playaz (Isaiah Briscoe, Temple Gibbs Jr., etc.) all feature Seton Hall targets at Fab 48 in Vegas. Willard and Holloway have been spotted watching all of these targets over the last couple of days. In addition, UNLV joined in to watch Findlay Prep (Nv.) forward Horace Spencer Thursday night, Shaka Smart (VCU), UNLV, and USC watched Sports U - Atlanta Xpress Thursday afternoon, and a handful of coaches including three from Minnesota watched the Playaz take on New Heights that night. Seton Hall, St. John's, St. Joseph's, and others were front row for Sports U and Team Philly yesterday. Sports U small forward Markis McDuffie received an offer from Shaka Smart on an unofficial visit in June and St. Joes offered during the first live period; Seton Hall was the first high-major to extend an offer when they did so last summer.
Before heading to Vegas for Fab 48, the N.J. Playaz played a showcase game against Maryland 3D at Live in A.C., a highly anticipated match-up because of Isaiah Briscoe's draw recruiting-wise and talent-wise. Fresh off their Peach Jam title from last Sunday, the Playaz played if on cruise control, scoring countless buckets in transition and cruising to a comfortable win. Rutgers' Eddie Jordan and assistant Mike O'Koren were the first to arrive for Briscoe with Seton Hall assistant Fred Hill, St. John's Steve Lavin, Villanova's Jay Wright (and assistant), and Arizona's Emanuel "Book" Richardson quick to follow. UConn (thought to be out of Isaiah's recruitment) and Louisville were not present.
Based on observing the coaches that showed up to watch Briscoe, that's what they were there for, and only that. Steve Lavin didn't even glance at a court for the 90-or-so minutes he was in the gym prior to tip, and then left immediately after while the other coaches acted similarly -- Fred Hill wasn't even wearing Seton Hall gear (generic Under Armour).
While Kevin Willard's absence from Isaiah Briscoe's Wednesday night game is duly noted, it can be argued that Willard hasn't been all over the guard like he was Kyle Anderson a few summers ago. Like Book Richardson, Shaheen Holloway is the lead recruiter for for Briscoe. Unlike the Arizona assistant, Sha' was not present on Wednesday night and also isn't thought to lead for the top-rated guard -- recent rumors have pointed toward Arizona/St. John's. This is also ignoring the physical proximity to Atlantic City of Seton Hall compared to Arizona.
Whatever the case may be in Isaiah Briscoe's recruitment, it looks clear that the staff decided to watch a broader spectrum of targets by flying out to Vegas for Wednesday instead of staying in South Jersey for what turned out to be an exhibition of a game between the Playaz and Maryland 3D. The Playaz (3-0) have seen the court in Vegas three times since Wednesday night and venture into bracket play later today, all potentially viewable by the staff. What do you think of the situation and the coaching staff's decisions?
After Live in A.C. on Wednesday, Fred Hill tripped up to WE R1-hosted Battle of the Borders in Burlington, New Jersey for Thursday action. Among others, 2015 WE R1/Archbishop John Carroll center Ernest Aflakpui and 2015 standout Derrick Jones were on display. It was reported yesterday that Seton Hall is back in the mix for Aflakpui after it was reported a few weeks ago that Ernest was not considering Seton Hall of the schools that had offered him. We are working to confirm the status of Aflakpui's recruitment either way. He has the frame and skillset (esp. blocking ability) of a true interior post-guy and excels more in the half court. For further insight on Aflakpui, click here (scroll to bottom).
Locally, the final live period wraps up in Philly with the End of Summer Classic and bracket play at the Fab 48 in Las Vegas. The evaluation period officially ends at 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Other assorted Seton Hall-related recruiting notes:
- Southern Methodist has offered 2015 Team Final/Ewing HS guard Trey Lowe, his first since VCU in May
- 2016 forward Omari Spellman of Team SCAN/MacDuffie School has received another pair of offers, this time from Creighton and Virginia.
- Iowa State offered 2016 Sports U/St. Joseph's-Metuchen guard Breein Tyree yesterday.