By Joe Henricksen
The movement of college players after just one season on campus is becoming more and more the norm. And two of the bigger names in the Illinois Class of 2009 are on the move. Former Whitney Young star Chris Colvin, who announced he was leaving Iowa State back in April, is still figuring out where he will land next fall.
Word of Darius Smith, the former Marshall star who was the Hoops Report's No. 3 prospect in the class behind Warren's Brandon Paul and Naperville Central's Drew Crawford, leaving Connecticut leaked out earlier this week. Smith saw very limited time at UConn as a freshman, yet those around the program believed he was going to have a significant role with the Huskies down the road. But UConn is also on some unstable ground as the program begins to react to allegations dealing with recruiting violations and a failure-to-monitor charge at legendary coach Jim Calhoun and the program.
Smith is just one of those players that doesn't fit a specific position or even a description. He is simply a baller who makes plays on both ends of the floor. He gets in the passing lanes, makes things happen defensively and has a way on the offensive end that allows him to be dangerous without being a pure point guard or a terrific shooter. Plus, throughout his high school career he was generally always on the team with the most points on the scoreboard when the buzzer sounded. He's a hard-as-nails winner.
Those close to Smith and who are helping him sort things out say the recruiting process will start from scratch and the 6-2 guard will be wide open when he begins to look for his next college destination. Those close to Smith have heard from a number of high-major schools.
NIU making inroads
Northern Illinois basketball has taken some hits in the last year, both on the floor (10-20 last season) and off of it with some player movement and some negative feedback from those personnel moves. However, the staff has become more aggressive on the recruiting front, getting more kids on campus and being mentioned with potential recruits more and more of late.
This week Northern Illinois offered the Glenbard East tandem of 6-3 Johnny Hill, one of the Hoops Report's top 20 prospects in the Class of 2011, and point guard Zach Miller, the DuPage Valley Conference Player of the Year last season. In addition, NIU has been involved with Whitney Young's versatile 6-7 Luke Hager, Mount Carmel guard Adonis Filer, Evanston's rising 6-7 James Farr, big men Devon Hodges of Bolingbrook, Josh Piper of Champaign Centennial and Max Bielfeldt of Peoria Notre Dame, along with University's Michael Turner.
A lot of credit goes head coach Ricardo Patton's staff. Assistant coach Todd Townsend, one of the impressive young assistants in the business, has done a terrific job in his short time in DeKalb of generating NIU interest with recruits along with assistant coach Sundance Wicks.
One of state's elite playing with the best
Simeon's Jabari Parker is preparing for a busy summer, both individually and with his Simeon team. Next week the super sophomore-to-be will be heading to St. Louis, on the campus of Saint Louis University, for the 2010 Nike Hoop Jamboree. The Jamboree, which will run June 10-13, has been one of the nation's premier basketball events for elite underclassmen.
Parker, the Hoops Report's No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2013, will also be attending the NBA Players Association Camp, set for June 16-20 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The camp annually invites 100 of the top players in the nation from the rising senior and junior classes, though Parker is the lone sophomore invited to participate.
In addition, Parker is looking to attend the Paul Pierce Skills Academy Camp in Chicago June 27-30. Pierce, an NBA all-star, will host 15 of the top high school wings for a three-day training camp as part of the Nike Skills Academies. Ironically, Pierce is the player the Hoops Report has repeatedly compared to Parker in comparing the style of play Parker brings to the floor with his size and skill on the wing.
This fall Parker has been selected to attend the USA Basketball Developmental National Team/U16 Team mini-camp Oct. 8-11. The U16 USA Team will compete in U16 FIBA Americas Championship in June, 2011.