TEMPE – Arizona State received signed letters-of-intent Wednesday from three basketball prospects and got a verbal commitment from a fourth in a recruiting class that might be among the best in ASU history.
“Certainly, we’re tremendously excited about the class we have put together for next year,” said Sun Devils coach Herb Sendek, whose recruiting during his first few months at ASU has attracted national attention. “Considering that we started in April, I couldn’t be more pleased today.”
Swingman James Harden of Los Angeles, point guard Jamelle McMillan of Seattle and forward Kraidon Woods of Pottstown, Pa., delivered official letters to ASU on the first day that NCAA allows prospects to sign.
A fourth, 6-foot-6 swingman Rihards Kuksiks, informed ASU that he would sign and the school is awaiting the letter. Kuksiks, who is playing this year at Florida Air Academy in Melbourne, is from Latvia.
Kuksiks chose ASU over St. John’s, St. Bonaventure and Virginia Tech. He has been playing in the U.S. for the two yearsand has great range on his jump shot.
In scoring a career-high 45 points for Florida Air last year, Kuksiks sank nine three-point goals. He said he once hit 12 three-pointers during a game in Latvia.
NCAA rules prohibit Sendek from speaking about Kuksiks until he receives the signed letter. But the new ASU coach had plenty to say Thursday about the rest of the 2007 recruiting class, which includes center and Duke transfer Eric Boateng.
“Obviously, it started with Eric,” Sendek said of the 2005 McDonald’s All-American, who is practicing this season with the Sun Devils but won’t play until next year. “He was a great lightning rod.”
Boateng’s arrival was soon followed by Harden’s decision to attend ASU, where he will join his former Artesia High coach, Scott Pera, the Sun Devils’ new director of basketball operations.
Harden, who is rated California’s top prospect, is considered a so-called program-turner by the various recruiting services, which have put ASU’s class among the nation’s top 20.
“I think James is a special player,” Sendek said. “He’s so versatile. . . . I clearly think he’s one of the most talented guys in the country.”
McMillan, a point guard, is the well-schooled son of Portland Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan.
“Nate is mature beyond his years,” said Sendek, who is also a coach’s son. “When you talk to him, you’ll have to stop, check and ask yourself: ‘Am I talking to Nate or Jamelle here?’ ”
Other Pac-10 signings
UCLA: Kevin Love of Lake Oswego, Ore., considered one of the nation’s top big men, and local product Chace Stanback signed national letters of intent. Love, a 6-10 center, averaged 28.0 points, 16.1 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.3 blocked shots as a junior at Lake Oswego High. Love averaged 24.6 points and 14.7 rebounds in three years.
Washington: Highly regarded forwards Matthew Bryan-Amaning and Justin Holiday signed letters of intent. Bryan-Amaning is a native of Surrey, England, who attended South Kent (Conn.) School, while Holiday is from Campbell Hall High School in North Hollywood, Calif. Bryan-Amaning averaged 14 points and nine rebounds and Holiday averaged 20 points, 11.7 rebounds and 3.3 blocked shots.
Kansas St. gets top recruit
MANHATTAN, Kan. – The nation’s No. 1 high school basketball prospect kept his promise.
Michael Beasley, a 6-foot-10 forward from Washington, D.C., followed through on a verbal commitment to play for new Kansas State coach Bob Huggins by signing a national letter of intent on Wednesday, the first day of the fall signing period.
Beasley is the jewel of a class that also includes Bill Walker, another top 10 player, and three other highly regarded perimeter prospects. Together they represent the top class in the nation, according to recruiting services.
“I had a lot of guys tell me he was the best guy they’ve seen,” Huggins said of Beasley. “Not just the best guy they’ve seen, but the best guy they’ve seen in a long time. There’s been guys who are more athletic and do flashier things, but it’s hard to find something Mike can’t do well.”
Beasley rivals Texas freshman forward Kevin Durant as the most sought-after recruits ever to enter the Big 12, and was considered by many a sure lottery pick if the NBA had not changed its policies regarding high school players entering the draft.
Maryland 81, Vermont 63: In College Park, Md., Mike Jones and D.J. Strawberry each scored 19 points, and Maryland advanced to the semifinals of the 2K College Hoops Classic on Nov. 16 at Madison Square Garden.
Michigan State 45, Brown 34: In East Lansing, Mich., Maurice Joseph scored all 12 of his points in the first half in the opening round of the 2K College Hoops Classic.
Michigan State will meet Youngstown State Thursday for one of the four regional titles in the 16-team event, which benefits Coaches vs. Cancer.
Youngstown State beat Central Michigan 74-50 behind Quin Humphrey’s 25 points.
By The Arizona Republic, The Associated Press