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Which prospects stood out as future stars in Las Vegas?

Las Vegas was the capital of the grassroots basketball world last week as more than 10 events were spread around the surrounding area for five days, attracting over 1,000 teams and hundreds of college coaches.

The ESPN recruiting team was out in full force to monitor the action, and although you can never see everything during a week like this, there were certainly some prospects who made a big impression and moved the needle on their recruitment.

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Forward D.J. Jeffries decommits from Kentucky Wildcats, reopens recruitment

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Five-star forward D.J. Jeffries announced Monday he was decommitting from Kentucky and reopening his recruitment.

Jeffries, a 6-foot-7 small forward from Olive Branch (Mississippi) High School, had committed to Kentucky in March, choosing the Wildcats over Alabama and Mississippi State.

He was coached on the AAU circuit by Penny Hardaway last spring and summer and played for the same AAU program this past grassroots season.

The new Memphis coach is going head-to-head with John Calipari over the No. 1 player, James Wiseman.

When Hardaway took over for Tubby Smith at Memphis, there were rumors that Jeffries could flip to the Tigers, but he stuck with his commitment at the time.

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Cornerback prospect Andrew Booth chooses Clemson

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The Clemson Tigers continue to win key recruiting battles for top prospects out of Georgia.

Andrew Booth, the No. 33-ranked prospect in the class of 2019, became the latest elite Peach State talent to pick Clemson.

The nation's No. 3-ranked cornerback picked the Tigers over Auburn, Georgia and many more of the nation's top programs, with the battle coming down to Clemson vs. Auburn.

The No. 5-ranked prospect in Georgia is joined by ESPN 300 safety Joseph Charleston and tight end Jaelyn Lay as four-star prospects out of the Peach State who are headed to Clemson. Recent Clemson recruits out of Georgia include quarterback Deshaun Watson, five-star quarterback Trevor Lawrence, offensive tackle Mitch Hyatt and defensive end Austin Bryant

Booth becomes the highest-ranked prospect in the Tigers' 2019 class, and ninth ESPN 300 verbal, with wide receiver Frank Ladson Jr. joining Booth as top-50-ranked prospects overall in the 2019 cycle. Clemson continues to expand its national recruiting footprint with four-star commitments out of eight states.

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Georgia Bulldogs land RB John Emery

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Georgia continued its hot streak in recruiting on Sunday, landing three ESPN 300 commitments all in one day.

Running back John Emery got things started, giving the Dawgs its second highest ranked commit at No. 20 overall.

This commitment comes after the Georgia staff was able to reel in the No. 1 ranked running back in the 2018 class with Zamir White, as well as the No. 3 back in James Cook.

The staff also has D'Andre Swift on the roster, who was the No. 6 back in the 2017 class, so the stable is loaded with big names for the future.

The 5-foot-11, 202-pound Emery, out of Destrehan, Louisiana, chose Georgia over several other programs, including LSU. Emery is the No. 2 ranked prospect in Louisiana, and while the Tigers have done well so far with the top in-state prospects in the 2019 class, Emery is headed out of the state.

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Jeffery Carter, Class o 2019 cornerback, commits to Texas A&M Aggies

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Jeffery Carter, the No. 45 ranked prospect in the Class of 2019, is staying home for college.

The 6-foot, 182-pound cornerback with blazing 4.36 speed committed to the Texas A&M Aggies on Saturday over Oklahoma Sooners, Oregon Ducks and more than 25 other offers from Power 5 programs.

The nation's No. 4 ranked cornerback adds to what could be a record-setting class for the Aggies, who have never finished higher than No. 4 in the 14 years ESPN has ranked prospects and recruiting classes.

Carter becomes the 12th ESPN 300 commitment for Jimbo Fisher's first full class in College Station, which includes five-star offensive lineman Kenyon Green and No. 1 ranked safety Brian Williams.

The Fort Worth-area prospect also continues the Aggies' run of reeling in top prospects in the Lone Star State. Texas A&M now has four of the top-10 ranked prospects in the state on the commit list, and nine of the top 20. The Aggies inked just two of the top 20 prospects within the state lines in February.

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College football recruiting class of 2020 fast starts

The first time the 2020 class can sign is well more than a year away, but that doesn't mean prospects haven't already begun to make commitments. While the recruiting calendar has changed and the process in many ways has accelerated, recruiting remains a marathon and not a sprint. While much is still to be decided, some classes are already beginning to try to lock up talent. Here is a look at the initial top 10.

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Scout's Take Isaac Okoro to Auburn Tigers

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Thunderbirds sign Jamaican netball star

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Adelaide Thunderbirds' incoming coach Tania Obst has made her first big signing by recruiting Jamaican defender Shamera Sterling.

The 22-year-old fresh from winning the MVP in England's elite netball competition, has agreed to terms with Adelaide.

Obst is taking over as Thunderbirds coach next year from incumbent Dan Ryan, who is overseeing the club's worst season yet - winless after 12 rounds.

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Travon Walker, defensive tackle, commits Georgia Bulldogs

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Georgia added a big name to its already star-studded 2019 recruiting class on Tuesday when defensive tackle Travon Walker announced his commitment to the Dawgs.

Walker, the No. 51-ranked prospect overall, chose Georgia over Clemson, Alabama, Auburn and South Carolina.

Georgia adds to its 2019 class with Walker, a talented prospect who can be a versatile contributor.

The 6-foot-5, 263-pound defensive tackle out of Upson-Lee High School in Thomaston, Georgia, is the ninth commitment for Georgia ranked in the top 150 of the ESPN 300. Despite being ranked so high, Walker is the fourth-highest-ranked commit in the class behind wide receivers Dominick Blaylock and Jadon Haselwood and defensive end Nolan Smith, who is the No. 2 overall prospect.

Walker is the first defensive tackle to commit in the class and an important piece for Georgia as the staff was able to keep him from going out of state to Clemson. He will help fill a need in the middle of the line.

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Scout's Take DE Travon Walker to Georgia Bulldogs

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Alabama state champion Maori Davenport set to represent USA at FIBA Americas U18 Championship

By Walter Villa | Jul 19, 2018
Special to espnW

Courtesy USA Basketball

Maori Davenport will represent Team USA at the upcoming FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Mexico City.

Dyneshia Jones remembers pulling into her driveway one day a decade ago and greeting the family that had just moved into the house next door.

The couple, Mario and Tara, had three children, including a first-grade girl named Maori, who filled her days by taking piano and ballet lessons.

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USC Trojans rise recruiting five star brothers Evan Mobley Isaiah Mobley

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NEW YORK -- The 2019 college basketball recruiting class is just getting started, but so far the No. 1 class doesn't belong to Duke, Kentucky or any blue blood for that matter.

Andy Enfield and USC have scooped up four early commitments, all in the ESPN 100 and two with five-star status.

It has been quite a reversal of fortune for a program that was one of the first to be connected to last year's FBI investigation into college basketball recruiting. Former associate head coach Tony Bland was fired by USC in January after being arrested in September.

The new Memphis coach is going head-to-head with John Calipari over the No. 1 player, James Wiseman.

July is the most important month on the recruiting calendar. The foundations of the future for college basketball's elite will begin to be set, and the next wave of one-and-done NBA prospects will be identified.

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Penny Hardaway recruiting top 2019 player James Wiseman with Kentucky Wildcats

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NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. -- When John Calipari or Mike Krzyzewski walks into a high school or grassroots game, people take notice.

Lately, it's the presence of Penny Hardaway that is turning heads. The new Memphis coach has the Tigers involved with a long list of heavy hitters.

The biggest target is James Wiseman, the No. 1 player in 2019. Despite Wiseman saying he plans to cut his list to eight schools, no one believes he's considering more than two. On Sunday, during the championship game of the Peach Jam event, Wiseman said Memphis and Kentucky were his top two.

"We've got a great relationship. Our relationship is still there. Since he [became] the coach at Memphis, we still got that same relationship we did." James Wiseman

The 7-foot center was long considered a lock for Kentucky, but Hardaway, who coached Wiseman on the AAU circuit and at East High School in Memphis, has put the Tigers in play.

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Women's basketball prospect Diamond Johnson finds happiness, controversy after moving to Philadelphia

By Walter Villa | Jul 12, 2018
Special to espnW

Courtesy the Johnson family

Diamond Johnson will enter her first full year at Neumann-Goretti in the fall.

James Johnson used to pick up his daughter after school whenever he could. If he got crunched for time, he would rush home so he could be there waiting for her to walk through the door.

"He was a great dad -- he provided for us and supported us," said Diamond Johnson, now a 16-year-old basketball standout at Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia). "He would make jokes, blast hip-hop music and take me to the store."

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Starting lineups for Duke Blue Devils Kentucky Wildcats Kansas Jayhawks

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A month ago, after Lagerald Vick withdrew from the NBA draft, Kansas coach Bill Self said Vick's return was "probably not probable" because the veteran guard might "mess things up" for a Jayhawks team welcoming in a top-10 recruiting class, three key transfers (Charlie Moore, Dedric Lawson and K.J. Lawson) and key returnee Udoka Azubuike.

Kentucky's late addition of Reid Travis forced us to adjust our 2018-19 rankings. There's no denying that the Stanford graduate transfer puts the Wildcats over the top.

July is the most important month on the recruiting calendar. The foundations of the future for college basketball's elite will begin to be set, and the next wave of one-and-done NBA prospects will be identified.

The top programs are looking ahead to their expected recruiting needs for 2019. Here's what they're targeting.

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NCAA men's basketball - Recruiting priorities for Top 25 teams 2019 class

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This month is all about the future of a basketball program. We have the entire fall to look at next season's rosters and break down strengths and weaknesses; let's take it a step further than that, though. The teams in the way-too-early Preseason Top 25 are clearly in good shape for the next eight months, but for the next three weeks, every coach in the country will be preoccupied with the next wave of talent. It's all about recruiting.

So which of next season's teams are off to a good start in the 2019 class and which have a lot of work to do between now and the end of July?

1. Kentucky: Post player
John Calipari is already off to a strong start in 2019, nabbing five-stars Tyrese Maxey and D.J. Jeffries in the spring. And despite the talent on the roster, there's a good chance Calipari won't need to go out and get four or five guys next spring. There are enough perimeter reinforcements even if a couple of players leave early, but Kentucky likely will need frontcourt help. Reid Travis has only one season in Lexington, while PJ Washington is likely leaving for the NBA after next season. Fortunately, Kentucky's top target is No. 1 prospect James Wiseman, and the Wildcats are also after No. 2 Vernon Carey Jr. -- both centers.

2. Kansas: Frontcourt help
As the roster stands, Kansas has only one scholarship for 2019, but that's likely to change. Quentin Grimes could be a one-and-done guard, while Dedric Lawson and Udoka Azubuike also could be gone after the coming season. The Jayhawks have plenty of perimeter options, and they are in the mix for several guards -- but the more pressing need would be the frontcourt if Lawson and Azubuike both depart. Bill Self is in pursuit of several 2019 forwards, including five-star Matthew Hurt and top-30 prospect Jeremiah Robinson-Earl.

The latest batch of college stars heard their names called in the NBA draft. Who will replace them at the nation's top programs?

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Recruiting heats up during July evaluation periods

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The start of the college basketball season is four months away. With rosters for 2018-19 mostly set, this is the month when grassroots basketball takes center stage.

The first of three live recruiting periods begins Wednesday. During this time, college teams will start building foundations for 2019 and beyond and evaluators will identify the next wave of one-and-done NBA prospects.

You can except to see players gain momentum over the course of the month and rise up the recruiting rankings (Maryland's Jalen Smith is a good example from last year).

But you can also expect to see a renewed focus on recruiting and grassroots basketball from the NCAA as a result of the FBI investigation into bribery and corruption in the sport.

Here's what you need to know about the most important month on college basketball's recruiting calendar:

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Scout's Take Max Agbonkpolo to USC Trojans

ESPN 100 power forward (No. 60 overall) Max Agbonkpolo (Rancho Santa Margarita, California/Rancho Santa Margarita Catholic) verbally committed to USC on Friday. He chose the Trojans over Arizona, Arizona State and San Diego State.

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Kentucky's John Calipari wants 6-7 players in double figures

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John Calipari won't rely on one star as he chases his second national championship with a stacked Kentucky men's basketball team led by P.J. Washington, Stanford transfer Reid Travis and the what ESPN ranked as the No. 2 recruiting class in the country.

"I said I'd like to have six or seven guys in double figures in scoring," Calipari said on an SEC teleconference call Thursday. "There is no one that's going to average 25 [points per game]. ... And this isn't communism. If you don't deserve to play, you won't play."

Kentucky is ranked No. 1 in ESPN.com's Way-Too-Early top-25 poll and should enter next season as the top team in every reputable poll.

If Calipari is successful in having that many players in double figures, he'll achieve a feat unrivaled in modern college basketball history. No team in the past 20 years has ever had seven players average 10.0 points per game, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Last season, Villanova became the 14th team in the past 20 seasons to have six players who averaged double figures.

Under Calipari, Kentucky hasn't matched that tally. The 2011-12 squad that won a national title had five players who averaged double figures and a sixth, Darius Miller, who averaged 9.9 points per game. The 2014-15 squad, the last Kentucky team to reach the Final Four, had three players who averaged double figures.

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Derby High School women's basketball prospect Kennedy Brown brings height and versatility to Kansas girls' hoops courts

By Katie Barnes | Jun 28, 2018
espnW.com

Courtesy USA Basketball

Kennedy Brown stands 6-foot-6, but that doesn't mean she wants to camp out under the basket.

While playing against a former Kansas state championship team, women's basketball prospect Kennedy Brown got tangled with two other players and went careening to the ground. No foul was called. Brown is used to having rival players hang all over her. She's 6-foot-6, and her size has engendered no favoritism from referees. She should be able to finish through contact, or so she's been told.

"I get a lot of contact and not a lot of fouls called," Brown said in a phone interview.

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