Overview of Baltimore's 2012 hoops class
Twenty-one Baltimore-area basketball players were freshmen at Division I programs during the 2010-11 season. This fall, 20 local players from the 2011 class have joined those DI hoops ranks. Will the 2012 class come close to approaching those numbers? I'll take a closer look at the area's best seniors below this chart of Baltimore's DI freshmen.
|College||Player||Position||High School||Hometown||Prep School|
|Central Connecticut State||Malcolm McMillan||guard||John Carroll|
|DePaul||Montray Clemons||forward||Poly||Baltimore||Mack Academy (N.C.)|
|Drexel||Damion Lee||guard||Calvert Hall||Baltimore||St. Thomas More (Conn.)|
|Florida Gulf Coast||Dante Holmes||guard||St. Frances||Baltimore||Oldsmar Christian (Fla.)|
|High Point||Tre Duncan||guard||Severn||Millersville||Princeton Day Academy|
|High Point||Devante Wallace||guard||Dunbar||Baltimore|
|Loyola||R.J. Williams||guard||St. Frances||Baltimore|
|Mississippi Valley State||Brent Arrington||guard||Lansdowne||Baltimore||Southern Sports Academy (Miss.)|
|Montana||Keron DeShields||guard||Pallotti||Baltimore||Vermont Academy|
|Navy||Wes Clark||guard||Governor's Academy (Mass.)|
|Navy||Donya Jackson||guard||Calvert Hall||Baltimore||Mercersburg Academy (Pa.)|
|Pittsburgh||Durand Johnson||forward||Lake Clifton||Baltimore||Brewster (N.H.) Academy|
|Presbyterian||Ryan McTavish||guard||South Carroll|
|Rutgers||Greg Lewis||forward||St. Frances|
|Utah||Kareem Storey||guard||Towson Catholic||Baltimore||Princeton Day Academy|
Six local players were expected to sign letters of intent during the fall signing period. Loyola is the biggest beneficiary of Baltimore-area talent this year. The Greyhounds have commitments from St. Frances center Josh Forney and former Milford Mill small forward Tevin Hanner, who's currently doing a post-grad year at the Phelps School in Pennsylvania. A second Panthers signee -- and arguably Baltimore's most highly ranked senior -- is point guard Daquan Cook, who has signed with UNLV.
Milford Mill's Isaiah Miles, who had three standout years for Glenelg Country School, has committed to St. Joseph's, while North County's Cliff Cornish will play for High Point, and Mount St. Joseph forward Phillip Lawrence is headed to Marist. Cornish and Hanner played for Crusader Nation on the circuit, Forney and Cook suited up for Under Armour's B'more Finest, Miles competed for Nike Baltimore Elite, and Lawrence was a member of Philly's Finest.
While the college plans for those six players are set in stone, there is still plenty of unsigned talent from Baltimore that should be on the market heading into the spring.
The headliner among Baltimore's guards is Sam Cassell Jr., a former St. Frances player who has spent the past two years at Notre Dame Prep in Fitchburg, Mass. Cassell, a 6-foot-4, 170-pound point guard, is a lights-out shooter who took an official visit to Maryland last month. The Nike Baltimore Elite prospect will likely end up at a high-major or mid-major-plus program.
Other guards to watch include:
• Donte Pretlow, a Dunbar and Nike Baltimore Elite player who has received serious interest from Morgan State, among others.
• Evan Singletary, another Dunbar guard who played for Under Armour B'more's Finest this summer. Singletary has received interest from Radford and several other mid-to-low-major schools.
• Annapolis Area Christian's Connor Lipinski and Archbishop Spalding's Greg Brown, both of whom starred for Maryland 3D over the summer. Lipinski had received interest from the Citadel, Mount St. Mary’s and Navy, while Brown was hearing from Boston University, Old Dominion and Radford.
• Crusader Nation players Gavin Stephenson and Chase Cormier. Stephenson, an Atholton senior who transferred from Mount St. Joseph, is a 6-3 guard with a strong academic profile and interest from NJIT, American and Stony Brook. Cormier, the younger brother of Loyola sophomore Dylon Cormier, has generated lots of Division II interest and some low-DI inquiries. His Milford Mill teammate Tyson Smith, who played for B'more's Finest, is another potential DI guard.
• Three Lake Clifton products in Lionel Greene, Aaron Parks and James Boone. Prep school could be a possibility for all three Cecil Kirk players. Greene is a combo guard who transferred from City. Parks and Boone are point guards.
• Bryan Harris, a former Southern High combo guard who's currently doing a prep year at Massanutten Military Academy in Woodstock, Va. Harris averaged 18 points as a senior and generated some DI interest coming out of high school.
Several senior forwards from the Baltimore area are also on the DI rader, including:
• Kayel Locke, a 6-foot-5, 255-pound power forward from McDonogh who claimed offers from Appalachian State, Boston University, Delaware, Hartford, Loyola, Mount St. Mary’s, Stony Brook, Towson, UMBC and UNC-Greensboro. An MIAA A Conference first-team selection as a junior, Locke had a great spring and summer for Nike Baltimore Elite on the circuit. The main schools still involved with him are Appalachian State and UNC-Greensboro, while Harvard has also expressed interest in him recently.
• Jarred Jones, a 6-foot-7 forward from John Carroll who should be a solid mid-major-plus prospect. Jones, another Nike Baltimore Elite player, is being recruited by a variety of CAA, Atlantic 10 and MAAC schools.
• Cedric Blossom, a 6-foot-6, 215-pound forward from Montrose Christian. Blossom, a Howard County native who started his high school career at Hammond, was Crusader Nation's leading scorer this summer. An excellent student, Blossom is hearing from Dartmouth and Holy Cross.
• Cody Joyce, a 6-foot-7, 210-pound power forward who's doing a post-grad year at Massanutten Academy. The Southern High grad committed to Marist last June only to have his offer rescinded just two days later. Joyce has interest from a few Ohio Valley and Ivy League schools.
• Shakir Brown, a 6-foot-5 small forward and two-star prospect according to ESPN.com. Brown, who transferred from St. Frances to Patterson for his senior year, is the No. 52 small forward in the country according to ESPN.
• Antonio Manns, a 6-foot-5 forward who helped Digital Harbor to the Class 2A state championship as a junior, has received some mid-major interest.
• Two Cecil Kirk players in Kyle Thomas, a 6-foot-5 small forward from Milford Mill, and Chaz Brown, a 6-foot-7 power forward from Poly, could be DI guys.
Former Forest Park star Quentin Judd is absolutely a Division I talent, but the 6-foot-4, 185-pound shooting guard is likely bound for junior college next year. Foresters coach Greate White said Judd left prep school in North Carolina to come back to Baltimore and tend to family issues.
Several sophomore JUCO players from Baltimore will likely be DI-bound come spring. Antoine Allen, a former Lake Clifton star who spent his freshman year at Miami, will finish his college career at South Alabama after spending this season at Palm Beach (Fla.) State College. Former Edmondson power forward Stanton Kidd has signed with North Carolina Central. Derrell Edwards, Kidd's teammate at South Plains College in Levelland, Texas, should join the DI ranks as well.
Devon Branch, a 6-foot-5, 180-pound shooting guard from Aberdeen, is a prolific scorer for Cloud County Community College in Concordia, Kan. Branch claims several mid-major offers.
Others to watch include: Davon Usher, a 6-foot-5 wing at Polk State College (Fla.) who played for Digital Harbor; Antoine Myers, a 6-foot-3, 180-pound guard at Pensacola (Fla.) State College who played for Forest Park; Jaquan Jones, a 6-foot guard at Dayton (Fla.) State College who played at Lake Clifton; Karee Watson, a 6-foot-7, 240-pound center at Wallace State in Hanceville, Ala., who played at Lake Clifton; Carlos Smith, a 6-foot-8, 225-pound forward at Baltimore City Community College who played for Forest Park; Donte Stuckey, a 6-foot-3, 180-pound guard at BCCC who played for Walbrook.