By Alex Kline

Isaiah Austin
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He’s long and he’s tall. He is Isaiah Austin and just as his height has shot up, so has his recruitment. The seven footer is the tallest player the National Basketball Players Association Top 100 camp in Virginia this week. The 2012 big man is currently ranked in the top fifteen in his class and continues to improve.

Austin, a native of Texas, has basketball routes in his background. The big man’s uncle, Ike, played nine seasons in the NBA. His father played hoops overseas for over fifteen years. Hoops run in the family to put it in perspective.

Despite Austin being extremely skinny for his height, it shows no real effect on his game. He does agree that he must gain weight and muscle. “I need both. I need to gain weight but not lose any of my ability to move.”

At NBPA Top 100 camp, he was absorbing blows from defenders and exhibited excellent body control. “I think I played well,” stated Austin. “My last game was my best, but other than that I did what I had to do on the defensive end.” One writer wrote that the seven foot sophomore was blocking arm pits. Isaiah responded by saying, “That’s really funny!” Whether he blocks shots with arm pits or not, there is no doubt that his defensive game is a strong point of his.

Due to his size and skill, Isaiah’s recruitment is blowing up. Since the June 15th recruitment period started for the class of 2012, Austin is now up to offers from “Arizona, Georgetown, Iowa, Baylor, Houston, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Kentucky.” There might be more out there, however, Isaiah is getting a new phone and will not find out until later if he has more offers. Recruiting is not on his mind now; his abilities are. He does state that he is looking for “any school that will let me play.” He went on to say, “I want a school where I can be a leader both on and off the court.” With no intentions of dealing with his recruiting now, Austin will head to Baylor this week for team camp with his high school.

Isaiah has a lot going for him. He is seven-feet tall. He is great at basketball. One thing is missing in his life though. That is the sport of golf. Austin tried out for the varsity golf team at Grace Prep and was cut from the team after he went one shot over. Oh well! There is always next year. For now, he will stick with basketball.

Anthony Stitt (PG, 6’1″, 2011) is a fundamentally strong guard, with solid ball handling and shot release. He’s confident with the ball in his hands and has a solid understanding of the PG position, dribbles looking ahead and understands how to work the play and attack the defense. Definitely can run a half court offense.

He knows how to push the break or when to slow down the pace or push to the basket. Appears to be solid, poised player but not a burner. A DI prospect with a good maturity and is capable of running an offense. Has good form on his shots and layups, has a hard working attitude and is coachable. Probably a starter at PG by his sophomore or junior year if he finds the right fit at the collegiate level. Would excel at a mid major with today’s skill set, and continues to show improvement in his mid-range jump shot. He can use the mid range shot to keep faster defenders from playing him too closely and improving his effectiveness.

Stitt has offers from Cinncinati, Clemson, VCU, Richmond and ECU and will take all five visits before making a decision. The feedback he’s gotten from college coaches is that they want him to be able to consistently hit the mid range knock down jumper, and it appears he’s been working on this.

+ fundamentals
+ ball handling

With the top two players of 2011 off of the board, Rakeem Christmas (C, 6’9″, 2011) may be the top rated prospect still uncommitted. Christmas has a current list of five possible schools, including Texas, Florida, Georgetown and Oklahoma. After a recent trip to see Isaiah Thomas, he added Florida International as well.

Christmas is a solid post player with good hands and timing. He can rebound effectively and defend in the paint, has good footwork in the low post. At his size, he can play the center position in college but will need to expand his range to move to the power forward spot in the pros.

Some Rakeem Christmas video:

The Jump Manual

Brandon Knight
Image: Miami Herald

The future is very bright for Brandon Knight (PG/SG, 6’3″, 2010) , who is still weighing his college basketball options between Kentucky, Syracuse, Connecticut, Florida and Kansas. Knight is one of the top players in the 2010 class and has just repeated as the Florida Gatorade Player of the Year , his home state:

Already named to the McDonald’s All-American and Jordan Brand Classic All-American teams, Knight’s stellar senior season has put him in position to repeat as the Gatorade National Player of the Year.

Although a late season injury prevented Knight from a three-peat of the state title, top programs around the nation are eagerly awaiting where he’s going to commit. He’s recently stated that he will announce after the McDonald’s All American game is out of the way later this month.