Having scurried to form a staff and jumped feet first into the recruiting process, Andy Enfield has now formally finished off his first full recruiting class with a total of seven new players for 2014; two of them are transferred who have enrolled; the other five are true freshmen . Here is a look at them:
Class: Sophomore (transfer from UNC-Charlotte)
Pos.: Undersized Power Forward / Center
High School: Oak Hill Academy
Wt.: 230 lbs
Comparison: Leonard Washington
HS Rating: 3-Star
Story: Originally from Conyers, Georgia, Darion played high school basketball at the Oak Hill Academy, and was a senior was on Oak Hill’s great, undefeated 2011-12 national championship team, which included Jordan Adams and Tyler Lewis, among many others. He signed with UNC Charlotte (over Ole Miss and Nebraska), but became very friendly with Coach Enfield, who had signed his best friend, Bernard Thompson, at FGCU. As a true freshmen at Charlotte, Clark averaged 6.2 points and 4.6 rebounds in 17.6 minutes per game. Darion had a particularly strong February, averaging 8.2 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.
Class: Sophomore (transfer from UNLV)
Pos.: Shooting Guard / Wing
High School: Mater Dei
Comparison: Richie Frahm
HS Rating: 4-Star/Top 40
Story: Until his ex-teammate Stanley Johnson signed with Arizona, Katin was the highest rated recruit to come out of Mater Dei since Cedric Bozeman in 2001; he was the consensus #2 recruit from California in the Class of 2012, and Top 40 nationally. As a true freshman at UNLV, Katin averaged 10 points per game on 35% shooting from 3-point range, on the nationally ranked Rebels squad. Katin has been criticized for not passing enough and some questionable shot selection; but there is no doubt he is a dead shooter that can get very hot from the outside.
The Point Guard: Jordan McLaughlin
Pos.: Point Guard
High School: Etiwanda
Wt.: 160 lbs.
Comp.: Shane Larkin
HS Rating: 4-Star/Top 30-40
Story: The unanimous pick for best point guard in the PG-rich, uber-talented West Coast Class of 2014, Jordan was the signature recruit of Enfield’s 2014 Class, and projects as the bedrock for the future of the program. Jordan carried Etiwanda HS on his back for the last two seasons, including deep into the 2014 State Finals with a torn labrum. So long as Jordan recovers in time for the season, he should be starting right away, and providing the type of point guard skills SC has been sorely lacking.
The Shooting Guard: Elijah Stewart
Pos.: Shooting Guard / Wing
High School: Westchester
Wt.: 185 lbs.
Comp.: C.J. Wilcox
HS Rating: 4-Star/Top 40
Story: No high school senior burst onto the national recruiting scene in 2014 like Elijah did. A Louisiana native who relocated to California, Elijah played small-time AAU ball last summer and signed with his only offer, LMU, in the fall before his senior season began — but what a senior season that was! Elijah lead Westchester to the City Championship and into the championship game of the Southern Bracket of the State Final against Mater Dei, where Stewart went toe-to-toe and shot-for-shot with Stanley Johnson. Elijah was voted LA City Player of the Year, and then was released from his National Letter of Intent when LMU fired head coach Max Goode. After turning down other Pac-12 suitors, and then Oklahoma State and Cincinnati, Elijah finally made his decision to go with the Trojans and their former Comet coaches, Tony Bland and Jason Hart.
The Wing: Malik Marquetti
High School: Millikan
Wt.: 195 lbs.
Comp.: Kawhi Leonard
HS Rating: 4-Star/Top 60
Story: If Elijah Stewart became the surprise star of the post-season recruiting period, then Malik Marquetti was the surprise mid-season senior recruit on the West Coast. Like Elijah, Malik had not played major AAU ball last summer, and, young for his age, he only emerged as a star for Milikan during the latter half of his junior season. As a senior, Malik’s body had matured, and the springy, long athlete became a full-fledged star in the Moore League, averaging over 23 points and 12 rebounds per game. By customary practices, Malik should be a junior in high school (he doesn’t 18 until September); and if he were in the Class of 2015, he’d most likely be a Top 25 prospect.
The Stretch Four: Malik Price-Martin
Pos.: Stretch-4 / Power Forward
Prep School: Faith Baptist Christian (FL)
Comparison: Anthony Randolph
HS Rating: 4 (or 5?) -Star / Top 150
Story: The first Malik to sign in the Class of 2014 (let’s call him ‘MPM’) was once a 5-Star recruit in both Scout and Rivals for the Class of 2013. Then, MPM re-classified to 2014 and transferred to a small prep school in Florida, where he fell from the national stage. It’s hard to pigeonhole MPM, as he has the skill set to play on the perimeter, but his athleticism is more suited for the front court. A very long athlete with quick feet, MPM was recruited heavily by Louisville, Memphis and UConn, before signing with the Trojans. MPM has a very high upside, and can be elite if he plays at a high energy level.
The Center: Jabari Craig
Prep School: Fishburne Military Academy (GA)
Wt.: 235 lbs.
Comparison: Dewayne Dedmon
HS Rating: 3-Star/Top 150
Story: Canada native Jabari Craig is reminiscent of former Trojan baller Dewayne Dedmon not only for his height, long wingspan, athleticism and outside shooting touch, but for his relative inexperience with the game. The key difference is that, while Dewayne had barely touched a basketball by age 20, the 18-year-old Jabari is already a vet of the AAU circuit, where he drew widespread interest, boasting offers from the majority of the SEC and ACC. Look for Jabari to steadily improve the next few seasons.
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