Now that the AAU season has basically ended for the summer, if you’re into prep hoops, it’s time to turn your attention to college basketball. And with that in mind, we decided to catch up with one of the game’s most talented scouts, Evan Daniels. As a National Basketball Recruiting Analyst for Scout.com, Daniels gives his two cents on what he’s thought of the nation’s best high school players this summer, as well as how he got into the game.
Dime: How long have you been scouting and how did you get into it?
Evan Daniels: I started working part-time for one of the Scout.com sites in my freshman year in college. I did some work for Dave Telep and some of the individual sites. When I graduated from college in 2007, Scout.com hired me full-time as one of the national recruiting analysts. I’ve been working full-time for four years now and for eight years overall.
Dime: What do you think makes Scout.com unique?
ED: I think that Dave Telep and myself stay on top of all of these kids’ recruitments and I think our track record is pretty good. We have our class rankings and we break a lot of stories on commitments. Dave and I put a lot of time and effort into our work and I think that people see that.
Dime: Speaking of commitments, LaQuinton Ross just committed to Ohio State. How well do you think he will fit in to that program?
ED: LaQuinton Ross is a guy with a lot of talent. He’s a guy who was ranked highly early on in his career and faded back after his injury. I don’t think he is the same player that we thought he was going to be but I think he’s definitely getting better. If he can go into Ohio State, be willing to be coached, and find a role, I think he will be pretty successful there.
Dime: You’ve travelled a lot this summer and you’ve seen some of the top talent in the nation. Who would you say are has had their stock rise the most this summer?
ED: Antwan Space out of Texas has really helped his stock. He is a guy that was unknown to many college coaches and now he is being recruited by a number of high-major colleges. He is at least a top 75 player. Dominique Pointer is a riser who plays for the AAU team called The Family. He’s a 6-5 athletic wing who is a really good defender. Similar to Space, he has a lot of high-majors jump in the picture. The third guy would have to be Adonis Thomas, despite the fact that he’s already a top 10 guy. You can tell that he has improved a number of aspects of his game. I think that he is going to be a very good college player and a future pro.
Dime: A lot of people criticize the AAU circuit for numerous reasons. What do you like about it?
ED: From my standpoint, as far as evaluating guys, it is an easy format for me to see the best players in specific areas. On a high school team, you may see one or two Division I players on the team but on these good AAU teams you can find six, seven, and maybe even eight Division I prospects. It makes my job even easier and it’s exciting to see these great guys all on the same teams.
Dime: Nike has brought out the new concept of the EYBL (Elite Youth Basketball League) for AAU basketball. What do you think of this concept?
ED: I thought that it was overall a good experience for these kids. Each game meant something, which made each Peach Jam fun. You could tell each kid wanted to win. It is a pretty good idea.
Dime: Aside from Kentucky, which recruiting class for 2011 looks scary?
ED: I think North Carolina has done a good job. James McAdoo and P.J. Hairston are a good combination. For the 2011 class, there is still a lot of time for recruiting classes to shape up though. If I were to name another one it would have to be Texas although they just lost DeAndre Daniels. They got Myck Kabongo, Julien Lewis and Sheldon McClellan.
Dime: I’ve been surprised by how many 2011 players have already committed to college. Usually a lot of guys leave it until the fall or after their high school season.
ED: I don’t necessarily see it that way because I think there are quite a few guys left on the board. Actually with the top 10 guys, I agree with you that a lot of them have committed other than Quincy Miller, Austin Rivers and Adonis Thomas. After those ten guys, however, there are still a lot of guys available.
Dime: What do you do when you aren’t watching basketball?
ED: I enjoy playing basketball and hanging out with my friends. I’m very into music. I love staying active and do all normal stuff like listening to music and catching movies.
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