Talented Young Recruits Fill Rosters Of D.C.-Area Contenders

DC High School March Madness

Region is rich with basketball talent.

When DeMatha Catholic hosted Gonzaga last Sunday in a Washington Catholic Athletic Conference game, DeMatha coach Mike Jones left a list at the door of the college coaches expected.

"The list probably had 15 schools on it," Jones said.  "Seton Hall was here, UCLA, Maryland, Georgetown, N.C. State, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh, Rutgers ... ."

DeMatha and Gonzaga - and the Washington, D.C. area in general - are loaded with talented prospects in the classes of 2012 and 2013, and the coaches wanted to see and be seen.

"The 2013 class [in the D.C. area] probably has six to eight Big East and ACC targets," one Big East assistant coach said. "You know you are getting a kid who has been well coached in both high school and on the AAU circuit."

In addition to Georgetown-bound forward Mikael Hopkins, DeMatha's roster features juniors James Robinson, a 6-foot-3 point guard ranked No. 13 at his position in the Class of 2012 by Rivals, and 6-7 Jerami Grant, the No. 13 small forward in 2012.

"Our guys are wide open," Jones said. "Jerami and James will spend this summer really trying to narrow down their lists to five schools and take their visits in the fall.

"Grant has a little bit of everybody in the ACC. His list extends out to Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas as well. He's a little bit of everywhere. Robinson has a lot of schools on the East Coast. UCLA is putting forth the effort to recruit him, too."

DeMatha also features highly touted 6-7 sophomore forward BJ Anya.

"A lot of schools have already stepped up and offered him," Jones said. "A ton of schools that have never seen him play will also step up. He's a true low post, back-to-the-basket player whose ability to rebound and block shots is incredible. He's scoring the ball a lot more, too. The sky's the limit for him."

College coaches, who are not allowed to comment on recruits, are impressed.

"He's got a DeJuan Blair-type body," one Atlantic 10 assistant said. "He's a big kid. He can really seal you in deep and score without making any post moves."

Over at Gonzaga, Steve Turner's team also is loaded with talented sophomores in Nate Britt, Kris Jenkins, D.J. Fenner and Charles Glover.

Britt is a 6-1 point guard averaging over 13 points and five assists per game. Miami, Virginia Tech and Xavier reportedly have offered scholarships.

Asked if he had any favorites, Britt said, "Not really. I'm just enjoying it right now."

The A-10 assistant said Britt is probably the best of Gonzaga's sophomores.

"He's ambidextrous, can lay it up with both hands,'' he said. "He's got a really good feel for the game."

The 6-6 Jenkins is a combo forward whose listed interest is from Xavier, Pitt, Villanova, Georgetown, Virginia, Virginia Tech, George Mason, Richmond, South Carolina, Miami and Boston College. He is averaging over 14 poins and eight rebounds.

Turner said Fenner, a 6-4 shooting guard/wing who transferred from Seattle Prep, has interest from UCLA, Washington and Washington State. Fenner, who averages just under eight points and six rebounds, is the son of former Seattle Seahawks running back Derrick Fenner.

On top of the deep rosters at DeMatha and Gonzaga, several other D.C.-area schools have young prospects, too.

Paul VI features 6-4 left-handed wing Stan Robinson and 6-5 Jamall Robinson, both sophomores.

Paul VI coach Glen Farello said Louisville, Pitt, Maryland, Georgetown, Villanova and Rutgers were showing interest in Stan Robinson.

"He does a little bit of everything," Farello said. "He makes winning layups. He can handle, shoot it, score it, rebound. He has 14 double-doubles. He’s the best rebounding guard I've ever had. His upside is off the charts."

As for Jamall Robinson, Farello said Pitt, Xavier, Massachusetts and George Mason were involved.

Bishop O’Connell features 6-1 sophomore point guard Will Ferguson, who holds an offer from Xavier and interest from various ACC and Big East schools.

"Will is extremely quick, sometimes out of control,'' the A-10 assistant said. "He can get to wherever he wants on the floor. He has a lot of similarities to Kemba. He has a herky-jerky game. He doesn’t understand how to use multiple speeds just yet. He just has one speed, and it’s lightning quick."

As for the group of sophomores as a whole, Farello said, "We are loaded up in that class. It will be fun to see how they all grow up."

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