Purdue in Minnesota this coming Friday
Big Ten coaches from Michigan and Minnesota, along with Kansas, will be at St. Thomas Academy in Mendota Heights (MN) on Friday to see 6'9 center Bryce Webster. Webster is currently ranked as Scout.com's No. 31 player in the class of 2006. Purdue will also be in attendance, but will also be looking at the visiting team -- in the direction of 6'8 Henry Sibley High sophomore Trevor Mbakwe.
As for Bryce Webster, some of the schools mentioned on his list include all the regional Big Ten programs around him including Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa, plus Michigan and Michigan State. Throw in Arizona, Kansas, Cincinnati, Florida and Stanford and you can begin to see the heavy competition for him. He is said to have 50 scholarship offers, including one from every school listed above. The offers from Kansas and Cincinnati came over Christmas, and Notre Dame visited last week for a practice.
Webster averaged 19 points and 11 rebounds as a sophomore, and has increased his scoring output to 20.8 points per game this season.
Webster is interested in a degree either in a music related field or business, and closeness to home is not a factor.
Mbakwe is beginning to garner some elite looks also, and just recently was offered a scholarship by Iowa and Iowa State. Purdue, Marquette, Michigan, Colorado, Iowa State, Valparaiso, Wisconsin and Minnesota are among many other schools that are scouting him heavily at the moment.
Mbakwe is averaging 25.8 points per game. He is being identified as one of two elite big men in the Class of 2007 in Minnesota. The other player being 6'10 center Cole Aldrich of Bloomington Jefferson High in Bloomington (MN). Kansas, Arizona, Minnesota and Wisconsin have already offered, while Purdue, Duke, Kansas, Marquette and everyone else is either offering or about to do so. Aldrich is ranked as the nation's No. 6 sophomore.
Nwankwo to visit Marshall
According to the Huntington (WV) Herald-Dispatch, former Purdue big man Ije Nwankwo will visit Marshall today. He's coming off visits to Cleveland State and Western Michigan.
UCONN transfer visits Purdue
UCONN transfer Marcus White visited Purdue on December 30th. White, a 6'8 power forward, may be a name that rings a bell with visitors of this site, as we spent quite a bit of time with him on our recruiting prospects list back in 2001 and 2002. Considering Purdue's former interest and need for big men -- particularly in the wake of Nwankwo's transfer -- it was not surprising that Purdue was immediately mentioned as a potential destination.
In a transfer from UCONN called "amicable" by the Hartford Courant, White left the Big East school following final exams with a goal of enrolling at a new university before the beginning of the spring semester. White played just over seven minutes per game this season, averaging 3.2 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. As his minutes remained low, and UCONN continued to add recruits including a 7'0 center and 6'6 power forward, White made the decision to leave.
Purdue was showing interest a few years ago in White during his high school days at Whitney Young in Chicago. The 6'7 post player was known for an aggressive style, a game he showed to us and many other Purdue fans at the Spiece tournament in 2001 where he was named to the All-Tournament team. Analyst Brick Oettinger ranked him as the nation's 64th best prospect. He originally chose DePaul, but switched to Connecticut after DePaul head coach Pat Kennedy was released.
White has expressed and interest in immediately getting set up with a new university in an attempt to retain as much of his eligibility as possible. White officially has logged 1 and 1/2 seasons of playing time at Connecticut, but sat out a year in between due to a bulging disc in his back that required surgery. NCAA regulations give a player five years to complete four years of eligibility from the time of his first enrollment. While White would technically have 2 and 1/2 seasons of eligibility remaining, he loses a year for the medical redshirt plus the year he will have to sit out for transferring. If he gets enrolled at a new program this spring, he would have to sit out until January of next season, then have 1 and 1/2 seasons of eligibility remaining.
So look for news of White's choice to potentially come within the next ten days if Purdue is the choice. Purdue's spring semester begins January 10th, but it is still rather easy to enroll until the end of the first week of classes.
White would be looked at to provide an experienced post presence for Purdue in the 2006-07 season, when the only player on the Purdue roster taller than 6'7 will be forward Adam Liddell. That will prove important since coach Painter will likely be bringing in a couple of green freshmen post players in that class yet to be announced.
READ MORE: Hartford Courant