Basketball Recruiting, Class of 2012: Forwards/Centers


With all due respect to the guards currently being recruited by Mike Montgomery, the headliners of the class of 2012 play at the forward and center spots. While there are some intriguing prospects that play guard, a 5 star prospect that is seriously considering Cal headlines the group.

Xavier Johnson: A true 3, which is something Cal’s starting line-up lacked last year, Johnson is listed as a 4 star recruit by most. The left-hander is long and quick with a very good outside stroke, and also can get to the bucket with ease. The mid range and floater game are still problems for him, but he’s still a very solid player. He has an offer from Cal, as well as ones from San Diego State, UCLA, UNLV, USC, and Utah. The LA schools are definitely the favorites in this race.

Richard Longrus: Longrus slots in at either the 3 or 4, but at just 6-6 he will probably play the small forward spot in college. He’s known as a spectacular defender and a solid ballhandler and decision maker. His offensive game is limited, but he’s a nice little player with good athleticism. His offers come from Colorado, Gonzaga, Santa Clara, and UCLA, but Cal is in the mix without an offer.

Langston Morris-Walker: Langston has only seen offers come from mid-majors such as Cal Poly, UC Riverside, San Francisco, UC Davis, and Utah. He’s an explosive athlete, albeit one that lacks a real position and skills to score. Cal would certainly be a favorite if they stepped in with an offer.

David Andoh: Another tweener that can’t decide if he’s a small forward or a power forward, the 6-6, 180 forward has a solid mid-range game, and good passing and handles for his size. He needs polish on the defensive end and in his offensive game, but he’ll be interesting to watch in AAU and in his high school season. He’s received interest from many western schools and offers from Colorado and Santa Clara, but none from Cal.

Brandon Ashley: The blue chipper of the class. Regarded as easily one of the two best power forwards in the class, the Bishop O’Dowd star is a 5 star on everybody’s rankings. The only weaknesses in his game are things like strength and the fundamentals of post play, easily correctable flaws. But he offers great hands, speed, and unlimited upside. Offers have come flooding in for him, including ones from Cal, Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, Texas, UCLA, Washington, and Oregon. He would be a huge coup for the Bears.

Kaileb Rodriguez: A Cal commit. For more on him, look at his commitment post.

Ricardo Gathers: A four star recruit, the 6-7 power forward has a “NFL type body” and a polished game. He can finish at the bucket, and hit the mid-range shot as well. He doesn’t handle the ball very well, but it’s not necessarily needed for a power forward. Cal and LSU appear to be his two favorite schools; the Louisiana native apparently loves Cal, and he weighs academics heavily. Cal’s in very good shape at this point.

Anthony January: A purely potential forward, January is a high-flying athlete who weighs just 175 pounds. Summer time ball will be key for him to landing offers; the only one he’s received is from USC. He left his high school midseason to be homeschooled, which suggests some problems coming somewhere from Compton regarding Anthony.

Grant Verhoeven: Cal and Washington are the only two schools to step in with offers. Verhoeven is known for his savvy around the basket and his hustle on the court, which have led to comparisons to former Butler player Matt Howard. He’s also a solid defensive player, polished post moves, and he’s a solid rebounder. In short, he’d be a great get for Cal.

Willie Cauley: A defensive force that comes up short on offense, Cauley is from Kansas and has received interest from both the Jayhawks and the Wildcats. Cal is the longest of longshots in the race for him, although they are at least in the mix.

Adam Woodbury: The Iowa lefty has an offer from Cal, but as in the case of Cauley the odds of going to Cal for him are not all that high.

Zach Banner: The Washington center plays two sports, leading to a dilemma if he’ll be an offensive tackle or a center playing basketball. He’s a rock in the post, but he’s a bit out of shape and lacks quickness. In the end, he’ll probably play football. He’s got offers from almost everybody, but most are for football.

Landen Lucas/Prince Ibeh/Robert Upshaw: All are said to have interest from Cal from different sources, but none have offers. While there’s not really a lot of info on what Cal’s up to with these guys, they cannot be ignored and should be watched as the recruiting process goes on.

As far as I’m concerned, the landing of either Gathers and Ashley is cause for immediate celebration. Verhoeven also potentially fits into that category. The others are also solid prospects, although not at the same level as the other 3. Hopefully the Bears can land several top level prospects. Go Bears!