Now that the class of 2012 has been written about and put away, it is time to look a little further into the future with the class of 2013. As you likely know, this is a class that is three strong right now. According to our handy scholarship graph it is unlikely to get any bigger, either. Only John Hart, D.J. Byrd, and the spot currently held by Dru Anthrop are definitely leaving after the 2012-13 season. Technically, Anthrop's spot is not guaranteed, but it is my guess that he will take Kelsey Barlow's scholarship and the final open spot much like he did with Patrick Bade's spot this year. The only situation in which he does not is if we add a last minute addition for 2012.
That said, Kentucky just won a national title with a boatlad of one-and-dones, we have one scholarship open for one year, and Shabazz Muhammad, the nation's No. 1 recruit, is uncommitted. Consider this my informal, "why not?" commercial for Shabazz if he stumbles across this site.
Seriously though, the 2013 class is not likely to grow beyond three simply because there is not room, and I doubt we're going to have someone leave early for the NBA. There is always the possibility of someone leaving for others reasons like Barlow and Bade did, but for now, anything beyond our three guys for 2013 is mere speculation.
The first guy I want to focus on is probably the least heralded in Basil Smotherman, Jr. Basil made a cameo appearance in this year's Name of the Year Bracket on Deadspin as a 13 seed. Outside of that, he seems to be a bit of a mystery recruit. I wanted to focus on him first because he is the only one of the 2013 players I have seen play in person.
It has been almost two years since I saw Basil play. I was asked to cover a Heritage Christian at Bethesda Christian game on February 23, 2010 when Purdue was riding high atop the Big Ten and steaming toward a No. 1 seed. If I had known that the next two NCAA Tournaments worth of promise would come crashing down in the next 24 hours (THAT game happened the next day)I might have paid more attention to the lanky freshman that was scoring in bunches for Heritage Christian.
Obviously, I didn't know Basil was going to Purdue at that point. I had heard rumors that he was an up and coming freshman, but I tend to dismiss anything done before the sophomore season in high school because physicality can be a major factor there. Late bloomers may not have had a growth spurt, while a dominant eighth grader does not automatically make one an NBA lottery pick.
I remember a few things though. In a game between two pretty bad teams Basil was one of the better players on the court in an 82-60 win over Bethesda Christian. I did manage to dig up the article I wrote on the game:
Five different Eagles scored at least 13 points and Heritage Christian regularly got to the foul line when they weren't scoring. The Eagles hit 16-of-23 free throws while Bethesda was only 6-of-14.
I remember Smotherman was one of those five players, but HC played well as a team and he didn't particularly stand out as a result. He didn't get mentioned by name, but he was a factor in this win. Please bear in mind I had to write this story from a Bethesda Christian perspective, so I didn't pay a ton of attention to HC.
Let's get to the numbers. Smotherman is a 6'6" 190 pound three-star recruit according to Rivals. ESPN gives him a grade of 91 and rates him also as a three-star. Scout also rates him as a three-star, while Inside the Hall, which does an excellent job of providing recruiting coverage, had to say about him when he visited in 2010:
His AAU coach said, "Basil is a perimeter threat. At any point in time he can get it going and start killing you from the outside. His mid-range game is getting a lot better."
Most everything I have read about Smotherman has him as a nice complimentary player. He's not an explosive scorer, but he can score from the perimeter and has a nice mid-range game. His size at 6'6" projects him as a likely three candidate, and he's also supposed to be a very capable defender. His high school teams have yet to set the world on fire. Heritage Christian was 11-12 when he was a freshman and 13-9 as a sophomore when his dad was coaching.
After his dad left that position Basil transferred to Lawrence North. The perennial Indianapolis power was anything but htat this season, going 8-12 and losing to Cathedral in the first game of the sectional. Basil did play against some of the state's best, however. Class 4A champ Carmel, 3A champ Guerin Catholic, and 2A champ Park Tudor were on the schedule. The losses to Park Tudor and Guerin Catholic were by six points. He also played against North Central, Hamilton Southeastern, Lawrence Central, Pendleton Heights, Pike, and Ben Davis as Lawrence North had one of the state's most difficult schedules.
I had a hard time finding stats for him. Varvee.com had very limited (one game) stats of 15 points, six rebounds, two assists, and two blocks. Those were from the Hamilton Southeastern game, however, which was a 70-64 loss against Gary Harris and Co. Smotherman did have this to say about Purdue:
I think I'll fit in because I'm long and I can use my body to make plays happen and that's what Coach Painter wants. It's a motion offense down there and I can attack the basket whenever I want and I can play every position. I can make plays happen, I can shoot it, I can get to the free throw line, rebound, I can do everything.
At Purdue, I can see Smotherman filling a role much like Kelsey Barlow, only without the off-the-court drama. Basil seems to have a good head on his shoulders since his dad was a coach, and his length and body type are very similar to what we lost when Kelsey lost his wallet.
Best of all, we have a season to keep an eye on him. I put a lot more stock in a regular high school season in Indiana than the summer AAU season, mostly because Indiana High School basketball preaches basic things like "fundamentals" and "defense". Basil now plays in a conference and in an area where he will get to play some of the state's best in pressure-packed settings, not in empty summer gyms where defense is discouraged.
This past year at Lawrence North he already played against Gary Harris, Jeremy Hollowell, Yogi Ferrell, Kellen Dunham, Zak Irvin, Collin Hartman, Patrick Ingram, Ronnie Johnson, and Devin Davis as just a few players he will play against in college.
One final tidbit about Smotherman is that he is a lefty, which can be dangerous from the perimeter. I don't expect him to come in an instantly average 15 points per game, but I can see him becoming a dangerous three-point shooter and mid-range weapon because the lefty jump shot isn't seen very often, so it is a wrinkle other teams must adjust to. He can be one of those, "great, now we have to worry about him, too" players that can cause fits for defenses.
I think Smotherman is one of those "good fit" players that may not be a major star, but his addition makes everyone else on the court better. He's the type that can be very good in whatever role he finds himself. We expect guys like Bryson Scott, A.J. Hammons, and Rapheal Davis to be the heavy lifters of the next group, but Smotherman can be the glue that helps them operate together. I like that, and look forward to seeing him in Mackey Arena.