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August 2, 2012In this three-part series, PonyPride will be breaking down by position the prospects that SMU is recruiting and targeting. In its first week, we focus on the guards.
As of 5:00pm Sunday, the July open evaluation period ended for college coaches across America. After a full month of tournament hopping, coast to coast, the SMU staff, led by new coach Larry Brown, is honing in on their top prospects with a final push towards the October early signing period. What's clear is that this staff is active and connected unlike any other staff at the school in recent memory, and they've cast a very wide net, hoping to snare elite prospects. Very few of the kids targeted are under the radar or unknown commodities, and on paper most have outstanding offer lists.
[RELATED: HOT BOARD: Point Guards]
After cutting four members of last year's team, notably point guard Jeremiah Samirrippas, Coach Brown has a roster with-out a true proven point guard. Last year's back-up, true sophomore Ryan Manuel, returns to the fold, but reportedly will remain in the back-up role once again. Presumably, this opens the way for Kansas St transfer, Nick Russell, to take the reins of the Mustang offense. Manuel has been told that he'll be playing off the ball more this year in the revamped Mustang attack in order to better capitalize on his scoring potential. It's possible London Giles could wrangle that spot from Russell, but he wasn't able to practice for much of the summer, leaving Russell the frontrunner.
HCIW, Tim Jankovich, put his early mark on the program by bringing transfer PG, Nic Moore, w/him to Dallas from Illinois St. Moore, runner-up for the coveted Mr. Indiana basketball award, as a senior in high school, brings playmaking, big shot ability, and general swagger to the Mustang backcourt in '13. Until then, it's on the combination Russell, Giles and Manuel to run the show.
[RELATED: Find out who the staff watched!]
SMU is actively looking for elite PGs, presumably in the '14 class, but should a blue-chip present himself in '13, the staff would surely jump. By all accounts, the 2013 class is about signing the best available ballers, positions 1-5. By the sheer number of offers out to PGs in the '14 class, it's undeniable that the Mustangs are looking to that class to find their next great PG, while getting proper spacing between Moore and the next playmaker.