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August 16, 2012In this three-part series, PonyPride will be breaking down by position the prospects that SMU is recruiting and targeting. In its third week, we focus on the shooting power forwards and centers...
In the last installment of this series, we look at the big men, specifically power forwards and centers, that SMU is targeting in 2013 and '14. In order to properly assess need, let's have a state of the union of sorts as it pertains to the bigs on SMU's current roster.
After Larry Brown took the reins, his first order of business was retaining the 2012 recruiting class. Most notably, 7ft center, and top 100 national recruit, Blaise Mbargorba. To a degree, Blaise had to be re-recruited, and made to feel comfortable with the staff change. Retaining Blaise's primary recruiter, Jerry Hobbie, helped in that regard. To the staffs credit, all 3 of the '12 signees, remained true. None opted out or re-opened their recruitments, so mission accomplished.
Brown's second course of action was clearing roster space for his staff of high flying recruiters, notably Jerrance Howard & Ulric Maligi. Both are young, flamboyant, relate to recruits, and come to SMU with the lofty reputations as first class trail snipers.
In need of a talent infusion, while prepping for Big East play in 2013-'14, scholarships are a commodity. Opening scholarship space was done by cutting 4 letterman, including two returning big men, Ricmonds Vilde & Leslee Smith. Smith was an especially controversial cut, as he was a touted recruit that showed potential , especially after coming back early from ACL surgery.
The cuts left SMU perilously thin on the front line, and in an effort to fill those spots, SMU quickly targeted and missed on Coastal Carolina big, Sam McLaurin & Savon Goodman, a top 50 prospect in '12. McLaurin signed with Illinois, and Goodman signed with re-emerging power, UNLV.
Meanwhile, after turning over every rock, SMU targeted and gained a verbal from 5th year senior, Jordan Dickerson of IMG Academy. Dickerson , a 7-foot 240-pound project, hailing from NYC, was widely considered a 'best available' talent late in the Spring, and at worst gives SMU 5 fouls, and a stop-gap big man in 2012-'13. At best, he develops into a 4 year contributor with some upside.
Next up, SMU brought on Markus Kennedy, a transfer from future Big East foe, Villanova. Kennedy was a top 100 national prospect coming out of high school, and showed real promise in his first year at Nova. Coach Jay Wright didn't want Kennedy to leave, and his coming to SMU was a real shot in the arm, for a program needing Big East talent. Kennedy is a wide-body with soft hands, that position rebounds , and shows touch around the basket.
Meanwhile, it was rumored & confirmed that the SMU staff, still searching for another practice big, even contributor in '12-13, did an unprecedented double take, and re-approached both Smith and Vilde. Smith reportedly had no interest, but Vilde, who is only a few hours from graduation, remained steadfast in his desire to rejoin the Mustangs. It's our belief that Vilde will end up a Mustang this season, get his degree, all the while, not effecting scholarship numbers, as SMU currently has one open for the upcoming season.