Pardon to Northwestern

8 Jun
Derek Pardon

Derek Pardon

Another Ohio prospect jumped off the recruiting board over the weekend, as a Cleveland area big man committed to Northwestern out of the Big Ten. The total number of rising seniors who are committed to Division I colleges has now expanded to eight, with six of them having made pledges to high-major programs. Here’s a look at the latest in the prep recruiting circles around the Buckeye State….

  • Derek Pardon – ’15 Cleveland VASJ PF/C: Another King James Shooting Stars AAU player has ended his recruitment, as the 6’9 post, Pardon, committed to Northwestern over the weekend. A great student and high-character prospect, Pardon’s commitment to Wildcats head coach Chris Collins is the second from an Ohio prospect since Collins took over a little over a year ago. A quality big man with rebounding and shot-blocking ability, Pardon is one of the most promising prospects in the state, as his offensive game has come a long way and should continue to develop with time. Teaming up with Carlton Bragg at Cleveland VASJ, Pardon sometimes doesn’t get all of the hype that he deserves, but in the end he got the appropriate recognition he deserved, earning a spot in the prestigious Big Ten. The first of several high-profile Cleveland area frontcourt players to make a commitment, it will be interesting to now follow where Bragg, Esa Ahmad (Shaker Heights) and Montell McRae (Cleveland Central Catholic) all end up committing.
  • Isaiah Jones – ’15 Cincinnati Woodward PG: After a great junior year at Woodward, Jones is getting ready to hit the highway as he plans to take tours of several mid-major programs in the next two weeks. The Cincinnati guard will take unofficial visits to Ohio University, UNC-Wilmington, LaSalle and Morehead State for now; but could add other visits to the trip as well. Additionally, Jones is still considering several high-academic options, including the Ivy League.
  • Craig Randall – ’15 Medina PG: A few hours after picking up offers from both College of Charleston and Louisiana Tech, Randall took a visit to Arizona State on Sunday. The Cleveland area scoring guard is still attracting interest from both mid and high-majors schools at this point, with his visit to Tempe (AZ) likely catching the eye of a few of those high-majors who are following his progress.
  • Jalen Avery – ’15 Cincinnati Shroder PG: One of Ohio’s most under-appreciated star point guards, Avery’s recruitment is starting to heat up. The Cincinnati Cougars guard took trips to Miami (OH) and Wright State this past week, proving to area college coaches that he is a priority target at the mid-major level. As Avery’s name continues to emerge, look for more and more mid-majors to begin tracking the crafty point guard.
  • Kipper Nichols – ’15 Cleveland St. Edward SF: The highest profile wing prospect available in the state with the recent commitment of Kyle Ahrens, Nichols took a visit to Xavier over the weekend. Given the style of play and proximity to Cleveland that Xavier offers, it is logical to say that the Musketeers are the front-runners in Nichols’ recruitment heading into July.
  • Carlton Bragg – ’15 Cleveland VASJ PF: While not really recruiting news, Bragg has been in the headlines yet again this week, as he has stood out playing with Team USA in Italy at the Adidas Eurocamp. Getting his chance to go head-to-head against some of the best amateur players in all of Europe, while teaming up with the ten best Adidas AAU players in the United States, Bragg is continuing to see his stock grow higher and higher heading into the final month of his AAU career with Ohio Basketball Club.
  • Cleveland State hosted a quartet of in-state prospects from Southwest Ohio on Saturday, as Justin Johnson (Cincinnati Fairfield), Moctar Dieng (Cincinnati Fairfield), Dahmere Epperson (Cincinnati Woodward) and Assante Patterson (Dayton Thurgood Marshall) all stopped by campus. Johnson, the younger brother of Akron post Isaiah Johnson, had a good spring as an athletic and skilled forward for Team One; while Patterson and Dieng played complimentary roles on the wings for that team. Epperson, a transfer to Woodward from Cincinnati Roger Bacon, is a versatile guard who had a standout spring on the circuit with the Cincy Lakers. Of the four, Johnson is receiving the most mid-major interest as of now; however, all four are getting strong looks at both the Division I and II levels right now.
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