he University of Massachusetts men's basketball team received its first verbal commitment for its 2000-01 recruiting class, and beat out some pretty tough competition to get it.
Basden - who is either 6-foot-4 or 6-5, depending on which Internet recruiting site you trust - is from Greenbelt, Md., where he will be a senior this year at Eleanor Roosevelt High School. As a junior, he averaged 19.3 points, seven rebounds, four assists and five steals per game.
Basden made his decision after making an unofficial visit to UMass this month.
"It just felt right," Basden said by phone Thursday. "It was what I was looking for. I liked the coaches. (UMass men's basketball coach) Bruiser (Flint) talked to me like a man. He told it straight and didn't lie to me. I appreciate that."
Basden had planned to make other visits, but canceled them after his trip to Amherst.
"I was going to go to Villanova, but after I came back from UMass, I just made the decision. I thought UMass was the best fit for me."
Basden was glad to have the recruiting process behind him.
"Now I can concentrate on school and my senior year," he said.
Basden hasn't yet attained the academic qualifications he will need to play for the Minutemen, but he said he came close in his most recent attempt. After taking some SAT preparatory courses this summer, Basden expects to make the grade.
"I know I'm going to get the score," Basden said.
Basden compared his style of play to that of former Maryland Terrapin and current Houston Rockets guard Steve Francis, who happens to be his friend as well as a role model.
"He's from down here, so I see him and play with him sometimes," Basden said. "I've always loved his game."
With Monty Mack leaving after the 2000-01 season, shooting guard was a recruiting priority for the Minutemen.
Dave Telep, who is a recruiting analyst at rivals.com, lauded UMass' acquisition.
"He's a big strong wing guard," Telep said. "He was really impressive all summer, making plays and getting to the basket. He's going to be a real good player in the Atlantic 10."
Basden can turn his verbal commitment into an official one during the early signing period, which begins in November. With Basden in the fold, UMass has two scholarships left to offer.
he University of Massachusetts men's basketball team has received a verbal commitment from Eddie Basden, a highly regarded guard from Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt, Md.
The 6-foot-5, 190-pound Basden will be a senior this year, so he'd arrive at UMass in the fall of 2001.
He averaged 19.3 points, seven rebounds, four assists and five steals last season, and is considered a national Top 50 player in many rankings. He said he chose UMass over Villanova after positive conversations with UMass coach Bruiser Flint.
"It's just a gut instinct, a feeling that this is the best place for me," Basden said. "I got acquainted (with Flint) and he talked to me like a regular person, a man. And I fell in love with the place."
According to Insiders Report, a respected Internet recruiting site, Basden's stock soared this summer. He played in the D.C. Pro-Am League, Adidas ABCD camp and AAU nationals.
Basden is projected as a shooting guard in college, and in 2001, the Minutemen will be looking for help at that position. Monty Mack has one year of eligibility left.
Basden made an unofficial visit to UMass this summer, and liked it so much that he canceled a scheduled trip to Villanova. Georgetown, George Mason and Rutgers also showed interest, and Maryland made a serious late push after losing another recruit, James White, to Florida.
UMass cannot comment on a player until he has officially signed a letter of intent. Basden cannot officially sign with UMass until November, and he is not bound by a verbal commitment.
But verbal commitments are generally respected as a way for both the player and school to determine what scholarships and playing opportunities are open before the signing deadline, and make decisions in accordingly.
Basden says he's "100 percent solid" with his decision. In an interview with Insiders Report, Basden said he had a 2.7 grade point average but needs "a slight boost" in his SAT score in the upcoming year to become eligible as a freshman.
Basden said he made his selection now to ease the recruiting pressure faced by players who are still undecided, and are therefore pursued during their senior year.
"I see this as a great opportunity, so I wanted to get it over with," Basden said. "I saw no reason to wait."
Basden was undeterred by rumors that Flint may be replaced if the Minutemen do not make the NCAA tournament this season. On the other hand, UMass enters this year with high hopes of doing so, thanks partly to a recruiting crop that is considered the best since Flint became coach in 1996.
Basden is the first player to make a verbal commitment to UMass for the 2001-2002 season.