Recruiting world continues to spin
By Ron Chimelis, The Springfield Union-News, 9/16/1999

Scott Hazelton is out of the University of Massachusetts men's basketball recruiting picture, but a promising guard from New York City plans an official visit in November.

Hazelton, a 6-foot-8 forward from Lawrence, has narrowed his choices to Connecticut, Syracuse and Villanova. He told Insider's Report, an Internet recruiting service, that he is open to all three, although sources in Lawrence say Villanova appears strong.

Colleges cannot comment on recruits. The current recruiting period ends Sept. 26, and the first signing period is in November.

Providence and UMass were also on Hazelton's short list, but have been eliminated. Hazelton would have been considered a strong catch for UMass, which needs to restock its frontcourt.

Hazelton has visited Villanova and also made an unofficial visit to UConn, and plans in-home visits with all three finalists.

Mike Boynton, a senior 6-1 guard from Bishop Loughlin High in Brooklyn, N.Y., has scheduled an official visit to UMass Nov. 5. An in-home visit is scheduled for next week.

Boynton, who has already passed the Scholastic Aptitude Test Requirements, averaged 16 points, seven assists and six steals per game last year. He is also interested in South Carolina, Boston College and Hofstra.

Guard play is not an immediate priority with UMass, which expects Monty Mack to graduate on time next spring. If he does, he'll earn back the year of eligibility he lost as a freshman, when he was a partial academic qualifier.

In addition, point guards Shannon Crooks and Jonathan DePina have eligibility beyond this year. Adding a quality recruit would strengthen the team's depth, however, and might open the way for some three-guard play, which coach Bruiser Flint does not favor but has used at times.

Another Brooklyn guard with UMass interest is 6-1 Mike Sherrod, who averaged 15 points and eight assists for Robeson High. Sherrod's uncle, Tyrone, was quoted as saying the point guard may not decide until spring, with UMass, La Salle, St. Bonaventure and Hofstra in contention.

Sherrod, who plays AAU ball with the Long Island Panthers, says he'd also like to consider Big East schools. Providence and Rutgers have shown mild interest.

UP TEMPO:

Flint is keeping DePina's Greater Springfield Pro-Am League scoring in perspective.

"Those leagues involve a lot of running up and down, and not always a lot of defense," Flint said recently. "It might help Jonathan's confidence, though."

DePina sometimes seemed uncertain at the point last year, when he averaged 1.8 points per game. But he averaged more than 20 points in the Pro-Am League, nearly winning the scoring title.

HILL'S CLIMB:

That 6-8 power forward Jeff McMillan of St. Thomas More (Montville, Conn.), has shown interest in Fordham a UMass Atlantic 10 rival that hired former San Antonio Spurs coach Bob Hill may be the first hint of Hill's impact.

McMillan is also interested in Ohio State, St. John's, Seton Hall, Villanova and UConn.


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