The Biggest Steals of 2008 – Part II | Thursday, June 12th, 2008

The Biggest Steals of 2008 – Part II

#5 Keiran Ramsey to Southern Connecticut:  There are few people that could have predicted that Keiran Ramsey would have ended up at Southern Connecticut playing for Art Leary.  In October, Ramsey had just been named South Kent’s captain and was generating recruiting interest from a variety of mid and low major division I programs.  Meanwhile, Leary was about to begin his second season away from the sidelines on a leave of absence.  But 8 months later things have changes, Leary has returned to the helm of the Owl program, and with the help of Assistant Coach Marc Rybczyk has landed the type of player he should be able to build around.  Ramsey is a physically powerful wing player who can both plow his way to the basket and knock down shots from the perimeter with his high arching stroke.  

#4 David Gibbs to UMass:  What is most important about UMass’ ability to land David Gibbs is that they were able to convince him to spurn the opportunity to play on the high major level not once, but twice.  First it happened in the fall of Gibbs’ junior year when he committed to then Head Coach Travis Ford.  Most recently, it happened again last month when new Head Coach Derek Kellog was able to retain the program’s most important recruit.  The common denominator in both situations was the presence of Assistant Coach Adam Ginsburg, who was retained by Kellog after working under Ford.  Now, UMass has a guard to build around for the next four years.  Luckily however, they will be able to ease him into what should eventually be a starring role, as he will have the luxury of coming off the bench in his first year behind proven commodities like Ricky Harris and Wake Forest transfer Anthony Gurley. 

#3 Mark Lyons to Xavier:  When Lyons committed to Xavier during his junior year at South Kent, many people wondered if he was what they needed to maintain their spot atop the Atlantic 10.  While his talent and potential were both obvious, he simply wasn’t able to put it together on a consistent basis.  Now it is clear that Sean Miller and his staff did a great job of evaluating Lyons ability and beating high major schools to the punch.  After transferring to Brewster Academy this year, Lyons was the team’s most dynamic scorer and playmaker, helping them earn the NEPSAC class A championship.  Lyons potential impact at Xavier become even more intriguing, when Miller and his staff were able to land Terrell Holloway (formerly of the New England Playaz) after he de-committed from Indiana last month.  With both Lyons and Holloway in the backcourt, Xavier has two creative guards to share the backcourt and build their program around for the next four years. 

#2 Anthony Raffa to Albany:  Raffa’s recruitment, is another example of a school out-evaluating the competition.  That is exactly what Albany was able to do when they solidified a commitment from the New Jersey native prior to his arrival at Winchendon for a post-graduate year.  Only after Raffa’s tremendous season, did it become apparent to countless other coaches how good this guard really was.  He is tough as nails, doesn’t back down from anyone, and has proven that he can put points on the board against the toughest levels of competition.  At this point, Raffa has to be considered a potential starter for Albany next year as well as an early pre-season favorite for American East All-Rookie honors. 

#1 Larry Anderson & T.J. Robinson to Long Beach State:  Anderson and Robinson were players who had both received some interest at the highest levels.  While it became clear this spring that it was unlikely for either player to reach that level, it was still a shock when a west coast school from a lower level conference was able to secure both of their services.  There would have been a host of similar east coast schools ready to jump at the chance to acquire either Anderson or Robinson, but somehow Long Beach State was able to come in and get the job done.  There ties to Anderson are a little more clear since he is a California native, but how they acquired Robinson remains a bit of a mystery, especially since he was fairly open about the fact that he was hoping to stay close to home.  Now, Head Coach Dan Monson has solidified his frontcourt for the next four years with two of the NEPSAC’s best forwards.