Recruiting Roundup: 2018 class impresses; updates on Valdir Manuel, Austin Richie

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While Seton Hall’s season rages on, there is still work to be done on the recruiting front for the 2018 class and beyond.

Currently with three scholarships docked and one free for next year’s class, Seton Hall’s staff must carefully plan for the reloading process after the heralded senior class moves on in the spring.

Bruising three-star center Darnell Brodie of Newark East Side (N.J.) is taking a prep year at Montverde Academy (Fla.) to polish his skills for the next level, while scoring wing Jared Rhoden (#174; Our Savior Lutheran, N.Y.) and another New York native in guard Anthony Nelson (#171; South Kent, Conn.) round out the class.

First, an update on how the incoming class is doing, then a look at a couple of 2018 targets still in the mix.

After originally committing as part of the 2017 class while bouncing back and forth between East Side and Putnam Science Academy (Conn.), it was deemed that Darnell Brodie is the right fit for Seton Hall, but that he needed an extra year of development — along came Montverde.

There isn’t any footage of Brodie playing besides this brief clip, but he reportedly had a really good game just prior to Christmas; if you remember, Darnell made his original commitment on Christmas last year.

The latest on Brodie comes from Adam Zagoria, who spoke to the big man last month; Brodie reaffirmed that the prep decision was due to saving him from just redshirting as a freshman due to the depth in front of him at forward

Elsewhere, the most recent addition to Seton Hall’s class is scoring in bunches for The Bronx’s Our Savior Lutheran. Jared Rhoden has helped his school to a 12-1 record over the past month or so while posting point totals of 29, 19, 27, 21, 27, 22 and most notably 40 including a game-winning three to beat Putnam Science Academy 113-112. 

A Desi Rodriguez replacement, Rhoden looks much more dangerous from the perimeter compared to a younger Desi, but a bit less capable among the trees; Kevin Willard will have quite the set of scoring options on the wing next season between Rhoden, Myles Cale, and Myles Powell.

Finally, there isn’t much media coverage in the New England region, but it looks like Anthony Nelson is also putting up numbers for South Kent (team preview), who sport a 3-1 NEPSAC AA conference record heading into winter break; Nelson has scored 25, 26 17, and 11 in those games.

There are full length games (listed under basketball category) of South Kent in action here

While Nelson is listed as a 6’4 point guard, he has always been pegged as versatile and capable of playing at two-guard and on the wing, too. It remains to be seen how exactly that skill-set will translate to the next level.

Now for the prospective recruiting targets…

A top-150 local forward who has been talked about at length over the past months, Patrick School (N.J.) big Valdir Manuel has revealed in a recent interview that Rutgers and Illinois are recruiting him the hardest and that Seton Hall cooled their interest after he picked up a shoulder injury that kept him from representing Angola at a summer FIBA U19 event, but that they’re after him again.

With some question marks at forward next year given Taurean Thompson’s rustiness, and Romaro Gill plus Darnell Brodie’s readiness, it would make sense that the staff is keen on adding a second forward as part of the 2018 class.

Moving on, Bosco Institute (Ill.) small forward Austin Richie is an under-the-radar name to keep an eye on. An unranked 6-foot-6 wing, Richie received little college interest until some low-majors offers finally rolled in this summer from regional schools like Western Michigan and Northern Illinois.

Rumor has it that Richie put on a show at an AAU event this summer and it caught the eye of former Northwestern coach Fred Hill, who knows the midwest area more than the rest of the staff.

Richie was offered by Seton Hall in early October and took an official visit to campus last month, which included the Indiana game.

Lastly, another 2018 recruit at the Indiana game was 6-10 European import Giorgi Bezhanishvili.

If you’re immediately thinking of current freshman Sandro Mamukelashvili, a native of Georgia, you’re not far off. Giorgi is listed on some websites as a native of the country Georgia, but he does state in a workout video that he’s from Vienna, Austria. 

St. Bonaventure, Manhattan, and Hofstra have already offered the relatively unknown talent and Seton Hall appears well-aware of the type of player that has been dropped off in their backyard at The Patrick School.