Tuesday, May 2, 2017

High Majors In Strong Pursuit Of OCP's Little

Nassir Little is no longer one of Central Florida’s best kept secrets.

 Known for prodigious vertical leaping ability and an adeptness guarding a variety of positions, the 6-foot-6 210-pound wing has witnessed his high-major stock heighten this spring.

 Little, of Orlando Christian Prep, has emerged into one of the country’s most highly sought after recruits.

“UNC called and they seemed very intrigued about Nassir,” said Brad Augustine, program director of Little’s 1Family Hoops AAU program.

“Coach Williams will be back in July to see him. Coach Calipari got a chance to see him in Dallas. Coach (Steve) Robinson, an assistant at UNC, he watched him in Dallas and Atlanta. (Cincinnati Head Coach) Mick Cronin and (Associate Head Coach) Larry Davis have repeatedly been down to Florida over the past few months to see Nassir and his family. They see Nas as a legitimate wing scorer who can defend the 1-4, similar to Kawhi Leonard.”

 Oklahoma State head coach Mike Boynton and (assistant coach) Lamont Evans are in steady pursuit.

Oklahoma State has an offer on the table, impressed by the versatility and 3-point shooting ability of the hard-finishing Little. Both coaches have made the trek to Orlando on multiple occasions. They've been pretty adamant about Little being an instant impact guy, as Augustine explained.

Beyond his reputation as a high-motor guy who plays both sides of the court as effectively, Little is regarded as one of the most efficient threats in the country. With innate ability to score at all three levels and take big men away from the rim, Little hovered just under the 60 percent mark in field goal percentage as a junior. 

As a sophomore, Little shot 59 percent from the field and 51 percent from beyond the arc as a 17.5 points per game scorer. 

This season, becoming more active on the glass and showcasing the ability to employ lockdown defense on multiple positions, Little has garnered national attention.

St. John’s, consistently scouring the Orlando area for talent , have been a presence in Little’s recruitment.

“St. John’s has done a tremendous job in recruiting him, coach (Chris) Mullin has been extremely active with Nassir.”

Augustine said the opportunity to play in the world's ultimate proving ground that is Madison Square Garden and in the Big East are appealing factors.

 Of course, the program is coming off a disappointing 14-19 season. SJU is eager to restore the days of when Dwight Hardy was, well…..quite simply...The Baddest Man on the Planet. 

The Johnnies certainly have the pieces to upgrade the program with Shamorie Ponds.

A slick left-handed guard, Ponds averaged 17.4 points and 3.1 assists during a monstrous and memorable freshman campaign.

Augustine rattled off Shaka Smart, Frank Martin, and Greg Marshall as other coaches who appear sold on Little’s wealth of potential.

“It definitely helps that he is a 4.3 GPA student,” Augustine said.