Top Ranked In-State Basketball Recruit Isaac Haas Told Alabama ‘No’
In a recent conversation with the Purdue Rivals recruiting site GoldandBlack.com, the top ranked player from the class of 2014 in high school basketball says he won't be playing at one of the local schools.
Isaac Haas, a 7'0" center from Hokes Bluff High School in Piedmont, told the Purdue site recently that he told Alabama and other local schools that he's not interested.
"I want to make my decision in November and might start narrowing down my list next week," Haas told GoldandBlack.com. "I've already told the local schools, Alabama, Auburn and Mississippi State, no. I'm just looking for a different playing style."
This comment might not raise many eyebrows because players often leave their home state to blaze a new trail elsewhere. But look closer and this news is troubling from a few different angles.
While the 2014 recruiting class is still being evaluated, Haas is the highest rated player from the state of Alabama. A number of top players have left the state over the past 5-10 years, a trend that seemed to be reversing itself until this news. Sure, Piedmont isn't exactly down the road from Tuscaloosa, but The University of Alabama name carries heavy significance in every corner of the state.
Next, Alabama will absolutely have a need for a center in the 2014 class. Carl Engstrom will most likely be finished with his college career and Moussa Gueye transferred out of the program upon graduating this Spring. That leaves the Crimson Tide with Nick Jacobs (6'8"), along with incoming freshmen Jimmie Taylor (6'9") and Shannon Hale (6'8"). Plus, Haas describes himself as a guy that likes to get up and down the court, which seemingly would fit with Alabama's system.
The last, but maybe most worrisome, takeaway from this update is how it compares to his last update with a Rivals site. Haas spoke to UGASports.com on March 3 and listed Alabama in his top five along with Kansas, Clemson, Harvard, and UAB. What's changed since then? Anthony Grant's squad seemingly gained momentum on the court in March, ending the season with a hard-fought loss to Maryland in the NIT quarterfinals, but off the court the program lost two players - Gueye and Trevor Lacey - due to transfer.
It's impossible to speculate on a high school player's change in opinion, but Haas' statements raise a red flag when it comes to Alabama recruiting.