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August 15, 2014

FREE: The Pony Express (8-15)

Crawford to take official visit to SMU

Four-star 2015-point guard Bryant Crawford cut down his list to seven this week and included SMU, along with Georgetown, Indiana, Marquette, Memphis, Tennessee and Wake Forest.

The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Crawford told PonyPride that it "felt like the right time" to narrow his list down.

"I talked with my mom, my coaches. I always planned to be done (and committed) before the start of the school season," Crawford said.

He said the relationship he has built with the SMU coaches played a big role in his decision.

"I like coach (Larry) Brown and coach (Ulric) Maligi and they came down to watch me play last year," Crawford. "They said I'd have a chance at playing time and you know coach Brown can help you go to the NBA, which is where I'm trying to go."

Crawford, also told PonyPride that he is currently trying to schedule an official visit to SMU.

Maligi has been Crawford's primary recruiter and they talk on the phone up to three times per week.

"Just how everything's going, trying to get me on campus to see a game," Crawford said when asked what he talks about with Maligi. "Vacations, tournaments, just what I'm doing week-in, week-out."

Crawford attends Gonzaga High School and played for Team Takeover this summer for AAU. Because of his experiences on those teams, he thinks he would have no problem playing next to SMU's one commit for 2015, point guard Sedrick Barefield.

"I'm in that position right now for high school and I was in that position for Takeover, playing two-guard, so I'm used to it," Crawford said.

Crawford said that Georgetown and Indiana are recruiting him the hardest at this point. Though he is from Washington, D.C., Crawford said that Georgetown does not have an advantage by being close to home.

Crawford said academics, player development and the head coach would be the most important factors for him when choosing a school.

Coach talks about SMU's interest in his players and its rise in Texas

Following a successful AAU-campaign this summer, Texas D1 Ambassadors-Carlton coach Craig Carlton spoke with PonyPride about a number of topics, including the summers of SMU targets on his squad and SMU's rise to prominence in the recruiting ranks in Texas.

Carlton told PonyPride that while SMU is known to be recruiting one of his players, four-star forward Jordan Murphy, the Mustangs' staff has also been showing interest in a three-star 2015 wing on his roster.

"They're looking at Rashard Odomes. He came on hard during the (adidas Gauntlet) and Rashard will play the two or the three. The kid is fast," Carlton said. "He's six-seven and has offers from every Big 12 school now but Kansas and from every Southeastern school except for Florida and Kentucky."

Odomes also has offers from a few other schools like Creighton and Marquette.

This week Odomes, who goes to Copperas Cove High School, was named the number-11 player in the 2015 class in the state of Texas by Texas Hoops. For his part, Carlton thinks the wing should be even higher on the list.

"He's a six-seven lefty, he did really well in the adidas league. In my opinion him and Jordan are definitely top-five players in the state of Texas," Carlton said.

SMU has been recruiting Murphy for a while. Carlton says that Murphy and the SMU coaches have "a good relationship."

Murphy has offers from Baylor, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Memphis, TCU, Vanderbilt, Texas and others. He has previously told PonyPride that he has a "big interest" in SMU and that he speaks to Larry Brown once a month.

Carlton was impressed with Murphy's performances this summer, especially playing as a five or four instead of his customary three-spot.

"He had to guard guys bigger (than him) but he's got skill. He was essential in our victories over the Texas Titans, Urban DFW, Nike Team Texas, you name it," Carlton said. "We won all the tournaments we were in this year in Texas (but) one of our losses was to Houston Hoops but Jordan and Rashard were both at the adidas Top 100 Camp."

Even out of position, Murphy played well against some of the best big men not just in Texas but in the country such as Elijah Thomas and Tyler Davis.

"(Murphy) is such an explosive athlete that, you know he's six-eight, against a seven-footer he just gets right past them," Carlton said.

Carlton says there is no one thing he can single out about Murphy's game, which he described as "a natural three and possibly a natural four" in the college game.

"Jordan, his upside is so tremendous. He can play the three. He's got good footwork and basic skills. One of the two most explosive-jumpers I've ever coached or played with in my life," Carlton said. "He's a great kid. He has an excellent coach at Brennan (in Tommy Hines). He's an excellent mentor and teacher of the fundamentals of basketball.

"(Murphy's) body is that of an 18-year-old but is mind is that of a 16-year-old. When that mind catches up with that body he's gonna take it to another level."

SMU has also talked to the D1 Ambassador's coach about his own son, Chase Carlton, a point guard who graduated this year but reclassified to go to a prep school in Orlando for a year.

"They talked to me about him a little during the July Period," Carlton said.

Chase Carlton has received interest from a few other schools, including Texas A&M, TCU and Kansas State.

As a coach who has been around Texas basketball recruiting for a while, Carlton is impressed with SMU's rise since Larry Brown took over as head coach.

"They've gone from nothing to everybody will listen to them. You've got Larry Brown who's, you know, he's Larry Brown. Coach (Tim) Jankovich is a great coach," Carlton said. "I just think they should recruit Texas first, in my opinion. Why go out of the state when you've got so many great players in the state? That's where you have to begin your foundation from."

SMU no longer showing interest in DE Uluocha

Stafford defensive end Josh Uluocha was receiving interest from SMU earlier in the year but that has since subsided as it looks like SMU does not consider defensive line to be a priority for 2015.

"Not recently," Uluocha told PonyPride when asked if he was still in contact with SMU. "I haven't been in contact with them since like February."

Previously, SMU defensive line coach Bert Hill was recruiting the 6-foot-2, 275-pound Uluocha and they would speak every other week.

Uluocha has had a productive summer, going to multiple camps and attracting more interest from coaches.

"I went to camp at Texas Tech, Rice, Houston and Texas. They went pretty well. I performed to the best of my ability and some of the coaches thought I did pretty well," Uluocha said.

The senior defensive end has offers from Army, Texas State and UTSA. He also has interest from Rice, Houston, Texas A&M, Texas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Wake Forest, Purdue and Baylor. He says that Texas State and UTSA are recruiting him the hardest.

Now he is just focused on getting ready for his senior season at Stafford.

"We're looking good. On offense everything is looking solid and we have some weapons at the receiver position," Uluocha said. "And then the defense is looking great. Just trying to play as hard as I can and the rest will go. I'm focused on going to state and my teammates and just winning games."

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