Saturday, March 27, 2010

Darrell (DJ) Haley- 7'0, 225 pound C (Palmdale High, California): Profile:(2 star, #8 Center on the West Coast, offers from Iowa State, Drake, VCU) Profile: (unranked, offers from Iowa State and Wyoming) Profile: (78 Grade, #96 C)

Hoopscoop:(#289 overall in 2010 class)

Darrell is a very intriguing 7-foot prospect with a great frame and athleticism for his size. The knock on him has been that he is still very mechanical in the post and raw offensively. His positives are that he has soft hands and runs the floor exceptionally well for a guy of his size, an attribute common to all the big men in this recruiting class. He is a highly intelligent young man, boasting a 4.0 GPA with aspirations of one day working as an engineer for NASA designing rockets that disintegrate in space to reduce space and atmospheric pollution. He is pursuing an engineering major at VCU in order to pursue this goal. His father played at California in the PAC-10 during the early 80's. Assistant Will Wade was recruiting Haley when he was at Harvard last year and continued to stay on him when he moved to VCU. While Haley is a stud in the classroom, he is no slouch on the court either, averaging a double-double (12 points, 10 boards, and 4 blocks per game) with impressive athleticism for a 7 footer. His greatest attribute is his speed getting up and down the floor for his size. He also has a decent elbow jumper and mid-range game. The video from Palmdale's Midnight Madness shows Haley (#33) displaying a variety of dunks and showing impressive elevation:

While he hasn't put it all together, it's easy to see why Haley might be a monster in-waiting with his combination of athleticism, size, and intelligence.'s Dave Telep agrees:

"It's kind of mind-boggling to think the guys out west missed on him," Telep said in an e-mail. "After all, he is [6-11¾], smart and has natural ability and talent. When I saw him last June I thought he might be a late bloomer."

Palmdale also had to forfeit several of their games due to playing with a 5th year senior who was not declared eligible, so although Palmdale's won-loss record is not especially impressive, it is mainly due to the use of the ineligible player. Haley was also nominated to the McDonald's All-American game out of Palmdale (as Rob Brandenberg was). ESPN's Joel Francisco states that rebounding and defense are his primary strengths at this point. Once his offensive game catches up to his defensive game, he should be at the very least a big body that can eat up space in the post in a big-deprived CAA, and at the most may follow the progression of another ESPN 78 recruit that we all know well enough; Larry Sanders.'s Joel Francisco describes Haley as "one of the more intriguing late-blooming bigs on the west coast.

"Darrell has a very nice frame with long arms and overall very good length. He isn't very bouncy, but he runs well and has solid instincts around the basket," Francisco added.

"At this stage his rebounding at both ends is his strength. He has soft hands and he knows how to pass out of double teams and he can knock down jumper's out to the elbow. Darrell has some intangibles (length and heart) that coaches look for in a big, and he plays with passion and plays hard."

Haley was offered by Iowa State and Colorado from the major conferences, Drake from the MVC and a plethora of Ivy Schools such as Penn and Harvard due to his academic background. By all accounts from the coaching staff, he is a polite and classy young man. Watching him develop over the next four years will be a treat to watch and his progression as a big man from year-to-year will be exciting as his skill-set and athleticism are rare for a player of his size at a school like VCU.

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