D.J. Haley Has What the Drake Bulldogs Need

Tim WeidemanAnalyst IFebruary 25, 2010

Basketball prep D.J. Haley of Palmdale High School (Palmdale, California) will make his official visit to Drake University Saturday for the Bulldogs' game against Evansville University—the unforeseen danger of the Missouri Valley Conference down the stretch.

The 4:05 p.m. game is also Senior Day at the Knapp Center. Josh Young, Adam Templeton, Bill Eaddy, and Craig Stanley will hopefully prepare a show for both fans and Haley to enjoy. 

Haley need look no further than Drake for his college choice. The Bulldogs would take him with open arms. 

Standing 6'10" and weighing 225 pounds, Haley almost mirrors current Bulldog and Missouri Valley Conference freshman standout Seth Van Deest (6'10", 223 pounds). Drake Nation is already drooling at the prospect of featuring Haley and Van Deest as next year's most talented, young, one-two big man punch in the MVC.

Scout.com has the center listed as a two-star recruit. Other sources claim he is fast, something that would mesh well with head coach Mark Phelps' offense. The site also claims Drake's in-state rival Iowa State to be interested in Haley, but that news seems a bit outdated.  

Have I mentioned Drake has ample room for sizable players? Well, after Templeton leaves there will be big shoes to fill.

I haven't been able to uncover Haley's shoe size, otherwise I would make a witty joke. Oh, well. You get the idea.

He's also supposedly very intelligent and interested in music. Drake University is known for its academics, and Des Moines is one of the best places in the Midwest for those looking to explore many types of art—especially music.

But hold on a moment: the Bulldogs have some competition that needs to be dealt with if they want to draw Haley's lasting interest.

Haley recently visited Virginia Commonwealth, where the fans greeted him during a game with chants of, "D.J. Haley! Clap Clap Clap-Clap-Clap."

Word has it, the Bulldog faithful have a few party favors in store for Haley, too, but the Rams certainly set the bar high, and they should be applauded for it. I have to say, it was well organized .  

But the Bulldogs have a few things going for them.

First, Drake's early signing recruiting class was named No. 1 in the MVC by ESPN for the second consecutive year. Representing VCU's conference, the Colonial Athletics Association, is William and Mary .

Drake has VCU edged in young talent, and, while the Bulldogs (13-17, 7-10 in MVC) have experienced some growing pains this season, the team does have some upside. Only time will tell how badly the loss of the seniors will hurt the Bulldogs. 

The outlook is mostly optimistic, however, and the addition of D.J. Haley would certainly add to next season's much higher hopes.