As President Barack Obama begins his second term in office, it’s time for our Recruiting Insider blog to also undergo its own reinvention of sorts.


The Villanova coaching staff is raving about Sidwell Friends senior and incoming recruit Josh Hart. (John McDonnell/THE WASHINGTON POST)

Just about everyone is familiar with the athletic talent brimming from this area — a fact that we touched on Saturday in the “D.C. Swagger” basketball feature — and recruiting news is always a hot topic among high school sports, so we plan on whetting your appetite with more frequent newsy and creative posts on this blog.

Like high school kids around the area, we’ll get things rolling each weekday with Letters of Interest. Each morning we will recap action from the night or week before, provide related notes and links that will keep you up to speed on the latest recruiting news from around the area and give you a glimpse of what upcoming games are worth watching.

Last weekend many of the nation’s top teams descended upon Springfield, Mass., the birthplace of basketball, for the Spalding Hoophall Classic. Gonzaga, Montrose Christian and DeMatha were among the squads to play during the four-day event in front of a slew of college coaches and scouts at Springfield College.

Here are a few nuggets I gleaned from my time at the event:

• I had the chance to talk to a Villanova scout, who was beyond excited about bringing in Gonzaga’s Kris Jenkins and Sidwell FriendsJosh Hart . He raved about Jenkins inside-outside ability and believes that the college conditioning program will help Jenkins become even more polished. As for Hart, he loved his motor and seemed blown away by some of the numbers the senior swingman has put up so far this season.

Montrose Christian forward Mark Williams made an impression before an ESPNU audience and college coaches. The 6-foot-8 senior was formidable inside with 19 points and 10 rebounds and even showed his range with a three-pointer. Williams said his recruitment hasn’t ramped up yet, but with more performances like Sunday’s, that should change with time.

“When I transferred (from Ohio), I lost contact with some schools, but right now I’m hearing mostly from Mid-American and CAA schools like Kent State and George Mason,” Williams said.

DeMatha hasn’t been shy about shooting three-pointers this season. The Stags have made seven per game for a total of 106. Much of this confidence is drawn from Corey Henson , who has emerged as a sharpshooting threat for the Stags.

After making it to the final round in Sunday’s three-point contest, Henson hit four threes en route to a team-high 18 points during Monday’s loss to Hudson Catholic (N.J.). I didn’t get a chance to ask Henson or Coach Mike Jones afterward about the junior’s recruitment because they had to rush to catch their flight, but it’s no secret that college coaches love a consistent shooter who can stretch defenses. Keep your eyes peeled for recruiting news on Henson.

• Some of the coaches in attendance during the weekend: Indiana’s Tom Crean, VCU’s Shaka Smart, Pittsburgh assistant coach Bill Barton and West Virginia’s Bob Huggins, who gave Paul VI sophomore Kevin Dorsey an offer last month.

TOP PLAYS

Speaking of Dorsey, he delivered in the clutch — twice — for the Panthers over the weekend at the Bass Pro Tournament of Champions in Springfield, Mo., with a pair of buzzer-beating game-winners. Check those out along with a few awesome dunks and a three-quarter-court heave in this week’s Top Plays video.

BREAKFAST LINKS

— After a lengthy recruitment, McDonough All-Met offensive lineman Na’Ty Rodgers commits to South Carolina

The latest Post Top 20 boys’ and girls’ basketball rankings

All-Met Watch: Week 5

Calvert girls are cruising despite a seven-player roster

— Penn State signee Lindsey Spann is back healthy for Good Counsel, which spells trouble for the rest of the WCAC

WHAT TO WATCH TODAY

No. 12 W.T. Woodson at T.C Williams, 7:45 p.m.

The top two teams in the AAA Patriot District will face off with Woodson looking to complete season sweep with its 12th win in a row.