Saturday, August 29, 2015

Weekend visits of high major players
 
With school back in session, seniors across the country are taking official visits, which means commitment season is about to kick off. This weekend isn't the busiest visit weekend that we'll see in the next few months but it is an important one headlined by five-star Frank Jackson's visit to Duke.
Will there be action with Jackson?
Frank Jackson is visiting Duke.
The highest ranked official visitor this weekend is No. 10 in 2016 Frank Jackson, who is heading across the country to visit Duke. The 6-foot-3 point guard from Highland (Utah) Lone Peak also includes BYU (where he was once committed, Stanford and Utah in his final four programs, but the feel for a while has been that the Blue Devils hold an edge over the competition. The visit to Durham should tell us an awful lot about just how serious Jackson is about Duke and a commitment could be imminent. If he does commit to Duke, he will give the Blue Devils an impressive start to 2016's class, considering they have already landed the nation's No. 3 player Jayson Tatum. Building off of a National Championship in 2015 and the No. 1 and No. 2 recruiting classes in 2014 and 2015, it's hard to find a hotter program than Duke. BYU, Stanford and Utah aren't giving up hope here, but they have to be crossing their fingers that Jackson makes it home without giving a commitment.
Big Ten teams host important duos
Illinois and Indiana will each host a pair of Rivals150 visitors. Four-star prospects Xavier Simpson and Xavier Sneed will visit with the Illini while five-star Miles Bridges and four-star Curtis Jones check out the Hoosiers. In Champaign, John Groce and staff have been searching for a high end point guard to run their offense since they arrived on campus and they are hoping Simpson fits the bill because of his playmaking. The No. 88 player from Lima (Ohio) Senior has already seen Iowa State and has a visit scheduled to Miami for next weekend. He recently added a Wisconsin offer. Ranked No. 102 in 2016, Sneed has the Illini in his top five along with Creighton, Xavier, Kansas State and Wichita State. An athletic 6-foot-5 wing from Florissant (Mo.) Hazelwood Central, Sneed is likely to make at least a few of his official visits. However, the Illini have put themselves into good position and appear to be in a tight race with Kansas State and Xavier. Indiana coach Tom Crean and his staff are hoping to make a big impression. Taking the first of his five scheduled official visits -- Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State and North Carolina also have dates set -- Bridges is an athletic and tough five-star swingman who would be an immediate difference-maker for the Hoosiers. Ranked No. 60 and a teammate of Bridges at Huntington (W.V.) Prep, Jones is a 6-foot-4 shooting guard who has also set visits with Georgetown and Oklahoma State for the next two weekends. Word for the past few months has been that the Hoosiers have put themselves into really good position with Jones and having former teammate Thomas Bryant on campus could help them out. It isn't a lock that Jones will make a decision during or shortly after his visit, but he's a major priority and it wouldn't be a shock if he ended it for the Hoosiers sooner than later.
Other key weekend visits
Kentucky is targeting Kobi Simmons.
Pittsburgh will host point guard Cassius Winston as he takes his second visit. The No. 28 ranked player in 2016, he's already been to Stanford and has September visits set for Harvard, Michigan State and Michigan. The general consensus is that Detroit (Mich.) Jesuit product will be tough to pull out of his home state, but the Panthers have some ties to Winston's summer program The Famiy, where current assistant coach Marlon Williamson coached before moving to the college ranks. There was a time that it looked like five-star guard Kobi Simmons was a virtual lock to commit to Kentucky. There is still a chance that he could pop, but most likely he'll also at least take the visits he has scheduled to UNLV and Ohio State over the next two weekends. Four-star big man James Banks takes his first official visit this weekend when he visits Texas. So far, the No. 79 player has only scheduled an additional visit to Vanderbilt (9/11), so there is some room for the Longhorns to establish a stronghold on him with a great visit. San Diego State has two nice visitors in four-star shooting guard Jonah Mathews and three-star four man Jalen McDaniels . Soon to be a member of the Rivals150, McDaniels is a long and skilled faceup four man whose best basketball is ahead of him. He confirmed to Rivals that SDSU is his only set visit to date and it wouldn't be a surprise to see him commit during or soon after his visit. Mathews is one of the West Coast's premier shooters. Also on high alert for a potential commitment this weekend is point guard Shamorie Ponds. He's officially down to Creighton (where he visited earlier this month), St. John's, Providence and Minnesota but the New Yorker who ranks No. 44 in the class of 2016 has been considered a heavy lean to Chris Mullin and the Red Storm. Power forward Solomon Young, a former Rivals150 prospect who is a slightly undersized but tough and very athletic, will head to Iowa State this weekend. Wake Forest will host four-star combo guard Koby McEwen on his first official visit. Tough off the dribble and versatile, McEwen has flown somewhat under the radar despite being ranked No. 106 nationally, but Baylor and Utah State look like they are also players in this one. Finally, Wichita State will host a three-star combo guard with big upside in Jeff Dowtin. The Washington D.C. area product also has visits set with Rhode Island and George Mason.

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