Friday, August 26, 2016

Starting Five: Visit season heats up, Duke offers wings


A slew of highly regarded players will be on the visit trail this weekend including five-star combo guard Collin Sexton. Today's edition of Eric Bossi's Starting Five features notes on some of this weekend’s top visitors, Duke’s recent wing offers, some budding high school powers and a junior on the rise.
MORE: Five-star PG sets visits | Coaches that do the most with under-recruited

1. SEXTON HEADLINES VISITORS

Collin Sexton
Point guard
5 STARS
Pebblebrook
Mableton, GA
RR: N/A
Ht: 6'1"
Wt: 170 lbs
Class: 2017
-
POSITION
12
NATIONAL
-
STATE
Commitment status:
UNDECIDED

Visit season won’t hit full swing until college football kicks off next weekend, but many of the nation’s top seniors will be on the road this weekend.
The highest-ranked prospect in the class of 2017 expected to be swinging by a campus this weekend is Collin Sexton. The 6-foot-2 scoring machine from Mableton (Ga.) Pebblecreek will make the short trip to Georgia Tech for a visit. Sexton, who's currently down to 10 schools, has yet to set any official visits.

Also expected to make an unofficial trip this weekend is five-star power forward Jaren Jackson. Ranked No. 20 overall, Jackson has recently been to Purdue and Michigan State for unofficial visits and he’ll likely to see Maryland and Georgetown before making a decision.

In Tuscaloosa, Alabama will host one of its most important targets when in-state star John Petty hits campus. The 6-foot-5 wing, who ranks No. 28 nationally, has a top five of the Crimson Tide, Kentucky, Kansas, Connecticut and Florida State, but his recruitment has long been considered to be down to pretty much Alabama and Kentucky. In other words, this weekend could be huge.

Two visits to keep a really close eye on in terms of potential commitments are Alex Barcello checking out Arizona and Jericho Sims tripping to Texas. Barcello has already been to Butler and Stanford and also has Indiana and Virginia in his top five. However, this is a weekend where Sean Miller will surely be doing everything in his power to lock up the savvy guard with deep range. As for Sims, talk since July has been that the Longhorns are in excellent position and that they might be able to squeeze a commitment out of the bouncy power forward. Home-state Minnesota and Iowa State are factors as well, and a recent Kansas offer may be enough for Sims to at least hold off and take another visit or two. Both Barcello and Sims are on track to jump to four-star status when 2017 rankings get updated in a week-and-a-half.

Others hosting visitors of note this weekend include Butler, which will have four-star combo forward Kyle Young and soon to be four-star point guard Wabissa Bede on campus. Connecticut will host top-35 guard Paul Scruggs, who has the Huskies in his top five, along with three-star big man Josh Carlton. Purdue will host a pair of four-star prospects in utility guard Nojel Eastern and big man Xavier Tillman. The Boilers will also have three-star power forward Terrell Brown on campus. USC hosts soon-to-be top 100 prospect Jordan Usher this weekend. Usher is pretty much down to the Trojans and Arizona State. He still has an official scheduled to ASU for September, but he was in Tempe a few weeks ago so an early commitment wouldn’t be out of the question. Finally, California will host tough three-star center Theo John for an official visit.

2. DUKE OFFERS WINGS

Alex O'Connell
Shooting guard
4 STARS
Milton
Milton, GA
RR: N/A
Ht: 6'6"
Wt: 175 lbs
Class: 2017
-
POSITION
69
NATIONAL
-
STATE
Commitment status:
UNDECIDED

Jermaine Samuels
Small forward
4 STARS
Rivers School
Weston, MA
RR: N/A
Ht: 6'6"
Wt: 205 lbs
Class: 2017
-
POSITION
49
NATIONAL
-
STATE
Commitment status:
UNDECIDED

Barring unexpectedly bad seasons, Duke is likely going to see wings Grayson Allen and Jayson Tatum leave for the NBA after this season. As such, finding wing firepower is of the utmost importance in the class of 2017.

This week, the Blue Devils offered a pair of four-star prospects from the class of 2017 in shooting guard Alex O’Connell and small forward Jermaine Samuels. Currently ranked No. 69 overall, O’Connell is a long, skilled and athletic two-man, and he's due for another rise in the rankings after a huge climb in the spring. Ranked No. 49 overall, Samuels is a rugged do-it-all wing who actually picked up his offer while on an official visit to Villanova.
O’Connell’s father played at Duke in the 1970s and talk during the summer was that a Duke offer could radically change his recruitment. Syracuse, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Ole Miss and Arizona State are others strongly in the mix.

Entering the week, Villanova was seen as the frontrunner for Samuels but the Duke offer should at least get the Blue Devils a visit. Indiana, Kansas and Georgetown round out Samuels’ top five.

3. WHEELER HITS TRANSFER LOTTERY

There simply won’t be many public school programs that have more talent than Marietta (Ga.) Wheeler this season.

Returning from last year’s squad is four-star point guard Darius Perry, who committed to Louisville earlier this week. But the firepower Wheeler added through transfers is staggering.

From the class of 2017, Wheeler will add the aforementioned Jordan Usher and top-40 overall small forward Jordan Tucker, whose family is moving to Atlanta from New York. From the class of 2018, five-star power forward E.J. Montgomery will be moving in from Florida, and 2019 wing Terry Armstrong, a potential top 25 player nationally, is moving from Flint, Mich.

4. VERMONT ACADEMY BUILDING ON 2016 TITLE

In 2016, coach Alex Popp helped lead Vermont Academy to a class AA championship in the loaded NEPSAC. He lost stud guard Bruce Brown to Miami, but he returns an impressive team that will be looking to build upon the previous season’s success.

The biggest name on the roster will be 2018 five-star Simisola Shittu. A Canadian who currently ranks No. 7 overall, Shittu already holds offers from Memphis, Syracuse, Marquette, LSU, Texas, Alabama, Connecticut and others. Also transferring in is 2017 four-star Jordan Nwora. A sharp-shooting combo forward from New York with more than 30 scholarship offers, Nwora should be cutting his list to 10 or less in the near future.

After missing the summer because of a torn ACL suffered at the end of the 2016 high school season, four-star senior Christian David has been off the recruiting radar for a bit. However, the 6-foot-7 wing has already visited Creighton and Butler, and is scheduled to see Pittsburgh on Labor Day weekend. Oregon and Miami are also expected to get visits this fall.

Also returning is three-star big man Marcus Santos-Silva. After a strong summer, the skilled and wide-bodied southpaw has a great chance to enter the 2017 Rivals150. He currently has official visits set with Temple and VCU during September. La Salle, Boston College, Kansas State, Duquesne, St. Bonaventure and Bradley round out his final eight.
Other Division I prospects on the roster include forward Kendrick Gray (visits Youngstown State on Labor Day weekend), guard Bailey Patella, who has his first visit set with Jacksonville and guard Ryan Romich, who is being recruited by Rider, Elon, Siena and Long Beach State.

5. RISING RAMEY PLANS BUSY FALL

Courtney Ramey
Point guard
4 STARS
Webster Groves
Webster Groves, MO
RR: N/A
Ht: 6'3"
Wt: 170 lbs
Class: 2018
-
POSITION
60
NATIONAL
-
STATE
Commitment status:
UNDECIDED

During the summer, there wasn’t a hotter point guard prospect than Webster Groves (Mo.) High’s Courtney Ramey. While playing for the Ramey-Jets United during July, he added offers from Florida, Iowa State, Arkansas, Ohio State, Cincinnati, Purdue and Texas A&M.

They joined Texas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas State, Missouri, Saint Louis, Creighton and Ole Miss, who had already offered the No. 60 player in the class of 2018.
In an effort to get to know those recruiting him better this fall, Ramey will be busy on the visit trail. He starts things by visiting Illinois this weekend. His father, Terrell, told Rivals that there are plans to see Iowa State, Texas, Creighton and Florida during the month of October.

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