Monday, August 27, 2018

Rivals Roundtable: Next big commit, must-gets and more

Reprint from - By Eric Bossi, Corey Evans, Dan McDonald
This week in the Rivals Roundtable, basketball analysts Eric BossiCorey Evans and Dan McDonald give their opinions on a number of topics. Which highly ranked player may be next to end his recruitment? Whose recruitment should have taken off even more? Which remaining target is the most important and who needs a spot in the next set of 2019 rankings?
What top 50 senior do you think is closest to making a decision and where do you think he's headed if he picks soon?
6'4" 170 LBS PG
Bossi: I can’t guarantee that he will be next, but top 30 point guard 
 sure looks to me like he’s getting close to making a decision. First of all, we all thought the high-scoring Floridian would have been off the board by now, but after spring visits to Florida and Tennessee and a final three that also included Kansas, Mann elected to open things up late in the summer.
As far as I can tell, the opening has basically amounted to the door being opened for North Carolina to jump in and make a play. Now that Mann has visits set up with the Tar Heels (Sept. 14) and the Jayhawks (Sept. 21), I feel like we’ll be seeing him move towards making his decision in the relatively near future. If that happens, Carolina looks to have some momentum going in its favor.
Evans: I would not be totally surprised to see 
 call it a day with his recruitment in the coming weeks. While Kentucky has been messing around and has shown varying levels of interest since the top-50 center demolished the month of July, West Virginia has remained a steadying presence throughout his recruitment over his past three years. The Mountaineers have had great success with   and Tshiebwe is even better than his fellow Congo native at the same stage in their developments. Baylor and Illinois are two more programs to watch with Tshiebwe as they will host him the first two weekends in September, where Kansas is also involved. With all that being said, I could see him deciding to put an end to things and call Morgantown has his next stop a year from now.
McDonald: I think 
 is inching closer to a decision. He recently narrowed down his list of schools from nine down to four with ClemsonDukeMichigan State and Tennesseeremaining. For a while now, this has felt like a battle between Duke and Michigan State. Both Mike Krzyzewski and Tom Izzo were regulars at his games throughout July, even if he wasn't even playing like the last weekend in Orlando. Coming off a visit to Duke a couple weeks ago, if this ends soon, I'd give Duke the edge here. A visit to Michigan State or either of his other finalists could potentially change that.
Which senior's recruitment are you most surprised hasn't turned into a total brawl between blueblood programs?
Jayden McDaniels
Matthew Hatfield,
Bossi: Texas big man 
. Don’t get me wrong, his recruitment is very high level as he’s down to a final 10 of AlabamaArizona, Gonzaga, IllinoisLouisvilleMichigan StateOklahomaPurdueTexas A&M and Texas Tech. But, given his competitive fire, high level of skill and productivity I’m a bit shocked that we never saw others like DukeKansasKentuckyor North Carolina look to make a serious move with him.
Wherever he ends up, I see Timme as a guy who not only produces on the floor but helps to ignite his fanbase with him as a favorite. The headband, the beard, the trash talk and his herky jerky style will all make him easy to cheer for if he’s on your team. If you are playing against him, he will be easy to hate and from what I’ve seen of him, he will enjoy that role just as much as he will fan favorite.
Evans: The easiest answer is 
, right? I mean, the kid is all that you look for in an elite, blueblood prospect that can do a variety of things and on either end of the floor. Washington, SDSU, TexasOregonKansasArizona and Oklahoma are the main programs in contention and while Kentucky and Duke have placed an initial phone call into the McDaniels household, it is still mind boggling that they have not just offered, but better yet, made him a priority.
I get that he is from the Pacific Northwest and it is oftentimes difficult to lure prospects from such a locale, especially entirely across the nation, but McDaniels’ ascent into the top-five of his class’ rankings is well warranted; the same should have been said for his blueblood recruitment, a situation that has yet to play itself out and might not have the chance to do so this fall.
McDonald: I've been a huge advocate of 
 for a while now and I'm surprised his recruitment isn't hotter than it is. Part of that may be due to the wide belief that he'll ultimately end up at Memphis either way, but it also could be related to him not having as good of a travel season as he did high school season. I just think Watford's versatility and feel for the game is next level. I see him being the type of player a program can build around for a few years.
If you had to choose a single "gotta have him" target for any program in the country who do you think is most important and why?
Nico Mannion
Nick Lucero/
Bossi: Oh man, there’s some pretty good choices out there. A case could be made for both Memphis and Kentucky regarding 
 and   is way up there for Kansas.
I’m going to head out West, though, and go with five-star point guard 
 and ArizonaSean Miller and the Wildcats are looking to put the 2017-18 season in the past for all kinds of reasons and a homegrown talent like Mannion could go a long way towards building some positive mojo. He’s well known, he’s fun to watch, he appears to be a fit and landing him could allow Miller to send a pretty clear message that he’s not going anywhere and that he’s here to stay as one of college basketball’s big-time recruiters.
Evans: I could go one of two ways here but I will side with Penny Hardaway needing to get Wiseman as opposed to John Calipari needing to land Wiseman at Kentucky. Hardaway was hired for one primary reason and that was to get the best. Josh Pastner did a fine job of landing a number of Rivals150 prospects and despite the negativity that surrounded the Tubby Smithtenure, he still found ways to keep the program competitive. Hardaway, the prodigal son of the city, is expected to just not win, but win big and in doing so, secure the best that the nation has to provide and bring back recruiting to the level that it was back when Calipari was in Memphis.
Hardaway coached 
 and  , three Memphis commits, on the travel and high school circuits. However, none of them had the cache of Wiseman, a national priority for the best. If he can topple the don of the recruiting world for the elite target, the ramifications of such an event will be felt throughout the nation. If not, Tigers’ fans will be holding out hope for another day when what Calipari did at the AAC program might be achieved again.
McDonald: There can't be a school in the country that would receive a bigger boost than Washington would if Mike Hopkins is able to convince 
 to stay home for his year of college basketball. There is a real argument that he's the best long-term prospect in the class. Washington has generally done a pretty good job of keeping really talented local kids home, but rarely is there a prospect of this caliber nearby. McDaniels could be a true program-changer for Hopkins and his staff.
We'll be starting discussions to update the rankings over the next week, what one player would you be most upset about if he didn't make the updated rankings and what's his recruitment look like?
6'3" 180 LBS SG
Bossi: I’m going to stay local and go with small forward 
, who had a huge summer playing for MoKan Elite. Braun’s high school is about a 20-minute jog from my front doorstep and his steady maturation into a high-major prospect has been impressive to see.
He’s always been a fiery competitor, skilled and had a nice all-around game, but Braun has taken things to a new level over the past few months. Offensively he can drive and stick jumpers and he’s grown to about 6-foot-6 and it seems like he’s got some growing left to do. The summer resulted in offers from IllinoisKansas StateMinnesotaMissouri (where his brother 
 will be a freshman), OklahomaTexas Tech and Wake Forest among others and I don’t have any doubts in my mind that he’s going to end up a nice player at that level.
. I always keep a watchful eye on prospects that might play two sports throughout their high school careers before deciding to focus all of their time and attention on one. Drumgoole was a more than recruitable football prospect for the past two years but has made the move to La Lumiere for his final year of play and in doing so, decided to give up football.
While I thought that he was a solid glue guy for the mid-major ranks following my prior evaluations of him, it was at his final event in July that either he saw the light come on, or I finally awakened. He is not just a small ball power forward anymore but a good-sized 3-man that can really make shots. DePaulGeorgia, and Maryland are the first power conference programs to offer. GeorgetownTexas and South Carolina have become involved, too.
A month from now, Drumgoole should hold near a dozen high-major offers but beforehand, I hope that we have a number next to his name, inserting the New Yorker into the Rivals150 for the first time.
McDonald: I'd be downright salty if 
 doesn't crack the updated Rivals150 for the 2019 class. He's probably worthy of being a four-star prospect and ranked closer to the middle of the 150.
I've done a complete 180 on Hunter since the beginning of July. After watching him multiple times during his junior season, I was never on board with him being a high-major prospect, but it's certainly possible I saw him on the wrong nights. I carried this opinion through the early parts of the travel season. But he completely won me over in July as he looked like a player who really worked on his game during June and really became a more consistent player. He's always been a pretty good shooter, but I also see him as a real threat off the bounce now, and I also view him as a somebody who will be an All-ACC caliber defender.
Hunter committed to Clemson earlier this week over offers from GeorgiaMichigan State,OklahomaVirginia and several others.

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