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Cancer Research Classic: Saturday's Takeaways

Cliff Omoruyi
Cliff Omoruyi

WHEELING, WV. – The Cancer Research Classic came to a close on Saturday with standout play from two guards headed to Purdue. While Matt Painter has more than reason to be excited, there was much else to take away from our time in West Virginia including Jeremy Roach’s explosiveness, the Wilcher brothers showing out and the wait will continue with Cliff Omoruyi.

Cliff Omoruyi remains as dominant as ever. Finding someone built in the mold of the four-star center, at least in the high school game, is difficult which is why he remains one of the most prioritized and needed recruits this winter. Down to a final eight, Omoruyi told that there is no plans to take any visits until the spring and that he will give his recruitment a complete look once his season finishes later this year.

Arizona State and Kentucky have been two of the most discussed landing spots for him, thoguh others such as Auburn, Rutgers and UConn should have a say, too. Regardless, Omoruyi continues to make strides in the skill department category. He reamins at his best, though, around the basket as a shot blocker, rebounder and lob finisher.

He just missed a triple-double in last year’s event; not this time. Ethan Morton notched an impressive stat line of 11 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists in less than 20 minutes of action and while such numbers might not be in the norm in college, the abilities that he had on display will be a constant sight at Purdue.

Morton will never be relied upon first for his scoring but rather it is his ability to create for others and run a half-court offense that remain his calling card. For a program that has become reliant on smaller scorers but bigger facilitators, Morton might not have found a better home than the Big 10 program. He should thrive in West Lafayette and is another building block for Matt Painter to lean on in keeping his Boilermakers amongst the elite within its respective league.

Jeremy Sochan is ready to begin his high-major recruitment. Making his way over the pond earlier this fall, Sochan, who was actually born in Oklahoma but moved to England whenever he was three years old, is not someone that is going to immediately jump out with his explosiveness or quick-twitch handle but whenever it comes to making the right play, defending different positions and rebounding, he is up for the task.

Transitioning to the American game is never an easy thing but it is only a matter of time before Sochan finds the proper footing. Montana State, Santa Clara, Utah and Washington State are his four offers right now. That will change. A bevy of power conference programs are showing interest but it is only a matter of time before that interest evolves into offers and Sochan becomes a top target for those in need of a skill and diverse forward that can fill a variety of roles.

The Wilchers put on a show. CJ Wilcher has been the name to know over the past few years but Simeon, his younger brother by three years, is going to give him a run for his money. The elder wing is a shot maker at its finest. While he had a poor showing on Friday whenever it came to making his shots, that wasn’t the case on Saturday. Headed to Xavier, Wilcher is going to be a favorite of Travis Steele’s. He changes the game by just being on the floor and allows for easier driving lanes for his guards which might make it that much easier for the ever-explosive Dwon Odom to do his thing.

Simeon, a freshman guard, is one of the more quick-twitch playmakers you’re going to come across. He possesses long arms that he uses well on the defensive end, and great vision and passing skills that he leans on offensively. Offers have already been received by Auburn and St. John’s, though this is just the beginning. Wilcher has the chance to be a national recruit out of the 2023 class as long as he continues to make the proper strides with his game.

Not to jump on the Purdue bandwagon here but Jaden Ivey did an awesome job of bouncing back from a rather dismal showing on Friday with a tremendous outing on Saturday. The well-built guard is more of a scorer at heart that, alongside Morton over the next few years, should excel. He is a sneaky defender that has the requisite size and toughness to guard different positions along the perimeter. Throw in his offensive scoring punch it and what you have is a solid two-way piece that should lead a quality college career in the Big 10. Ivey finished with 19 points and did a much better job of bringing greater urgency to the floor during his second game of the event.

Michigan State will have a major hole to fill after this season with an all-time great set to graduate in Cassius Winston. No one can fill such a void alone but AJ Hoggard showed that he is more than ready to at least pitch in at the lead guard spot. A giant playmaker that sees the game and can deliver off of the high ball screen, Hoggard has a throwback style of ball that should acclimate well in East Lansing.

He is a more than capable scorer that can use his size to finish around the basket and has bettered his perimeter jumper in recent months but it is his passing prowess that will be relied upon immediately. Hoggard finished with 13 points and eight assists, and should have a chance to leave upon his arrival in the fall.

Speaking of replacing an All-American point guard, what Duke does in figuring out the point guard position won’t be much of a debate despite the likely departure of Tre Jones to the NBA. Jeremy Roach, now entirely healthy following a torn ACL suffered last fall, didn’t shoot it as great as he might have liked but whenever it came to getting to the basket and playing through contact, Roach did it.

He is a winner in every sense and will be the next great Duke point guard. I am not sure if he is a one-and-done but I am certain that he will be loved by the Cameron Crazies the first day that he steps foot onto campus. Jones might be the better defender but Roach has more pop to his game.

Tyrell Ward doesn’t get a ton of attention for the loaded DeMatha Catholic bunch but his time is coming soon. A much-improved jump shooter with great potential as a defender, Ward looks the part of the next big-time prospect out of the famed program.

He already holds an offer from Providence, and has taken unofficial visits to both Maryland and Syracuse. By the time the summer completes, expect for many of the regional high-majors to be involved. Ward showed just enough two-way versatility and intrigue on Saturday that will place him in the argument for inclusion within the next 2022 Rivals150 update.