Basketball Recruiting - Cassidy: Big men on the move in 2023 class; two FutureCasts
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Cassidy: Big men on the move in 2023 class; two FutureCasts

We may be in the dead of college basketball’s long offseason but recruiting news keeps coming at a fast and furious pace. Class of 2023 prospects are flying off the board, and we’re closing in on yet another rankings update.

This week in his column, Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Rob Cassidy addresses both issues, as he discusses three big men poised for rankings bumps and logs a pair of FutureCasts for in-demand juniors.

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MORE: Cassidy Awards from the Duel in DFW | Cassidy's Takeaways from Duel in DFW

2022 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2023 Rankings: Rivals150

2024 Rankings: Top 40

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BIG MEN RISING

Xavier Booker
Xavier Booker

CURRENT RANKING: 38

You’d be hard-pressed to find a prospect that has had a better spring than Booker, who first came on the national radar last year around this time. The junior looks like a much different prospect now, as he’s gone from “intriguing long-term prospect” to “one of the best bigs in the country” in one calendar year. Booker has added an improved jumper from deep to a game that already included the ability to score inside and consistently block shots. He’s also seen his ball handling improve dramatically. The top 10 is not out of reach for the Indiana-based center.

RECRUITMENT: Michigan State seems to hold an advantage with Booker, but schools such as Indiana and Michigan are worth watching as well.

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CURRENT RANKING: 87

Kingsley’s size, motor and athleticism have been obvious for a while now, and that alone made him worth ranking in the top 100. What may have been a bit overlooked, however, was his level of skill. Sequences like this one, which I saw unfold at Mayhem in Maryland last month, showcase just how far the Nigerian big man has come from a technical standpoint. It also signifies what he’s capable of doing down the road if he continues to develop at this pace. A significant bump in the rankings is certainly in order.

RECRUITMENT: Sources indicate Kingsley is mulling June visits to Kansas and Kentucky. He’ll also likely tour UConn in the near future. UK has yet to offer, but could do so in the weeks following his potential visit to Lexington should the Wildcats decide they want to press for his pledge.

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CURRENT RANKING: N/A

Page remains unranked to this point simply because our sample size on his game has been a bit small and we managed to see him mostly in camp settings until this year. After various live viewings of the 6-foot-9 forward it's clear his days of being unranked are numbered. Page runs the floor with the smoothness of a much smaller prospect and finishes nearly everything in the paint. He impacts games on the defensive end and rebounds as well as almost any player of his size in this class. Page definitely has the upside of a top 75 prospect and could go even higher than that.

RECRUITMENT: A host of major programs have jumped into Page’s recruitment as of late. Indiana, Alabama, Florida and UCLA have entered the fray this spring and it seems as though there may be more where that came from.

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FUTURECAST CORNER

JA'KOBE WALTER TO BAYLOR: There are still a few months to go in the race to land four-star guard Ja’Kobe Walter, who has recently played his way to the verge of five-star status. So logging a FutureCast at this juncture is admittedly a little risky. That said, literally nothing happens to me if I’m wrong, so I’ll let it fly.

Walter has long seemed like a bit of a Baylor lean, but I’m more certain that after talking to the Team Trae Young guard on Saturday afternoon. During that conversation, Walter said he’s in the process of finalizing his official visit to Baylor and plans to announce a commitment before summer’s end, which he admitted would leave him no time to take additional visits. If this is the case, a few of the teams in the hunt (including UCLA) will miss out on getting Walter on campus.

The final visit is often an indicator, and that seems doubly likely in this case because of Walter’s relationships with head coach Scott Drew and assistant Alvin Brooks III. There’s plenty of time for things to change, as the talented guard won’t announce until late summer. Auburn or Texas, both of which have already gotten Walter on campus, could come on strong down the stretch. A new offer could arrive at the 11th hour and change things as well. Still, I feel as confident in my guess as one can at this early juncture.

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CADE PHILLIPS TO TENNESSEE: Four-star forward Cade Phillips will announce his college commitment on May 26, and his two most recent visits went to Georgia Tech and Tennessee. He’s also been on campus at places such as Alabama and Georgia, but those schools don’t seem like serious players these days. He was once intent on taking an official to Stanford, but that trip never materialized.

Predicting Phillips' landing spot seems as simple as following the visits. The Rivals150 prospect has been to Knoxville on multiple occasions and has seemed locked in on the Vols since late last year, after things wrapped on his official visit to Knoxville. The only other official visit he took was to Georgia back in October, a trip that took place under the Bulldogs’ previous coaching staff.

The puzzle pieces on this one aren't hard to put together, and Vol fans should feel good as we sit just days away from the Alabama native’s announcement.

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