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Conference Call: Elite prospects hit the road for some important visits

In what is shaping up to be one of the last big weekends of the fall on the visit front, there is no shortage of elite prospects hitting the road. In this week’s conference rundown, we take a dive into the importance of Ayo Dosunmu’s visit to Illinois and Iowa State’s opportunity to add another Rivals150 prospect to its already star-studded 2018 class. And finally, a look at the giant swath of visits taking place at Kentucky.

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ACC: NORTH CAROLINA 

Romeo Langford
Romeo Langford (Courtesy of Adidas)

Only one giant visit for an ACC program this weekend, but it is a big one. Romeo Langford, a five-star wing prospect from the state of Indiana, will head to Chapel Hill for his third official visit. A top-tier scoring weapon who is known for putting the ball through the basket, North Carolina has been nicked in the past for its inability to land one-and-done talent. That has changed some, thanks to the recent commitment of top-five wing Nassir Little. Could Langford be the next in line to pledge his allegiance to the blueblood program? It remains an uphill battle for the Tar Heels, as Indiana and Kansas remain the programs to beat, although UNC is a dark horse sleeper. Roy Williams sits with three top-100 recruits this fall; Langford’s commitment would give North Carolina the chance to enter the fall signing period next month with the best class in America.

Other Key Visits:

Pitt: Maceo Austin, Oscar Tshebwe, Brandon Stone, Curtis Aiken Jr., Ethan Morton, William Jeffress, Isaiah Warfield, Andy Barba

BIG EAST: DEPAUL 

Bryan Penn-Johnson
Bryan Penn-Johnson (GoldandBlack.com)

DePaul has been in the news recently for three things. First, for the decommitment of Rivals150 four-star guard Tyger Campbell, a prospect the Blue Demons remain in the mix for still. Second, the Blue Demons already sit with two class of 2022 commitments, prospects that have yet to touch a high school classroom. Lastly, the Big East program is set to open its sparkling new Wintrust Arena next month. Putting that all aside, Dave Leitao has what might be his most important visitor to campus during his second tenure at DePaul this weekend, coming in the form of four-star center Bryan Penn-Johnson. UCLA and Washington are heavily involved, but the Blue Demons have done a phenomenal job in prioritizing the Wasatch Academy (Utah) product. Penn-Johnson has all the tangibles that could make him an NBA prospect in the future, and landing such a prospect could be a giant boon from the optics end, while also supplying the cupboard with top-shelf talent.

Other Key Visits:

Seton Hall: Jared Rhoden

St. John’s: Jordan Brown

BIG TEN: Illinois

Ayo Dosunmu
Ayo Dosunmu (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

This is the most important weekend in Brad Underwood's brief tenure in Champaign. The first-year staff has labeled five-star guard Ayo Dosunmu as a must. As much as Underwood and his staff want Dosunmu, the Illini fan base has clamored for the type of prospect that Dosunmu is. The Illinois faithful have dreamed of a pipeline from the Windy City to Champaign, and Dosunmu, the top-rated prospect from the city (and the face of the famed Mac Irvin Fire travel program), would be a tremendous pick-up for the Big Ten program. Down to a final two of Wake Forest and Illinois, a commitment is not too far off. This weekend, the red carpet will be laid out for Dosunmu, and a solid few days two hours south could be the beginning of a resurgence within the Illini basketball program.

Other Key Visits:

Minnesota: Anthony Nelson

Maryland: Jairus Hamilton

BIG 12: IOWA STATE 

Talon Horton-Tucker
Talon Horton-Tucker (Chicago Sun Times)

Iowa State has already made a major splash this fall, as it boasts three Rivals150 prospects in the 2018 class. The Cyclones hope to add even more to the mix this weekend as they bring in all three of their commitments - George Conditt, Tyrese Haliburton and Zion Griffin - and also skilled and versatile small forward Talen Horton-Tucker. A 6-foot-5 do-it-all wing that is in the mold of former ISU great Georges Niang, Horton-Tucker would be the cherry on top of the best class Steve Prohm has ever assembled. While the Cyclones remain heavily in the hunt for Rivals150 lead guard Tyler Harris, if they were to miss on the spark-plug playmaker, Horton-Tucker’s versatility and passing skills would enable him to be used on the ball in spurts. Xavier and a handful of others remain in the hunt for Horton-Tucker, but having ISU host its three commitments could only enhance its chances of landing the Windy City product.

Other Key Visits:

Kansas: Quentin Grimes

Oklahoma State: Duncan DeMuth, Trey Phipps, Bryce Thompson, Rondell Walker, Mike Miles, Trey Alexander

WVU: Jordan McCabe

PAC-12: ARIZONA STATE 

Bryce Hamilton
Bryce Hamilton (Scott Kurtz)

Arizona State has some shoes to fill following this season as it sees Kodi Justice, Tra Holder and Shannon Evans exhaust their college eligibility in Tempe. The Sun Devils have yet to strike in the 2018 class, and while they have gained some traction with top-50 guard Luguentz Dort in recent weeks, even if they do land the physically imposing guard, more perimeter firepower is needed. All of which makes this weekend’s visit from Rivals150 guard Bryce Hamilton that much more important. Hamilton, whose brother player Blake plays professionally in Latvia, father played at UTEP and cousin Jordan Hamilton played in the NBA, will take his second official visit this weekend. Known for his vast scoring skills and loads of confidence, Hamilton would inject energy and bucket-scoring capabilities into the Pac-12 program. Hamilton heads to Ohio State in two weeks. It is expected that Bobby Hurley will attempt to muster out his first class of 2018 commitment this weekend.

Other Key Visits:

Cal: Matt Bradley

Utah: Filip Petrusev

SEC: KENTUCKY 

Zion Williamson
Zion Williamson (adidas)

John Calipari is ready to introduce another set of one-and-done prospects to the rest of the world, a group that can also be known as the 2017-2018 Kentucky Wildcats. Big Blue Madness is an event that gets droves of Wildcats fans excited about another potential trip to the Final Four. While all eyes will be on the court for its first look at its men’s basketball unit, the UK coaching staff will not be holding back when it comes to hosting the nation’s elite. Already committed to Kentucky, Immanuel Quickley will be selling three top 2018 recruits on the program. His good friend, Zion Williamson, visits Lexington wit UK in a great spot with him. Bol Bol, down to Oregon and UK for his college decision, will join the two, as will Darius Garland, a five-star 2018 guard that has a good liking for Vanderbilt. The second ranked class of 2019 big man, James Wiseman, will visit Kentucky as the Wildcats offered him earlier last month. Tyrese Maxey, another five-star junior will be on hand, as will DJ Jeffries, Keion Brooks, Jaemyn Brakefield, Jalen Johnson and Zion Harmon. It is safe to assume that at least two or three of this weekend’s visitors will one day suit up for Calipari at UK.

Other Key Visits:

Alabama: Diante Wood

LSU: Darius Days, Emmitt Williams