Conference Call: Most important visitors this weekend
As football kicks off nationwide this weekend, several basketball programs are taking advantage of the opportunity to showcase their schools on fun football weekends. Below is a rundown of important visitors this weekend, broken down my conference.
ACC - LOUISVILLE
Louisville sits with a top-five 2018 recruiting class and arguably the best perimeter core entering the fall months. The Cardinals will look to enhance things further this weekend by hosting Moses Brown, this being his first official visit taken. Rick Pitino was proactive and added to his talented frontcourt this spring with the commitment of former top-100 big man and UConn transfer Steven Enoch. However, Pitino would like to add one more this fall and while Brown has never been a model of consistency, he may boast the best potential from any center in the 2018 class. Brown will visit Maryland at the end of the month, too, but if the Cardinals can somehow eke out a commitment from the New Yorker, it would then allow for all of their attention to be given to Romeo Langford, its top priority recruit for the past two years.
Other important visits:
BIG EAST - BUTLER
There are a handful of visits to Big East members this weekend but none may be as important as Miller Kopp’s trip to Butler. A 6-foot-5 small forward that is one of the better mid-range jump shooters in high school ball, there remains a hole at the wing position for next year in Indianapolis. Texas A&M, Northwestern, Michigan and Vanderbilt remain in the mix but since the new staff took over at BU, they have made the top-150 talent a priority. He has no other official visits set and while it is likely he will take one or two others trips prior to making his college decision, expect for the Bulldogs to do all that they can in notching their first class of 2018 commitment.
Other important visits
Creighton: Marcus Zegarowski
Georgetown: Immanuel Bates
Seton Hall: Jake Forrester
BIG TEN - ILLINOIS
The 2018 class is a major priority for the first-year staff in Champaign but fortunately, Brad Underwood and his assistants have been able to gain traction with a slew of top-150 players. This weekend will be the kickoff to what should be a jam-packed few months of visits. Colin Castleton and Landers Nolley will get a peek into what the Illini can offer this weekend. Castleton, who recently pulled in an offer from his dream school, Florida, will take the trek up north. Illinois fails to boast a legitimate low post presence on its roster, so playing time will be a major sell. Next to him will be Nolley, a 6-foot-6 wing that has evolved into one of the most versatile shooters and perimeter threats this fall. Georgia, UConn, Virginia Tech and Oklahoma State remain the mix for Nolley.
Other important visits:
BIG 12 - TEXAS
Shaka Smart will lay out the red carpet for, what might-be, his top two recruits from the 2018 class. Keldon Johnson, a five-star small forward that was recently offered by Kentucky, will head to Texas for a weekend stay. The UT staff has done a phenomenal job of prioritizing the Richmond native dating back to their tenure at VCU as the Longhorns remain one of the favorites battling NC State, Maryland, and UK for his commitment. Across the nation will come Kamaka Hepa, a skilled and versatile playmaking forward. One of the best talents from the state of Alaska within the past 20 years, Hepa has only one visit set thus far, that being Texas, all of which bodes well for the Longhorns this weekend. Look for Smart to use his already committed class of 2018 recruits, Brock Cunningham and Gerald Liddell, this weekend in bolstering their chances further with Johnson and Hepa as the duo will be visiting Austin for an unofficial visit.
Other important visits:
PAC-12 - WASHINGTON
Classes have yet to resume at Washington but that hasn’t affected first year head coach Mike Hopkins from lining up Labor Day weekend as one of the more crucial ones this fall for his UW program. In need of supplying the cupboard this recruiting cycle, Washington will, just like it had done in the 2017 class this summer, look to the east as it will host two prospects that call the DMV region home. Xavier Johnson, one of the quickest lead guards in the 2018 class will visit,, as will Nate Roberts. A smooth forward brimming with talent, Roberts could be a major break-out performer in college. It does not seem as if a commitment is in store from either of the two as this will be each of their first official visits, though a good weekend in the Pacific Northwest could set up Washington for a successful run this fall.
SEC - KENTUCKY
Kentucky has yet to strike in the 2018 class but this weekend, the Wildcats are back where they are accustomed, which is chasing after the elite. No. 1 player RJ Barrett, a 6-foot-6 small forward that, two months ago, demolished UK head coach John Calipari and his United States under-18 team at the FIBA World Cup, will now spend the weekend with the UK coach. Down to a group of five consisting of UK, Michigan, Oregon, Duke and Arizona, each program is a viable landing spot for Barrett, though the Wildcats will have the chance to sell their successful path to the NBA after one year on campus, the ability to compete in practice against the best and play on the biggest of platforms that college basketball can provide. No commitment is expected but a good weekend in Lexington could enhance the Wildcats’ chances with Barrett tremendously.