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Conference Call: Programs building strong foundation for 2018-19

In last week's Conference Call column, we took a glance at the graduate transfer market and which programs cashed in with quality pulls this spring. This time around, we look a year beyond at programs set up for success for the 2018-2019 season, as we touch on schools that have reeled in 2018 commitments or landed transfers that will sit out this winter before jumping back onto the the court the following season.

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Rick Pitino and his staff have a leg up on the competition and in a major way as they have landed the commitment of top-30 guard Courtney Ramey, another from Anfernee Simons, a high-end four-star guard, each coming from the 2018 class, along with UConn transfer big man Steven Enoch. Losing Donovan Mitchell early to the NBA this spring, Pitino would love to have either Ramey or Simons at his disposal this fall, not next. However, the wait will make it that much better when the Cards add the well-polished backcourt duo along with Enoch, a big man that didn’t do too well at UConn but still has the potential to live up to his original top 75 billing out of high school. Look for Louisville to remain a top 20 team this season and remain in contention for ACC supremacy, especially if it can hit on another big man junior target this summer and close things out with five-star 2018 wing Romeo Langford.


Ed Morrow
Ed Morrow (USA TODAY Sports Images)

DePaul definitely has a case to be made that it deserves the Big East spotlight thanks to the recent commitment of Tyger Campbell, a five-star point guard that will reclassify into the 2018 class, and the junior commitment from John Diener, a three-point sharpshooter. However, it is Marquette that gets the nod here. Last week, the Golden Eagles secured the commitment of Nebraska transfer big man Ed Morrow. The Chicago native will sit out this year before becoming a go-to interior option for the Big East crew as he should work nicely alongside incoming freshmen Ikechukwu Eke and Theo John. The wildcard is Brendan Bailey, a smooth 6-foot-7 small forward and the son of former NBA star Thurl Bailey. A top 60 prospect in the 2015 class, Bailey is finishing up his final year of his mission.


Dane Goodwin
Dane Goodwin

While the decommitment of Darius Bazley, a top 75 forward, has lowered the expectations about what the 2018 recruiting class might look like, it still doesn’t hurt that the Buckeyes have grabbed two top shooting junior guards. Dane Goodwin has continued to improve each step of the way and alongside him is Justin Ahrens, a 6-foot-4 scoring wing with unlimited range on his jumper and deceptive athleticism at the basket. Ohio State does need to add to its incoming perimeter duo and landing a playmaking forward such as Pete Nance or Jerome Hunter could really improve the 2018-2019 season and beyond.


Dedric Lawson
Dedric Lawson (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Iowa State has become known for its ability to land some of the top transfers and implement them within its system. Kansas stole the baton from ISU this spring and took it to another level as it landed California’s third-leading scorer last year in Charlie Moore, a diminutive 6-foot lead guard who scored 38 points in his second career game in college, along with the Lawson brothers out of Memphis. Dedric Lawson is the gem of the class, while many expected for the 6-foot-8 forward to be heading to the NBA, not another college program. Together, Dedric and K.J. Lawson should fill in nicely within the Jayhawks' frontcourt.


Carlton Bragg
Carlton Bragg (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Bobby Hurley and his staff have picked up three transfer commitments this spring. The top name is Carlton Bragg, a former five-star forward from the 2015 class that didn’t have the sophomore year that he would have liked at Kansas. He will be joined by Zylan Cheatham, a 6-foot-7 do-it-all forward from San Diego State, who will immediately bring energy and toughness. Rob Edwards is also entering the mix where the Cleveland State transfer has become known for his scoring abilities.


We would be hard-pressed to find a better recruiting class within the 2018 ranks than what Arkansas has put together. Holding four early commitments, Ethan Henderson and Reggie Perry, are the faces of a class that looks to finish among the top 10. Perry, a 6-foot-9 power forward and a top 25 recruit, has the potential to immediately plaster big numbers. Alongside him is Henderson, a 6-foot-8, four-star power forward that should excel in the up-and-down pace that Mike Anderson runs. Two teammates on the travel circuit with the Arkansas Hawks have also joined the Hogs’ 2018 recruiting haul: Isaiah Joe, a sharpshooting two-guard, and Desi Sills, an active lead guard.