Evans Seven: 2020 recruitments that took surprising turns in June
Just when we thought we knew where some of the best players in the 2020 class might land, the month of June brought a slew of surprises that reshaped those recruitments. In this week’s Evans Seven, we spotlight seven Rivals150 juniors who are leaving June with much different recruitments compared to how they entered the month.
2021 Rankings: Rivals150
1. CADE CUNNINGHAM
If you missed it earlier this week, Cade Cunningham, the top-ranked guard in the 2020 class, saw his brother, Cannen Cunningham, get hired on staff at Oklahoma State. Very rarely does a prospect have a family member hired and not end up committing to that program. It also helps that the Cowboys have invested arguably the most amount of time in recruiting Cade, and the coaching hire might be the final domino to fall when it comes to Cunningham’s commitment.
However, the five-star guard has remained noncommittal in giving his allegiances to the Big 12 program. How it might affect the other programs recruiting him remains to be seen. Do colleges force his hand or do they back off entirely, feeling like it is a lost cause? Expect a few to remain in touch, just in case Cunningham does not feel right with OK State. Those programs might include Duke, Florida, Kentucky and Texas.
2. EARL TIMBERLAKE
The top 30 wing took early official visits to Providence and South Carolina and hasn't had a problem finding quality college suitors. Alabama, Georgetown, Louisville and Pitt are just a few others that have invested time in recruiting him, but the past few weeks have been a blur for him.
He did an awesome job of boosting his stock this spring on the Nike EYBL circuit, due to his size, ball skills and toughness in the backcourt. However, his time at the NBPA Top 100 Camp - and then during the first high school camp session last weekend - skyrocketed his recruitment. Cal and Miami came in with offers, but the one received by North Carolina could really change things.
Timberlake has never been in a rush with things and he is one of the more even-keeled kids around, but receiving a UNC offer might have blown his recruitment wide open - with no end in sight.
3. PUFF JOHNSON
We highlighted the circumstances surrounding Johnson earlier this week, but a quick recap: He was ruled ineligible to play his senior year by his local district. Johnson could have the ruling erased by the state, but if not, he could either attend a prep school this fall or move to Arizona and live with his brother, newly drafted NBA player Cameron Johnson. If he chooses the latter route, he would attend a high school in the Phoenix area. Another option: He could attempt to receive enough credits this summer to enroll in college this fall.
Johnson just took an official visit to Notre Dame, and the Irish are heavily in the mix, but Arizona might be the program to beat. The Wildcats are led by Sean Miller, who played with Johnson’s father in college, and they have remained in constant contact with the top 50 wing since the calendar turned. North Carolina and Pitt are also strongly in the mix. As much as Johnson's recruitment changed in June, there could be more to come in July.
4. DAWSON GARCIA
Garcia has been talked about plenty in recent months, and the priority prospect from Minnesota could easily have ended his recruitment and decided to stay in his home state. Instead, Garcia stayed patient with the process and - thanks to his standout play at the USA Basketball under-19 trials and the dearth of quality forwards in the 2020 class - his offers have only gotten bigger and better.
Originally, programs such as Baylor, Indiana, Marquette, Minnesota, Ohio State, Purdue and Texas threw their hats into the mix. But then came June, when the bluebloods jumped into the picture. Arizona offered in May, but then came offers from Kansas and North Carolina. Texas Tech also offered, and Duke and Kentucky might be next. Whatever the case, not many have boosted their stock more in the past 30 days than Garcia.
5. CAM'RON FLETCHER
Just weeks ago, the prevailing thought was that Fletcher would end up at either Michigan State or Missouri. Tom Izzo and his staff did a great job of laying out a strong case for him, but the local Mizzou program might have been out in front. Cuonzo Martin has done a fine job of landing some of the best from his state and after enrolling Fletcher’s former teammate, Mario McKinney, the Tigers may have been the team to beat.
That might not be the case any longer. First, Arkansas, UCLA and Vanderbilt offered. Then, just last week, things were taken up another few more notches when Kentucky and North Carolina offered. Whether either program backs up their offer with priority attention will be worth watching.
Look for Missouri and the others who were originally involved to invest even more time in his recruitment, but Fletcher now enters July as likely one of the most-watched prospects during the evaluation periods that begin at the Nike Peach Jam.
6. HUNTER DICKINSON
Notre Dame and Purdue were the early favorites for Dickinson as the top 30 center visited both during his junior year. Each remain possible landing spots, as does Louisville, since his visit to the ACC program went extremely well.
He also is likely to visit Alabama in September, but this is no longer a recruitment that is limited to a select few programs. It's a wide-open affair. After competing at the United States under-19 trials, where he displayed tremendous low-post play, Michigan and North Carolina decided to offer. Could the idea of playing for former NBA big man Juwan Howard be intriguing for Dickinson? How about Roy Williams’ big-man system in Chapel Hill?
The Irish and Boilermakers may be sweating things out a little bit after the emergence of Michigan and UNC and the attention Dickinson is also receiving from Alabama, Louisville and several others.
7. NIELS LANE
Lane’s stock has soared. Lane, now a member of the Rivals150, entered the spring with a rather limited high-major recruitment outside of Providence, but he enters the summer with a handful of prestigious offers from some of the East Coast’s best. No one has recruited him longer than Ed Cooley and his staff, and they have done a tremendous job of developing a strong rapport with Lane and his family.
His commitment will not come easy, though. In the past 30 days Cal, Penn State, Pitt, Seton Hall and Miami have offered. Do not discount Florida or Virginia Tech, either, as he just visited Blacksburg earlier this month and could potentially visit Gainesville in September. Lane is likely to receive even more offers because he boasts tremendous size and perimeter scoring.