Evans Seven: Previewing a key weekend of official visits
Some of the nation’s elite are hitting the road this weekend for midnight madness and homecoming events. Florida will bring the nation’s top available senior to campus, meanwhile, Kansas, Memphis and Tennessee are just a few others that will be hosting elite high school talent. In this week’s Evans Seven, we preview a key weekend of official visits across the nation.
The Gators welcome College GameDay to town for the football contest between Florida and Auburn, but don’t short change the basketball staff for who they were able to lure to campus.
While they have rarely been connected to the top-ranked guard in America, Cade Cunningham will make the short trip to the SEC program to gain a better idea of what Mike White and his staff can offer. Omar Payne, his former school teammate and very close friend, will be hosting Cunningham and will be pitching the idea of playing together again next year. Cunningham has two other official visits scheduled with a commitment likely to be made next month.
Kowacie Reeves will take an official visit to Florida, this being his third trip to Gainesville within the past year; keep an eye on him this weekend. Ben Middlebrooks, Carter Whitt, and Deebo Coleman are three others that will take an unofficial visit to UF on Saturday.
The Hoosiers have already secured a very strong three-man class this fall and this weekend, will attempt to get a leg up on the younger classes by bringing three of its state’s top juniors to campus. The highest-rated will be Khristian Lander who, just last weekend, took his first official visit to Louisville. The five-star guard has been a heavily coveted target for Archie Miller since his hiring two years ago and while he has been to campus a number of times, expect for the Hoosiers to gain even greater ground with Lander due to his full 48-hour stay on the Bloomington campus. His decision is trending towards a selection between IU and Louisville.
Joining him will be Trey Kaufman, a Rivals150 forward that has already taken official visits to Notre Dame and Purdue this fall. Caleb Furst will also be on campus after seeing Virginia last weekend. It seems to be more of a battle between the Wahoos and Hoosiers for the top-40 junior.
The Jayhawks have been in the news of late and not for the right reasons. Three Level I violations were just levied against them and while they continue to fight such penalties, the Jayhawks will look to add to its future this weekend.
The annual Late Night in the Phog has continually been an event that draws a plethora of elite prospects to the KU campus and this season is not out of the norm. Isaiah Todd will take his official visit to the blueblood just a week after visiting Michigan. Bryce Thompson will join him as KU continues to remain a presence within his recruitment.
KK Robinson and Daivion Bradford are two others that will take an official visit to Kansas. Javonte Brown, who will likely reclassify into the 2020 class later this year, will be on campus, as will Harrison Ingram, who suited up for the same travel program as freshman Jalen Wilson. Joining Harrison in the unofficial visit variety will be Kennedy Chandler, Kendall Brown, Tamar Bates, Roosevelt Wheeler, Mark Mitchell and Gradey Dick.
Kentucky already sits with four top-50 commitments and this weekend, one will be on hand. Lance Ware, who committed last month, did so without taking his official visit to Lexington and his trip could not have come at a better due to who is joining him.
Devin Askew, the nation’s top junior point guard, will take his final official visit before committing. Last weekend, he unofficially visited Arizona and on Thursday, he was at Memphis. Just one other official visit has been taken thus far, which was to Louisville during the first weekend in September.
Chris Mack and John Calipari have the best chance with Askew and while the Cardinals have recruited him the longest, no one has greater momentum in their favor than the Wildcats. A reclassification decision is not expected until the spring, but this weekend could go a long way with Askew, who will be committing within the next three weeks.
The Penny Hardaway era in Memphis is off and running and while the Tigers put out a decent product during his inaugural season, expectations have been ramped up another few notches. Memphis Madness brought a jam-packed crowd to FedExForum on Thursday evening with Jalen Green being the center of attention. The top-ranked scoring guard has already visited Auburn, Oregon and USC, and while he could visit a few others before his Christmas Day decision, Memphis is his final scheduled visit.
The Tigers are battling Oregon for his commitment and this will be his second official visit to Memphis since last September. Expect for greater clarity regarding his recruitment to come following this weekend.
Green will complete his official visit tour on Saturday, but on Thursday, his travel teammate, Askew, was on campus, as was Chandler, Chris Moore and Moussa Cisse. The Tigers are in catch-up mode with Green with a commitment just weeks away.
Juwan Howard is still pushing for his first commitment as the Michigan head coach and never would there be a better time than this weekend. Mark Williams comes to campus as the top-40 center has already visited UCLA and, just this week, decided to trim his school list to a group consisting of the Bruins, Duke and Michigan. The Blue Devils have been the perceived favorite for Williams, whose sister played at Duke. Duke will host Williams the first weekend of November and a decision is not expected until after.
This weekend will be more about outlining what Williams can gain under the tutelage of Howard, who needs to a find a frontline producer this fall. However, just like at Memphis with Hardaway last year, could the first commitment that Howard receives also come from his son? Jace Howard will take his official visit and a commitment would not surprise.
While the football program is a bit of a mess, its counterparts on the basketball side have things rolling and this weekend, Rick Barnes is hoping to add further to the best class that he has ever assembled in Knoxville.
Sitting with the commitments of two top-35 seniors, Corey Walker and Keon Johnson, the talented duo will be putting on their recruiting hats during their own official visits. Jaden Springer, a five-star guard, is not too far away from making his college decision, with many believing Tennessee is where he will end up at. Do not discount his other finalists, Memphis and Michigan, but this will be his second official visit to Tennessee and to a program that has invested a whole lot into recruiting him.