Evans Seven: Programs hosting significant visits this weekend
Football is back, and at the same time the official visit trail in the basketball world has begun to heat up. In this week’s Evans Seven, we put the spotlight on seven college campuses with the most intriguing visits taking place this weekend.
1. TEXAS A&M
Kyle Field is going to be rocking on Saturday night as No. 2 Clemson comes into Aggieland, which should only bolster Texas A&M’s basketball program. Billy Kennedy had a good start to the week, thanks to the commitment of Rivals150 big man Tyreek Smith, and he is hoping that his already committed pledges, Chris Harris and Sahvir Wheeler, might push things over the top during their visit to campus with a trio of nationally ranked prospects joining them.
Samuell Williamson and Drew Timme will be in College Station, with Williamson is fresh off of a visit to Kansas. Despite the notion that his recruitment might have been coming to a close, the top 50 wing has remained open. Timme, one of the hardest-to-read prospects in recent years, will begin his own official visit spree. Whispers have begun to circulate around A&M and its positioning with Timme. A commitment is not expected for some time, but the Aggies are in a very good spot with him.
Wheeler’s travel teammate, Rivals150 junior LJ Cryer, will be making another visit to Texas A&M on Saturday, a day that could prove to be a stepping stone toward a nationally ranked class this fall.
2. TEXAS TECH
It's a massive weekend in Lubbock for the Red Raiders, as they will bring in four Rivals150 prospects and are hoping that before the end of the weekend, at least one might be willing to say yes.
One already has though, that being Kevin McCullar, a four-star guard that will actually enroll mid-year. The in-state prospect will be joined by Marcus Watson, a four-star small forward from Georgia that just visited Boston College. Georgia Tech, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech are seen as the top suitors for him. Jahmius Ramsey will return to his native state, and the Oak Hill Academy product has remained vocal about signing late, though whispers in the Lone Star State say that the Red Raiders may be one of his top suitors at the end of the day. Finally, Victor Iwuakor rounds things out after visiting Oklahoma last weekend. Texas Tech will hope to woo the intimidating big man to Lubbock for his college career.
Don’t be surprised to see one of these weekend visitors alongside McCullar with a Texas Tech jersey by the time next winter rolls around.
Florida kicked off its 2019 class last month, thanks to the commitment of top 30 guard Tre Mann, and the in-state product will be on campus hoping to account for his first assist as a future member of the program. Headed to Gainesville is Scottie Lewis, a top two-way player and one of the most coveted prospects in the 2019 class. Down to a final seven, Kentucky and the Gators are thought to be the top contenders for his commitment. But UF could have a slight lead, and after his visit to UK next week, he might be close to calling it a day.
Omar Payne will also be on hand, as he makes the short trek to Gainesville for a 48-hour stay. The Gators have been a heavy presence in his recruitment for the past three years, and many believe that pulling the top 50 center from the state’s borders will be difficult, and that should work in the favor for Mike White’s program.
Top 40 junior Corey Walker will also be on campus, joining the three top 50 prospects.
Most programs host their top targets during nationally televised football weekends or homecoming. Kentucky is a bit different. There will be no such thing this weekend as they bring five-star center James Wiseman to campus. This visit is strictly about basketball and further outlining what UK can do for Wiseman. Memphis is the top contender for Wiseman, along with the Wildcats, and while visits could be made to Kansas, Vanderbilt and Florida State, it is still difficult to believe that Wiseman would end up anywhere but Memphis or Kentucky.
This is a big one for Kentucky, and while there is no end in sight with his recruitment, the fact that he decided to spend an official visit on the blueblood program so early in the year says something. Wiseman has been to campus a number of times, but this is of a different ilk. This 48-hour tour of the Kentucky program could be a building block to the eventual pledge of the five-star to UK.
5. NC STATE
This may be the biggest weekend of the fall for Kevin Keatts’ staff, as two of his top targets visit the Raleigh campus. Jalen Lecque and Patrick Williams will spend the next few days getting a better understanding of what NC State has to offer.
Lecque, a five-star guard from New York who spent last year within the state’s borders at the Christ School, is one of the more entertaining prospects in the nation. Selecting a favorite in his recruitment has been difficult, but to say that the Wolfpack have a fighter’s chance with him would be a fair statement.
Alongside him will be Williams, one of the top upside wing prospects in America. Williams has spoken very little about his recruitment, and selecting a favorite for him is tough. However, distance could be a factor, so Keatts’ crew, Virginia Tech and Florida State could be in the best spot, though Texas and Arizona shouldn't be discounted.
Regardless, a solid weekend could push the Wolfpack into the driver’s seat with one or both of the tremendously talented senior prospects.
The battle for state bragging rights for football supremacy is on the line this weekend as Iowa hosts Iowa State play Saturday. Fran McCaffery will take advantage of that while hosting some of his top targets in the coming years.
He will have his son, Rivals150 senior and already-committed small forward Pat McCaffery on campus for an official visit. The younger McCaffery will be put to work as Trayce Jackson-Davis, the Hawkeyes’ highest rated recruit this fall, will be spending an official visit. Jackson-Davis visited UCLA last weekend, and while Iowa is playing catch-up they could be the dark horse fighting with the Bruins, Indiana and Wake Forest for his signature.
Iowa needs to also fill a point guard void and is looking at Joe Toussaint, who will spend the weekend in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes may be the team to beat with him, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see a commitment before Monday rolls around.
Iowa won’t just stop with the 2019 class, as the top in-state junior, Xavier Foster, will be making another trip to see the Hawkeyes, and they may be the team to beat for the five-star prospect.
The Hurricanes have a handful of big weekends ahead, but this one will be an important one for Jim Larranaga’s crew. James Bouknight heads down the coast to see what Miami can offer. Indiana and UConn are thought to be the favorites for him, but it is never a wise idea to discount the Hurricanes with an East Coast prospect, as they have proven in the past. They can make up ground in a hurry as the dark horse with the tough-nosed scorer out of New York.
A shorter tip - but one that is just as an important - is being made by CJ Walker, a top 50 forward who was born in New York before residing in the Orlando area for most of his upbringing. The Hurricanes are in his final five, and they are duking it out with Arizona, Florida, Oregon and LSU. This will be Walker's first visit taken this fall, and Miami is hoping it can impress the talented forward enough to put themselves in the pole position for the trending prospect.