Evans Seven: Programs with big visits coming up this weekend
Another slate of visits are scheduled this weekend for some of the top juniors and seniors in America. In this week’s Evans Seven, we assess which programs have the most to gain in the coming days, with Florida, Michigan and Oklahoma State taking center stage.
MORE: 3-Point Play
RIVALS RANKINGS WEEK
TUESDAY: 2020 Top 10
THURSDAY: 2020 position rankings
FRIDAY: 2021 Rivals150
SATURDAY: 2021 position rankings
SUNDAY: 2022 rankings
It is the kickoff to the football season in the Swamp, and Mike White is not holding back. Two top 65 prospects will be in town, as will Elijah Taylor, a blue-collar post from Philadelphia that Seton Hall, Notre Dame, Providence, UConn and VCU are also pursuing. Micah Peavy, who just visited Texas Tech last weekend and will head to TCU later this month, has quickly become a top target for the Gators. His commitment is not expected until the latter half of the winter, but a good trip to Florida could catapult the Gators higher up on Peavy’s list.
Niels Lane will return to UF for the second time in the past 30 days after seeing UConn last weekend. Could his commitment be near? White and his staff will definitely be pushing for it. Finally, top 50 junior Benny Williams will take an official visit to Florida as the Gators are hoping to strike again in the DMV after enrolling sharpshooting guard Noah Locke last year.
It is a critical weekend in Ann Arbor, with three of Michigan's top targets coming to campus, along with the son of its head coach, Jace Howard, who just corralled the Michigan offer last month. He has a visit scheduled for Brown but could decide to end his recruitment before it gets that far.
The Wolverines will be focusing even more attention on Nimari Burnett, Lance Ware and Hunter Dickinson. Can Howard lure a fellow Chicago native in Burnett to play for him? Toppling Alabama, Louisville, Oregon and Texas Tech will not be easy. Ware, on the other hand, has often been connected with Kentucky, but do not underestimate Michigan’s chances. Lastly, Dickinson will begin his official visit excursion, as the Wolverines have begun to pick up ground with the super skilled 7-footer. Landing any of the top 50 prospects is not expected this weekend, but the Wolverines are in a very good spot with the two frontcourt talents.
3. MICHIGAN STATE
Is the end of the recruiting trail near for Mady Sissoko? Tom Izzo is definitely hoping that is the case as the 7-footer heads to East Lansing for a 48-hour stay. Kansas and Memphis attempted to get Sissoko onto their campuses in recent days, but to no avail. Instead, Sissoko will head to Michigan State. The Spartans are already sitting as the team to beat, so it would come as no surprise if Izzo locks down arguably the greatest shot-blocker that he has ever recruited.
Sissoko will not be the only prime-time prospect on campus, as five-star junior Max Christie will make the short trip, as will Malaki Branham, a top 40 wing out of northeast Ohio. Branham’s recruitment is just beginning, but Christie is someone Michigan State invested heavily in early on. In two years, we could see two of this weekend’s visitors suit up for the Spartans.
4. OKLAHOMA STATE
In what might be the most important weekend of Mike Boynton's tenure so far as the acting head coach at Oklahoma State, the coveted jewel of his 2020 class will hit campus. Cade Cunningham, a five-star guard and the nation’s top available prospect, heads to Stillwater for his official visit. Cunningham has been to campus numerous times in the past, but not since his brother, Cannen Cunningham, was hired as an assistant coach. The top-ranked guard has been adamant about playing alongside other premier talents, which is what Boynton will be attempting to supply in hosting top 60 forward JT Thor as well. This will be his first official visit and the Cowboys sit in a great spot with the versatile forward. OK State could also host two of Cunningham’s travel teammates, Rondel Walker and Mike Miles.
Purdue has already wrapped up the backcourt for its future, and both Jaden Ivey and Ethan Morton will be on campus taking official visits to their college landing spot. It could turn into a business trip for the Rivals150 duo, however, thanks to another ranked prospect on campus that the Boilermakers are hoping will join them next year in West Lafayette.
Ryan Kalkbrenner, a 7-footer who would be a good fit in Matt Painter’s system, will get a chance to see Purdue up close. Another visit is set for Creighton next weekend, while Illinois, Missouri and Stanford are just three others that remain in the fight. Purdue has picked up steam to the point that Kalkbrenner may not be too far off from a decision.
Along with the talented group of seniors, one of the state’s best juniors, Trey Kaufman, will also be on hand taking an early official visit to a program that has invested a whole lot into his early recruitment.
Shaka Smart is getting after it this weekend. He laid out the red carpet last weekend for Bryce Thompson, but it is his top two 2020 targets, Greg Brown and DJ Steward, that will be entertained in what should be a fun atmosphere as the LSU-Texas football game takes center stage in Austin.
Steward will be taking his second trip in the past three months, and while Duke and Louisville have garnered most of the pub relative to Steward’s college landing spot, do not underestimate Smart when it comes to a prospect he prioritizes. That is the case with Brown, who is the most athletic forward nationally. Brown just scheduled an official visit for Kentucky for January, so the chances of him ending his recruitment this weekend is very minimal.
Still, the Longhorns should be perceived as one of the teams to beat and another good trip to the local program could work wonders in the eyes of the top 10 talent.
The Badgers have already hit on a number of marks along the perimeter and this weekend will be about fortifying its frontline. Greg Gard will bring Johnny and Jordan Davis onto campus in hopes that they can help patch up UW’s needs down low.
Officially visiting is Steven Crowl, a 7-footer out of Minnesota, that used the travel circuit to better his standing within many of the regional powers. Wisconsin was one of the first high-major programs to become involved and have not backed off since their initial offer earlier this year. Joining him will be his D1 Minnesota travel teammate, Ben Carlson, who has remained a busy man in recent weeks and has just kicked off his official visit tour. Last weekend, he was on the campuses at Minnesota and Xavier, and Iowa State, Purdue, and Stanford have each solidified a visit date with the Rivals150 prospect. Crowl is the likeliest of the two to become Badger commits but either one would suffice as Gard continues to assess his frontcourt needs.