Evans Seven: Prospects on commitment watch
Never have we seen so many commitments this early in a specific recruiting cycle, which could all be connected with the uncertainty that the ongoing pandemic has provided. With more on the way, we take a glimpse at which prospects are close to their commitments.
1. KENNEDY CHANDLER
The talk has only continued in recent weeks that Kennedy Chandler is close to committing. One side has said that Chandler would like to complete all five of his official visits before committing, but what happens if the current on-campus recruiting ban is prolonged past Aug. 31? Does that nudge Chandler closer to committing or is he really in no real rush?
If a decision is made anytime soon, you can bet the house that it will be given to Tennessee. Rick Barnes would love nothing more to speed things up so that he could go about touting his latest recruiting win to various other five-stars that they are recruiting including Harrison Ingram, Jabari Smith and Paolo Banchero, the latter of which could lean the Vols’ way since he has often talked about playing with Chandler in college. No timetable has been outlined, but Tennessee is in a great spot.
2. JADEN AKINS
The Michigan State Spartans sit with a top-10 class in 2021 without tossing into the equation the talents of Enoch Boakye and Emoni Bates, who could reclassify and strengthen the class. But before they move solely onto the 2022 class, they have one more scholarship to fill and their top target is Jaden Akins. The four-star guard is one of the best playmakers in the Midwest and while he just narrowed his school list to a group of six and it would be a minor upset if anyone but MSU secured his commitment.
3. GABE DORSEY
Sneaking his way into the Rivals150 during its most recent update, Gabe Dorsey has had the chance to receive national recognition thanks to his size, play towards the end of the winter and his ability to make shots. One of the best mismatch forwards along the east coast that can toggle between positions in the frontcourt, a variety of schools remain in the mix with one out front.
Vanderbilt looks to have this one locked up, which would be a quality win for Jerry Stackhouse. Harvard, Miami, Providence and Penn State, where older brother Caleb is an incoming freshman, might have a say. Until a decision is made officially, Vandy will be sweating things out, but it’s only a matter of time before Dorsey make his move.
*Dorsey reported on Friday morning that he will commit on Sunday, August 2, at 7pm EST.
4. MICHAEL JAMES
Publishing his final eight just last week, there could still be some time before Michael James makes his college decision but there is also a chance that he decides to end things later next month.
A four-star forward that has continued to ascend the Rivals150 Rankings in recent updates, James has finally gotten his dues on the recruiting front, which is reflected by the schools still vying for his commitment. Texas A&M is the team to beat. USF is the local program that has recruited him as long as anyone else on his list. Virginia Tech, Alabama, Arkansas, and Oklahoma State are also involved
5. TREY JAMES
A one-time Wake Forest commit that backed off his initial pledge following the coaching change earlier in the spring, Trey James has seen his recruitment pick up again thanks to a strong summer on the travel circuit. While coaches have been unable to see him in person since his decommitment, the use of a virtual streaming has allowed for schools to prioritize. There was talk circulating earlier in the month that a commitment was near, but as we enter August, James remains on the board.
A few high-major have shown interest, and if things were to end soon, it seems James could be headed to Iowa. Replacing Luka Garza will be nearly impossible for one specific ballplayer but James does provide similar traits as Garza at the same stage and a big body that can impact the game around the rim. However, keep track of Iona as Rick Pitino's bunch could also swipe in and steal the big man.
*James committed to Iona on Friday afternoon.
6. JAMES GRAHAM
One of the top emerging forwards in the 2021 class, James Graham has seen his recruitment explode in recent months, ascending from just a mid-major prospect and now sitting as a priority for a number of high-majors throughout the nation. Just last week, Graham narrowed his college list to a final nine that consists of Auburn, Florida State, Georgetown, Marquette, Maryland, Memphis, Michigan State, Vanderbilt, and Wisconsin. Alongside it, he noted that he is not far off from his decision and while he will not be able to visit any of his finalists, a decision could come as early as the end of August.
Looking at his potential suitors, it may be difficult for Florida State and Michigan State to take Graham after landing a frontcourt commitment of their own in recent weeks. That will not deter any other from pursuing just as hard. There is no clear leader or favorites with him but a decision is not too far away.
7. JALEN WARLEY
There was a point in time that Jalen Warley was expected to prolong his recruitment into the winter and wait things out before coming to a final decision. That feeling might be changing and while there is no exact rush in making his commitment, it does appear that Warley has begun to give greater attention to his recruitment after finalizing his final list of 10 earlier in the month. There is a gap between his finalists for who exactly has a chance and who has more ground to make up.
Virginia was thought to be the favorite but recent talk has begun to swirl that has Michigan sitting in the best spot. If going far away from home is not an issue, then Oregon could have a sneaky chance. However, Miami has worked wonders with those from his area of late, but if there is one dark horse, it is Florida State. Memphis may also have a slight chance, too, with a decision date still a rather uncertainty.
*Warley will now announce his college decision on Sunday, August 9.