Evans Seven: Updates on where top uncommitted seniors stand
February is here, which means we are just weeks away from March Madness. And while basketball fans will be watching to see who can make a run to the Final Four, it will also be the start of the coaching carousel and personnel changes. Those activities should kick-start the recruitments of the top available prospects in the 2020 class. We address those situations in this week’s Evans Seven.
2022 Rankings: Top 75
1. JALEN GREEN
Jalen Green is the nation’s top available senior and it doesn’t seem that he is in much of a rush to make a college decision. A final school list has never been produced, but the official visits that he has taken to Auburn, Fresno State, Memphis, Oregon and USC make up the group of schools from which he will pick.
He took an extra official visit to Memphis, and his relationship with assistant coach Mike Miller and head coach Penny Hardaway could weigh on his mind when it comes time to commit. However, don’t underestimate Auburn’s chances, as the Tigers are nipping on Memphis’ heels.
Chances are strong that he leaves the Fresno area for college, and the professional realm remains an option, despite recent reports. A decision will not be made until after the coaching carousel slows and NBA Draft deferrals take place in the spring.
2. GREG BROWN
Just like Green, a commitment from Greg Brown is not imminent. He will use his final official visit with a trip to Michigan this weekend. The Wolverines jumped into the picture practically out of nowhere, as Juwan Howard has made connections with Brown and his family. A great run it is for Michigan, but the Wolverines are in major catch-up mode.
Brown has already taken official visits to Auburn, Kentucky, Memphis and Texas. The Longhorns were the perceived favorite for over a year, but rumors have begun to swirl that Memphis may have surpassed UT. Professional opportunities could also be explored, but chances remain strong that he plays in college.
Similar to Green, a college decision won’t be made until the spring, after various coaching changes and early entrees to the NBA Draft unfold.
3. ZIAIRE WILLIAMS
Maybe the closest of the five-star players to committing, Ziaire Williams has not done a whole lot with his recruitment of late despite having a handful of officials to take (if he so pleases). He still has yet to publish a list of final schools but, for the most part, the contenders include Arizona, North Carolina, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA and USC.
UNC was the perceived favorite a year ago, but the Tar Heels have lost traction, as has Stanford, though the Cardinal remain in contention. He has never visited Oregon, but could do so before he decides. Meanwhile, talk continues to center around Arizona and USC. Williams is more than likely to play in the Pac-12 in college, but don’t underestimate the possibility of him playing overseas.
4. JOSH CHRISTOPHER
We don’t know the commitment date for Josh Christopher, but we know the schools on his final list: Arizona State, Michigan, Missouri and UCLA. He has already taken official visits to ASU and Michigan, and in the fall he took a visit to Howard. The latter is no longer in contention, but he could potentially visit Mizzou and UCLA before making his college decision, which isn't expected until after the college season completes.
Michigan seemed to have taken the pole position for his commitment at the turn of the calendar year, but ASU has made it a neck-and-neck affair for the five-star after a visit to Tempe a few weeks back. Just like any elite prospect nowadays, the idea of going pro could also be intriguing, but look for Christopher to be enrolled at either ASU or Michigan at this time next year.
5. MAKUR MAKER
Makur Maker won't be going to college, at least if he has it his way. We addressed his situation this week, and it looks as if there is not a definitive timeline yet for when Maker will receive full clarification on his professional status.
One must be a full year removed from his high school graduation and 19 years old on the day of the NBA Draft. Maker will meet the age requirement, but there are questions surrounding his academic status. If the NBA denies Maker's wishes of entering this summer’s draft, he could look to enhance his standing by attending college for a year. Possibilities include Auburn, Howard or Oregon - or playing a year overseas. It would seem that his decision might be the last of any of the top 50 prospects still undecided.
6. CLIFFORD OMORUYI
Clifford Omoruyi is arguably the most coveted prospect left on the board, thanks to fact that he is big, strong and active, and he can impact the game without having a play called for him and he has a desire to work.
He will select either Arizona State, Auburn, Kentucky, Rutgers or UConn, and he has already taken an official visit to Auburn. Rutgers was the lead early in the process, but thanks to his breakout this past summer things have become muddled.
Since then, ASU and UK have gained some momentum, with the Sun Devils garnering most of the talk because of the hiring of an assistant coach with whom he has a great relationship. Look for his remaining four official visits to be completed once his season finishes and a signing to be made in the spring.
7. MARJON BEAUCHAMP/KJ MARTIN
Finishing off the remaining top-50 prospects that have to decide on a college home, we are going to group Marjon Beauchamp and KJ Martin together as each share a similar thought process on how they view college. That is, neither is planning to go, though they will go about achieving their dreams of reaching the NBA in two separate ways.
Beauchamp has already made his intentions known that he will not be playing college ball next year. He won’t be playing overseas either, but rather, will participate in a 12-month training program that is Chameleon BX leading up to the 2021 NBA Draft.
Martin is hoping that he can hear his name called in this summer’s NBA Draft. He had committed to the prior staff at Vanderbilt last year, but then attempted to play in the NBL before resorting to a prep year at IMG Academy. He is hoping that a year spent developing his tools and body might enhance his chances of the NBA; if not, the NBL might also be an option.