basketball Edit

Florida Man: Michael Foster's future, Overtime League, more

Michael Foster
Michael Foster (Courtesy of USA Basketball)

Each week, Rivals' national basketball analyst and very own Florida Man, Rob Cassidy, takes readers around the hoops recruiting world, touching on news, notes and developments that relate to prospects and teams from coast to coast.

This week, he says one of the top prospects in America will skip college, examines the future of the recently announced Overtime League and makes note of a class-of-2022 guard that is helping his stock.


MORE: Five Cassidy predictions

IN OR OUT? Wichita State, Ole Miss, Michigan State | Syracuse, Utah State, Xavier

2021 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2022 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2023 Rankings: Top 30


PREDICTION OF THE WEEK: Michael Foster will opt out of college 


The No. 12 prospect in the class of 2021, Michael Foster has narrowed his list of options to Georgia, Florida State and the NBA G League. An announcement should be coming in the near future. And while Foster could surprise by choosing the Seminoles or Bulldogs the pro route seems like the overwhelmingly smart bet.

Foster averaged 31 points and 14 rebounds per game as a senior at Arizona’s Hillcrest Prep and seems up to the task of thriving in the professional game right now. It’s difficult to imagine a situation in which he plays a minute of college basketball. Stranger things have happened, sure, but people that work in pro basketball say they expect Foster to turn pro and those types of whispers are rarely wrong.


STOCK UP: Chance Westry

Already the No. 32 player in the class of 2022, Chance Westry is making his case to slide even further up the rankings. Westry was a breakout star of the Battle of The Rock Event. Westry did it all in a 20-point performance on Friday. The 6-foot-5 combo guard finished through contact, knocked down 3-pointers, created his own shot and showed a knack for facilitating. You know a performance left an impression when multiple people - some not connected to Westry in any way - text to ask if you saw it. Some of the highlights can be found here if you’re into that sort of thing.

The four-star prospect was once thought to be a heavy Syracuse lean and may well still be. Maryland, Florida, Michigan, Georgetown and others are also involved. Nobody helped their stock more than Westry over the weekend.


INCOMPLETE THOUGHT OF THE WEEK: What to make of the Overtime League? 

Overtime, the web company best known for its viral highlight videos, has announced that it will be starting a professional basketball league for elite high school prospects. It promises to pay six-figure salaries and provide athletes with another alternative to unpaid college hoops.

On the surface, it sounds like utopia. In reality, this thing is gonna go one of two ways: Either it’s going to usher in a seismic change in American basketball and the system’s hierarchy or you and your buddies are going to be sitting at bar a few years from now, talking about how great it is to not be wearing masks and saying things like “Remember the league that thought people would tune in to watch 16-year-olds play basketball?”

It’s easy to root for the venture’s success. Elite athletes should be compensated monetarily for the value they create, and the more avenues for that to take place the better. The question that will determine which way this will go is obviously: “How will the league make money?” Capitalism can be a real bummer in that way. It’s hard to imagine a league built on high school players building any sort of brand loyalty outside the most diehard basketball people on the planet. I can’t fathom a world in which television ratings for the games are higher than "Matlock" reruns or seeing merch sales move the needle. Will people buy tickets to see this? Who knows?

What Overtime does incredibly well is monetize highlights and other video content, which I assume is a massive part of the strategy for the league. The brand has some cachet with a younger audience that prefers to ingest content in short, online clips rather than watch full games. Moments from this league will go viral. There’s no doubt about that, but you need other revenue streams to sustain the $100,000 minimum salaries and health care the company has advertised. I’m rooting for this to thrive, if for no other reason than the fact that it will place added pressure on the NCAA to change the way it operates. I’m a bit skeptical of its long-term viability. But, hey, fingers crossed.


PARTING THOUGHT: Uniform NCAA Tournament courts must die 

I know I’m not the first person to express frustration with modern and milquetoast NCAA Tournament hardwood, but there has to be some kind of petition we can sign to force the event to go back to leaving the court designs as is. Uniformity is the enemy of people.

The Tyus Edney buzzer beater is made cooler by the aggressively 1995 Boise State logo at center court and the obnoxious blue-and-orange color scheme on the floor. The Eric Maynor dagger is spiced up by the weird sea green-and-teal court that served as the backdrop.

Personality is nothing to be afraid of, and we should let the game sites showcase that personality. History will thank us.