basketball Edit

Florida Man: NIL's effect on top prospects, Jalen Duren, more

Emoni Bates
Emoni Bates (

Each week, national basketball analyst and Rivals' very own Florida Man, Rob Cassidy, takes readers around the basketball and hoops recruiting world, touching on news, notes and developments. This week, he weighs in on the new name, image and likeness rules and how they will affect top prospects. He also addresses Jalen Duren's top five list and unveils his FutureCast of the Week.


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1. Name, image and likeness rules and top prospects

The dawn of the name, image and likeness era in college sports is going to have the ripple effect of a boulder dropped in a lake from 65 stories overhead. Attempting to predict every outcome is an impossible task. Looking at how it may change things for the top high school prospects, however, is more manageable.

According to Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress, the deals top college players are set to announce are large enough to compete with G-League and NBL contracts. If that’s the case, things as they relate to top prospects like Jalen Duren, Emoni Bates and DuJuan Wagner, all of whom are expected to choose the pro route over a year in college, could change in a hurry. Of course that level of marketing cash will only be accessible to prospects with established name recognition and a clear path to the NBA Draft. Duren, Bates and Wagner, however, have that kind of earning upside. Never underestimate a national brand’s desire to get in early with a future star. It’s why adidas sponsors high school 7v7 teams and why the shoe companies have their own grassroots basketball circuits. Capitalism is a hell of a drug.

What it all amounts to is that fans of colleges such as Miami, Michigan State, Kentucky and Michigan that have been linked to the aforementioned top-flight players should root for multinational corporations to start flinging money at college stars come July 1 like James Harden in a club. If the dollars make sense, top programs may just find a way to stand toe-to-toe with bags of professional cash on the trail.


2. Projecting Jalen Duren's top contenders

Jalen Duren
Jalen Duren (Nick Lucero/

Speaking of Duren, the No. 1 overall prospect in the class of 2022 is set to trim his list of 11 options to just five on Friday, and the suspense isn’t exactly overwhelming. Three programs seem like locks to make the list, based on interviews with Duren and the visits he’s taken so far. Expect Miami and Duren’s former grassroots coach, D.J. Irving, to make the cut. Kentucky, which looks like the current college favorite, is a safe bet to be left standing as well. Duren has long been high on Michigan, so Juwan Howard’s program will likely be in the mix as well.

As for another option, Penny Hardaway’s Memphis program packs some appeal because of the recent history of producing pros and Hardaway’s NBA pedigree. Still, it seems as though any college outside of Miami, Kentucky and Michigan will be seen as simple filler for the time being.

The professional route remains the favorite here, but what takes place after the NIL overhaul takes hold on July 1 could shift that perception.


3. FUTURECAST OF THE WEEK: Jazian Gortman to Florida State

The idea of Florida State leading the recruitment of five-star guard Jazian Gortman isn’t exactly a groundbreaking line of thinking. FSU has looked like a strong option since shortly after it offered in late April. Recruitments can swing quickly based on visits, however, and returns from his June 13 official visit to Tallahassee were positive. The Seminoles staff feels confident when it comes to its chances with the talented guard.

Will things change with future visits? Maybe so, but for now FSU fans should be optimistic to say the least. Wake Forest, Clemson and Alabama are also in the mix to differing extents.