Building fences: A dozen schools looking to protect their back yard
There isn't a basketball program in America that wouldn't like to build a winner with homegrown kids. With an eye on the class of 2019, here are 12 programs that are looking to build a fence around the back yard, hang a "Beware of Dog" sign and fend off all intruders in order to land one of their top targets.
Fence builder: Miami
Why they need to keep him home: The No. 1-ranked player in America, Carey has all kinds of ties to Miami, and the Hurricanes have been recruiting him longer than anybody else out there. Jim Larrañaga and company want the skilled and tough big man so badly that they even went to watch Carey's younger brother play a 13U game with their entire staff last week. Carey is the type of player who could propel the Hurricanes to a Final Four.
Fence builder: Memphis
Why they need to keep him home: The battle for Wiseman is shaping up to be the top battle of the 2019 class. No, the 7-footer didn't begin his high school career in Memphis (he moved in from Nashville) but he has played for Tigers head coach Penny Hardaway in high school and during the summer. Hardaway is proving that he's going to be a force to be reckoned with, and landing a player like Wiseman would immediately elevate him into the elite tier of college recruiters and help to resurrect the Memphis program faster than anticipated.
The competition: Wiseman has a top eight that also includes Arizona, Florida State, Kansas, North Carolina, Texas and Vanderbilt. But let's be real, the competition here is John Calipari and Kentucky.
Fence builder: Washington
Why they need to keep him home: In year two of a rebuild in Seattle, Mike Hopkins is already a little bit ahead of schedule. However, the best Husky teams have been made up of the area's top local players, and Hopkins never really had a chance to recruit 2018's local star, Kevin Porter, who chose USC. McDaniels is a legitimate monster talent who can play inside and out and could re-establish the pipeline of Seattle-area stars to U Dub.
Fence builder: Indiana
Why they need to keep him home: Archie Miller already kept 2018's top local player, Romeo Langford, home. In 2019 there's a pair of five-stars he's eyeing in Jackson-Davis and Keion Brooks. Jackson-Davis may be slightly more important, because he's a true post player and the Hoosiers do have some combo forward types like Brooks on the roster already. So they could possibly absorb a miss on him a little easier. As many times as Jackson-Davis has been on campus and him being a position of need makes him that much more important.
Fence builder: Arizona
Why they need to keep him home: Mannion has to be one of the most heavily hyped players from the state of Arizona in some time. He's a sensation on the Internet and his style that features high flying dunks and deep threes will make him a fan favorite everywhere he goes. Sean Miller is looking to erase a rough 2017-18 run, and landing Mannion would be a great start.
Fence builder: Alabama
Why they need to keep him home: Lewis is toying around with the idea of enrolling as a 2018 prospect, which could up the ante even more. A speedy, high-scoring combo guard, Lewis could help Avery Johnson replace Collin Sexton this year if he were to arrive early. Whether it's 2018 or 2019, though, Lewis is a must get for the Crimson Tide.
Fence builder: Florida
Why they need to keep him home: A big-time point guard who can score at the rim or from deep, Mann is no stranger to the campus in Gainesville and he's already visited officially. Mann had been down to a final three and recently opened the process back up a bit, so there's still a lot of fight left to go. But the time invested in him would make him a tough loss for Mike White if he didn't pick the Gators.
Fence builder: Clemson
Why they need to keep him home: It looked for a while like the Tigers may land Zion Williamson in 2018, but he ended up at Duke. Now Brad Brownell and his staff have moved on. Brown is athletic, he's homegrown and he should arrive ready to provide plenty of minutes as either a slashing wing or a small-ball four man. Pulling him away from one of his other finalists would make it even better.
Fence builder: Mississippi State
Why they need to keep him home: Earlier this week, Jeffries backed out of a commitment to Kentucky, and because he played for Penny Hardaway's travel ball team many have been linking him to the Tigers. However, Ben Howland has been a stud when it comes to keeping the best players home in Mississippi, and he'd like to continue that trend with a combo forward capable of playing right away.
Fence builder: Wake Forest
Why they need to keep him home: Hailing from nearby Charlotte, Williams could be a huge difference-maker for Danny Manning and his staff if they could get him to decide to play college ball just 75 miles or so from home. Williams is a big wing with skill, and he could also play some as a four. There's a chance that freshman Jaylen Hoard could be gone after one year, so that makes a guy like Williams even more important.
Fence builder: Georgia Tech
Why they need to keep him home: Watson is a big, strong and athletic wing capable of stepping in and playing important minutes as a freshman at almost any school he might pick. This year, Josh Pastner would love to assert himself locally as he has always been known as a tremendous recruiter — which he proved pulling big time point guard Michael Devoe out of Florida in 2018 — but he hasn’t yet landed a four-star or better talent from the state of Georgia out of high school. Year three looks like it could be the time to change that trend and somebody like Watson would be a major score
Fence builder: Texas
Why they need to keep him home: Six months ago, it might have seemed crazy to view Williams as a must get for Shaka Smart and his staff. But Williams has made the move to that status because of his size and skill. A late-blooming wing with immense upside, Williams seems like a personality fit for Smart and it would give the Longhorns another chance to prove that they can fight off others looking to raid the state of Texas.