Hoophall Saturday: Bossi and Evans' Rival Views
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- The nation's top winter event kicked off on Saturday as five-star junior shooting guard B.J. Boston lit up the Hoophall Classic on Saturday night. Rivals.com analysts Eric Bossi and Corey Evans agreed that Boston was the day's top performer, but aside from that they had Rival Views from Saturday's action.
WHOSE THE TEAM TO BEAT FOR FIVE-STAR B.J. BOSTON
Bossi's view: Give me Duke on this one. Over the past few years the Blue Devlis have been replacing one and done wings with one and done wings and even though their 2019 class doesn't feature a wing that screams one and done, I don't think Boston will be scared off. I think Florida is in there deep as well but Boston's skill based game and dangerous jump shooting fit what has worked in Durham and should be something that Coach K can sell. I do think it's wise to keep a close eye on Kentucky as well. His upcoming visit there could turn things upside down if the Wildcats make a good impression.
Evans' view: I really want to go with the safe pick, which is Duke, but the Blue Devils have 'failed to close the door on some of their top targets in recent months. But they are the favorite in many eyes so Florida has to make a run. Sure, Alabama, Auburn, Kentucky and Ohio State are hoping to have a say with Boston, too, I ultimately see this coming down to the Gators and the Blue Devils. Boston is someone that is best served with the basketball in his hands so let’s say that Wendell Moore and Boogie Ellis return for their sophomore seasons, and the Blue Devils land Jalen Johnson and Jeremy Roach will here enough balls to go around in Durham? Instead, Florida offers the chance to step right into a wide open, free-flowing offense, slots Boston next to an elite shooter in Noah Locke, a defensive menace in Scottie Lewis and a well-rounded guard in Tre Mann, that is if the latter two return; would that pique his interest enough? I am betting it does, and his official visit to Gainesville did as such last week, giving the Gators the inside track to their fourth five-star guard commitment within the past three recruiting classes.
IS THERE A FAVORITE FOR ANTHONY EDWARDS?
Bossi's view: I do think that there is a favorite to land the powerful, athletic and high scoring Edwards but I don't think it is the place that many have been looking to as the program to beat. For a while now, Florida State has been considered the behind the scenes leader but Georgia is really deep into it with Edwards and I actually think they are the team to beat. Tom Crean's Bulldogs are close to home and from what I've been hearing lately Edwards is keen on what Crean did with guards like Victor Oladipo and Dywane Wade in the past. Now, upcoming visits to Kentucky (begins Monday) and Kansas (2/9) could change that. A North Carolina visit still needs to be set and it will be interesting to see if Edwards goes back to see Tallahassee officially, but if I had to place a bet as of today I would put my money on Georgia.
Evans' view: There is no clear-cut favorite in my mind for Anthony Edwards. Florida State was way ahead of the pack months ago but his recent reclassification into the 2019 class has had some of the blue bloods within the sport really pick things up in their pursuit of the elite bucket getter. This newfound interest may have opened Edwards’ eyes enough to look around and see what else is out there. Down to a final five of FSU, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky and UNC, I guess one could say that Florida State and UGA are the two to beat but betting against three blue bloods led by Hall of Fame coaches in the recruitment of a blue-chip prospect is not wise. There is still much more to be done before a commitment does take place which could be just enough for those that we deem as behind to catch up and thus, land the best available prospect in the 2019 class.
WHO WAS THE DAY'S BIGGEST SURPRISE?
Bossi's view: Junior big man Clifford Omoruyi isn't exactly an unknown and he didn't put up huge numbers. But, the center from Nigeria impressed me beyond his already lofty ranking. He's built like an NBA veteran, gets off the floor in a hurry and has a nasty side to his game around the rim. Keep in mind that he's only been playing high level basketball for two years now and it's hard not to like his potential. We may have him ranked a little too low but the point here is that based on what I saw from him previously, he's ahead of schedule in terms of his development and is more than the big and athletic project I've previously seen him as. Illinois, Seton Hall, Rutgers, West Virginia, Miami, Florida, Syracuse and UMass are among his early offers.
Evans' view: It may have been the one guy that I knew least about. Better yet, I know his father greater than I do when speaking on Jaylin Hunter. The son of UConn assistant Kenya Hunter, Jaylin really made a name for himself on Saturday. It is utterly amazing that he has no scholarship offers and limited interest from Fairfield and Old Dominion because if I was a program within the Atlantic 10, I would be knocking on the New England product’s door tomorrow. Hunter finished things with day high honors of 35 points while knocking down five perimeter jumpers. He knows how to run his team, defends the basketball and can really score it. Oh yeah, he has a 4.0 GPA in the classroom and compared to where he was this time last year until now, it is practically day and night. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some of the top area mid-majors jump in and really, if he continues on his current path of progression, for UConn to show some love before things are complete.
WHICH MONTVERDE STAR WOULD YOU TAKE?
Bossi's view: If I was looking for immediate gratification from Montverde's stacked roster, I would want Precious Achiuwa. The combo forward fits today's game and is productive on both ends of the floor. You couldn't go wrong with him. But, I'm going to go with their 2022 wing Dariq Whitehead. The 6-foot-5 freshman first caught my attention at last year's Hoophall and he did it again on Saturday. He's athletic, quick, has great positional size and considering he's not going to turn 18 until after he graduates high school he's got a lot of time to build upon his already impressive skill level. It's really early, but in my eyes he's one of the top three freshmen that I've seen thus far and he's going to have a big time recruitment. Look for the offers to pour in soon.
Evans' view: Give me Cade Cunningham everyday of the week and twice on Sunday. He’s the type of ballplayer that you can throw on any team and their chances of reaching success is ramped up another notch or two. A super sturdy and efficient wing that can play many spots, and on both ends, I love Cunningham’s ability to set others up. He makes his teammates’ lives so much easier and in the meantime, has improved his shooting and athleticism, two of his deficiencies in the past. Who’s going to get him? He’s playing his college recruitment close to vest. If Kentucky or Duke offers, do they jump into pole position? Don’t count out Michigan, Virginia or Texas. What about Tulane, the program that currently employs his older brother? More time must be given to Cunningham and his recruitment but one should bet that wherever he lands, the respective program will pick up a stud wing that can plug a variety of holes.