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McDonald's Nuggets: Almost time to tip; Florida; recruiting

Isaiah Todd
Isaiah Todd (Nick Lucero/

This week’s edition of McDonald's Nuggets breaks down opening week of college hoops, provides updates on Hunter Dickinson and Isaiah Todd and recaps a big week for the Gators.

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2020 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2021 Rankings: Rivals150 | Position

WHAT’S ON MY MIND: Less than a month until real games tip off!


I’ll probably hit on this again when we get closer, but I’m getting pretty excited about the start of college basketball being less than a month away. In the past, we really had to wait a week or two into the season before the real games started. I love that in the past few years, we are seeing more and more big games to start the season.

If you haven’t noticed, this season really starts with a bang. The Champions Classic gets us started in Madison Square Garden, of all places, with Kansas taking on Duke in the first matchup, followed by Michigan State and Kentucky. Most projections have Michigan State, Kansas and Kentucky as the top three teams in the country. It will also be interesting to see how Duke looks after losing three players who were drafted in the top 10.

In addition to the Champions Classic, the ACC will be starting the season with conference games this year. There are a few matchups on the opening Tuesday of the season, but the Wednesday night matchups should be a ton of fun, with Cole Anthony making his North Carolina debut against Notre Dame, followed by a Syracuse-Virginia matchup, which is always a ton of fun. There is even an intriguing Friday night showdown between Baylor and Washington to open the season, which will be Isaiah Stewart’s debut for the Huskies.

VISITOR TO WATCH THIS WEEKEND:  Hunter Dickinson visits Notre Dame

We touched on this last week, but Hunter Dickinson’s recruitment has become one of the more intriguing battles nationally as we close in on the Early Signing Period next month. He’s making the trip to South Bend this weekend to learn more about Mike Brey’s program (and take in the USC football game) as he moves closer to a decision.

The big news in his recruitment lately, though, is an offer from Duke coming through last week and the Blue Devils securing a visit for next weekend. Those two programs, along with Michigan, appear to be the top contenders for his signature next month. I currently have a pick in for Michigan, but I still feel like this one could change a bit before a decision is made.


RECRUITING NOTE: Isaiah Todd down to two with a decision looming

Coming off a visit to Kansas for the controversial Late Night at the Phog, five-star forward Isaiah Todd announced a commitment date of Oct. 17 and that he would be deciding between Kansas and Michigan. Could this be the first major recruiting win for Juwan Howard at Michigan? Or did the trip to Kansas for Late Night win him over for the Jayhawks? Our latest intel suggests it just might be good news for the Wolverines next Friday. Todd mentioned in his interview with Corey Evans this week that the visit to Ann Arbor went a long way with him and he’s also intrigued by the possibility of playing for a coach who played and coached in the NBA.

COMMIT(S) OF THE WEEK: Gators double up 

Mike White and his staff have earned the reputation as being relentless recruiters, and it is certainly showing with the results they are getting in Gainesville. This week, the Gators added a pair top 100 prospects in the 2020 class with Niels Lane (No. 63) and Samson Ruzhentsev (No. 75) both choosing Florida. Lane gives the Gators a versatile prospect in the backcourt with great size, athleticism and play-making ability. Ruzhentsev is a bouncy forward that can finish well in transition and also has deep range on his jump shot. These are the type of players that will keep Florida at the top of the SEC over the next few years as they develop into really good upperclassmen.