McDonald's Nuggets: Cats, Gators, Beauchamp, Reeves
Dan McDonald is back with his weekend primer, McDonald's Nuggets. This week’s edition includes thoughts on MarJon Beauchamp skipping college, a four-star 2021 prospect scheduling visits, and more.
EVANS SEVEN: Elite prospects on the cusp of commitments
WHAT’S ON MY MIND
In case you missed it, class of 2020 small forward MarJon Beauchamp announced this week that he will not be playing college basketball and instead will spend a year training at Chameleon BX. The four-star prospect is just the latest prospect to skip college basketball to focus on a professional career, joining R.J. Hampton, Darius Bazley and others.
My biggest worry with this trend is that so many people seem to be downplaying the value of going to college, even if it’s only for a year. I’d be the first one to tell you college isn’t for everybody, but it can be a great option for the majority of people. Getting jobs after the ball stops bouncing, no matter what industry you go into, is so much about relationships you have, and there is no better place to build a network than college.
If a prospect goes to school for even two years before going pro because of the success he’s had on the court, assuming he leaves on good terms with the school and basketball program, it’s a lot easier to go back and finish up a degree from there. Whether that degree takes him into coaching or down another road, college has a lot of value if you use it to your advantage. And unlike a lot of their peers, athletes leave with no student loans to pay off.
There is another side of this though. The NCAA needs to make college a more attractive option for top prospects coming out of high school. The cost of attendance money is a good start, but it’s not enough. My personal opinion is that amateurism needs to go. There is no way schools can pay athletes. What needs to happen, and I mentioned this in a previous column, is allow athletes to profit on their own likeness. If an athlete can get an endorsement deal with millions, let it happen. If coaches recruiting athletes want to spend a ton of time helping them get deals, let it happen. I’ve thought about this for a long time and really don’t see the downside. It’s open season for how much schools pay coaches, so let’s go a similar route for the athletes.
I’ve been really high on class of 2021 shooting guard Kowacie Reeves Jr. for a while now. We have the Georgia native at No. 65 overall in his class right now, but I could see him working his way up the rankings over the next year or so. He’s a bouncy athlete at 6-foot-5 and can really shoot it from deep. It’s for that exact reason he’s also becoming a top target for several programs already.
Reeves will be taking advantage of a new rule allowing juniors to take official visits by making trips to both Florida, the first school to offer and a school he’s already visited multiple times, and Stanford in October. He’s also taking an unofficial visit to Clemson on Aug. 31 and will likely see Georgia and Seton Hall in the next few months.
PREDICTION: Florida will be in the Final Four in 2020
I absolutely love the roster Mike White has put together for the upcoming season. The Gators lost some key pieces from last year’s team such as Jalen Hudson, KeVaughn Allen and Kevarrius Hayes, but they added firepower this year with five-star guards Tre Mann and Scottie Lewis, Virginia Tech transfer Kerry Blackshear Jr. and four-star big man Omar Payne coming in.
COMMITMENT(S) OF THE WEEK: BJ Boston to Kentucky
BJ Boston choosing Kentucky didn’t surprise me at all. I thought Kentucky held the lead for a while in his recruitment. What did surprise me was the timing of his decision. I thought he would drag out his recruitment for a while to see how other recruitments played out and maybe even into next year when he could see what rosters at some of the schools would look like.
But give credit to John Calipari and his staff for closing the deal with the five-star prospect in the 2020 class, who just recently announced a transfer to Sierra Canyon in California. This is a big addition for Big Blue Nation. Boston is a top-level athlete with one of the prettiest three-point strokes.