basketball Edit

McDonald's Nuggets: California legislation, big visit, more

Jaden Walker
Jaden Walker (Nick Lucero/

This week’s edition of McDonald's Nuggets includes thoughts on California's legislation regarding amateur sports, an update on a trio of five-star players in California, an important visit this weekend and his Commitment of the Week.

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2020 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2021 Rankings: Rivals150

WHAT’S ON MY MIND: California attempting to change college sports


If you are a regular reader of my column, you already know my take on this. If you haven’t been reading, (first, you’ve been missing out) the short version is I think amateurism is a joke and should be outlawed. California's SB 206, which could be signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom very soon, is putting the initial momentum in place to make that happen.

The bill, which wouldn’t go into place until 2023, basically is going against NCAA rules and allowing athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness. That’s all I have ever really called for on this subject. I don’t believe schools should be in the business of paying players beyond what scholarships currently provide. Those scholarships are really valuable to most athletes. For the small percentage of athletes that can go out and make more off their name, image and likeness, they should absolutely be able to do it.

What’s the problem if Zion Williamson had a million-dollar endorsement deal this year at Duke? We’ve seen guys go from signing a big baseball contract out of high school back to playing college football and it wasn’t an issue. I’m actually crazy enough to think it might help keep some fringe draft prospects stay in school for another year if they could make a little extra on the side.

It will be interesting to see where this bill goes. Will the NCAA put up a fight to stop it? Will it adjust its rules to go along with what California is pushing? I’m very curious to see where this goes.

RECRUITING NOTES: Updates on 5-star trio out of California

The 2020 class is ridiculously strong in California. Evan Mobley already popped for USC where his father is an assistant coach, but that still leaves a few other five-star prospects on the market.

Jalen Green, the No. 3 overall prospect, has been linked with a few schools lately. Many believe Kentucky will land Terrence Clarke on Saturday as a member of the 2020 class, which likely takes Big Blue out of the mix for Green. Oregon has been tough to beat out on the West Coast lately, and the Ducks could even be considered the leader here. Don’t sleep on Memphis or USC either. Auburn has been mentioned lately, but I don’t see the Tigers winning this battle. Lastly, the possibility of a jump straight to the professional ranks isn’t off the table either.

Ziaire Williams and Josh Christopher remain open at this point as well. The word around Williams, like Green, is that he’ll likely be staying on the West Coast for his short stay in college. That means keeping a close eye on Stanford and USC in his recruitment. However, when you have Duke, North Carolina and the Penny Hardaway version of the Memphis Tigers in the mix, it’s hard to count any of them out. Christopher’s recruitment is even tougher to read. His brother plays at Arizona State, leading many to believe he ends up there, but it’s far from a done deal. Kentucky, Missouri and UCLA have also been mentioned as possibilities for his signature.


ESPN’s "College GameDay "is headed to Ames, Iowa, this weekend for the showdown between Iowa and Iowa State. Three-star Georgia guard Jaden Walker will also be making the trip into town to get a closer look at Steve Prohm’s program. The Cyclones offered Walker this summer after a strong showing at Georgia’s high school team camp during the evaluation periods for college coaches. DePaul, Florida State, Georgia, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt and Wichita State have also been involved in his recruitment to varying extents.

I wouldn’t be completely shocked if Walker makes the call for Iowa State on or shortly after his visit, as he seemed really high on the program when I last spoke with him. The other program to keep an eye on here is Ole Miss, as he has a visit set for Oxford next weekend and Kermit Davis and his staff have been recruiting him since they were at Middle Tennessee.

Walker has always been a really intriguing prospect because of his great natural ability. The question with him has always been if/when he was going to put it all together to be a really good player. There have always been glimpses, but he started to become more consistent this summer, which led to the increased interest in the versatile 6-foot-5 guard. He’s the type of prospect that could easily work his way back into the Rivals150 with a strong senior year at Core 4 Prep.


COMMITMENT OF THE WEEK: Mady Sissoko to Michigan State

There were quite a few commitments I really liked this week, both at the high-major and mid-major level. Myles Stute (Vanderbilt), Max Murrell (Stanford), Sardaar Calhoun (Florida State) and Lance Ware (Kentucky) all seem like great fits for their respective programs. The one I like most though is four-star center Mady Sissoko to Michigan State.

When I think of Tom Izzo teams, I think of defense, rebounding and toughness. Those are the three areas where I give Sissoko the highest marks. He plays with such great energy on both ends of the court and tries to dunk every time he gets the ball in the paint. He’s still raw offensively, but I trust Izzo and his staff will develop him there and make him an even more dangerous player. I love this fit for both sides.