McDonald's Nuggets: New camps, a recruit prediction, more
Dan McDonald is back with his weekend primer, McDonald's Nuggets. This week’s edition includes an update on the NCAA Georgia team camp, a prediction on a 2020 guard, & more.
2021 Rankings: Rivals150
WHAT’S ON MY MIND: New June recruiting weekends a major success
Your thoughts on this topic might depend on the state you live in, but as somebody who resides in Georgia, I absolutely loved the team camp put on by the coaches in my state. It was organized, well-attended by both spectators and college coaches, and the level play was really high.
I can’t say this about every change made by Condoleeza Rice’s committee, but I really hope these two weekends at the end of June are here to stay. It’s a great platform for coaches to evaluate players and it’s a great way for kids from, for example, rural Georgia to be seen by college coaches. I had the opportunity to see several kids play that I normally wouldn’t have.
One great example of a kid that had a great opportunity is Christian Fussell from Greenforest Christian in Atlanta. He plays for a single-A school in Georgia that hasn’t had a ton of foot traffic from high-major coaches the past couple years, and he plays for Team Forrest during travel season, which doesn’t play in the big shoe company events. Since his team was able to get in front of some high-major coaches last weekend, he showed his overall talent level as a 6-foot-9 center. He recently added offers from Georgia Tech and Mississippi State after previously only holding offers from mid-major schools. I’m not sure he would ever have received those offers if not for last weekend.
PREDICTION: Caleb Murphy will see his stock rise in a major way
If you follow me on Twitter (and you should, @DMcDonaldRivals), you already know what I’m about to say. I’m a huge fan of Caleb Murphy’s game. The class of 2020 guard has been one prospect I have struggled with the last few months as I've tried to decide what level to project him at, but I’m now very comfortable saying he should be ranked in our Rivals150 and should sign with a high-major in November.
I’ve never doubted his athleticism. The 6-foot-3 guard can go up and dunk on anybody at any time and he’s quick as they come off the dribble with his first step. I’ve always loved how hard he competes every time he steps on the court.
What I’ve come to appreciate about him even more is his unselfishness, his passing ability and how his game has steadily improved over the past year. Those are traits college coaches should value and bet on.
The one area he needs to improve is his shot-making, which is exactly why I have been hesitant to push him as a high-major, but he is improving and I have just come to appreciate everything else about his game so much that I’m willing to look past that one weakness.
Arkansas offered this past weekend and was the first high-major to do so. Georgia Tech jumped in on Thursday afternoon with an offer. With all the eyeballs on him last weekend and with more getting to see him this weekend, expect several others to join the Razorbacks on that list soon. My prediction is he has a dozen high-major offers by the end of July.
RECRUITING NOTE: Addison Patterson update
I spoke to four-star small forward Addison Patterson this week for an update coming soon, but be on the lookout for a potentially big decision for him over the next month or so. He’s currently operating under the premise that he will come out as a class of 2020 prospect. However, there is a possibility, depending on scholarship availability at the programs recruiting him, that he enrolls at a school in August for this upcoming season.
The four schools in the mix right now are Illinois, Oregon, UCLA and USC. Oregon and USC are the two schools I came away thinking are in a good spot right now, but he mentioned plans to see all the schools again before deciding, which could be tough based on timing if he does enroll this year as a 2019 prospect. Keep an eye on this situation over the next six weeks if you are a fan of those four schools.
COMMITMENT(S) OF THE WEEK: Too close to call between Cincinnati, Florida
It seems like some weeks I’m reaching to make my pick for Commitment of the Week, but this week it was just too close to call for one program, so I’m going to give two programs the award.
Late Wednesday night, the Kerry Blackshear graduate-transfer recruiting process came to an end, with Florida being victorious. Make no mistake about it, this is a huge deal in the college basketball landscape next season. Blackshear, who averaged a tick under 15 points per game along with 7.5 rebounds, solidifies the Gators' roster and makes them a real national title contender next April in Atlanta. In the big picture, this is another recruitment that shows Mike White is capable of winning recruiting battles against any coach or school.
This one doesn’t rise to the immediate impact of Blackshear to Florida, but four-star guard Zach Harvey choosing Cincinnati is a really big deal for John Brannen as he starts his tenure with the Bearcats. He’s a complete scorer who can play either guard spot in college at 6-foot-4. Don’t be surprised if he ends up at the top of the American Athletic Conference in scoring before long.