Ranking the Contenders: Five-star Wesley Yates
He has officially narrowed his list to include just nine programs, but all the finalists don’t stand on equal footing. Today, Rivals.com ranks the legitimate contenders in order of the likelihood of landing his National Letter of Intent.
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The in-state program has made an aggressive move in Yates’ recruitment and seems to have positioned itself well as things stand. Yates will take an official visit to Austin on the weekend of Sept. 1, and Texas is looking at the trip as a way to drive more separation between itself and Auburn, which is also a major threat to land Yates’ pledge.
Yates has built a strong relationship with Texas assistant Brandon Chappell and seems to like the idea of staying in his home state for college if all things are equal. A lot will be determined during the coming weekend. Should things go well on the trip, a commitment could happen relatively quickly.
There’s no doubt about the biggest threat to steal Yates away from Texas, as Auburn has long been in a solid position to land the five-star guard. The Tigers looked like the leader prior to Texas’ recent furious push and have already gotten him on campus for an official earlier this year.
If Bruce Pearl fails to land Yates, it won’t be for lack of trying, as it’s long been clear that the Rivals150 prospect was one of the Tigers’ top targets. The longer Yates’ recruitment drags on, the better it is for AU, which will hope the upcoming visit to UT doesn’t end with a quick commitment.
There’s miles of separation between the top two and the rest of Yates’ final nine, but it should be noted that he’s built a strong bond with LSU assistant coach Casey Long and likes the fact that head coach Matt McMahon developed Ja Morant while at Murray State.
Yates visited Baton Rouge back in February, so it’s impossible to rule the Tigers out completely, even if they aren’t particularly likely to land his commitment.
Yates has some ties to Arkansas, as he’s friendly with current Razorbacks Anthony Black and Jordan Walsh. He’s also been recruited by head coach Eric Musselman, who hasn’t made a habit of missing on priority targets as of late.
Arkansas offered Yates early last summer and has spent the past year building the foundation of a relationship, so if Musselman and company are able to get the five-star on campus for a long-discussed official visit, anything could happen.
Gonzaga has work to do to even get an official visit, but it’s clear that the program's history and ability to get players to the NBA has resonated with Yates, who has discussed the possibility of a visit to Spokane and various times in the past.
Mark Few’s powerhouse program is a long shot here, but will need to be respected as a serious threat should a visit materialize this fall.
There’s no reason to think Yates will land in the Pac-12, but if he does it will likely be at Washington, where his cousin, Quincy Pondexter, serves as an assistant coach. There’d be a level of comfort if Yates decides to attend UW, but sitting 2,300 miles away from his Texas home, that doesn't seem very likely.