Rivals Roundtable: 2020 team recruiting, Josh Christopher
The Rivals.com Roundtable is back and this week national analysts Eric Bossi, Corey Evans and Dan McDonald have plenty to discuss. Where does five-star Josh Christopher land? Which team’s start to 2020 recruiting is most impressive? All of that and more is covered.
Bossi: First, thanks to Christopher for announcing a reasonable number early and not working his way down from 20 or 15. As for those left, I see it coming down to Arizona State or Kentucky at this point. I’m not totally ruling out Michigan, Missouri and UCLA but they’ve each got some work left to do. Christopher’s older brother, Caleb Christopher, will be a freshman this year at Arizona State. There’s familiarity with him, familiarity with the program and it is relatively close to home. Then there’s Kentucky. It’s hard to ever count out Kentucky. Especially when they’ve been labeled as a dream school for Christopher. I think it’s still too close to call, but again I’d say either ASU or UK as of today.
Evans: Missouri employs his cousin as its strength coach, UCLA is the biggest West Coast brand on his list and Arizona State currently boasts his brother on its roster for the upcoming season. Of the three, ASU has the best shot, but Michigan has really come on of late. Juwan Howard has taken it upon himself to recruit Christopher and that has not gone unnoticed. However, Christopher has always loved the spotlight and demanded the biggest platform which, as we have come to know, is what Kentucky is all about. The Wildcats are currently hosting BJ Boston for an official visit but would gladly take both, which is what I think ultimately ends up happening with the two elite guards.
McDonald: Christopher has connections to both Arizona State and Missouri through his family, so they are certainly going to be a factor in his recruitment. Michigan's hire of Howard has the Wolverines in the mix and the new staff at UCLA has really prioritized him since taking over a few months ago. However, when Kentucky is involved, I tend to bet on John Calipari winning the battle, especially when no other bluebloods are involved.
2. Based on what you saw during July, which unranked player do you think most deserves to be in the 2020 Rivals150 when we update the rankings in August? What's his recruitment looking like?
Bossi: Give me Omaha’s Max Murrell here. I had high hopes for what he could do in front of college coaches and the thin and athletic forward came through. He’s bouncy around the rim, has great instincts as a passer and defender and has the type of shooting stroke that a good coaching staff should be able to fine tune and turn him into a guy who can stretch the floor. He deserves four-star consideration if you are asking me. The high-major offers have flooded in from Creighton, Kansas State, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Stanford, TCU and Virginia Tech. I don’t know enough to have a great feel for his recruitment just yet, but I have a feeling that Creighton, Nebraska and Iowa will be among those that figure prominently.
Evans: Jordan Geronimo had his breakout on the two adidas stops in July and is deserving of not only being ranked in the Rivals150 next month, but also being found within the upper half of it. A 6-foot-6 small forward who can even play some small ball 4-man, Geronimo is a competitive athlete that can make shots to the perimeter, defend various positions and compete without a scent of an ego. He really doesn’t know what he is doing just yet and also doesn’t comprehend how good he can be. He reminds me some of OG Anunoby and is enjoying a breakout to what the former Indiana standout had. His recruitment is just beginning, and the Hoosiers are the latest to offer. They join others such as Iowa, Penn State, Providence and Texas A&M. He might not be an immediate producer in college but in the right system and with the proper patience, he could flourish from his sophomore year onward.
McDonald: I wrote about this in my McDonald's Nuggets column this week, but I'll go with it again. I think Chris Youngblood, a Kennesaw State commit, should be in the next Rivals150. I watched him during the high school season lead East Coweta to a 24-1 record in the toughest region in the highest classification in Georgia at a school that doesn't typically win like that. His Georgia Knights travel team has run through every shoe company-sponsored team they have seen this year. He joined Game Elite (FL) for the adidas tournament last weekend and averaged over 20 points per game. I love his size, skill level and his intangibles so much that I think he could make a real impact at a high-major if he had chosen to go that route. He's going to be an absolute star at Kennesaw State.
3. Which team's start to 2020 recruiting has been the most impressive to you? What's next for them?
Bossi: I really like what Purdue has done. Four-star guards Ethan Morton and Jaden Ivey are a great start. They are also right there in the thick of it for top 30 big man Hunter Dickinson. They’d be a great pick. You know what, though? Give me Virginia. The defending national champions haven’t landed a five-star prospect, but Tony Bennett and his staff continue to fill their program with skilled players that fit what they do. Jabri Abdur-Rahim is a scorer they moved on quickly, Reece Beekman is a solid point guard, and shooting guard Carson McCorkle is much better than I had previously thought. Top 35 wing Keon Johnson is the next big fish linked to Virginia set to decide but he may be tough to pry from Tennessee. In-state stud Henry Coleman is still out there and the Cavs have some flexibility in what they can do from here on out.
Evans: I easily could have gone with Virginia, the defending champs who already sit with three Rivals150 commitments. Or I could have chosen Houston because, well, I love its future backcourt. But Arizona is the one that really surprised and also impressed me this week. Dalen Terry didn’t seem to be anywhere near his college decision when I spoke with him last weekend. Just three days later, he decided to choose the in-state Wildcats. Terry is a tremendous two-way threat that is all about the right things and should give Sean Miller a deadly defender that is a more-than-capable playmaker. If Miller can add the shot-making threat in the frontcourt that is Chibuzo Agbo, a versatile shooter in Puff Johnson and a big man in the mold of Dawson Garcia, then the Wildcats could really be onto something.
McDonald: It's the easy way out here, but I'm going with Duke. I think Jeremy Roach and Jalen Johnson give them a great start to the class because they'll be the type of players others want to play with. I see it as a big reason why five-star big man Walker Kessler could ultimately end up picking the Blue Devils. Coach K also just offered Ziaire Williams, who would fit in really nicely with that group of prospects.