Rivals Roundtable: Armando Bacot joins to talk big visits, college hoops
The Rivals Roundtable is back discussing issues as we near the new college season and the first signing period. While Rivals’ national analyst Eric Bossi is on vacation, five-star North Carolina commit Armando Bacot takes his place. He is joined by Corey Evans and Dan McDonald in discussing which premier prospects will stay home for college, their hottest of hot takes for the new college season, and what Darius Bazley's New Balance contract means.
1. Which player is most likely to stay near his hometown for college - James Wiseman (Memphis), Vernon Carey (Miami), Jaden McDaniels (Washington), Cassius Stanley (UCLA)
Armando Bacot: I would say James Wiseman first because of Penny Hardaway’s influence on him as a coach. Also, because Memphis is his city and they have a good thing going with their program so why not stay home and make history?
Dan McDonald: I've always thought Cassius Stanley would eventually end up at UCLA, so that's my pick here. A lot of the talk around him has been that he'll likely stay in California, particularly Los Angles. With USC out of the way, I like UCLA's chances to keep Stanley home.
Corey Evans: I am going to go with Wiseman. I could see all of the others doing the same, but Wiseman is the guy Hardaway was hired for in order to land and his relationship is as strong as can be, dating back to his time spent coaching on the high school and travel circuits.
This has been a dead heat between John Calipari and his former program for months with no one blinking. It should be noted though, Florida State, Kansas and Vanderbilt actually do have a chance with Wiseman. Now, do I see any of the three landing Wiseman? No, but I also would not discount the trio of schools, especially the Seminoles where, if there is a major dark horse, it is FSU as one should never bet against Leonard Hamilton on the recruiting trail.
At the end of the day though, I foresee Wiseman staying home and bang the catalyst for a Memphis uprising in the FedEx Forum.
2. What is your hottest take on the upcoming college basketball season?
Armando Bacot: Markus Howard out of Marquette will put up Trae Young-like numbers and lead the country in scoring and also lead them to the NCAA Tournament. He will also be a strong candidate for the national player of the year honors.
Dan McDonald: This is the year Virginia finally breaks through and makes it to the Final Four. The addition of transfer Braxton Key, who is immediately eligible helps that, but I just like what Tony Bennett brings back and I think they'll want to avenge last year's loss to UMBC in the 1-16 matchup.
Corey Evans: Florida freshman Andrew Nembhard will lead the nation in assists. He is the best passer I have ever covered which speaks volumes seeing that the prep ranks has produced Lonzo Ball and Ben Simmons in recent years.
However, no one is as efficient and as precise Nembhard and placed next to KeVaughn Allen, Jalen Hudson, Keith Stone and Noah Locke, and playing in an up-tempo system, I would not be shocked to see the elite playmaker average close to seven or eight dimes and lead the nation.
3. What are your thoughts on the $125,000 salary G-League proposal for high schoolers and Darius Bazley's multi-million dollar New Balance contract?
Armando Bacot: I think that it is good for the game because it is giving high school prospects an alternative to college, but I would say it would create a lot more problems for players that decided to go straight to the G-League and end up getting stuck in it or never make the NBA where they have no way of getting their degree.
But, the Bazley situation is good because it can start a trend especially for kids that have chances of selling sneakers to be able to intern for the shoe company and make some money and not have to risk going to the G-League against men who will already want to prove something since the prospects are earning $125,000 and access to the NBA stuff but are getting stuck in there while some of the G-League veterans have been in the league for years and never made anything close to it.
Dan McDonald: I just like the idea of high school kids having more options. College, while a great option for many people, isn't for everybody, and some kids are just sick of school. I'm glad there is a viable options now outside of a small G-League salary or going overseas.
Corey Evans: I was a bit pessimistic last week of the G-League news. Even if the monetary amount was enough, would it be incentive enough to overcome the college game's brand appeal, elite coaching and perks?
However, Bazley’s contract that could be another feather in the cap for the G-League. I do not see many, if any, making such a leap this spring where most are fairly set on attending college but I could see members of the 2020 class doing so. A full year with this opportunity now in affect and shoe companies having the chance to properly structure a contract for aspiring high school prospects, along with Bazley’s success, could be exactly what is needed for the G-League when it comes to luring some of the best talent from the high school ranks.