Rivals Roundtable: Class of 2020 point guards, Final Four sleepers
The Rivals basketball roundtable is back with Eric Bossi, Corey Evans and Dan McDonald, talking 2020 point guards, Final Four sleepers and guys who need a rankings bump.
1. If you are recruiting one PG for 2020, who would it be?
Bossi: If we are talking pure point guards, I would probably look to invest my time with Daishen Nix. He’s a pure passer, has an off the charts basketball IQ and specializes in creating wide open looks for his teammates. Nix has tremendous size at 6-foot-4 and can be a good scorer too. I’m reminded some of watching Deron Williams at the same age when I watch him play.
I’d also think real hard about pitching five-star Cade Cunningham as a point guard. We’ve got him listed as a wing, but he’s such a smart player and tremendous passer that it wouldn’t be a stretch for him to play as a PG in college.
Evans: Jeremy Roach, even with the uncertainty of how he might return off of his ACL injury. The five-star guard has been one of the more heavily recruited prospects for good reason -- he has won every step of the way. Whether it was at Paul VI Catholic High, leading the Team Takeover brigade to the Nike Peach Jam last summer, or securing gold with the under-16 and under-17 United States Basketball squads the past two years, the proof is in the pudding.
Teammates gravitate towards him and his coaches absolutely love him which is exactly why Duke, Kentucky, UNC and Villanova prioritized him earlier in the process compared to others. Those four sit on his final list and a commitment should come sometime this summer, at the latest.
McDonald: After watching Sharife Cooper last week in a state tournament semifinal win over a loaded Norcross team, I have to go with him. If we asked this question last week, I probably wouldn't have gone with Cooper. He grew on me a lot as the game went on. He's a great shooter, really good in transition, makes good decisions, and he plays with calmness that can sometimes be mistaken for being nonchalant. I think he's going to be a great college point guard, and I think you get multiple years out of him because of his size.
As for his recruitment, Auburn has long been seen as his likely destination, but Kentucky is trying to come in and make it interesting. I still think he ends up at Auburn with his close buddy and teammate Isaac Okoro.
2. What team outside the AP top 15 is a Final Four sleeper?
Bossi: Earlier this year I was watching Maryland and I thought to myself that they could be a Final Four contender in 2020 if Bruno Fernando stuck around. It’s looking pretty likely that Fernando will be off to the NBA Draft after this season, so if they are going to make a run with him, it will have to be this year. This year’s NCAA Tournament is going to be wide open and from a pure talent standpoint, they can hang with some pretty high-level teams. This time of year point guard play is even more important and junior Anthony Cowan is pretty good.
Evans: For what it’s worth, no one has paid much attention to Maryland despite their surge up the Big Ten standings. Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue have taken most of the spotlight but the Terps might be the most talented of the bunch. They have an experienced lead guard in Cowan, a talented scoring guard in Darryl Morsell, a beast of an interior tandem with Fernando and Jalen Smith, along with a slew of freshmen X-factors in Aaron Wiggins and Eric Ayala. If they can take care of the ball better and shoot it more efficiently, Maryland could be the surprise squad in Minneapolis a few weeks from now.
McDonald: I'd have to go with Marquette. I know, I went the easy way out going with the No. 16 team. A lot of times tournament games come down to last-minute situations, and there probably isn't a guard I'd rather have in those spots than Markus Howard. He has enough fire-power around him to mess up some brackets later this month.
3. Name a four-star, a ranked three-star and an unranked senior that deserves a rankings bump.
Bossi: I like Jahmius Ramsey’s opportunity to be an impact guy at Texas Tech and he’s been tremendous as a senior at Duncanville (Texas) High. He can play the point or shooting guard, he’s physically ready to play right away in the Big 12 and he’s getting better in all aspects of the game. He’s put together a strong case for five-star status.
Looking down the list, I like what Dajuan Gordon can bring to the table at Kansas State. He’s on the lean side but he’s long, is a crafty scorer and to me has a lot of upside. He currently ranks No. 144 but is deserving of serious consideration for a bump to the four-star level.
From outside of the Rivals150 not a lot of people know about three-star guard Caleb Grill from Maize (Kans.) High who is headed to South Dakota State, but he is a player. Tough, scores it and plays hard. He’s as big a recruiting steal as there is in the class of 2020.
Evans: I am a big Ramsey guy and headed to Texas Tech to play for one of the best developers of talent in Chris Beard, it is not a difficult proposition in making him the Red Raiders’ first five-star recruit during the Rivals.com era. He personifies all that Texas Tech has come to pride themselves on, tough, talented, versatile and competitive. He is going to excel early on in Lubbock.
Ranked No. 132, Jalyn McCreary produces every night. He didn’t get a lot of love over the summer, but has been tremendous each time that I have seen him this winter. He might be a tweener, but McCreary has no issues fitting in where his rebounding, defense and competitive mindset make him a worthwhile four-star prospect and a top available player heading into the late signing period next month.
Outside the Rivals150, I’ll go with as J’Wan Roberts, who I believe deserves to be ranked next time around. I thought he deserved to be ranked this summer and headed to Houston a lot would have to go wrong for Roberts to not succeed at the next level. He is a bit undersized in the frontcourt but he is also instinctive, active, hard-playing and productive from 15-feet and in. I would not be surprised to see him earn all-league honors before his college career is complete.
McDonald: I've always thought we were a little low on Josh Nickelberry. I feel even stronger about this given that he picked the perfect coach to play for in Chris Mack at Louisville.I feel good about him being somebody that will out-play where he is currently ranked.
Jalen Gaffney, for the same reason I mentioned with Nickelberry, feels like a guy who could make us regret not ranking him higher in large part because of his college choice. Dan Hurley always has strong guard play and he'll develop Gaffney into a good one.