Basketball Recruiting - Rivals Roundtable: Coaching hires, Iverson Classic, 2021 sleepers
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Rivals Roundtable: Coaching hires, Iverson Classic, 2021 sleepers

Each week, national recruiting analysts Rob Cassidy, Jamie Shaw and Russ Wood tackle several topics about college basketball and hoops recruiting. This week, the guys talk diamonds in the rough, coaching hires and what they most want to see before we finalize 2021 rankings next month.

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Cassidy's Takeaways: New York City Invitational

2021 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2022 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2023 Rankings: Top 30

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1. WHICH RECENT COACH HIRE ARE YOU MOST CONFIDENT WILL WORK OUT?

Hubert Davis
Hubert Davis (Getty Images)

Cassidy: I’ll take Hubert Davis. I understand the expectations are lofty, but he also inherited a program on stable footing and spent a decade learning how things worked from Roy Williams, who obviously knew how to win in Chapel Hill. The fit seems perfect on the surface, and continuity is key in a hyper-chaotic time for the sport.

Shaw: Chris Beard is one of the best coaches in the country, I think we can all agree with that. However, as any coach will tell you, a head coach is only as good as his staff. Beard has been able to put together a top-notch staff to start his tenure at Texas. He brought Ulric Maligi with him from Texas Tech, then he went and hired Jerrance Howard away from Kansas, he took UTEP's head man Rodney Terry as well as UT-Arlington's head man Chris Ogden. From the top down, this bench will have as much talent as any in the country.

Wood: Short term I think it will be Pat Kelsey at Charleston. Long term I’m going with T.J. Otzelberger at Iowa State. Otzelberger is from the upper Midwest, spent eight years in Ames and understands the culture of Iowa State and central Iowa. He’s a proven recruiter, which is good because he has a total rebuild at ISU.

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2. WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING AT THE STAR-STUDDED IVERSON CLASSIC LATER THIS MONTH? 

Kowacie Reeves Jr.
Kowacie Reeves Jr. (Courtesy Lakepoint Sports)

Cassidy: I’m interested to see how TyTy Washington looks in this setting. He’s had a spectacular last six months and is as electric a scorer as there is in this class. Seeing the former Creighton commit function in a true all-star setting will be intriguing as we move toward finalizing 2021 rankings.

Shaw: Paolo Banchero vs. Chet Holmgren. This individual matchup should put a pin into the 2021 class for us here at Rivals as these are the two players who are in the conversation for the No. 1 spot. Holmgren is a 7-foot-1 Gonzaga lean out of Minnehaha Academy in Minnesota. Banchero is a 6-foot-10 Duke signee out of O'Dea High School in Washington. The Iverson Classic will have a lot of great storylines, but rankings are judged by their top 10, you got to get it right up top, and this event will be our final look.

Wood: I’m looking forward to seeing Kowacie Reeves Jr. I love his shooting and scoring ability. His ball skills have been improving. Reeves is a terrific pick-up by Mike White and Florida.

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3. WHICH UNCOMMITTED 2021 PROSPECT DO YOU THINK HAS DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH POTENTIAL?

Quinten Diboundje Eyobo
Quinten Diboundje Eyobo (Rivals.com)

Cassidy: French import Quinten Diboundje Eyobo has a chance to make Tennessee coaches look pretty smart if he continues to develop. Eyobo has solid length, scores at all three levels and handles the ball pretty well for a prospect that hasn’t been playing the game as long as some other prospects. We made him a three-star outside the Rivals150 after seeing him take over a game against a loaded Link Year Prep team earlier this year, and that may still be a bit too low.

Shaw: Joryam Saizonou. The 6-foot-3 guard is currently unranked and does not carry any offers, so it does not get any more "in the rough" than Saizonou. The "diamond" of projecting the Beckley IJN senior to the highest level is he has the skill and IQ to be a point guard and the length and shooting ability to play the shooting guard equally as effectively. Saizonou, who is originally from the Netherlands, simply has not been seen as his time in West Virginia has largely coincided with COVID. Not only does Saizonou have diamond in the rough potential, he will be in the conversation for the Rivals150. In his big matchups this season Saizonou has had games of 32 against Massanutten, 24 against Hargrave, 24 against Liberty Heights and 21 against ISA, his output has been consistently efficient and it has been thoroughly impressive.

Wood: With so many D-I players transferring I don’t know if an uncommitted 2021 prospect could be a diamond in the rough. However, I’m going to pick Calusa Prep (Miami, Fla.) guard Arturo Dean. More of a scoring point guard, Dean is quick and tough to keep out of the paint. He can be high risk/high reward at times but he is a capable shot maker. I think he could be a diamond in the rough at the right program.