Rivals Roundtable: Hot topics for the late signing period
The late signing period is here, and with only a dozen members of the Rivals150 left on the board there’s not likely to be a lot of action. In a special signing day edition of the Rivals Roundtable, national analysts Eric Bossi, Corey Evans and Dan McDonald discuss topics related to spring signings.
1. Which player left on the board is most important to the program recruiting him?
Bossi: I’m going to go with Precious Achiuwa and Kansas. Arguably the biggest need that Bill Self and the Jayhawks have is an athletic frontcourt player. Achiuwa is a little rough around the edges but he can run, he can play above the rim and he would give Kansas versatility with its frontcourt. The Jayhawks are going to have a tough time coming up with that if they can’t land their top big-man target.
Evans: Cole Anthony and UNC. The Tar Heels have a massive void in the backcourt with the departures of Kenny Williams and Coby White. If Anthony were to surprise the masses and not commit to the Tar Heels, there really is no option B in Chapel Hill. Sure, they remain involved for Anthony Harris, but the former Virginia Tech recruit isn’t the lead guard or the playmaker that Anthony is.
McDonald: It has to be Cole Anthony after the departure of Coby White from North Carolina after one year. Roy Williams needs a star point guard to keep the Tar Heels in the mix for an ACC title. It feels like North Carolina has been all in on Anthony for quite some time now, and I think the Heels get this one done here soon.
2. Which program looks to be in best position to make a run in the 2019 team rankings?
Bossi: Duke, Kentucky and - wait for it - Memphis all have a good chance to overtake Gonzaga for the top class in 2019. Duke appears to be in position to land both five-star forward Matthew Hurt and top 35 wing Cassius Stanley. Either of them would put the Blue Devils in first place and both would give them a pretty commanding lead in the team recruiting rankings. But, should Duke only land one of them Memphis is in prime position to land in the top spot if it can pull off any two of these players: Precious Achiuwa, Trendon Watford and Lester Quinones.
Evans: Duke comes to mind, but I am going to say Memphis. The Tigers are in a great spot with two of the top available forwards this spring in Precious Achiuwa and Trendon Watford. Landing at least one of the two is more than likely. From there, top 50 wing Lester Quinones remains a Memphis lean, and while he will visit Indiana and Michigan in the coming days the Tigers remain the favorite. Meanwhile RJ Hampton will likely reclassify into the 2019 class and has a chance to be on the AAC program’s campus in the fall. He might not commit to the Tigers until August, but they will be in it until the very end, battling Duke, Kansas and Kentucky for his services. Put it all together and Memphis could finish with the top class in America.
McDonald: Memphis could be in line to move up even higher when all is said and done. Adding a five-star in Watford, along with a highly ranked four-star in Quinones, could vault the Tigers inside the top five if they can land both. Duke would be the other answer here if the Blue Devils can reel in Matthew Hurt and Cassius Stanley late.
3. Which available player's recruitment is the hardest for you to get a read on?
Bossi: I mentioned him above, but I can’t get any kind of read on what Precious Achiuwa is going to do. For the longest time it looked like UConn would be his destination, but from what I’ve heard it’s not going to happen. Kansas, Memphis and North Carolina have gotten visits and Georgia is still in play, but at least for now he doesn’t appear to be in any kind of hurry to decide.
Evans: Jaden McDaniels. While the consensus is that he will end up at Washington (which is my prediction for where he lands, too) I believe that it is a total guessing game with him. No one truly knows where he will end up, including McDaniels himself. I am told that he has begun to devote more time and attention toward his recruitment but that nothing is near for now. Kentucky, San Diego State, Texas and UCLA remain involved, and if he were to pick someone that is not UW, it would really come as no surprise.
McDonald: McDaniels seems to be the most low-key highly ranked prospect in the class. He has very little to say about his recruitment, so it is hard to have a great feel for where he'll end up. I'm guessing Washington wins out, but it really wouldn't surprise me to see him land anywhere in his top five of Kentucky, San Diego State, Texas, UCLA and, of course, Washington.
4. What - if anything - would you change about the late signing period?
Bossi: I say we totally blow up the late signing period. Or at least change how things are currently done. I would be in favor of totally eliminating the early signing period and pushing the start of what would then be the only signing period back to the first Wednesday of May. Times have changed, and with the number of coaches moving each year, the number of transfers and the amount of spring change I think we should just have one big signing period. It would make it less trouble for kids to find new homes if the coach they committed to jumps ship, and it would give new coaches some actual time to evaluate and recruit players.
Evans: The late signing period goes by with little to no fanfare. What about letting members of the junior class who have had already committed sign? Yes, asking a prospect that is more than a year away from enrolling in college to sign might be a bit much, but it would also put more weight on the verbal commitment that he had already made. If he were not to sign, does it signify that he is not 100 percent set on the respective program? It might clarify some things and it might also force colleges to spend greater time on the younger classes compared to the specific senior classes.
McDonald: Nothing obvious jumps out to me that needs to be changed about the signing period. I could get on board with moving it back one week in order to give new coaches a little more time to figure out their new job. But at the same time, this isn't football, where kids are being recruited even though they are committed.