Rivals Roundtable: Surprise lists, most interesting player to scout, more
National analysts Eric Bossi, Corey Evans and Dan McDonald are back with the weekly roundtable. Which highly recruited players have raised eyebrows with their school lists? Which five-star senior’s recruitment is the most mysterious?
1. Which high-profile player has raised your eyebrows with their cut-down list or scheduled official visits?
Bossi: Earlier this week, Corey reported on top 35 guard Adam Miller’s first three official visits and I have to say, I was a bit to surprised that he’s not only visiting Arizona State but Arizona along with his other scheduled visit to Illinois. Illinois is the home state program, has always done well in Miller’s home town of Peoria (he moved to Chicago during high school) and has ties to the Mac Irvin Fire summer team. Arizona State wasn’t even a big surprise to me because I had heard it was making a move on him during the summer.
But Arizona? I don’t think anybody had really been taking it seriously but here it is getting Miller’s first visit. I still see the Illini as the team to beat for Miller, but visits to bitter Pac-12 rivals in the Grand Canyon State have caught my attention.
Evans: I wasn’t surprised by Auburn, Florida, Memphis or Texas making the final cut for Greg Brown, but Kentucky? Given how much attention the blueblood’s recruiting gets, for practically no one to know how invested the Wildcats were in the recruitment of the five-star prospect is a bit mind-boggling. Sure, seeing UK’s name next to an elite prospect is par for the course, but with Brown, it is news to most that the Cats are not just involved, but also a strong suitor for his commitment.
McDonald: The one that jumped out to me as interesting was Andre Jackson letting me know earlier this week that Maryland is a real player in his recruitment. I think Syracuse has the inside track to sign him in November, but he spoke very highly of the Terps when we talked earlier week. Maryland hadn't been involved in his recruitment until recently, but he likes the way the Terps have talked about getting him on the fast track to the NBA, much like they did with fellow upstate New Yorker Kevin Huerter a few years ago.
2. Which five-star senior's recruitment has been the most mysterious?
Bossi: Give me Jalen Suggs. The only thing we really know about the standout playmaker from Minnesota is that he took an official visit to Gonzaga last winter and that since then, there has been confidence that the Zags are in very good shape. But, Suggs has never really tipped his hand about it and he’s said numerous times in the past he’s going to set up more visits yet nothing has happened.
So, is Gonzaga really in the driver’s seat? Is somebody else out there -- Kansas, Iowa State, Minnesota or Marquette among others -- waiting to swoop in? Don’t forget, Suggs is also a big-time quarterback and always leaves the door slightly open when it comes to the possibility of playing football in college.
Evans: Getting any sort of concrete information pertaining to Isaiah Jackson is nearly impossible. Jackson will move back to his home state for his final year of high school ball and with his long-time travel and high school teammate, Rocket Watts, enrolled at Michigan State, many assume that East Lansing is where he will be playing his college ball. However, Michigan seems to have a better chance with him than its in-state foe, but don’t underestimate others such as Alabama, Louisville and Memphis. The recruitment of Jackson is a guessing game and just how Watts’ commitment surprised most, I wouldn’t be shocked if Jackson ended his recruitment in a similar manner.
McDonald: I'm really curious to see how Bryce Thompson's recruitment plays out. He's yet to cut his list down, but it's assumed that Arkansas, Kansas, Michigan State, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are under strong consideration by the five-star shooting guard who is coming off a terrific summer. A lot of talk this summer had Kansas and North Carolina as the leaders, but I'm curious to see if a potential commitment from Cade Cunningham can help Oklahoma State seal the deal. He has other former travel ball teammates already in Stillwater as well. This could be an interesting recruitment down the stretch.
3. What player do you find most interesting to scout?
Bossi: I'll be surprised if I’m the only one who says Chet Holmgren here. I mean he’s got to be, given that 7-foot-plus 16-year-olds who can handle the ball, shoot and protect the rim like he does aren’t common.
Maybe the closest comparison I can come up to Holmgren is Bol Bol as a high schooler, but Holmgren is a better shooter and more consistent than Bol was at the start of his junior year. I don’t know where else to list him other than center because he’s such a matchup problem there due to his mobility and skill. I know he’s rail thin, but Holmgren is also a true competitor.
Richard Pitino and Minnesota are dying to keep him home. Purdue was in really early as well. Baylor, Florida, Gonzaga, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Ohio State, Texas and many more have jumped in as well but he appears to be pretty wide open.
Evans: Holmgren, bar none. Is he a wing? Is he a stretch forward? I am not entirely sure, but what I do know is that he is a gifted prospect that isn’t much like anybody that we have seen in recent years. At first glance, you see a tall and super slender prospect that needs to put on oodles of weight. That shouldn’t take away from his raw talent and abilities because he has the chance to be special, as long as he develops physically. There are not many like him. He is a 7-footer that can break guards down off of the bounce, consistently knock down shots to the perimeter, and makes for an elite shot blocker at the basket. His recruitment has just begun to take off similar to how he has ascended into the top 10 of the 2021 rankings.
McDonald: I'm going with an under-the-radar prospect (nationally) in the 2021 class for my pick, Kaleb Washington. He's a 6-foot-7 wing out of Georgia who just recently added offers from Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech and Xavier. I've been watching him for a couple years now and have been intrigued by his talent because he's so long, athletic and skilled. Those three traits get a lot of college coaches interested, but I've never seen him put it all together with my own two eyes. It sounds like he had a great July though and started to do it consistently, so I'm curious to see where his game goes over the next year.