Rivals Roundtable: Top wings; Final Four picks; commitment watch
National analysts Eric Bossi, Corey Evans and Dan McDonald are back with the weekend roundtable. Which wing is most important? Who are their early Final Four picks and a weekly look at commitment watch are discussed.
1. Which available wing is most important to the school recruiting him?
Bossi: There are a lot of good answers here, but I’ll go with the most talented one who doesn't have rumors swirling that he may play overseas. That's Ziaire Williams. The smooth 6-foot-8 five-star scorer is coming off another visit to North Carolina and he’s also seen USC officially this fall. He’s got other finalists, but word is leaking that he could be nearing a decision.
At UNC, he would be the feather on top of a great class and at USC he would be paired with 2020’s No. 1 player Evan Mobley and continue a strong recruiting run for Andy Enfield. Can Arizona, Stanford or somebody else beat out either of those two? I’m not so sure.
Evans: Kansas with Bryce Thompson. The recent allegations levied against the program have scared a few prospects away from considering the Jayhawks any further and while it could play a part in the recruitment of Thompson, he is still taking a visit to Lawrence this weekend.
Two weeks ago, prior to the notice of allegations, I would have said Thompson was all but a done deal in favor for Kansas. Now? Things have changed a little but there is still a chance that he could end up at KU thanks to the trust factor which began when his father, Rod Thompson, played for Bill Self for one season at Tulsa.
It is going to be difficult for Kansas to snag many other five-stars in the coming months due to the allegations that they are facing, which makes it vital that it lands the one that remains a possibility in Thompson. Expect for a decision this fall with North Carolina, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, alongside the Jayhawks, sitting as the four to beat,
McDonald: I'll go with Jaden Springer with Tennessee in particular. The Vols have been in thick of this one since the beginning of his recruitment and get him on campus this weekend for his official visit. Memphis has made it interesting and he did take a visit to Michigan, but I like Tennessee's chances here, and it'd be a big one for Rick Barnes if he can get it done.
2. The season is about to tip off. Who are your Final Four picks?
Bossi: When you have a player of the year candidate running the point in Cassius Winston and a coach like Tom Izzo, Michigan State is a pretty easy pick. I also think Kansas and Kentucky are relatively easy picks. Kansas has depth, size and a stud point guard in Devon Dotson while Kentucky is actually going to have experience, by their standards, for a change. If E.J. Montgomery takes the step forward I’m expecting and freshmen like Tyrese Maxey do their thing, the Cats will be dangerous. Finally, give me Villanova as a “sleeper” pick. They may be too young this year but Jay Wright has things loaded up in Philadelphia and has proven to be one heck of a coach.
Evans: Michigan State seems to be too easy of a pick but with Winston running the show and hopefully a healthy Josh Langford paired alongside him, plus, a microwave of a scorer in Rocket Watts, they are destined for the Final Four.
Maryland has a complete core that is talented enough to get there and behind a more efficient Anthony Cowan, a breakout sophomore season with Aaron Wiggins, and stardom now at hand for Jalen Smith, the Terps keep on dancing.
Finally, I wanted to throw Kentucky or Florida into the last spot, but it is never as cut and dry as it appears which is why I will go with Florida State. Leonard Hamilton is fairly optimistic heading into the season. They don’t have the load of bigs that they usually possess, but Trent Forrest is ready to have the keys, MJ Walker should bring greater consistency and Patrick Williams is the ace in Hamilton’s pocket.
McDonald: I think you're trying too hard to be different here if you don't put Michigan State in. Out of the ACC, give me Chris Mack getting to his first Final Four as the Cardinals brought back a lot of key pieces, particularly Jordan Nwora, and bring in a lot of firepower too.
Mike White will also make his first Final Four this year as I love the additions the Gators made with Kerry Blackshear Jr. and the star-studded recruiting class. Andrew Nembhard coming back is significant too. Lastly, just because I think so highly of Chris Beard as a coach, I'll go with Texas Tech to come visit me in Atlanta in early April 2020.
3. Who do you have on commitment watch this week?
Bossi: I have to believe that five-star shooting guard Jaden Springer is close to a decision here. He’s seen two of his finalists in Memphis and Michigan and this weekend he’s at Tennessee. You can never be 100% sure on anything in recruiting, but, I really like the Vols chances here. Barnes and his staff already hosted Springer for an official visit last season and a second as he’s in decision mode has to bode well. Will it be this week? We’ll see but I don’t think he’s too far off.
Evans: There are no glaring commitments that are set to unfold but there are a few prospects that I am monitoring over the next few days.
First is Jalen Suggs, arguably the least discussed five-star prospect primarily because he has been spending his fall on the football field. He will be at Gonzaga this weekend and Mark Few’s program has been the team to beat since the summer months.
Michigan will bring to campus the son of Juwan Howard, Jace Howard, for a few days. This is all about wrapped up and all that is missing is a verbal commitment for the elder Howard to land his first commitment as a head coach. Lastly, Florida has been on a roll of late and could get a leg up in the 2021 class with Kowacie Reeves. He has been to campus twice already but this will in the official variety and during homecoming weekend. If he is going to commit early, now would be the time.
McDonald: I'm going to put Suggs on commit watch as he's making the trip to Gonzaga this week. They have been viewed as the leader or one of the leaders for a while now, and no better way to seal the deal than to bring him on campus for an official visit to Kraziness in the Kennel.