The Rivals.com basketball recruiting crew returns this weekend with a roundtable discussion of some recent hoops topics.
1. What is your opinion on the new transfer proposal that would allow players to switch schools without sitting out a year?
ERIC BOSSI: I think all of us would like to see what the exact proposal is and from talking to college coaches, the general thought is that it's not likely to pass. If it does pass, though, I am all for it. Coaches are free to move about as they see fit and if that's the case then I think that players should be able to do the same. I know there are coaches worried it will create a chaotic environment and it very well may do that because there's no doubt that players will get the itchy to leave over playing time and there's no doubt that there will be coaches who actively recruit other teams' players. A simple solution to all of this is that if a head coach leaves, a player should be able to transfer without having to sit out a year. If there is no coaching change, then you sit out for the year.
COREY EVANS: I understand this from the player’s perspective, totally. Why should coaches and regular students have the chance to change jobs and schools without any limitations but when they attempt to do the same, they are forced to sit out a full year from playing the sport that they love? It doesn’t add up to me just as I do not foresee this rule going into effect. The last time that I had checked, the players transferring do not have a say or vote in whether this proposed ruling gets put into place. Sure, the higher level programs may not be against this rule, but the mid and lower rungs? There is just no way this passes, at least with how things are currently outlined. There may be restrictions on the transfer rule including a minimum 3.0 GPA but even that might not be enough for this ruling to go into effect. If it somehow does, just another can of worms would be opened, creating for an even worse shadow to be placed over college basketball recruiting.
KRYSTEN PEEK: I don't have an opinion one way or another with this new transfer proposal from the NCAA. I see why coaches are upset about it but when I look at it from the player's perspective, it doesn't seem that bad. Take for instance Derryck Thornton. Three years ago, Tyus Jones decided to leave Duke and declare for the draft after his freshman year. Needing a point guard for the 2015 class, Thornton decided to reclassify and joined the Blue Devils. A year later, Duke had Frank Jackson coming in and basically drove Thornton to transfer to USC. I always thought it was such a shame he had to sit out a season when he was healthy and able to play. I know coaches are worried about the whole free agency trend it could set off and that's understandable, too. The reason I don't really have a shocking response to either side is simple. College basketball will adjust and continue no matter what the outcome. I think the bigger discussion on the table for the NCAA is actually paying these players since they're bringing in millions of dollars to their universities.
DAN MCDONALD: Now that I've had more time to think about it, read more, and talk to different coaches for their perspectives, I'm open to allowing transfers without sitting out a year. As somebody who transferred schools a couple times, I'm sympathetic to this topic, but I do think we need stipulations if the rule goes through. One definitely needs to be, and I believe this is in the proposal, that you can only transfer once without sitting out. After that, you're sitting out the year, unless your head coach leaves. I know coaches fear this rule leading to an increased amount of tampering, and because of that, I think the NCAA should be extremely active in investigating tampering allegations and harsh on any coaches that do tamper. We're already at an incredible number of transfers every year. I really don't think allowing one free transfer will change much, although I think you may see more higher-profile guys opt to leave. It holds the coaches accountable for what they say during the recruiting process, and it gives the players a little more freedom in a sport where coaches can become too powerful. If the NCAA wants to stick with the facade that these are student athletes with student coming first, then let them be like other students free to move around. If not, sign them to contracts and pay them.
2. Are their any big-name weekend visitors that you could see committing?
ERIC BOSSI: The obvious guy to put on commitment watch would be five-star point guard Immanuel Quickley who visits Kentucky this weekend. Quickley has called Kentucky his leader in the past and has already visited Kansas officially and Maryland unofficially. He was supposed to visit Miami but had to cancel his trip due to Hurricane Irma. I suppose he could make up that Miami visit but it might be a bit of a surprise for him to do so. I don't see him committing during his Kentucky visit, but I could see it happening within a week or so of the visit. Sticking in the Bluegrass State, I had been keeping an eye on Louisville as well in expectation of 2019 4-star shooting guard David Johnson making a move but he didn't even need the entire weekend to make up his mind and committed Friday night
COREY EVANS: There are a number of high-profile visits this weekend. Louisville hosts Darius Days, Miami hosts Nassir Little, Wake Forest hosts Mike DeVoe, Kentucky hosts Immanuel Quickley and Florida hosts Devon Dotson. I see each recruit committing to the respective program, though I fail to see it happening during their weekend stay. The one that I can see going down is another visitor to Florida, that being Colin Castleton. One of the emerging names from the Sunshine State, Castleton has spoken on end about his affinity for the Gators. He does have a visit set for Purdue at the end of the month but I would be surprised if Mike White lets him leave the state for a visit, let alone for his college playing career. The commitment watch is on for Gainesville this weekend.
KRYSTEN PEEK: I think the next five-star to commit will be Immanuel Quickley and it could be coming this weekend after his official visit to Kentucky. Quickley has said a few times that Kentucky is the team to beat and coach Cal and his staff were in to see the five-star guard earlier this week. Quickley would be the first commit for Kentucky and it could get the ball rolling for other top targets as well.
DAN MCDONALD: The one I'd keep an eye on is four-star guard Will Richardson visiting Georgia. Mark Fox and his staff followed Richardson around all through July and have clearly made him a priority in the 2018 class. He's been on campus before, he's very close with former UGA star JJ Frazier, and he's also very close with freshman safety Richard LeCounte, who played alongside him in basketball at Liberty County High School. It may or may not end this weekend, but I think the Dawgs are in a good spot to get this one done at some point.
3. What has been the biggest surprise visit to you so far this fall?
ERIC BOSSI: I don't know that it's necessarily a surprising visit, but I think it has to be encouraging for Wake Forest that Nate Laszewski is still making his official visit this weekend. Laszewski is a skilled combo forward who can stretch defenses and would certainly fit in with the Demon Deacons, but they do already have a commitment from top 30 combo forward Jaylen Hoard and many thought that might end their chances with Laszewski. Laszewski did visit Notre Dame last weekend and the thought was he might commit after that visit but for now it looks like he may be a bit more open than expected. Laszewski is also scheduled to visit North Carolina next weekend.
COREY EVANS: It isn’t just one particular visit that stands out but rather a program as a whole. Kevin Keatts has hit the ground running at NC State and after patching together his backcourt with Lavar Batts and Braxton Beverly this summer, the fact that he and his staff were able to gain traction with five-star wing Keldon Johnson and top-50 big man David McCormack really stands out. Two of the more recruited prospects from coast to coast, Keatts and his staff didn’t have the chance to develop the proper in-roads that many others had done with each prospect over the past three years. It doesn’t seem to have mattered with McCormack or Johnson as both used one of their five official visits allotted on the program. It may not lead to an NC State commitment but from the outside looking in, with another year or two at the helm in Raleigh, Keatts may have the chance to secure a five-star recruit and display that the Pack, just like the local UNC and Duke blueblood programs, can also attract elite talent to their campus.
KRYSTEN PEEK: I know Zion Williamson is from South Carolina and he's always included Clemson and South Carolina on his list of schools but that Clemson visit was a little bit of a head scratcher for me if we're looking purely at schools that I think are truly in the running for the No. 2 player in the 2018 class. I also understand that if I were a high school kid, a Clemson vs. Auburn football game would be pretty awesome to attend in person so I get that too. It seems Williamson is getting down to business and had a big week with in-home visits from UCLA, Kansas, Kentucky and South Carolina. He's also set official visits to UCLA, Duke, Kansas and Kentucky.
DAN MCDONALD: Devon Dotson visiting Clemson last weekend surprised me a bit. He was slated to visit Florida, but had to cancel because of the hurricane, so he made his way to Death Valley for Clemson's big football win over Auburn in an electric environment. I still think Florida has the edge here, but it was interesting to me that Dotson chose to visit Clemson at the same time as fellow five-star Zion Williamson, who happened to be his teammate the last week of July on SC Supreme.