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Rivals Roundtable: Undervalued commits, 2019 standouts, visits

RANKINGS: 2019 Rivals150 | 2020 Rivals150 | 2019 Team Rankings

This week in the Rivals Roundtable, basketball analysts Eric Bossi, Corey Evans and Dan McDonald give their opinions on a number of topics. Which early commitment should be more celebrated? Who should they have pushed harder for in the 2019 rankings and more.

EVANS SEVEN: Programs with the most on the line this weekend

Which 2019 player's commitment do you feel is a bigger deal than it has been made out to be?

Austin Crowely
Austin Crowely

Bossi: On Thursday I watched Vanderbilt-bound shooting guard Austin Crowely work out and, wow, he’s much better than I had realized. He’s always been a smooth scorer, but he’s really gotten much stronger, he’s gotten better off the dribble and he’s improved his all-around game. I felt he would be a good player in Nashville, but he looks more ready to contribute as a freshman than I had previously thought.

Evans: Raequan Battle's commitment to Washington didn’t receive the publicity that it rightfully deserved. The 6-foot-4 scoring guard showed tremendous progressions throughout the spring and summer months as a bouncy, tough and confident jump shooter who can catch fire on the perimeter. Battle’s pledge earlier this year was a giant win for Mike Hopkins’ squad and he should be an integral member of the Huskies’ program from next year on.

McDonald: He came off the board almost exactly a year ago and isn't a five-star prospect, so I feel like Brycen Goodine's commitment to Syracuse doesn't get the attention it deserves. I think he's such a perfect fit for the Orange. I just think he's a really good player. He can legitimately play both guard spots, can score in bunches and I think he's the type of player that can lift others around him. The other reason I really like this match is because Jim Boeheim has had so many guards like Goodine before that have had great success.

Looking back at this last week's 2019 rankings update, who is standing out to you as the one guy that you should have pushed harder for?

Zeke Nnaji
Zeke Nnaji (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

Bossi: I keep on coming back to Minnesota big man Zeke Nnaji. He’s had a late growth spurt, has skill, can shoot and can play the four or the five in today’s college game. He stayed about the same in the recent update (was at No. 34, now No. 37). But the more I see of him and think about projecting him, I wish I had pushed to move him up. Possibly all the way to five-star status.

Evans: Terrence Shannon. The 6-foot-7 small forward has already climbed the rankings but maybe he's not just a fringe top-50 guy, but instead a fringe five-star prospect. Shannon didn’t hold a single high-major offer until March. Now, he is a sure-fire top-50 recruit and one of the most versatile prospects in the land. Looking at his development path, one has to think that with his rapid progressions and translatable skill set in today’s game, it is not difficult to see stardom in his future. I should have worked a little harder for a better ranking for the Windy City product.

McDonald: I wish I would have pushed harder for Cole Anthony to be No. 1 overall. I feel better about him being a great one-year college player and really good in the NBA for a long time than anybody else in the class.

We haven't seen as many commitments on the heels of official visits as in years past, is any visitor standing out to you as one to watch this weekend? If not, what recruiting development of the last week most caught your attention?

E.J. Liddell
E.J. Liddell (Rivals.com)

Bossi: I do think that the commitments will finally start picking up this weekend and shortly after. But, I want to focus on a recent development. E.J. Liddell cutting things to Illinois, Missouri and Ohio State and moving his visit to Illinois up almost a month is a big development. I see him as a luxury for Ohio State but for the Illini and Tigers he’s an absolute must-have, and I’m starting to think it comes down to one or the other of the bitter rivals.

Evans: I think this is the weekend that the dominoes begin to fall. I can see Jaylin Williams and/or Tyrell Jones popping for Auburn, Isaiah Wong saying yes to Miami and Isaac Johnson committing to Utah. However, if there's one pledge that I am most confident in, it would have to be Antavion Collum heading to Ole Miss.

McDonald: I'd keep an eye on Jaylin Williams visiting Auburn. He does also have a visit set with Georgia in a couple weeks, and he had Mississippi State and St. John's in for home visits this week, but I like the Tigers' chances here. Auburn has been one of the schools recruiting him hard for a while, and Bruce Pearl does a great job in Georgia.

Jalen Green and R.J. Hampton are taking advantage of the new visit rules and taking trips to Memphis this weekend. If you are running a program, how are you handling the influx of juniors who want to take early official visits?

R.J. Hampton
R.J. Hampton (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

Bossi: First of all, great job by Memphis to get those two monster talents on campus this weekend. If guys like that want to visit officially, I don’t think you can say no. Overall, though, I’d be pretty leery of bringing in juniors for official visits this early. I would have to be really sure I could get a commitment from a guy to use an official that early. Now, if the NCAA gives schools more officials to use -- they told kids they could take more five more visits in high school while only giving schools four more visits to use over a two year period -- then I would change my opinion.

Evans: This is a very interesting dilemma for college programs. Do they decide to spend an official visit on a junior prospect or rather focus our attention on the 2019 class? I look at it this way: If a program feels like it is losing its grasp on a recruit and he may commit early to another team, then it'd be best to get him to campus as soon as possible. It is a case-by-case basis, but if you can afford the time, have an idea of who you exactly want from the 2020 class and an open weekend is allotted, then go for it.

McDonald: I had a coach at a school that is recruiting at a really high level right now tell me recently his staff's plan is to bring in a select few juniors for basketball games during the season this year and then try to get those same kids back for football game weekends next year. I think that's probably the best way to operate, especially for schools with a great football game-day experience.