Rivals Roundtable: Which five-star is next to pop?
This week in the Rivals Roundtable, national analysts Eric Bossi and Dan McDonald welcome long-time contributor Russ Wood to the discussion. Among the topics this week are Duke’s newest commit Jalen Johnson, which five-star could be next to pop and who they are each looking most forward to watching during next week’s live period.
1. Duke just landed five-star forward Jalen Johnson. How does he compare with tall forwards in Duke's past and which remaining Duke target best fits?
Bossi: Duke has really become the go-to landing spot for tall, skilled forwards capable of playing the three or the four (and sometimes even the five) in Mike Krzyzewski’s system. In terms of how he’ll be used and fit, I’d say Johnson is most similar to Jayson Tatum and Jabari Parker because he has post game and is just a so-so jump shooter from deep. He’s not the tour-de-force that Zion Williamson was and going back he’s not the shooter that Luol Deng was but he should be next in a long line of one-and-done wings.
As for remaining targets, I like Mark Williams as the best fit with Johnson and Roach. He can run, he’s a true rim protector and he’s a big man who doesn’t require many touches. At the end of the day, Duke will be tough to beat for him
McDonald: He's really a blend of a lot of them because he's so big and versatile. I'm not expecting him to come in and do what Zion did in his one year in Durham, but I do think he'll make a big impact. From a production standpoint, I'd expect somewhere in the neighborhood of what Deng and Tatum did as freshmen with a little extra in the assist column.
As for a remaining targets, I think this will help with Duke's pursuit of Walker Kessler. He's mentioned multiple times that he'll be paying attention to who he'll play with and the type of players they are. Duke now has two five-star prospects committed that both would feed him the ball. Johnson and Kessler in pick-and-pop would be pretty tough.
Wood: Jalen Johnson is a quintessential positionless player. With his skillset and versatility I expect Johnson to get the kind of freedom to make plays that R.J. Barrett had last season. Johnson definitely reminds me of Tatum. I think Kessler would complement Johnson and Jeremy Roach sort of like a 2020 version of Christian Laettner. Duke’s toughest competition for Kessler appears to be Auburn, Gonzaga Michigan and North Carolina. Kessler has taken officials to Auburn, Duke and Michigan. He plans to take one to Gonzaga as well as another official visit to Duke and North Carolina.
MORE: Johnson picks Duke
2. With Johnson off the board, which five-star do you think is closest to committing and who do you think they'll pick?
Bossi: The easy route here would be to say Evan Mobley to USC or Cade Cunningham to Oklahoma State since they each have a relative in an assistant coaching spot. So, with those guys out I’m going to take a flyer on Ziaire Williams and North Carolina. Stanford is deep in there too and Arizona has been making a run but Williams seems to really like the Heels. He is a system and personality fit for Roy Williams and wings who have thrived for him in the past. Now, Williams hasn’t exactly said he’s planning on deciding anytime soon so don’t go holding your breath.
McDonald: I'm going to go with Sharife Cooper popping for Auburn at some point in the near future. I'm honestly not even sure he's visited any other schools throughout the recruiting process. He's been to Auburn numerous times, and I'm told spent a lot of time recruiting for Auburn on its big recruiting weekend at the beginning of June.
Wood: I am going to go with N'Faly Dante and I think the pick will be Oregon. For the longest time I had Dante pegged for LSU, then my forecast on which school he’d pick became overcast. He tripped to Kentucky but left without committing. Dante has already visited Oregon and he has been one of the Ducks' top targets for two years. Oregon has room to take Dante in 2019, if he reclassifies, but will certainly take him in 2020.
3. Which player are you most looking forward to watching during this week's upcoming open evaluation period?
Bossi: I’m going to go with Josh Hall of Team Loaded North Carolina here. We recently moved the smooth and skilled 6-foot-8 wing into the top 25 in 2020 and I’m expecting him to back up that hype. He’s too good of a shooter and too polished of a scorer to not back it up (at least I hope). On the recruiting front, he’s got offers from East Carolina (where his dad played) N.C. State, Providence, Xavier, Pittsburgh, Wake Forest, Oklahoma State, Florida, Texas, Maryland, Miami, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgetown, Tennessee and many others. However, outside of Kansas, Hall has yet to land blueblood offers. I would bet on that changing over the next couple of weeks.
McDonald: I'll be spending the live period at the Under Armour Finals, so I'm really excited to get my first in-person look at Chet Holmgren. He's been one of the biggest stock risers the past few months in any class. Watching post players can be hit or miss, but I trust I'll get a good show considering five-star 2020 point guard Jalen Suggs will get him the ball. The No. 7 prospect in 2021 recently added offers from Baylor, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Georgetown, Gonzaga, Marquette, Minnesota, Ohio State, Purdue, Tennessee, Texas and more.
Wood: As much as I enjoy watching B.J. Boston play, I’m most looking forward to watching Lynn Greer III. I have only seen him in a couple of games and he left me wanting to see more. Especially with how efficient he is in ball-screen action. Florida, Villanova, Indiana, Miami and Wake Forest in good position. Greer will trip to Gainesville for an official visit with the Gators the weekend of Sept. 7.