Rivals Roundtable: Which program is overachieving in recruiting?
The Rivals Roundtable returns today with a debate over which college hoops program is overachieving the most on the recruiting trail these days, along with other topics.
TWITTER TUESDAY: Georgia Tech, Maryland, UNC, Wake and more
1. Which program is overachieving right now in recruiting?
ERIC BOSSI: You never quite know what will happen when a new coach takes over, but at California there was at least some continuity when Wyking Jones was elevated from his assistant coaching position to head coach after Cuonzo Martin's departure for Missouri. Jones first saved the Bears 2017 efforts by keeping Rivals150 guard Juhwan Harris-Dyson in the fold and he added two nice pieces late in three-star forward Justice Sueing and three-star shooting guard Darius McNeill. In 2018, Jones and his staff have already landed a pair of four-star prospects in combo forward Jacobi Gordon and combo guard Matt Bradley, a tough and athletic scorer who is trending up. When you add in that the Bears are probably the early favorites to land five-star forward Jordan Brown, it's hard not to be impressed with what's happening in Berkeley.
COREY EVANS: Northwestern hired Chris Collins from his assistant coaching spot at Duke and it has paid off in many ways. He guided the Wildcats to their first NCAA Tournament, where they beat Vanderbilt in the opening round. Building off of that momentum, Northwestern has hit it big this summer with its 2018 class. In a matter of five days, Collins secured the commitment of Rivals150 guard Jordan Lathon and then beat out Michigan for one of the top upside prospects in the 2018 class, Pete Nance. Two Rivals150 commits prior to the July evaluation periods is another step forward for the program.
KRYSTEN PEEK: Andy Enfield and USC are on a roll right now landing three four-stars in the past week. Taeshon Cherry, J'Raan Brooks and Kevin Porter all committed to USC this past week. In a competitive conference fighting for the top talent in the west, Arizona and UCLA have led the way in recent years. It looks like Enfield and his staff have started to build the program that could take over the Pac-12 in the next few years. One top recruits still on USC's target list includes five-star Marvin Bagley. If USC can land him, it would be the first time the school has ever landed the number one player in the nation.
2. Which of the recent Rivals150 commitments was the most surprising?
ERIC BOSSI: I'm going to go with top 75 forward Darius Bazley. A big-time talent from Ohio who will be making a huge leap in the next rankings, Bazley committed to Syracuse this week during a visit. The choice is one that fits him because his length and quickness will be a match for the Orange's zone, but it was surprising to see him pull the trigger so quick. Bazley decommitted from Ohio State in the spring and when we spoke to him just a few weeks ago at the NBPA Top 100 he was pretty adamant that he would take his time and thoroughly research all of his options. So, a snap decision during a visit goes against what he had been planning to do and makes his commitment the biggest surprise to me.
COREY EVANS: It would be difficult to find a bigger surprise than Shareef O’Neal committing to Arizona. While the destination should not come as a surprise, for a prospect of O’Neal’s stature, to commit randomly in the middle of the night during the spring of his junior year, was perplexing to say the least. The belief was that the five-star forward would weigh the pros and cons of UCLA, Kentucky, LSU and several others before coming to a fall commitment. Instead, the son of NBA legend Shaq made his commitment known through the Twitter handle of his Cal Supreme travel team.
KRYSTEN PEEK: It was a little surprising to see Cole Swider commit so early. Villanova is a great fit for him, but with the attention coming from other schools after he played tremendously well at the NBPA Top 100 Camp, I thought he would pull back and take some visits and slow down the recruiting process. Swider is a great get for Jay Wright and his staff, which outfought Duke, Xavier and Syracuse for Swider.
3. Which event in July are you most excited to see?
ERIC BOSSI: There are so many great events during July but as far as competition level, environment and something being on the line, it doesn't get better than Nike's Peach Jam. Held annually in North Augusta, S.C., the Peach Jam is Nike's top 24 programs divided into four pools of six teams each where everybody gets a minimum of five games. The crowds are huge, the intensity is always running high and it is as pressure-packed an event as you can find in grassroots basketball.
COREY EVANS: One event that I cannot wait for is the adidas Gauntlet Finale from July 12-15 in Spartanburg, S.C., in a battle for top seeding at the Summer Championships. However, what I am really excited for is what Zion Williamson will bring. The five-star forward calls Spartanburg home and now entering his final month of summer play, the crowds of both college coaches, scouts and fans should be something worth watching.
KRYSTEN PEEK: I'm most excited to see some of the players on the adidas circuit play in Las Vegas during the second live period. Due to scheduling I haven't seen Zion Williamson or Romeo Langford play yet and those are two of the most exciting players to watch in the 2018 class. Along with all the players on the adidas circuit, there are numerous other events going on in Las Vegas during that time so really it's one of the best evaluation weeks of the year.