Rivals Roundtable: Who lacks buzz, commitment watch, more
The Rivals.com basketball team of Eric Bossi, Corey Evans and Dan McDonald is back with its weekly roundtable. This week, the guys discuss big-timers flying under the radar, who should be on commitment watch and their personal top fives regardless of class.
RIVALS RANKINGS WEEK
TUESDAY: 2020 Top 10
WEDNESDAY: 2020 Rivals150
THURSDAY: 2020 position rankings
FRIDAY: 2021 Rivals150
SATURDAY: 2021 position rankings
MONDAY: 2022 rankings
1. Who is the highest ranked player that doesn't seem to be getting enough buzz?
Bossi: I’ve written about it before, but how Josh Hall isn’t getting more buzz is beyond me. Don’t get me wrong, he has some very good programs recruiting him and is coming off a visit to Louisville last weekend. But in a game where we are putting more importance ever on shooting and versatility, I can’t believe more aren’t going to war for the services of a 6-foot-8 wing with a burner from deep. I’ll be even more specific, I don’t understand why the two blue bloods in his own home state, Duke and North Carolina, seem to be saying “No thanks” to this point.
Evans: Jabari Smith. I get it, that he is only a member of the 2021 class and we were ahead of the curve in ranking him as a top-10 prospect, but you would think that the best of the best would be all about Smith. I mean, he is a 6-foot-9 power forward with a strong work ethic, has a father that played in the NBA, can really shoot it and has only gotten better.
Instead, regional programs in Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Georgia Tech and LSU have prioritized, but none of the blue bloods have yet. That is going to change but could it be too late? Smith is not going to be wowed by a program’s name but rather where he fits best and who he has built the strongest relationship with.
McDonald: Jaden Springer seems like a little bit of a forgotten man in this class despite his five-star status. His recruitment never seemed to get as hot as it should. He's working with a list of Florida, Memphis, Michigan, North Carolina and Tennessee. I guess I'm just surprised schools like Duke, Kansas and Kentucky never really cranked up the heat on him.
2. Who do you have on commitment watch heading into the weekend?
Bossi: Top 40 big man Mady Sissoko is on a visit to Michigan State this weekend and he’s planning to announce his decision Tuesday night. The visit is his second to East Lansing and the bruising athlete seems like the exact kind of post player Tom Izzo would put together if he could design one in a lab. Things aren’t ever certain in recruiting, but I really like the Spartans chances here.
Evans: Louisville. The Cards have yet to scratch out a commitment from the 2020 class and they need at least four before moving on to the 2021 class. Last weekend, they hosted Devin Askew, Hall and Zach Loveday, and while none committed, they did impress each.
However, this weekend could be different with Deivon Smith heading to campus. The top-50 guard just visited NC State last weekend and has no others lined up beyond his trip to Louisville. The Cards need a playmaking guard badly and could fill that need with the explosive Smith before Monday rolls around.
McDonald: I'm going with Sissoko at Michigan State. The Spartans appear to be in a great spot in his recruitment and getting him on campus a second time could be all that is needed for Izzo to seal the deal.
3. Who are your top five current high school players, regardless of class?
Bossi: No. 1 is the easiest call of them all for me, 2022’s Emoni Bates, who will debut at No. 1 in his class rankings on Monday. At 6-foot-8 he can do it all and is a fierce competitor. At No. 2, I’m going to go with Evan Mobley because he changes the game more than anybody as a defender. At No. 3 give me the ultra versatile Cade Cunningham and he’s not in No. 3 by much. At four, I will go Jonathan Kuminga and then I’ll finish things up with 2020 scoring machine Jalen Green at No. 5.
Evans: Things begin and end with Cunningham. There might be others with better upside than him, but there is also not a surer bet to make it than the top-ranked 2020 guard. Next is Kuminga, the top-ranked junior that can be as good as he might want to be. Give me Bates, of course, because well, he might be the most talented prospect in America regardless of class.
That is my top three and the next group is a bit more difficult. I will take Terrence Clarke if he remains in the 2021 class, because the talent and scoring prowess that he encapsulates within his game is of a different ilk. Lastly, it is a complete toss-up between Jalen Duren, Mobley, Green and Paolo Banchero. I will take Banchero just because of how productive he has been but the first three have a say within the matter, too.
McDonald: I'm going with Bates, Clarke, Cunningham, Chet Holmgren and probably Mobley to round it out. Those are five guys I see making a lot of money in the NBA. The hype with Bates is real, but the others are all really talented too.