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Roundtable: The battle for Hunter Sallis; league's off to slow starts; more

Hunter Sallis
Hunter Sallis (Nick Lucero/

By the end of the weekend, less than half of the 2021 Rivals150 will remain undecided. In this week’s edition of the Rivals Roundtable national analysts Eric Bossi, Corey Evans and Dan McDonald discuss whose recruitments could turn into Battle Royale style affairs. Also, we discuss which conferences are sitting pretty and who needs to get to work.

MORE: Replacing the top early-entry players

2021 Rankings: Rivals150 | Position

2022 Rankings: Top 75

1. With half the Rivals150 off the board, which player's recruitment will get the most heated?


Bossi: Trey Kaufman is the guy for me. It has always been assumed that the skilled forward from Indiana would stay close to home. That put Indiana, Louisville and Purdue in the perceived driver’s seat. However, from asking around and getting a feel for his recruitment, it is starting to sound like the No. 39 ranked player in the 2021 class could be more open to leaving his home state. North Carolina and Virginia have been pushing and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few others make plays for him in the near future.

Evans: Hunter Sallis. Due to the dearth of elite talent at the point guard spot to begin with, and the bevy of Rivals150 prospects that have already come to a decision, it has left the market in the hands of Sallis. Kansas and North Carolina have already come calling hard and often, but so have Creighton, Gonzaga, Iowa State, Louisville, Nebraska, Oregon and a slew of others. Kentucky hasn’t offered yet but just jumped into the mix as well. Sallis could be cutting his list soon, but in the meantime, expect for things to only escalate further with the five-star guard.

McDonald: I'm intrigued by the recruitment of Trevor Keels as we head down the stretch before the early signing period. Villanova was thought to be a strong possibility, but recently took commitments from two guards. Duke has come on strong lately to the point where many consider the Blue Devils to be in the top spot right now. Duke's ACC rivals North Carolina and Virginia aren't going down without a fight for his signature, so I think this could be one of the more interesting stories to follow over the next few months.

2. Which conference's 2021 recruiting has been the most impressive and who needs to step it up?

Jaden Akins
Jaden Akins (

Bossi: I like the start the Big Ten is off to. Ohio State has the highest ranked class in the conference at No. 6 overall to this point. Headlined by four-star wing Malaki Branham, they are going to end up with some more players. Right behind them at No. 7, Michigan State is off to a great start and should be adding as well, possibly sooner than later with four-star guard Jaden Akins. All in all, half of the conference -- Michigan (10), Wisconsin (14), Maryland (17) Northwestern (20) and Purdue (25) -- already rank in the top 25. That’s an impressive start for any conference.

The Big 12 only has two programs in the current top 25. Baylor has been off to a great start with the No. 3 class after snagging five-star Kendall Brown. Kansas is at No. 11 with top 30 Zach Clemence and is considered the favorites for four-star point guard Nolan Hickman. After that, the conference needs to get to work. Keep an eye on Texas, though. Emarion Ellis was a nice pickup and they are in sneaky good position to end up with a really strong class.

Evans: I know the rankings don’t really show it but it feels like the Big East has been on a tear of late. Sure, Villanova is always going to be Villanova and it sits with the top-class in America, but Marquette and UConn just solidified their backcourts for years to come, plus DePaul and Georgetown have secured top-25 classes nationally.

Who needs to get things going is the Pac-12. The two Los Angeles institutions have led the way, but USC hasn’t done much since the early spring so the saving grace has been Peyton Watson choosing UCLA. Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon and Washington, among others, need to get the ball rolling sometime soon and if not, may be forced to rely on the transfer market a bit more than they might like later on in the year.

McDonald: I like what the Big Ten has done so far. Michigan State, Ohio State, Michigan and Wisconsin are all in the top 15 of the team rankings, and Michigan State could be a contender for the top overall spot.

Given how the last few years have gone, surprisingly it's the SEC that I think needs to step it up as LSU at No. 17 is the highest ranked class in the conference. With that being said, you know Kentucky will put together a monster class and I would expect to see multiple SEC teams move into the top 10 when all is said and done.

3. What NBA player's performance in Orlando has stood out and what do you remember about him as a high school prospect?

T.J. Warren
T.J. Warren (AP)

Bossi: I can’t imagine anybody who follows my work very closely thinking I would answer this with anybody other than Michael Porter Jr. of the Denver Nuggets. Finally healthy, Porter has shown glimpses of why we ranked him No. 1 in the class of 2017. So far in the bubble, Porter has averaged 26.3 points and 10 rebounds per game while making 50% of his three-point attempts.

In his high school days, he was going to end up at Washington where his father was an assistant coach but switched to Missouri when Cuonzo Martin hired his father. Injury kept him from playing like this at Mizzou, but the Tigers will gladly point to his success as his star continues to rise.

Evans: T.J. Warren…the dude is a bucket! All of this concern in Indiana regarding the health of Victor Oladipo, and the pre-bubble season-ending injury of Domantas Sabonis has been for naught. He is arguably the bubble’s MVP so far and has made for its best moment when he dropped 53 on the 76ers earlier in the week.

The former five-star from the class of 2012 hasn’t cooled off a whole lot since then, chipping in with over 30 points his next two games and doing it in an efficient manner which should really come as no surprise. Warren was always been a talented prospect oozing with upside and versatility thanks to his scoring prowess and size. Perimeter shot-making was never his primary calling card, but it seems that it is for post-quarantine Warren which makes Phoenix Suns’ trade of him last year even more mind-boggling.

McDonald: I happened to see Warren's 53-point game last week for the Pacers. He was on fire! Scoring 53 points on just 29 shots is pretty efficient, but I've always loved the way he can score the ball so effortlessly going back to his high school days when he ranked No. 17 nationally.

He was a highly recruited prospect because of his ability to score and his versatility as a forward. His recruitment took place as I was getting into the recruiting game, but I do remember it being a big win for Mark Gottfried at the time because the Wolfpack were just starting to gain some momentum with the commitments of Rodney Purvis and Tyler Lewis in that class as well. NC State beat out North Carolina and Georgetown along with several others for his services.