Starting Five: What's up with five-star Kahlil Whitney?
Five-star wing Kahlil Whitney visited Kentucky but didn't yet commit, what's next for him? LSU has an important visitor on campus, Houston and Michigan scored summer risers and more in this week's edition of the Starting Five.
1. WHAT'S NEXT FOR KAHLIL WHITNEY?
We had five-star wing Kahlil Whitney on commitment watch headed into his weekend visit with Kentucky. The high-flying scorer didn't commit while he was on campus, but John Calipari and the Wildcats still appear to be in outstanding shape.
Last week, Whitney cut his final list to Florida State, Illinois, Miami, Oregon, Georgetown, SMU, and Louisville to go along with Kentucky. However, looking at that list the other programs that look to have the best shot at somehow beating Kentucky would appear to be Louisville and Illinois. The question is can they get it done?
From everything I have heard, the chances of the Illini, Cardinals or anybody else beating out Kentucky are looking pretty slim at the moment. But, there could be some hope since Whitney did make it out of Lexington without offering up a commitment.
As for what's next, we should know soon enough. Whitney hasn't yet announced plans for any other official visits and unless he starts setting up something soon, the writing looks like it could be on the wall with this one. Should he set additional visits, then things will get very interesting.
*** Monday afternoon**** Whitney has taken the next step with his recruitment and cut his list down to Georgetown, Illinois and Oregon. Based off of what I had heard, the cut of Louisville is a bit of a surprise. Now, let's see if Whitney schedules any visits?
2. HYATT ON FINAL VISIT, NEARS DECISION
One of the final prospects left in the class of 2018, physical four-star wing Aundre Hyatt should be coming off the board sooner than later.
Earlier this summer, Hyatt decided that rather than taking a prep school year he'd like to attend college with his natural class and enroll in time for the fall semester. With that in mind he visited Seton Hall and Rutgers in July and June and is just wrapping up an official visit to LSU.
Previously, Hyatt has said that Aug. 10 (Friday) will be his decision day but it wouldn't be a surprise to see him commit a little sooner. Either way, with his decision looming, I like Will Wade and the Tigers in this one. If LSU can add Hyatt, their 2018 class would move up to No. 3 overall in the team rankings.
****update**** As expected, Hyatt sped up his commitment timeframe and has committed to LSU after his official visit.
3. HOUSTON SCORES BIG WITH CALEB MILLS
For the second year in a row, Kelvin Sampson and Houston have pulled a potential stud out of North Carolina.
A breakout star in the summer, Mills burst onto the scene thanks to his ability to create shots off the dribble and get cooking from deep. He's making a major charge at the next edition of the Rivals150 and looks like an instant impact player in Houston.
4. WHAT'S MICHIGAN GETTING IN COLE BAJEMA?
Speaking of breakout stars from the summer, Michigan added one of their own on Saturday when slim and skilled wing Cole Bajema committed to John Beilein the Wolverines.
Like Mills above, the 6-foot-7 Bajema is a scorer who specializes in creating shots off the dribble and he's making a major charge for the next Rivals150.
Yes, Bajema is pretty skinny and needs to add strength, but his skill helps to compensate. The tendency with a guy like him is to see his body type and a smooth looking jumper and think "shooter". Sure, Bajema can shoot it plenty well and will be dangerous as a deep shooter in college, but what should have Michigan fans most excited is that Bajema is a talented playmaker off the dribble who moves the ball and finds teammates when they are open.
I wouldn't be surprised if Bajema ends up a multiple year starter in Ann Arbor.
5. NEWS AND NOTES FROM THE WEEKEND
.... It's not a huge cut, but it's a start as top 35 wing Samuell Williamson is officially down to 10. Over the weekend the skilled jump shooter from Texas cut his list of schools down to Baylor, Kansas, Louisville, Michigan, Ohio State, Oklahoma, SMU, Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech. A polished offensive player with big upside due to his size and skill, Williamson hasn't yet set any official visits. Throughout the summer, Kansas and Texas have been generating the most behind the scenes talk while Louisville and Ohio State could also be sleepers if Williamson does elect to leave his home state.
.... A summer teammate of Williamson's, power forward Drew Timme has also cut his list of schools down to 10. Timme is now considering Alabama, Arizona, Gonzaga, Illinois, Louisville, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Purdue, Texas A&M and Texas Tech. I wouldn't be surprised if Timme makes it through the early signing period without making a decision, but I don't see him dragging it out to the spring either. After that, where he may be leaning is anybody's guess as Timme has probably run the most tight lipped recruitment of anybody in 2019 not named Cole Anthony.
.... Rivals150 combo guard Austin Crowley went much deeper when cutting his list. The native of Mississippi is now down to a final three of Minnesota, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt and he's set official visits to all three. Crowley will start off three straight weekends of visits on Aug. 23 with a trip to Vanderbilt followed by trips to Minnesota and Ole Miss. Look for him to be off the board by mid-September.
.... A solid combo guard who can score or set up teammates, three-star Jalen Gaffney is down to a final six of Clemson, Connecticut, Florida, Pittsburgh, St. John's and Xavier. To date, the only school that Gaffney has set an official visit with is Florida. He'll see Mike White and the Gators on the weekend of September 14th.
.... Finally, SMU picked up a point guard over the weekend when Bryce Cook announced that he's committed to the Mustangs. One of the best ball-handlers in the country, Cook isn't the tallest point guard around but he's extremely tough and is an outstanding leader who is all about getting his teammates involved first.