Starting Five: Big-time juniors cutting their lists
A pair of highly ranked 2020 prospects are moving closer to decisions as B.J. Boston and Keon Johnson have narrowed things down. Five-star senior Trendon Watford will reveal his decision Monday and more in this week's edition of Eric Bossi's Starting Five.
1. FIVE-STAR BOSTON DOWN TO FOUR
And then there were four for five-star shooting guard B.J. Boston.
For anybody who has been paying even passing attention to Boston's recruitment, this final group makes sense. He's been on campus at each of his finalists and all of them have been fixtures in his recruitment for a while now.
I tend to think that this is one that won't be dragged out too long and if I had to handicap things at this time, I'd call it pretty much a dead heat between the Blue Devils and Wildcats. Duke had looked to be taking a lead during the winter but word of late has been that John Calipari and UK have made big inroads. It's recruiting so things can always change quickly, but again, I think a decision comes from those two schools.
2. LOOKING AT TOP 35 KEON JOHNSON'S FINAL THREE
The No. 33 ranked player in the country, the 6-foot-5 shooting guard is a product of Bell Buckle (Tenn.) Webb and doesn't seem to be wasting any time with this decision.
Ohio State's chances were no doubt bolstered by the addition of assistant coach Jake Diebler, who was recruiting Johnson heavily while he was at Vanderbilt. But, the Buckeyes should probably be considered the long shot here and it's most likely a battle of the orange between the Volunteers and Cavaliers.
UVA and Tony Bennett are coming off of a National Championship and Rick Barnes has turned the Vols into a SEC and national contender. Both have strong cases for Johnson and he is the type of player who can fit into any system.
However, if I had to call it at this point, I would probably lean towards Tennessee and I think being the home school could help here. But, like I said, it's close and I'll reserve my right to change my opinion on this one as we move forward.
3. DECISION DAY FOR TRENDON WATFORD
This time, it's for real and after pushing back his decision in the past five-star Trendon Watford will be announcing his decision on Monday at 3:30 p.m. ET during a ceremony at his high school.
Down to Alabama, Indiana, LSU and Memphis, Watford's recruitment has definitely seen some ups and downs. But, the skilled forward should arrive on the campus of whichever school lands him as a guy capable of mentally and physically handling high major basketball.
For a while now my prediction has been LSU and I'm not going to bail out on it now. If LSU can get Watford, it would complete a pretty big comeback for Will Wade. After leading for Watford early, Wade was suspended for alleged recruiting improprieties and the Tigers' chances took a major downturn. But, Wade kept his job and now stands to land a much needed five-star.
4. NO MOVEMENT ON MCDANIELS
I wish I could be reporting that there was over the weekend movement towards a decision from five-star senior forward Jaden McDaniels. Unfortunately, I can't.
After rumors last week that McDaniels could make things official, we all find ourselves where we were a week ago. And a week before that and so on and so on.
I still feel confident that McDaniels is torn between Kentucky and Washington (his other finalists are San Diego State, Texas and UCLA) and it's really close. We are likely going to hear his decision soon. But for now, exactly when the skilled forward will make a decision is anybody's guess.
5. WAKE'S LOSS WILL BE SOMEBODY ELSE'S GAIN
I thought Danny Manning and Wake Forest had landed a big man with some real long-term potential when they pulled seven-footer Charles Coleman out of Boston. Instead, the parties have gone their separate ways and Coleman finds himself searching again.
Look, Coleman is still a bit on the raw side and needs some seasoning. But, ranked as the No. 34 center in the class of 2019, Coleman isn't a project either. He could be pretty valuable at the high major level and I would consider him to be a late recruiting cycle reach.
Obviously, the talent level of the program he joins will go a long way towards dictating how much of an impact he makes early. But, it's his size, chance to develop school and the fact that he should be able to become a very solid upperclassman that make him a potentially good value.