Starting Five: Commitment frenzy to continue this week
The commitment frenzy that has hit high school basketball recruiting doesn't show any signs of stopping. Led by five-star wing Peyton Watson, it should be another active week. A preview of some of the expected decisions and more in this week's edition of the Starting Five.
ROUNDTABLE: Why the rash of commitments?
1. FIVE-STAR WATSON LEADS THREE MONDAY DECISIONS
An active week of commitments from the 2021 Rivals150 will start off with a bang today as five-star wing Peyton Watson, four-star guard Angelo Brizzi and point guard Bensley Joseph all make their decisions.
A product of Putnam (Conn.) Science Academy, Joseph will be up first to make his decision around lunchtime. The quick playmaker has Boston College, Georgetown, Marquette, Miami and Providence in his final group of five and if his Futurecast is an indicator, the Hurricanes look to be the team to beat.
Set to decide at 7 p.m. ET, Brizzi is one of the very best jump shooters in the class of 2021. It wasn't long ago that Brizzi cut things down to a final eight of Arizona, California, Colorado, Dartmouth, Davidson, Michigan, Northwestern and Villanova. Last week Nova landed top 50 guard Jordan Longino, and it looks good to add Brizzi as well.
A few hours after Brizzi, Watson is set to make his announcement. The highest ranked player scheduled to make a decision this week, the long and athletic five-star wing at Long Beach (Calif.) Poly hasn't ever released a final list but he's been a major Pac-12 target for over a year now. Headed into decision day, we favor UCLA over the likes of Arizona, Oregon and others.
2. CANADIAN ENOCH BOAKYE DECIDES ON TUESDAY
It isn't just players from the class of 2021 who have caught the commitment bug, 2022's Enoch Boakye will be revealing his decision on Tuesday.
A four-star from Canada who would have been under consideration for five-star status had he been able to play during the summer, Boakye is a rugged and sure-handed big man who is among the best rebounders in the rising junior class.
3. BUTLER DOWN TO SIX, WILL DECIDE ON WEDNESDAY
One of the more unique big men in the class of 2021, seven-footer John Butler announced on Sunday that he is down to a final six of Alabama, Florida State, Georgia Tech, South Carolina, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest.
A stretch five man who likes to play facing the rim and on the perimeter, Butler does have touch and some wing skills. He has to add a lot of strength, but does have good potential as a rim protector on the defensive end.
Both of his parents went to South Carolina and his mother played hoops there herself, so there are clearly ties to Frank Martin's program. However, information about which way he may be leaning isn't exactly flowing freely and, at least as of the beginning of this week, it is anybody's guess where Butler will land.
4. FOUR-STAR ADAMS TO DECIDE ON FRIDAY
The final Rivals150 prospect scheduled to decide this week is four-star forward K.J. Adams. Ranked No. 83 nationally, Adams is a strong 6-foot-6 four man from Austin (Texas) Westlake.
Over the last month or so, Baylor had been thought to be doing well. With their recent commitments, though, the Bears and Adams may no longer be a match. The Big 12 is still prominent on his list and if not Baylor, many have long thought he would stay in the conference and there has been some Kansas talk. Is that still the case? Could Georgetown be a sleeper to land him? We'll be monitoring all week.
5. JOPLIN IMPRESSES AT HARDWOOD CLASSIC
I spent some time over the weekend at the Hardwood Classic in Kansas City. I wanted to mention a few standouts I saw and I want to start with David Joplin.
A four man who just missed our spring update to the 2021 Rivals150, there's no doubt that he's a rankable player deserving of strong consideration to be elevated to four stars. Playing with D1 Minnesota, I really liked Joplin's overall package of size, skill, athleticism and versatility. Guys like him that can play in space, knock down some shots while being viable low post options as scorers and rebounders are always in demand. It is no surprise that Joplin has received offers from Butler, Iowa State, Minnesota, Missouri, Texas and Vanderbilt since May.
Like Joplin, Emarion Ellis landed just outside of our last update to the 2021 Rivals150. I also feel Ellis is a legitimate top 150 player and in the discussion to be a four-star prospect. He just picked up his first high major offer from Texas, I'll have more on Ellis' development later this week.
I last saw strongly built 6-foot-7 big man O'Mar Stanley at the end of his senior season at Overland Park (Kans.) Blue Valley West. I was pretty surprised that he didn't have a fair amount of Division 1 attention given his size and ability to be physical. He'll head to Branson (Mo.) Link Year Prep next season and watching him with KC-based Team YOBO, it was plain to see that he's been working on his game the past few months. He scored at the rim, rebounded, set good screens and made sure to play big. Last week, Ole Miss offered.
The most recent offer picked up by Payton Sandfort comes from Stanford. I caught him with Kingdom Hoops on Saturday and at about 6-foot-7 he's got a pretty solid build and he definitely has skill. We had previously listed him as a small forward but looking a bit bigger and stronger than the last time I saw him, I see him as more of a stretch four man or combo type forward. He's an excellent shooter and passer, but also a bit of a tweener in terms of who he defends at the next level. Iowa is heavily involved here as well and is likely the team to beat. Drake, Minnesota, Utah and some others are involved.
Finally, while making my way through the gym I stopped by a 15U game and managed to catch 2023 forward Justin McBride. Though he's from South Garland High in the Dallas area, McBride was playing with Columbia, Mo. based TNT and he was a nice find. Standing 6-foot-6 or so, he is a long-armed combo forward who can already play above the rim and make some jumpers. He had his way getting to the rim and certainly looked like a guy we'll be tracking closely for the next three years. TCU has already offered.