Starting Five: Decision looms for five-star Tyrese Maxey
Five-star guard Tyrese Maxey will have his college decision this week. How immediate will his impact be? What could Joey Baker enrolling early mean for Duke? Arizona and Virginia add transfers while others could be deciding soon. Time to kick off the week with the Starting Five.
RELATED: Four-star McCullar to enroll early
MAXEY ANNOUNCES DECISION ON WEDNESDAY
Five-star guard Tyrese Maxey will end the speculation this week. The high-scoring and explosive playmaker from Garland (Texas) South Garland will choose from Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State, Oklahoma State and Texas on Wednesday afternoon.
Not only is Maxey picking a school, he could be making a decision on whether or not to skip his senior season of high school and enroll as a member of 2018 or stay in his natural 2019 class.
Whether he arrives early or with his current class, Maxey has the tools to be a difference-maker. He's a pure jump shooter from deep, creates well for himself and others off the dribble and is a physically strong and tough kid who should be able to handle the physicality of college whether he arrives on campus here in a month or two or in another year.
With a few days remaining until his decision, Kentucky has emerged as a pretty heavy favorite.
2. HOW DOES JOEY BAKER IMPACT DUKE?
Late last week, four-star combo forward Joey Baker announced that he would enroll at Duke a year early as a member of the class of 2018. So, where does he rank in 2018? What kind of impact can he make as a freshman and who replaces him in the 2019 rankings?
Ranked No. 32 in the class of 2019 before making a move to 2018, Baker has been slotted at No. 46 in the 2018 class. The biggest factor in a slight slide is that he's losing out on a year to prepare for college by adding strength and working on his lateral quickness.
Best utilized as a stretch four man, Baker can help out as a floor-spacing shooter who rebounds well and can drive big men. Or, depending on how things work with the returning nucleus and the Blue Devils' No. 1 ranked 2018 recruiting class, Mike Krzyzewski could have the option of red-shirting Baker to have him primed for the 2019-20 season. Whichever way it goes, Baker is in a pretty pressure-free situation (as an individual) and in this case the move doesn't seem to be a bad one even if he's not likely to play a ton in year one.
So, who replaces Baker in 2019? The first thing we did was move one of the spring's biggest risers Jaden McDaniels up from No. 45 to the spot Baker vacated at No. 32. Then rather than move around a bunch of players, McDaniels' spot at No. 45 was filled by previously unranked power forward Zeke Nnaji from Minnesota who has maybe been the most pleasant surprise of the spring.
3. BRANDON WILLIAMS HELPS SEAN MILLER SALVAGE 2018 CLASS
Arizona is still looking a little lean on the interior next season, but Sean Miller and his staff have pulled off a Houdini act to save their 2018 recruiting class and likely their 2018-19 season. They only strengthened things on Saturday when top 35 senior Brandon Williams ended his on again/off again affair with the Wildcats by committing, again.
An explosive playmaker with size, Williams originally committed to Arizona over a year ago. Then, assistant coach Emmanuel Richardson was arrested in the FBI case on college corruption and Williams wavered before re-affirming his loyalty in the fall. During the winter, Miller was alleged to be directly involved with wrongdoing and Williams wavered again.
Williams took additional visits to Arizona State, Gonzaga and Oregon but when it came time to announce, he ended up right back where he started with Arizona. Williams joins four-star combo guard Devonaire Doutrive as high school prospects who have picked the Wildcats while Miller and company have also scored with grad transfers Ryan Luther from Pitt and Justin Coleman from Samford.
4. VIRGINIA LANDS KEY ADDITION
I've never seen Caffaro play, so I want to focus on what the addition of Key could mean for the Cavaliers.
First of all, I find him to be an excellent addition from a fit standpoint. At his best, he's been utilized as a mobile four man who can make plays with his passing, mid range shooting or his driving. He's gotten stronger and can be a very good positional defender when he locks in. All of those things should serve him well playing for Tony Bennett.
Maybe more importantly, Key is DeAndre Hunter insurance. There's a good chance Hunter could emerge as a legitimate first-round NBA Draft pick after another year in Charlottesville and if that happens, expect Hunter to leave. With Key already on campus, he would be able to step right in and fill the void left by Hunter.
I'm sure that Bennett and his staff are hopeful that they'll be looking to find ways to play Key and Hunter together a year from now. But, I'm just as sure that the realist in Bennett knows how important it was to be prepared in case they lose Hunter and he's gotten his team well prepared with the Key addition.
5. MORE DECISIONS COMING?
At least three more Rivals150 players appear close to making a decision and it looks like there is a good chance that all three will end up as 2018 recruits even though two of them, four-star big men Francis Okoro and D.J. Burns, began the weekend in the class of 2019.
Rugged, strong and quick off the floor in traffic, Okoro is a tough big man who is physically ready for the college game. He's also an elite student who is ready to make the move. Purdue and Oregon appear to be neck and neck to land his services but Illinois could still wreck their plans. Look for Okoro to possibly visit Illinois unofficially this week and I would expect a relatively quick decision from him on his final destination and I also expect him to make the move from 2019 to 2018.
After visiting South Carolina officially over the weekend, big man D.J. Burns actually announced via his Twitter account late Sunday night that he will be moving to 2018 as has been rumored for the last month or so. Along with Frank Martin's group, Rick Barnes and Tennessee -- where Burns visited in April -- appear to be major factors here. Georgia and Clemson are also involved some and Pitt could be looking to jump in but as of today Burns looks to be headed to Knoxville or Columbia.
Finally, Rivals150 guard Isaac Likekele should be coming off the board soon. The tough Texan who can play multiple backcourt positions initially committed to Fresno State. When Rodney Terry left for UTEP, Likekele was granted a release and took an official visit to UTEP. Since then, Likekele has now completed visits to Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. Tech may have a slight edge on the Cowboys coming down the stretch but this one is real close with a decision on the horizon.