Basketball Recruiting - Starting Five: More big-timers closing in on decisions
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Starting Five: More big-timers closing in on decisions

Jaden Springer
Jaden Springer (Nick Lucero/

Could a few more big-timers be moving closer to making a decision? In this week's Starting Five, national analyst Eric Bossi discusses five-star Jaden Springer, big man Mady Sissoko's pending decision, a top 20 junior thriving in a new location and more.


It was just a few weeks ago that five-star shooting guard Jaden Springer cut his list of schools to Florida, Memphis, Michigan, North Carolina and Tennessee and set visits. After seeing Michigan a week ago, it looks like things are down to just the Wolverines, Tigers and Volunteers.

Springer isn't going to take his visits to Florida or North Carolina and the way I see it, he's in a position to wrap his recruitment up here in the relatively near future.

Up next for the 6-foot-6 scorer is a visit to Memphis this weekend. Penny Hardaway's bunch has been thought to be making up ground over the last month or two, so this is the Tigers' chance to really make a move.

A visit to Tennessee is planned for early October, but Springer saw Knoxville officially back in the spring and is plenty familiar with the campus, so he doesn't necessarily have to visit again before deciding.

I wouldn't be surprised if we start to see some serious movement towards a commitment soon and as things head down the home stretch, I'd give Rick Barnes and the Vols the edge.


One high end prospect that is for sure in decision-making mode is beastly big man Mady Sissoko.

The 6-foot-9 bruiser just finished an official visit to Michigan State -- his second to see Tom Izzo and the Spartans -- and big-time rebounder and shot-blocker will be announcing his commitment Tuesday night.

Sissoko is officially down to BYU, Kansas, Memphis and Michigan State and he's seen BYU. He also canceled recent visits to KU and Memphis before spending last weekend at Michigan State.

A commitment will be announced Tuesday night on his high school program's Instagram and as I see things, they look pretty good for Michigan State.


Over the weekend, elastic combo forward J.T. Thor took an official visit to see what Mike Boynton has going on at Oklahoma State.

Not surprisingly, the Cowboys are part of Thor's final five and join Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky and UCLA on his list of remaining contenders.

Thor is a long and lean forward who has a huge ceiling as a versatile defender and difference-maker in transition, so he could be a big piece.

We will see what visits Thor sets up next, but of the remaining programs, the Cowboys and Georgia (a state Thor recently moved to) look to be the most involved. For now, I've logged my Futurecast pick with OSU.


For his junior year, 6-foot-7 wing Kendall Brown has moved from his home state of Minnesota to Bel Aire (Kans.) Sunrise Christian.

He may have moved, but college program's haven't lost track of him at all and it looks like coaches will be making their way to Wichita in big numbers beginning this week.

Among the schools currently recruiting Brown the hardest are Arkansas, Baylor, Illinois, Kansas, Marquette, Maryland and Nebraska. All of them and more are expected be in to see him as soon as they can.

Brown is also going to spend some time visiting with the schools chasing him. He's planning to be in Lawrence to see Late Night in the Phog and is also putting together a trip to see Nebraska.

The top 20 junior has also been invited to USA Basketball's October minicamp, so he's got a busy fall ahead.


To finish off this week's Starting Five, I want to touch on three weekend commitments that caught my eye. Ramean Hinton to Southeast Missouri State, Alyn Breed to Providence and junior Keshon Gilbert to UNLV.

Talk about getting a big one, Rick Ray and SEMO should be seriously excited about Hinton. A super tough wing from Chicago who can score and defend, Hinton is a major steal. Watching him in the summer, I couldn't believe more programs weren't taking a swing at him and unlike years past where coaches would have had many opportunities to see him during July, they didn't get to see much of him and Ray and his staff pounced. Hinton just missed the recent Rivals150 and is a potential All-League type get.

In Breed, Ed Cooley and Providence have landed an athletic off guard who has potential. Early in his career I like Breed to be a bigger help on the defensive end, where his quickness and athleticism can be a benefit. Offensively, his jumper needs some tweaking, but he can get to the rim and is capable of being a secondary playmaker for others and a ball-handler.

When T.J. Otzelberger got the job at UNLV, he set out to tap into the growing pipeline of local talent and he's definitely been doing that. In Gilbert, Otzelberger has landed a point guard with athleticism, ability to make things happen off the dribble and a big chip on his shoulder. I love Gilbert's competitive fire and he's the second player from the Las Vegas Knicks to commit to the new UNLV staff, joining four-star senior wing Nick Blake. Additionally, local scorer Donovan Yap is on board and three-star big man Jhaylon Martinez, who played his junior season in Vegas, has pledged, giving the Rebels four total commits with local ties since June.