Starting Five: Rankings week, more USA gold
It's going to be a busy week ahead at Rivals.com as we update the rankings for 2020 and 2021, cover the NBPA Top 100 and USA Basketball U19 camps. In this week's Starting Five, Eric Bossi discusses those items, another gold for USA Basketball and more.
RIVALS ROUNDTABLE: Fast starts for 2020, what to watch in next recruiting cycle
1. RANKINGS WEEK IS HERE FOR 2020 AND 2021
What a spring it's been. I've really been impressed by the level of play that I've seen during my travels thus far in the grassroots season and Corey Evans and Dan McDonald agreed. That made updating these rankings lots of fun. There were no shortage of debates for either 2020, where Evan Mobley currently holds the top spot or 2021, where Patrick Baldwin Jr. is the reigning No. 1.
The class of 2020 list is going to feature much change. There are 25 players who will be new to the Rivals150 and 13 of them will enter rankings as four-star prospects. How high can Cade Cunningham climb after a great spring? How high can a player like Donovan Johnson climb from his current ranking of No. 124 nationally? The answers are coming.
In 2021, the biggest debate has been what to do with the No. 1 spot, where incumbent Patrick Baldwin Jr., No. 2 Terrence Clarke and No. 3 Jonathan Kuminga all have very convincing cases for the top spot.
We'll start today by releasing the updated top 10 for the class of 2020. A full update to the 2020 Rivals150 will follow on Tuesday, 2020 positional rankings are slated for Wednesday and on Thursday we'll update 2021 where we will expand from a top 75 to a top 100.
2. ANOTHER GOLD FOR USA BASKETBALL
For the sixth straight time since the event was introduced in 2009, USA Basketball's U16 team has won a gold medal at FIBA's Americas championship. As usual, Team USA went undefeated (they've never lost in the history of the event) and won their first five games in lopsided fashion before dispatching Canada 94-71 on Sunday to win gold in Belém, Brazil.
As usual, I spent quite a bit of time watching online to see how the team played in comparison to what I saw at the tryouts a few weeks ago and what I've seen from them in other situations.
For my money, the team's best player was Jabari Smith. The 6-foot-8 forward did it all as a scorer, shooter and rebounder. We've been pretty unanimous as a staff that Smith is likely a top 10 player in 2021 and he sure played the part.
Class of 2022 Chris Livingston really emerged as well and won the MVP award for Team USA. He was a little wild in tryouts, but the more he got coached and adjusted to the system, the more he shined. A potential top five player in his class when we first rank it after the summer, Livingston was very explosive as a scorer and finisher. He's a big-time offensive talent.
3. CALEB LOVE SCORES ANOTHER BIG OFFER
Now one of the most heavily sought after point guards in the class of 2020, Love adds the Kansas offer to his most recent offers from Arizona and North Carolina. Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Louisville, Missouri, Purdue, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia are among the many others in play.
Love isn't near a decision, but early word on his recruitment has been that he's going to be tough for the local schools like Mizzou and Illinois to keep home. The Jayhawks, Indiana, Louisville, North Carolina, Texas and Virginia all look to have legit shots here, so his recruitment is going to be one to watch closely from now until the end of July.
4. DECISION COMING SOON FOR NICK BLAKE
The race for athletic shooting guard Nick Blake is down to a final two.
After visiting Kansas State back in May, the native of Las Vegas who attends Los Angeles (Calif.) Middlebrooks Academy will begin an official visit to hometown UNLV on Monday. Blake also visited with new coach T.J. Otzelberger and the Rebels unofficially back in May.
At this point, this one appears to be pretty much a dead heat, so his visit over the next few days looms large. Also to be decided is whether or not Blake enrolls with his original high school class of 2019 or attends a year of prep school and arrives for 2020. Both schools are recruiting him to be a member of either class.
I'd look for Blake to have a decision very soon.
5. MAJOR WEEK OF EVENTS AHEAD
We'll be covering a pair of major events this week. Corey Evans, Krysten Peek and I will be on hand in Charlottesville, Va., for the NBPA Top 100 Camp and I'll leave there to spend Saturday and Sunday at USA Basketball's U19 team tryouts.
A total of 88 prospects on the list of players expected to be at NBPA Top 100 will be ranked in either the 2020 or 2021 rankings by the end of the week. The event holds extra importance this year as for the first time ever, college coaches will be able to spend a pair of days watching action at camp. I would expect every major program in America to be rolling at least three or four coaches deep because well, why wouldn't they be there? I'd also expect a bunch of coaches from schools who don't currently look to have a shot at any of expected players to show up because it's the only event they can go to.
The U19 tryouts for USA Basketball should be really interesting. The camp is going to feature a mixture of top 2020 players like five-star Scottie Barnes competing against 2019 players and even dudes who have just finished their first year of college. Kansas State's Bruce Weber will be coaching the team.