Starting Five: Schools feeling good after USA Basketball
COLORADO SPRINGS -- This week in the Starting Five, national analyst Eric Bossi takes a look at five programs that should be feeling good coming out of the 2019 USA Basketball October minicamp.
1. ARIZONA STATE
No, Arizona State's lone commitment -- four-star wing Marcus Bagley -- wasn't in attendance. But, two major targets in five-star shooting guard Josh Christopher and top 30 combo guard Adam Miller were in attendance and both had monster outings.
Look, both of these guys are known as scorers and they certainly showed high level ability on that end in Colorado Springs. But, I was more impressed by each of their defensive efforts because they each played intense, physical and passionate defense.
But this is about recruiting and at this juncture, my feel is that Bobby Hurley and the Sun Devils get at least one of these guys and that would be a major win. Christopher is fresh off a visit to Howard while UCLA (who some favor to win out) and Missouri are strong. As for Miller, the primary competition appears to be his home state Illinois program and they won't go down without a fight. Plenty of competition no doubt, but I still like the chances of at least one of these guys taking the floor in Tempe next season.
Juwan Howard -- who was actually able to attend USAB because his son Jett Howard was participating -- and Michigan have a nice first piece in their class in four-star point guard Zeb Jackson. They've also hosted numerous big-time visitors and it's looking like Howard and Wolverines are about to have the breakthrough they are looking for.
Great size, plenty of skill and versatility are the name of Todd's game and it would certainly be a major win and something to feel great about. Also, Michigan remains very much in the mix with top 50 guard Moses Moody while five-stars NImari Burnett, Josh Christopher and Jaden Springer have them among their finalists as well.
After landing 2019's top ranked recruiting class, Memphis has yet to scratch in the class of 2020. Just based off the buzz I've heard over the past few weeks and what I picked up around the gym over the weekend, I would expect them to land another class with some big-time players.
No. 3 overall, shooting guard Jalen Green has been at the top of Penny Hardaway's wish list for some time now and I continue to like the Tigers chances. Simply a gifted offensive player for whom Oregon may currently be the biggest competitor.
Then there's high flying five-star forward Greg Brown. Hometown Texas is going to be tough to beat for him and Auburn and Kentucky are definitely still in the mix. But, if anybody has a chance at knocking off Shaka Smart and the Longhorns, Memphis appears to be in a pretty good spot.
Bottom line, the Tigers are getting too far down the road with too many big names to not hit paydirt at some point.
4. NORTH CAROLINA
North Carolina fans have already been pretty excited about their 2020 recruiting class and justifiably so, it ranks No. 3 nationally and features a trio of five-star prospects.
Sharpe just keeps getting stronger and more skilled while Love was arguably the top performing point guard in the event. Assuming they do what they are capable of during their senior years, I like both of these guys as legitimate McDonald's All-Americans..
There was also some promising buzz about where the Heels stand with another five-star, Ziaire Williams (who didn't make it to USA Basketball) and they are continuing to apply more pressure to five-star guard Bryce Thompson. Roy Williams has already hit a home run with this class, but he may end up with a grand slam.
This kid impacts winning on both the offensive and defensive sides of the floor and his transformation from a hard-playing athlete into a skilled wing has been impressive to watch. He keeps getting better and better as a ball-handler, passer and scorer and could be an All-SEC level defender the moment he hits the floor in Knoxville.
Also, the Volunteers still look to be in a good spot for five-star guard Jaden Springer (who was in attendance but shut things down early as he's still coming back from a broken foot). He's not set an official commitment date just yet, but he shouldn't be too far away from ending things.
Finally, 2021 five-star Harrison Ingram reiterated that he plans to take an official visit to Tennessee (his father's alma mater).