Three-Point Play: A unique SEC matchup; Enaruna update; BWB event
Today in the Three-Point Play, national analyst Corey Evans previews Saturday’s match-up between Tennessee and Kentucky. Also featured is an update on Rivals150 senior Tristan Enaruna and a preview of the Basketball Without Borders Global Camp that will be taking place this weekend in Charlotte.
1. TWO WAYS TO THE TOP
While the ramifications of Saturday’s contest between Tennessee and Kentucky were lessened a tad following UK’s loss to LSU on Tuesday, the individual match-ups remain as juicy as ever. Jordan Bone paired up against Ashton Hagans; Jordan Bowden with Tyler Herro; Admiral Schofield with Keldon Johnson; Grant Williams with PJ Washington; and Kyle Alexander and Reid Travis. Strength versus strength but for the casual observer, could one guess who the Rivals150 prospect was and who was not ranked at all?
Believe it or not, not one single member on the top-ranked team in America was a member of the Rivals150. Compare that with Kentucky whose entire starting five were top-50 prospects and is only bolstered further by McDonald’s All-Americans coming off their bench.
This is all to say that there is more than just one way to build a national title contending unit. For Kentucky, it is the one-and-done pitch; come to Lexington, work on your abilities against the other elites within the sport, and take your talents to the NBA within a matter of eight months.
For Tennessee, while it would love nothing more to secure such premier talent, similar to what Rick Barnes did this fall with five-star Josiah James, it comes down to investing in slighted but prospects that have evolved into what we now see in Williams and Schofield.
Whether Tennessee does further its stance as the best team in America by knocking off the Wildcats at Rupp Arena or not, what won’t change is Barnes’ standing as one of the best coaches in the sport and just how strong and sturdy the backbone is for Volunteers’ basketball.
2. ENARUNA'S RECRUITMENT HEATING UP
Tristan Enaruna, who will be on display along with several of other highly respected international prospects this weekend at the Basketball Without Borders Global Camp (more on the event below), is seeing increased interest during a strong senior year.
Enaruna is a 6-foot-7, skilled and multi-dimensional prospect who came to the U.S. as a junior from the Netherlands. Enaruna has been tucked away in Mt. Pleasant, Utah, but thanks to his Wasatch Academy’s ascent into the upper tier of high school teams this winter, more eyes have been placed on him, which has only expanded his college suitor list.
Enaruna told Rivals.com that Creighton, Kansas and Miami are three of the programs that are most often in touch with him, though Illinois, Texas and Texas Tech that have remained in the picture. Texas has yet to offer.
The Blue Jays have been recruiting Enaruna for the longest, but Kansas and Miami’s offer earlier this year, along with their continued pursuit of him, have made an impression. Meanwhile, Enaruna would like to begin taking his official visits after his high school season ends.
Wherever he does end up, one should expect a playmaking forward that is ambidextrous to a certain extent, can play either forward position and should make for a positive impact on a high-major playing floor from the get-go.
3. BASKETBALL WITHOUT BORDERS TAKES CENTER STAGE
While much of the talk surrounding All-Star Weekend is who will win the dunk contest and who might take home the MVP trophy on Sunday night, another key component of the weekend’s festivities is the is the Basketball Without Borders Global Camp. Still in its infancy, the three-day event will host some of the top international-born prospects ranging from 16 to 18 years of age, taking them through on-court drills, athletic testings, five-on-five scrimmages and life skill seminars.
All 30 NBA teams are expected to have scouts on hand as prospects will be instructed by Nikola Vucevic, Nikola Jokic, DeAndre Ayton, and Bogdan Bogdanović, among others, giving those participating the chance to solidify their standing as worthwhile NBA prospects.
This event has been the springboard in recent years for Ayton, Lauri Markkanen, and Jamal Murray in enhancing their resumes and the same should happen this weekend for those taking part. The talk entering this year’s event centers around Killian Hayes, Vinicius Da Silva, Matej Rudan and Deni Avdija, four already acclaimed prospects that are slated to be taken within upcoming drafts, though there will also be a slew of others that will grace a high-major college playing floor.
Canada has never been in short supply for elite talent and this year’s group brings four highly touted prospects in Addison Patterson, Cashius McNeilly, Keon Ambrose-Hilton and Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe. Each a member of the 2020 class, there has been talk of the former two reclassifying a year up. Patterson has seen Illinois, Memphis, Oregon and USC as potential suitors, where Virginia Tech is the program to beat for McNeilly, who is the younger cousins of Hokies’ star Nickeil Alexander-Walker.
Others that we will see on a college hardwood include Oumar Ballo, who will visit Gonzaga in the coming days, top-50 senior Pavel Zakharov, who has already committed to the Bulldogs, Enaruna, four-star juniors Julian Strawther and Cliff Omoruyi, and top-20 sophomore Franck Kepnang.