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Three-Point Play: Arizona State, 2021 risers, teams that stand out

Quietly, the Pac-12 has been lots of fun to watch this winter and don’t look now, but Arizona State has jumped out front. Who are five juniors that could become big names this spring and who are the best four teams in the country? Eric Bossi discusses in today’s edition of the Three-Point-Play.


Related: Baylor-Kansas lives up to hype, Futurecast picks and more

2020 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2021 Rankings: Rivals150 | Position

2022 Rankings: Top 75




Alonzo Verge
Alonzo Verge (AP Images)

For the past few years, the Pac-12 has caught a lot of flack for not being very good and not being very competitive. This season, I’ve found the Pac-12 race to be one of the most entertaining to watch. The way conference teams have beaten each other’s brains in may cost them a bid or two in the NCAA Tournament, but it has made for enjoyable late-night hoops.

Somehow, Arizona State has risen above the fray to take first place in a conference where the top five teams are only separated by one game.

The Sun Devils are plenty talented and the guard trio of Remy Martin, Rob Edwards and Alonzo Verge has been increasingly fun to watch. But given where Bobby Hurley’s team was just a month ago, its ascension to the top of the Pac-12 has been something else. Between mid-December and mid-January, ASU lost five of seven games in a stretch that included a 40-point shellacking at the hands of St. Mary’s and a near 30-point loss at Arizona. Their NCAA Tournament hopes looked fleeting at best.

The Sun Devils have since avenged the loss to Arizona and are riding a seven-game win streak into what may be the most crucial week of the year for them. This week they’ll be at surging UCLA and fading USC. The Bruins need to keep winning to make the tournament while the Trojans are desperate to keep from falling out. A win in either of those games would put Arizona State in pretty good shape to at least win a share of the Pac-12 title – it will host cellar-dwellers Washington and Washington State in the last week of the season – while two wins would give ASU a major edge in the race and likely assure a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

More wins couldn’t hurt on the recruiting trail either. The Sun Devils already have five-star Marcus Bagley but are in the thick of it for five-star Josh Christopher and top-40 big man Clifford Omoruyi. The more they win, it can’t hurt their chances with either.



2. FIVE FOR 2021

Kowacie Reeves
Kowacie Reeves

During our most recent weekly Rivals Roundtable, one of the questions was about prospects whose reputation should be on the rise through the end of the winter and into the spring. I answered five-star combo guard Hunter Sallis but there were many others I could have mentioned. With that in mind, I wanted to point out five members of the class of 2021 who I could see enhancing their profile over the next few months.

While a few of these guys are already pretty highly ranked, I don’t think they’ve generated the type of buzz you normally get.

I’ll start with No. 35 Kowacie Reeves, a smooth 6-foot-5 shooter from Macon (Ga.) Westside. The more I see him on film, the more I see a guy whose recruitment could still take a big step forward. Don’t get me wrong, offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Georgetown, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia Tech, Xavier and others are big-time. I just can’t help but think we see some of the bluebloods jump in. Regardless, I’m glad we have him ranked highly.

In the West, Reese Dixon-Waters was one of our biggest movers when we updated our rankings in January. Currently sitting at No. 45, he’s a smooth and skilled two-guard at Playa Del Rey (Calif.) St. Bernard’s. He’s been a heavy target of the California schools with Cal, San Diego State, Stanford, UCLA and USC having offered. But, I can see programs from all across the country jumping in after seeing him.

Since coming to La Porte (Ind.) La Lumiere from Europe, tough combo forward Jeremy Sochan has made a name for himself. He’s already ranked No. 72 in the class of 2021 but it wouldn’t surprise me if he made a play for the top 50 or better. He can play inside and out, he’s intelligent and he’s tough. DePaul, Georgetown, Santa Clara, Utah, Vanderbilt, Washington State and Xavier have offered but, that party is about to get really crowded.

Two others that I’m keeping a close eye on are No. 82 Jordan Nesbitt and No. 109 Jaden Adkins. A product of St. Louis (Mo.) Christian, Nesbitt is a powerfully built and versatile wing with playmaking skills. He didn’t have a great run last spring and summer but he’s been tremendous this season and I’m baffled that his stock hasn’t really taken off with coaches the way I would have thought it would.

Adkins is an explosive two-guard from Michigan who is starting to add strength and has become one of the best scorers in the Midwest.

Can anybody pry him away from Michigan or Michigan State? We’ll see but he’s another to pencil in as a potential stock booster over the next few months.



Scott Drew
Scott Drew (AP Images)

As you might expect, I watch a lot of college basketball and like many I’ve been surprised at times with some of the ugly play of the 2019-20 season. But the unpredictable nature of the season has gone from frustrating to highly entertaining in my eyes. As we near the end of conference play and stand on the cusp of March Madness, though, four teams stand out to me from the rest as the most dangerous teams in the country.

In alphabetical order they are Baylor, Duke, Kansas and Kentucky.

Are any of these teams a lock? No way. Anybody who pays remote attention knows that nothing is a lock this year. For the most part Baylor and Kansas have really avoided inexplicable losses because of their great defense but neither is an offensive juggernaut at this point. Duke and Kentucky look to have firepower, but they can also lose focus. The “flaw” game is one that we can play with any team in America, though, because there just aren’t any teams without glaring weaknesses.

However, if I was told today that I got to pick four teams to take against the field for the rest of the season, that’s the group I’m rolling with.