Three-Point Play: Coronavirus, reclass talk, Buzz Williams
In today's Three-Point Play, Rivals Basketball Analyst Corey Evans assesses the various recruiting dominoes that could fall because of the coronavirus crisis, and evaluates potential reclassification prospects and looks at how Buzz Williams has things rolling at Texas A&M.
Wednesday's Leftovers: Duke, Kentucky, Adama Sonogo
2022 Rankings: Top 75
1. CORONAVIRUS IMPACT
Millions have already been impacted across the world by the coronavirus and the last 72 hours have seen major escalations in how sports leagues across the United States are handling the crisis.
After the NBA suspending play, the most seismic event was the NCAA's announcement that it would be restricting fan access to its men's and women's basketball tournaments.
These types of measures may soon hit the recruiting world. The major high school all-star games are just weeks away. Might they be locked down or canceled altogether? The Jordan Brand Classic is set for March 27, the McDonald’s All-American Game is scheduled for 10 days later and the Nike Hoop Summit is on the books for the second weekend in April. It stand to reason that their fate will be decided sometime soon, too.
The elite prospects that have been invited to participate in these events have worked their entire lives for such a unique experience. That all might be taken away. So, too, could the Nike EYBL, Under Armour Association and adidas Gauntlet circuits that begin next month. Those events being shut down could prevent some high school prospects from earning an athletic scholarship.
Time will tell what happens with these events, but there is a strong chance that the coronavirus pandemic will impact college basketball for years to come.
2. RECLASS TALK
Reclassification has become a new tool for college programs to use to round out their rosters every offseason. Already, we have seen Will Jeffress make the move and Khristian Lander edge closer and closer. More prospects are expected to make the move this spring and summer but first, we take a glance the Jeffress and Lander, and the latest with Carter Whitt.
Lander, as our very own Nick Baumgart noted over the weekend, is likely to make the move into the 2020 class. Indiana celebrated the five-star’s commitment earlier this month and it couldn’t have come at a better time. The Hoosiers have been searching diligently for a true playmaking agent and Lander is just the guy. He will need to get stronger and work on his decision-making, but he is expected to be on campus in the fall, giving IU a full cupboard of backcourt talent.
Information on Jeffress' recruitment has been hard to come by as he has focused most of his attention on his high school team's playoff run. He is not expected to take any official visits until after his season concludes. Jeffress has unofficially visited Penn State, Pitt and Syracuse throughout the years, but his official visit destinations probably won’t become known for another few weeks.
Whitt is the most unsure of the three whenever it comes to making the leap into the 2020 class. He told Rivals.com that he is split on the move but is hoping to come to a final decision by next week. Indiana is all but out of the picture, and keep an eye on Ohio State. The Buckeyes might be the sneaky favorite, though Marquette, NC State, Nebraska, Notre Dame and Virginia Tech are also in the mix.
3. BUZZ WILLIAMS IS DOING IT AGAIN
The year was 2007 and Texas A&M was about to enroll DeAndre Jordan, a heavily recruited prospect out of Houston. Aggies’ assistant coach Buzz Williams didn't know it at the time, but Jordan would be the program's last five-star commitment for over a decade.
That drought ended on Tuesday with the pledge of five-star Manny Obaseki.
What a whirlwind of a year it has been Williams, first taking Virginia Tech to the brink of an Elite Eight berth, before then taking the job in College Station, reshuffling the program's entire roster around and earning SEC Coach of the Year honors after leading the Aggies to a seventh-place finish in the league.
I am not going to lie; I had my doubts. The Aggies went through an awful stretch during the non-conference portion of the season, the low point being a damaging loss to Fairfield. Recruiting was not great yet, either, and the SEC slate was only going to eat up a team that was just one game above .500.
Now, it would be difficult to find many first-year staffs with a better future in store than the one at Texas A&M. Sure, the Dukes and Kentuckys will surpass them, but here we sit and the Aggies boast the top-ranked 2021 class.