Three-Point Play: Matthew Hurt, B.J. Boston, NCAA Tournament
STARTING FIVE: Michigan State and UNC rising, Kansas' visitor and more
Today in the Three-Point-Play, national analyst Eric Bossi takes a look at five-star junior B.J. Boston’s recruitment now that Kentucky has offered a scholarship. Bossi also caught up with five-star Matthew Hurt’s father for the latest on the undecided senior and offers up a suggestion to the NCAA Selection Committee.
1. WHAT’S UP WITH MATTHEW HURT?
There’s probably not a player that I or Corey Evans has been asked about more over the past few months than Matthew Hurt – though Cole Anthony may be close. The five-star forward from Rochester (Minn.) John Marshall has now seen Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina officially and for the most part he’s been silent on the status of his recruitment while we’ve done our best to fill in the blanks for readers with what we’ve heard behind the scenes.
I was able to catch up with Hurt’s father, Richard, who connected some dots for me and gave some insight into the process.
Currently, Hurt is in the final week of his senior season. After that, he’s got playoff action and for now he’s got all of his attention focused on making a run in the playoffs for his final year. From the looks of it, there will not be any more official visits. As soon as Hurt finishes his season he has the McDonald’s All-American Game and then the Hoop Summit with USA Basketball, so even if he wanted to take an additional visit, finding the proper time could be an issue.
For now, Hurt’s father told me Matt is eyeing his birthday (April 20) for a decision date. All of the official visits went off well and left him with lots to think about. As he pushes towards making his decision, he’ll be looking closely at who stays, who leaves and which place he can best identify and see a role and need for his ability to stretch the floor and play a skilled all-around game. I wouldn’t look for any movement prior to the McDonald’s game, but after that there’s a chance that the timetable could be changed a bit.
Not surprisingly, Hurt’s father didn’t tip his hand one way or another as to where Matt may be leaning and having covered Matt for years, I can believe it when his father says that his son doesn’t speak a bunch about his recruitment at this point.
2. HEAVYWEIGHT BATTLE SETTING UP FOR B.J. BOSTON?
Over the weekend, five-star shooting guard B.J. Boston took a trip to Kentucky and the junior received a scholarship offer from John Calipari and the Wildcats. By all indications the visit was a hit and the way I’m seeing Boston’s recruitment, we could be looking at another heavyweight clash between Calipari and Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski.
First of all, it would never be a surprise to see Duke and Kentucky battling it out for a top-10 prospect. They do so all the time. But, it doesn’t come down to those two for every single big time player. Boston, though, could end up falling into that category. He fits both programs, seems to have really enjoyed visits to both places and as a potential one-and-done player he’s seen lots of players have success chasing those dreams from Duke and Kentucky.
Now, I wouldn’t totally sleep on Florida. If anybody could make a run it may be Mike White and the Gators. Boston has also been to Auburn and the Tigers have done well in the Atlanta area while others such as Ohio State, Alabama and many more are involved. But, as of today, I’d wager that Boston’s recruitment ultimately comes down to the Blue Devils and Wildcats.
3. NCAA COULD MAKE SELECTION SUNDAY MUCH EASIER
It’s that time of year. The NCAA Tournament and Selection Sunday are so close that it’s hard not to get excited. Just like everybody else, I spend a lot of my time checking Bracketology, reading up about who is on the bubble and all of that type of stuff. It may not necessarily mean much just yet, but the guys who do those things have done a pretty good job of predicting who gets in based on the data available to them.
All that being said, there’s one easy, simple rule I wish the NCAA would implement regarding the tournament. That is, in order to be selected for an at-large bid a team must be at least .500 or above during conference play. I don’t think it’s a scalding hot take, but it would put some teams at serious jeopardy looking at the current projections.
For instance in many mock projections, Oklahoma (5-10), Ohio State (7-9), Seton Hall (7-8), Clemson (6-8) and TCU (6-8) are all projected tournament teams despite losing records in league play. As far as I’m concerned, that losing record should be an automatic disqualifier. I get it, the competition in those leagues is supposed to be higher level. That’s fine, and so is the NCAA Tournament. In my eyes, those teams have proven what we can expect from them against top competition and based on records, that’s a loss.
At the end of the day, I’d rather see a Utah State or a Belmont grab one of those at-large bids over a team with a sub-.500 conference record. Are they any more likely to advance? I don’t know, but I’d like to see their excellent conference play rewarded and to inject as much new blood as possible into the NCAA Tournament.