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Three-Point Play: NCAA's summer plan, USC, Hoophall preview

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MORE: Twitter Tuesday mailbag | Bossi's Starting Five

The NCAA’s plan for changing summer basketball continues to look like a big mess. In today’s Three-Point Play, national analyst Eric Bossi looks at some of the latest developments with summer basketball, tries to figure out what is going at USC and looks at five key matchups for the upcoming Hoophall Classic.


The NCAA’s plan to change how players are evaluated by college coaches during the spring and summer continues to take hits.

In an attempt to eliminate “outside influences”, the summer recruiting calendar was changed drastically. To make a long story short, the NCAA cut down on the number of open period events, leaving one four-day window in July for players to play with their grassroots teams (instead of three similar windows in past years). To compensate, it added a system of regional camps during July, the ability for high school/team events in June and for coaches to attend a few days of the NBPA Top 100 Camp in June and USA Basketball in July. There’s a lot more to it, but that’s the nuts and bolts.

Anyway, problems are now arising from these high school team events. Nobody ever checked with the states and high school coaches to see if they wanted to or were capable of doing them and the entity put in charge of certifying them, the NFHS, has decided they will only recognize one organization per state and that will be those that are members of the NFHS. Many states have multiple high school organizations, meaning the kids who go to schools that aren’t members of the organization recognized by the NFHS are basically out of luck.

Now, states are fighting back. Last week Adam Zagoria of Zags’ Blog was first to report that both New York and Texas have decided they won’t do June events because the setup is essentially discriminatory and I’m in agreement with them. Kids are already losing chances to play before coaches during July and the system put in place to get them looks in June is going to many who don’t go to the right school.

I’ve heard rumblings that many other states are considering doing the same and it’s my hope that they all unite and boycott the June events. A message needs to be sent to the NCAA that looking to change things is well-intentioned, but just mandating things without consulting the involved parties and making sure that players aren’t left out isn’t going to fly.

I really hope somebody at the NCAA – maybe even Condoleezza Rice and her commission – is taking a look at how many holes there are in the new system and saying let’s do the right thing and fix this now instead of after a summer that is on track for disastrous results.


The Pac-12 has been taking some serious hits this winter. There’s rampant speculation that if things don’t change, it could be a one bid league for the NCAA Tournament. Underachieving teams are rampant and Steve Alford has already lost his job at UCLA. Amidst all of that, the way things are going at USC may be the most befuddling.

After failing to make the NCAA Tournament in 2017-18, the Trojans opened the season with hopes for improvement and a roster that featured nine players who were ranked as four-star or better prospects coming out of high school. Coming off of an 0-2 road trip through Oregon, USC now sits at just 9-8 overall and 2-2 in Pac-12 play. Needless to say, chances for a return to the NCAA Tournament are looking grim.

Sophomore Jordan Usher (who was suspended) has already left the program for Georgia Tech and prized freshman Kevin Porter Jr. who began the season in impressive fashion has been suspended indefinitely by Andy Enfield.

On top of all of that, the Trojans have battled injury problems (including one that sidelined Porter for nine games). At this point, the only hope left to make the NCAA Tournament would be a ridiculous run to close conference plan (i.e. at least 11-3 from here on out) or winning the Pac-12 Conference Tournament. Is it coaching? Is it a bad mix of players? Something else? They need to figure it out fast.

There is optimism about the Trojans' 2019 recruiting class that currently ranks No. 2 overall, but that optimism needs to be paired with some results sooner than later.


Over the years, the Spalding Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass. has evolved into America’s premier high school hoops showcase. Held over the Martin Luther King Day weekend each year, the event always features an incredible amount of talent and this year is no different with. Looking ahead, here are four storylines that I’ll be paying close attention to.

Clash of the Titans. The Sunday night ESPN tilt between Mouth of Wilson (Va.) Oak Hill and Bradenton (Fla.) IMG will feature an astounding 10 players who rank as four-star or better prospects in the classes of 2019 and 2020. Led by 2019’s top-ranked point guard Cole Anthony and recent Illinois commit Kofi Cockburn, Oak Hill has long been the gold standard of prep basketball powerhouses. At IMG, they are rapidly building powerhouses in hoops in and football and will roll out four five-star prospects (Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Armando Bacot, Josh Green and Jaden Springer). Could an IMG win begin a shift in power?

Best individual matchup. The individual matchup I’m most looking forward to happens on Saturday when five-star senior Kahlil Whitney of Roselle (N.J.) Catholic will square off with five-star junior B.J. Boston of Norcross (Ga.) High. Both are top-10 prospects in their respective classes and their styles – Whitney is a powerful athlete while Boston is a slippery skill guy – are opposites, which should make for a great matchup.

Anthony Edwards has an opportunity to make a statement. If Edwards wants to make a serious run at the No. 1 spot in the class of 2019, the explosive shooting guard can make a strong case on Sunday. He’s been building a pretty good case since moving from the class of 2020 to 2019 earlier this winter and a strong performance at Hoophall would be another feather in his cap. He’s down to Florida State, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina.

A big-time commitment wouldn’t be surprising. There are currently nine players in 2019’s top 32 who have yet to make a commitment. Of that group, only five-star combo forwards Matthew Hurt and Trendon Watford won’t be in attendance. Of the seven that are in attendance, six of them -- Cole Anthony, Jaden McDaniels, Isaiah Stewart, Precious Achiuwa, Keion Brooks and Cassius Stanley -- will be playing in ESPN televised games. Rumors have started to swirl that a commitment or two could be announced and that’s something we’ll be tracking closely over the next few days.