Three-Point Play: No. 1 target; Kansas-Kansas State; SEC super-frosh
Today in the Three-Point Play, national analyst Eric Bossi discusses who would be his top target from the class of 2020 if he were a big-time college coach, previews a huge game in the Big 12 and discusses a freshman quietly having a monster year in the SEC.
1. Cade Cunningham would be my No. 1 recruiting target in 2020
Back in October, a thought started to form in the back of my mind, that thought was that if I was a college coach who wanted to recruit the best combination of teammate, winner and elite talent from the class of 2020, Montverde (Fla.) Academy’s Cade Cunningham might be near the top of my list.
After watching him a few times this winter – most recently over the weekend at the ARS Rescue Rooter National Hoopfest in Tampa – there’s zero doubt in my mind that he would be my No. 1 target in the class of 2020 if I were at the helm of a big-time college program.
Are there are better pure prospects? Yeah, there are a few. Are there better NBA prospects? Quite likely. Do I think we may have him slightly undervalued at No. 10 overall in his class? Probably so. But, this isn’t about rankings this is about skill, versatility, commitment to getting better, being a great teammate and not having one foot out the door to the NBA while he’s on campus for one or maybe two seasons.
Cunningham could realistically be used at four positions in the college game, he’s a great communicator on the floor and he has no holes in his game on either end of the floor. Kansas, Texas, Kentucky, Duke, Michigan, TCU, Virginia and many others have been involved to varying degrees, but I’m just saying, if I’m the head coach at those or any other program in America, I’m making him my No. 1 target
2. Kansas and Kansas State will be lively
There’s a big game in Manhattan, Kans., tonight as Bill Self and Kansas invade town to take on Bruce Weber and Kansas State. This time, it’s the Wildcats who sit atop of the Big 12 standings and the Jayhawks who are playing from behind as they look to win an astonishing 15th conference crown in a row.
As a Kansan, I’ve seen this rivalry up close and personal on several occasions since moving to the state in the summer of 1990. Needless to say, the rivalry has been pretty one sided in the Jayhawks favor but this year is a little different. It’s the Wildcats who are healthy, it’s the Wildcats who have experience and who should reasonably be considered the favorites. Seniors Dean Wade and Barry Brown are as good a duo as there is in the country and they are both playing at a high level and they are anxious to scratch a win after going 0-8 against their most bitter rivals thus far in their career.
On the other side, Kansas has been a mess on the road over the last month and it’s not coincidence that the struggles have happened since junior big man Udoka Azubuike was lost for the season. Though they’ve been inconsistent, the Jayhawks do have a National Player of the Year contender in Dedric Lawson and are coming off a backs-against-the-wall destruction of Texas Tech over the weekend.
I’m looking forward to an intense, physical slugfest and if I know anything about the Wildcats crowd, they are going to be into this one making for a hostile environment and hopefully a great night of college basketball.
3. Cup of Joe
With all due respect to Detroit’s freshman scoring and jump shooting sensation Antoine Davis, the best freshman jump shooter in America plays his ball for Mike Anderson at Arkansas. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why more people haven’t picked up on the sensational three-point shooting of homegrown guard Isaiah Joe.
A skinny 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Fort Smith (Ark.), Joe was a four-star prospect coming out of high school and he's already surpassed even the most lofty expectations while scoring 14 points per outing while making a sizzling hot 73-168 (43.5 percent) of his attempts from beyond the arc. Thanks in large part to his early contributions, the Razorbacks are in contention for a bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The Razorbacks have had some big-time shooters over the years like the Ruston Rifle Scottie Thurman who delivered a national title, Rotnei Clarke, Todd Day, Pat Bradley and Al Dillard to name a few, Joe could eventually top all of them if he can play out his four years anything like he has his first 21 games. He’s one of the most fun to watch players I’ve ever seen on a Anderson-coached team and is a guy that savvy hoops fans should be keeping tabs on.