Three-Point Play: Texas Tech, Jimmy Whitt, elite 2020 talent
MAGIC MEMORIAL DAY: Bossi's takeaways from SoCal
If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. Today in the Three-Point-Play national basketball analyst looks at how Texas Tech is loading back up. Also, Jimmy Whitt is headed back to Arkansas and the battle for the top 10 in 2020 is on fire right now.
1. THE RED RAIDERS CONTINUE TO DO WHAT THEY DO
Give it up for Chris Beard. He found his own secret sauce for building and developing a program and after coming within seconds of winning a national championship in 2019, he’s not backing away from what got him there.
Sure, the level of success that the Red Raiders have been achieving has allowed Beard and his staff to jump on more highly-regarded high school players. Five-star Jahmius Ramsey and a top-15 class filled with nationally-ranked players is illustrative of that. But, at the core are defense, tough athletes, player development and making excellent use of the transfer market.
Beard was true to his roots again over the weekend when he landed a potential big-time transfer in UNLV freshman Joel Ntambwe. Ntambwe is athletic, tough and can be played as a big wing or a small ball four man. After sitting out a transfer year, he figures to be a major part of what is going on in Lubbock. An added bonus of landing Ntambwe that can’t be overlooked? His younger brother Jonathan Kuminga is a top three prospect in the class of 2021 who is making a strong case to move to No. 1. Think he won’t take notice of the Red Raiders if his older brother has a good experience?
2. JIMMY WHITT IS HEADED BACK TO ARKANSAS
Coming out of high school in Columbia, Mo., Whitt committed to Arkansas because of a close relationship that he and his family had with Mike Anderson and assistant Melvin Watkins from those coaches' time at Missouri. Things didn’t work out the first time around for the former four-star prospect, but he’s got a chance to be very good the second time around for new coach Eric Musselman.
No, Whitt isn’t much of a threat to stretch defenses with the three-point shot. He’s simply not a good shooter from deep at this point. But, he is very experienced, an efficient player and has good size and length. Look, Musselman needs players. While I’m sure there may be some Arkansas fans out there who aren’t too happy with Whitt because he left them before, I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t start and end up being one of the Hogs' best players in 2019-20.
3. IT’S A BRAWL AT THE TOP OF THE 2020 CLASS
We’ve been saying for a while that the class of 2020 could be a loaded one and based on their junior seasons and the start to the grassroots season, they are backing up the hype.
We’ve started to play around with updating the rankings for the class and the thing I’m realizing is that there may be as many as 15-20 players with legitimate claims as top-10 players in the class.
Currently, Evan Mobley holds the top spot after taking it away from No. 2 Jalen Green during the winter. But Cade Cunningham and others are making strong cases for the No. 1 spot. I don’t see anybody in the current top 10 who has played their way out of it. But, looking at guys like Jaden Springer, Jalen Suggs, Sharife Cooper, Josh Christopher, Isaiah Todd and Daishen Nix and others, I’m seeing several dudes who are building cases to move up the rankings.
It’s going to be a battle royal around the Rivals offices the next few weeks as myself, Corey Evans, Dan McDonald and others start to debate these guys and figure out the best way to place them. But, it’s going to make for a lot of fun discussion and looking towards the future it’s a great sign that I see a lot more guys who I feel need to be moved up than I do guys where I think to myself, “Oh man, he’s way too high.”