Three-Point Play: What we know, five surprises, panic meter
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In today's Three-Point Play, we look at what is known about the 2019 class, breakdown five surprising classes and check out the panic meter reading for five programs.
1. WHAT WE KNOW
The disparity in premier talent in the 2019 class is well-documented by now. As a result of this thin crop of high school prospects, programs of all levels made sure to pin-point and prioritize their top targets this summer and fall. Missing on these first tier targets hurts more in 2019 than it has in years past and could lead to roster issues down the road.
Already, 110 of the 2019 Rivals150 has come off of the board and with those commitments have come some fun and unusual recruiting battles. Five-star Armando Bacot chose North Carolina over VCU and Oklahoma State; top-ranked guard Cole Anthony visited Oregon, North Carolina and Notre Dame in recent weeks; top-five center Isaiah Stewart established a list of finalists that includes Syracuse, Washington, Duke and Michigan State.
If your favorite program has missed out, the repercussions could be felt for years to come unless they can salvage their class through the transfer market or junior college route.
While over two-thirds of the Rivals150 has already found a college home, just half of the five-star crowd is spoken for. Who could come off of the board between now and the end of the early signing period? James Wiseman, Isaiah Stewart, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Will Baker, Trayce Jackson-Davis and Drew Timme come to mind.
2. FIVE SURPRISING CLASSES
While it's no surprise to see Kentucky, Arizona and Villanova inside the top-10 of the Rivals.com Team Recruiting Rankings, the following five programs have come out and surprisingly find themselves in the top-25:
USC: The Trojans have done fine work on the recruiting trail in recent years, but this year is a bit out of the norm as the Trojans could begin and end the calendar with the best class in America. Andy Enfield's program is set to sign two five-stars and three other four-stars next month, giving the Trojans a talent infusion that should push USC into the national title conversations.
Florida: How about those Gators? Mike White and his staff earned commitments from three top-50 prospects - including two five-stars - and beat out North Carolina, Kansas and Kentucky for their senior pledges.
Virginia Tech: This might be the high-water class for Buzz Williams in Blacksburg. He beat Duke for Anthony Harris, found a gem in Andre Gordon and landed the ideal combo forwards for his system in Yavuz Gultekin and Emanuel Miller. This is a much-needed class for the Hokies with several key players set to depart after the 2018-19 season.
Oklahoma State: While Mike Boynton's Cowboys' came up a bit short of an NCAA Tournament appearance, the coaching staff has been hard at work since then and are set to sign three Rivals150 prospects next month.
Tennessee: Rick Barnes had great recruiting success at his previous stop in Austin, and this cycle in Knoxville is similar, highlighted by the commitment of five-star guard Josiah James, who chose the Vols over Duke and Clemson.
3. PANIC METER
How high should the panic meter reading be at programs lagging behind their normal recruiting results as the signing period approaches?
Duke: 10 - The Blue Devils are struggling to finish the job with some of their top targets from the high school ranks. Sure, they did just land a five-star talent in Wendell Moore, but they also missed on three prospects that were thought to be heavy Duke leans. The program's need in the frontcourt is glaring and it is not crazy to think that Duke could miss on both Vernon Carey and Isaiah Stewart.
Kentucky - 7: The Wildcats sit with a top-five recruiting class off of the backs of two five-star prospects that will be immediate hits in Lexington. However, just like at Duke, Kentucky faces a major dilemma down low. Four key frontcourt contributors could all potentially be gone by this time next year and I'm not sure how the Wildcats will fill that void. They would love to add three forward prospects but they aren't favored to land any of their top targets like Stewart, Carey, Jaden McDaniels. It's unlikely that Kentucky misses on all four, but even one popping for the Wildcats doesn’t answer their issues entirely.
Michigan State - 4: The Spartans enrolled a very strong five-man freshmen class this fall, so there's not a gargantuan need facing the program in the 2019 class. Michigan State will lose several key contributors to graduation and could also see Nick Ward and Josh Langford test the NBA waters after this season. If the latter two do decide to leave with eligibility remaining, then the panic meter reading could rise a bit.
Kansas - 3: There is actually more panic in Lawrence surrounding the eligibility of Silvio De Sousa and potential NCAA violations revealed in the FBI corruption trial than the Jayhawks' recruiting needs. Kansas has already checked off two of its more pressing concerns in the backcourt in the form of shot-making, athletic wing Christian Braun and a do-it-all guard in Isaac McBride. Next up is the frontcourt where the Jayhawks sit in a strong spot with top-10 forwards Matt Hurt and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl. The latter is more likely to sign early but if he doesn't choose the Jayhawks, then the panic meter could rise.
Oregon - 6: After finishing last year’s recruiting cycle with a top-five class, the Ducks have yet to strike this fall unless you count junior college guard Chris Duarte. The Ducks will have to replace several key pieces next year - as many as five depending on early NBA departures - and their biggest needs are in the frontcourt. Oregon is in the thick of it for three targets that would fill that need - Quincy Guerrier, Malik Hall and C.J. Walker - and if they don't land two of them, it might be time to up the panic meter reading.