basketball Edit

Top 10 recruiting battles for 2017 basketball prospects

Elite prospects have started taking more time to make their college decisions, allowing for more intense and drawn-out recruiting battles in recent years. With that in mind, some of the key battles in 2017 may take a little more time than usual to shake out. Here are 10 looming battles that have our early attention.


The battle: Harvard vs. Duke and Kentucky.

Bossi’s take: A shot-blocker and rebounder extraordinaire with emerging offense, Bamba should be a plug-and-play guy who can produce no matter where he ends up. His length is game changing and he’s a very intelligent kid. He's the type who could look to think outside of, or flat-out build his own box. For that reason, a program like Harvard has a chance here. Certainly others like Connecticut, Maryland and Villanova will have some say in the matter as well.

The battle: Villanova vs. Maryland with Kentucky and others lurking.

Bossi’s take: Duval is pretty quiet and his recruitment has been under the radar so we’re not saying it’s just those two that will end up battling it out. In some ways he’s similar to a young Derrick Rose with his explosive first step and his approach that lets his play do his talking. Landing a guy like him after a national title would certainly be a huge statement for Jay Wright and ‘Nova. Could things change if Kentucky looks to prioritize Duval?

The battle: USC vs. Arizona, Kansas and Maryland.

Bossi’s take: There’s a feel behind the scenes that Andy Enfield and the Trojans could be the early favorite for the super talented five-star forward. USC has certainly upped the ante on the recruiting trail over the past few years. However, Preston would be the first five-star where they’ve had to fight off national powers and would make a big statement.

The battle: Florida State vs. Duke, Kentucky and North Carolina.

Bossi’s take: Because his father played football at Florida State and because the Seminoles got an early start on Knox, they are not to be discounted. But, it is going to be a tough task to fight off the likes of Duke, Kentucky and North Carolina among others. Leonard Hamilton has been showcasing young wings of late but will it be enough to overcome the allure of playing for a traditional power?

The battle: Connecticut vs. Kentucky.

Bossi’s take: It would be foolish to discount the early groundwork and effort put into Diallo’s recruitment by Kevin Ollie and the Huskies. However, Kentucky seems to be making a pretty big push in the athletic wing’s recruitment. Syracuse will also be involved. There’s always rumors that Diallo could enroll as a 2016 prospect but he has continually denied that going to school as a 2016 prospect is in his plans.

The battle: Indiana vs. everybody.

Bossi’s take: As far as five-star prospects go, Wilkes appears to be pretty open. Schools on either coast such as UCLA and Maryland are involved, as well as a nice push from Big Ten power Michigan State. In a strong 2017 class in Indiana (tracking to have four top 50 players), Wilkes is currently the highest ranked and the one that the Hoosiers have probably spent the most time recruiting. He’d be a huge recruiting win if they can pull it off.

The battle: Oklahoma vs. Kansas and Kentucky.

Bossi’s take: Thanks to a style that encouraged deep shooting and outstanding player development, Oklahoma made a Final Four in 2016. Nobody got a better look at the season than Young, who lives in Norman. If the Sooners are ever going to beat out the bluebloods for a five-star prospect, then Young would figure to be the guy. Technically, Young’s list is much deeper than the Sooners, Jayhawks and Wildcats, but this is where the battle is shaping up to take place.

The battle: Illinois vs. the bluebloods.

Bossi’s take: We hesitate to ever call a prospect a must-get for any program, but when it comes to the Illini and Tilmon, it gets pretty close to that level. Tilmon is from Illinois, the Illini have held a strong position for a while and he’s probably most needed by the Illini on the floor. Jon Groce and his staff are looking to get things headed in the right direction and beating out programs like Kansas, Michigan State and North Carolina for Tilmon would be a huge step.

The battle: Texas vs. Arizona, Kentucky and North Carolina.

Bossi’s take: A five-star forward who is from the Dallas area, Washington recently told that the four schools above are among those where he wants to take official visits. Many other schools are involved and he’s a frequent unofficial visitor as well but Washington could be a good litmus test for how HAVOC is going to play in Austin. Shaka Smart will have had ample time to recruit Washington and to get him he’ll have to beat out some big-time programs.

The battle: Washington vs. the West Coast.

Bossi’s take: Homegrown in Seattle, Davis is the kind of kid that Lorenzo Romar and the Huskies usually feast on. They did, for a while at least, landing an early commitment. However, this spring Davis backed off his early pledge and talk surrounding it had to do with not feeling enough love from the Huskies after his commitment. Davis, athletic and able to play multiple positions, has mentioned Arizona, Gonzaga and Oregon. The Huskies are going to have to work if they want to get him back in the fold.