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Twitter Mailbag: Upcoming commits, SEC vs. Big 12 battle, epic showdown

Naasir Cunningham
Naasir Cunningham (

Rivals recruiting director Rob Cassidy opened his mailbox for questions of all kinds this week, and the Twitter public did not disappoint. This week, he fields questions about possible upcoming commitments, an SEC vs. Big 12 recruiting battle and a hypothetical showdown between two of college basketball’s biggest stars.


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This is tricky because you never know which way the wind will blow at the 11th hour. Timetables are often pushed back due to NIL or a myriad of other factors – also because “the start of the AAU season” means different things in different places. Are we talking all grassroots events or are we using the start of the shoe circuits? Either way, there’s no reason to split hairs. I’ll just spit up a few guys I think will be making a quick decision following the high school season.

Naasir Cunningham: We could be getting close to a decision from the Overtime Elite star. I see Memphis as the frontrunner here and a recent, mid-week visit to campus solidified that view. Duke obviously should never be counted out of anything, and Rutgers remains some level of threat, but it seems as though Cunningham is hammering things out with Memphis and could make things official in the next month or so.

Carter Bryant: I think we could see a Bryant commitment in the next month. Arizona and Gonzaga seem to be the major players for the five-star forward. I heard a few weeks back that the Wildcats were the team to beat, but that may have changed since I last touched base with those in the know. Still, I think Bryant will be committing sooner than later.

Kur Teng: Teng has narrowed his focus to include just Providence, Michigan State and Rutgers. He recently toured Providence, and will be on campus at Rutgers for an official visit over the weekend. It’s been hard to nail down a no-doubt leader between the three schools, but people close to the Rutgers program seem to feel confident about the Scarlet Knights’ chances. Whatever happens, I think the talented guard is a good bet to be off the board by the time grassroots season hits its stride.


This question comes at an opportune time, as I wrote 800 words on this exact subject earlier this week. You can find those words here, but I’ll happily go into more detail here, as I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on where things stand with Newell. First, understand that schools not named “Georgia” or “Indiana” feel like window dressing at this juncture. Could that change down the road? Sure, but, at least for now, Newell’s recruitment is Hoosiers vs. Bulldogs.

The reason I give Georgia the edge is multifold. First, Newell’s brother, Jaden, is currently on the UGA roster. Secondly, Newell was born in Athens and has family still in the area. Third is his relationship with Bulldog assistant Erik Pastrana, who has offered Newell three separate times at three different coaching stops, including giving the five-star his first-ever offer years back while Pastrana was at Oklahoma State.

All of that said, Indiana is definitely in striking distance and a serious player. I’m told Newell’s biggest worry when it comes to UGA is whether or not it can win at a significant clip in the coming years. Georgia’s big improvement this year is certainly a step in the right direction and may have helped ease that worry a bit, but Indiana - which is likely to play in its second consecutive NCAA Tournament next month - is obviously more stable on that front. How UGA finishes the season, in addition to how its roster projects for the future, will play a part. My official stance is that the Bulldogs hold the advantage, but I wouldn’t bet much more than lunch on it right now.


First of all, God bless you for asking this wonderful question. I could write 1,500 words in response, but my editor would have me killed. I don’t want that, so I’ll try to keep it short.

OK, away we go.

I’m a sucker for a "monster heel" gimmick, and we can easily slide Purdue star Zach Edey into that role. At 7-foot-4, the size is there. So is the mobility to work a good match. Let’s give the Toronto-born Edey an aggressive, pro-Canada gimmick, where his bit is that “modern American men have become small and soft.”

Imagine Edey on a microphone in, say Birmingham or something, telling the women in the crowd to leave their small, short, soft, American boyfriends and come “try out a real man in a masculine country like Canada, where men are still men.”

The heat from the crowd would melt your face.

Finding Edey’s opponent is a little trickier. We need an American-born underdog type with a good smile and an outgoing personality. I’m inclined to go with 6-foot-2 guard Marcus Sasser, a three-star prospect who has become an against-the-odds superstar at Houston. Sasser’s size and backstory provide a hint of the David vs. Goliath angle in addition to the USA vs. Canada bit. We’ll play up the height difference as well as Sasser’s “tough Texas roots” in the buildup to the match.

Obviously, the Lone Star State hero defends the honor of American men and topples the giant in some sort of last-man-standing match that showcases Sasser’s heart, determination and never-say-die attitude in front of a friendly, hometown crowd in Dallas.

I’m thinking there’s probably a spot where Sasser uses a cattle prod, lasso or some other quintessential Texas-adjacent weapon to secure the win.