Twitter Tuesday: Armando Bacot, Vernon Carey, UConn, Pitt
In this week’s Twitter Tuesday mailbag, Rivals.com basketball recruiting analyst Corey Evans evaluates North Carolina's chances with Armando Bacot, dives into the latest with top-ranked junior Vernon Carey, checks on where Joe Girard stands following his Syracuse visit and breaks down how new staffs at UConn and Pitt might fair during the 2019 recruiting cycle.
We discussed in detail last week what is ahead for North Carolina and Josh Green and I believe that Carolina will ultimately offer Green. Seeing that Green is someone that checks a lot of boxes for a program like North Carolina, there is no reason why the Tar Heels wouldn't pursue him.
Armando Bacot, a five-star prospect in the 2019 class, has been stuck on a final 10 for the past few months. Nothing has changed in recent weeks and while Duke was the perceived favorite for him during the spring months, momentum has been drifting in North Carolina’s direction.
There's nothing much new on the Vernon Carey front. The top-ranked junior is in Argentina at the moment, playing with the United States 17-under unit where he is hoping to secure his second-consecutive MVP on the international stage.
Carey is down to a final five of Duke, Michigan State, North Carolina, Miami and Kentucky, Duke was thought to be in the pole position several weeks back and while the Blue Devils still are a favorite, the other four finalists should not be discounted, either. This isn’t a closed deal as many had believed before.
Look for a commitment sometime in the winter as Carey wants to take official visits to his finalists during the college basketball season and then sign during the late period in April.
UConn's hiring of Dan Hurley has infused energy and, better yet, some optimism into the Huskies’ fanbase.
The new staff in Storrs has been diligently working on getting some of the top prospects in the 2019 class onto campus over the past few weeks. As Ryan brings up, Rivals150 prospects Akok Akok, Precious Achiuwa, Kofi Cockburn and Jalen Gaffney each took an unofficial visit to UConn within the past 10 days.
Of the group, the Huskies probably have the best shot with Achiuwa. That's good because he's probably the prospect of that group that they would most like to land. UConn sits in a similar spot for Akok, a local product out of Putnam Science Academy, the same program that produced sophomore big man Mamadou Diarra.
Others that UConn remain very much involved for and have a more than just a decent shot at with include Tre Mitchell and Jaiden DeLaire, both Rivals150 members that play their high school ball in Connecticut. The Huskies have also picked things up for Kahlil Whitney, Kira Lewis and Rocket Watts.
We broke the news earlier this week that Rivals150 standout Joe Girard would be taking his first and only official visit prior to the July evaluation periods to Syracuse. The Orange love their shooters and not many are better at just that than Girard. His close proximity to campus only adds more fuel to the fire that he could suit up for the Orange in the future.
A pledge this weekend would not have surprised and while he has decided to remain uncommitted, the Orange should be seen as the top contender for his signature. He is down to a group of six including Syracuse, Duke, Boston College, Penn State, Michigan and Notre Dame.
There has been talk about Girard visiting Penn State in September, but nothing has been solidified at the moment. While the names of Duke, Michigan and Notre Dame could sway some, and the pressing needs at Penn State and Boston College remain pertinent, the Orange are the one to beat as the July evaluation periods approach.
Jeff Capel has done a phenomenal job of turning around the ship at Pitt since taking over this spring, but even the talent that he accrued in the 2018 class won’t be enough to get the Panthers back to the NCAA Tournament next March. However, a strong 2019 class could be just what the doctor ordered for solidifying Pitt’s future as a consistent postseason contender.
The Panthers made the final eight for Greg Gannt, a top-60 forward out of North Carolina that was high school teammates with Pitt freshman Au’Diese Toney. The Panthers are facing an uphill battle, but they should be seen as the top dark horse.
Pitt could knock it out of the park with Cole Anthony, as the top-ranked guard in the 2019 class developed a strong relationship with Capel during the latter's time at Duke.
Could Tre Mitchell, a local 2019 center who relocated for his prep ball last fall, return home for his college career? Oscar Tshiebwe, the top western Pennsylvania prospect, is a heavy focus for Pitt and looks to be a battle between West Virginia and the Panthers. Finally, Kofi Cockburn, a top-30 center, has remained a top target of Pitt’s since the new staff’s hiring, and the Panthers should be seen as a top-three contender for the intimidating interior presence.