Twitter Tuesday: Cole Anthony, Keion Brooks, Isaiah Stewart, Pitt
STARTING FIVE: Big visits over the weekend, Jayhawks, Illini and more
The Twitter Tuesday mailbag returns after a two week hiatus and dives into Pitt’s search for a 2019 commitment, North Carolina's hunt for another five-star prospect and the last few days of Isaiah Stewart’s recruitment.
Anthony, the top-ranked lead guard in the 2019 class, just took his final official visit over the weekend to Wake Forest. The Deacons are joined by Georgetown, Miami, Notre Dame, Oregon and North Carolina on his final list. However, this is more of a two-horse race between the Ducks and the Tar Heels. Picking between the two remains difficult and while the Ducks have gained a lot of traction of late, I still expect Anthony to pick North Carolina at the end of the day.
Brooks will be committing before Anthony as he has completed all of his visits and is down to a final group consisting of Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan State, Purdue, UCLA and North Carolina. The Bruins are practically out and I fail to see him in East Lansing or West Lafayette. That brings us to Indiana, Kentucky and North Carolina. Indiana seems to be the stiffest competition for Brooks and while I could definitely see him in Chapel Hill, the lure of staying home and playing alongside former travel teammate Trayce Jackson-Davis may be too much to overcome for Roy Williams and his staff.
Isaiah Stewart broke down his ongoing recruitment exclusively with Rivals.com last week and shared that he is down to a final five and is close to making his commitment. It looks as if he has already decided on where he wants to attend college and all that is left is for Stewart to come up with the proper way to announce his decision.
Where will he land? Stewart has a final five of Duke, Kentucky, Michigan State, Syracuse and Washington, and not many have a great feel for where he might be leaning. I have stuck with Washington as the dark horse and I am not willing to budge, though I am not entirely confident.
Duke and Kentucky offer the blueblood path; Michigan State offers the big man-oriented offense; Syracuse offers the proximity to home. Washington offers something entirely different and a relationship with head coach Mike Hopkins that cannot be topped by any of his other finalists.
Stewart is expected to make a commitment before February rolls around. This is more of a three-horse battle between Duke, Kentucky and Washington.
It is going to happen, I promise! The Panthers need at least two big men from this 2019 class, and group that they have been tracking have not been in much of a hurry to commit. The closest to doing so looks to be Qudus Wahab, a Rivals150 center who is down to Georgetown, Pitt, Syracuse, UConn and Virginia Tech.
Kofi Cockburn, a five-star center, had the Panthers in his final five before picking Illinois on Sunday, though they remained in major catch-up mode for him, so the loss wasn’t all that crushing. Chase Johnson, a Florida transfer, visited Pitt over the weekend but he has already picked Dayton.
Pitt also continue to track Karim Coulibaly and Jalyn McCreary, but Gerald Drumgoole might be the likeliest of the bunch to become a Panther. He has yet to visit campus but he is a top available wing that can make shots and defend. Dereon Seabron is another prospect to keep tabs on as NC State, Providence and VCU are in the hunt for the 6-foot-4 playmaking guard.
While Mike White hasn’t won two national titles like Billy Donovan, he has kept the Gators among the SEC's elite and just made the Elite Eight two years ago. Sure, the loss to South Carolina stings, but this is college basketball;, there are no automatic wins in conference play.
The Gators just haven’t gotten the proper mileage out of Jalen Hudson and Kevaughn Allen and have incorporated three freshmen within their top seven rotation this season. I still expect Florida to make a run during league play and win a game or two in the NCAA Tournament.
However, next year could be the year that White gets the bunch that he can roll with. Gators could could have arguably the most dynamic backcourt in the game with Andrew Nembhard, Noah Locke, Scottie Lewis, Keyontae Johnson and Tre Mann, along with what-could-be an elite rim protector in Omar Payne. Be patient because reinforcements are coming to Gainesville.