Twitter Tuesday: Duke's targets; Malaki Branham; more
What a week it was on the recruiting front. From Moussa Cisse and Jon Kuminga’s announcements, to Caleb Houstan reclassifying into the 2021 class, things have begun to pick up again. Could it be another hectic few days ahead? We explore in the latest #TwitterTuesday including Duke shot-making pursuit, Malaki Branham’s commitment tomorrow, Lynn Kidd’s potential reclassification and much more.
RELATED: Big decisions coming this week
I am not sure that Duke will land both Patrick Baldwin and Caleb Houstan, but I also would be a bit shocked if it one of the two didn’t eventually commit to the Blue Devils. For the most part, I see things coming down to Duke and Milwaukee with Baldwin, though Kentucky and North Carolina could have a shot, too. Does he say no to Coach K so that he can play for his father? It is definitely in the realm of possibilities.
With Houstan, who reclassified into 2021 last week, setting his favorites is not easy. Duke will have a shot but North Carolina may have been the favorite before the onslaught of offers rolled in. Arizona, Michigan, Michigan State and Oregon are four others to watch, but keep an eye on Gonzaga; it could be one of the teams to beat whenever things come to a boil.
At the lead guard spot, I wouldn’t get too anxious if I am a Duke fan. No one said that Jeremy Roach and DJ Steward would be one-and-done guards. Rather, the Blue Devils are fairly set in the backcourt beyond this year and while one of the two could be gone if a strong season is ahead, a better route to take would be pursuing a secondary ballhandler that can play next to one of the two, which is exactly what Duke is chasing after. Trevor Keels is a priority and such could be the case for Harrison Ingram, that is if they eventually offer the top-10 wing.
Ohio State. I just placed my FutureCast in for Malaki Branham last week in favor of the Buckeyes and while I am not entirely confident in my prediction, we will know very soon thanks to him setting his commitment date for tomorrow.
If there is one program that has just as good of a chance as the Buckeyes, it is Alabama. Very rarely do we ever see a Bama-OSU recruiting battle, at least on the hardwood side, but thanks to Nate Oats and assistant coach Bryan Hodgson’s connections, Alabama is not just a suitor but a potential landing spot for him.
We are talking about two different ballgames depending upon whether Lynn Kidd jumps into the 2020 class or not. He had planned on returning to IMG Academy for one more year of prep ball, but seeing that is he is already eligible for college and has graduated from high school, the idea of playing college basketball this upcoming season has become intriguing.
If he decides to go that route, Wake Forest is the heavy favorite. No one has pushed harder for his early enrollment than the Deacons and with a chance to start at the center position an attainable opportunity, Wake would be hard to beat if 2020 is the way that he goes.
If he remains in the 2021 class, the chances that Wake Forest would land Kidd becomes much more difficult. Florida and Miami are two that could make a run at things with the in-state prospect. A few other regional programs in the mold of Alabama, Auburn, Georgia Tech and Ole Miss must be monitored, while Clemson and Virginia Tech also just offered.
He will likely make a decision in the coming weeks if he will be going to college this fall or wait a season, with the whispers indicating he wants to go this fall.
There definitely is a chance. Bruce Pearl has secured a five-star commitment the past two recruiting cycles and I don’t expect for that to change in 2021. Jabari Smith, who is the son of former LSU standout Jabari Smith Sr., visited the program over the winter and holds the Tigers high up within his school list. Tennessee is a school to watch, as is his father’s alma mater, the in-state Georgia Bulldogs, and North Carolina, the latter of which just offered.
Playing alongside him on the travel circuit this summer is JD Davison, the most explosive guard in the game. The two have developed great chemistry that I bet Pearl is selling to both in keeping them together in college. Davison is not anywhere near a decision, but if he were to produce a final five, it would include the Tigers, along with Alabama, Kansas, LSU and Memphis. Auburn holds my FutureCast for him, but I am not counting out its in-state rivals, the Tide, or LSU.
That is the question at hand on the Hilltop over the past few years, dating back to the final years of John Thompson III’s tenure, and the early going of Patrick Ewing. The questions began to swirl louder again last week whenever four-star wing and Maret School standout Quincy Allen picked Colorado.
Hoyas’ fans began to rejoice whenever local Gonzaga standout Terrance Williams committed to the program last winter before making matters worse when he quickly flipped to Michigan. There has never been a lack of talent from the DMV and that continues to the case; whether it is Rivals150 targets picking the Wolverines, Maryland, Miami, Syracuse, Villanova, or Virginia, Georgetown has just not gotten over the hump for one reason or another.
Maybe Ewing has to bring someone onto his staff that has deeper ties within the region. Does going all-out for a travel program director as in an Osman Bangura of Team Durant, Keith Stevens of Team Takeover, Donnell Dobbins of Team Thrill or Damon Handon of DC Premier help? It could not hurt but things do have to change.
Georgetown is arguably a top-20 job in the sport and are facing a major rebuild as it sits among the lower half of the Big East. It is involved with a handful five-star prospects in the 2021 class but it does not look promising.
It is a still a bit early in the process to say which mid-major has left a dent but taking a glimpse at things it looks like…
Lehigh has struck gold with Tyler Whitney-Sidney. If there was a travel season, Whitney-Sidney would have blown up. Instead, he picked Leighi over a bevy of Ivy League schools. Lehigh has also nabbed Keith Higgins off the west coast who should be the perfect complement to the quick-twitch playmaker.
Kudos to Liberty coach Ritchie McKay for getting it done early with Joseph Venzant. He is a solid three-star guard that is a major disruptor on the defensive end. The product out of Texas should have been a Conference USA priority; instead, he could be the reason why Liberty is an upset special as a 13-4 match-up in future Marches.
Lastly, I am not even sure we can call Harvard a mid-major whenever it comes to their work on the recruiting trail. A trio of three-stars have already picked the Crimson, including Bennett Pitcher who switched sports from football to the hoops, Louis Lesmond, who could play in the Big Ten, and Denham Wojcik, who could also have played at the highest level if the right system was allotted.