basketball Edit

Twitter Tuesday: Illinois, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida

In this week's Twitter Tuesday mailbag, Basketball Analyst Corey Evans dives into Illinois’ chances for next season, looks at what Alex Tchikou’s commitment does for Alabama and more.

Ranking the Contenders: Jonathan Kuminga

2020 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2021 Rankings: Rivals150 | Position

2022 Rankings: Top 75

Mac Etienne
Mac Etienne (Nick Lucero/

The return of Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn would give Illinois a team that could potentially compete for a Final Four berth.

Dosunmu, added in with Da'Monte Williams, Trent Frazier, Andre Curbelo and Adam Miller, would definitely force Brad Underwood to go the small ball route but that is a trade that he would gladly make since it would mean Dosunmu would be back for his junior season.

There are some questions surrounding the Illini's depth on the wings but with Giorgi Bezhanishvili and Cockburn manning the frontcourt, the Illini will have a daunting frontline that will be one of the more difficult groups to game plan against. If the team can be consistent around the perimeter and both standouts return, we are talking about a top-10 team.

Moving ahead, with Mac Etienne remaining part of the 2021 class, Illinois' chances with him would improve seeing that Cockburn will leave a hole in the interior. Jordan Nesbitt, another reclassification prospect, is a top target for Illinois and may be an even greater need compared to Etienne due to the limited depth they have on the wings. For David Jones, Illinois is in the mix along with Clemson, Houston and Pitt.


Alex Tchikou
Alex Tchikou

Huge. Nate Oats and his assistant coach Bryan Hodgson completed major work this spring with some of the very best high school and transfer talent available. While there are sky-high expectations surrounding Josh Primo, top-40 forward Alex Tchikou could turn out to be the Crimson Tide's best addition.

There were some questions regarding how Oats would fair after jumping to the SEC after coaching in the MAC for several years, but a top-10 class and top graduate-transfer Jordan Bruner heading to Alabama is nothing short of impressive.

Oats should have a roster that can hold its own against anyone in the SEC next season.


Matthew Cleveland
Matthew Cleveland (Courtesy of USA Basketball)

Four-star Matthew Cleveland announced a final five last week of Florida State, Kansas, Michigan, NC State and Stanford.

Cleveland has not said when he will announce his college decision but there is a fair chance that he will attempt to visit his finalists one more time before committing. For now, on-campus recruiting is barred until August 31 and if that moratorium is extended much beyond that date, Cleveland could commit sight unseen.

In the meantime, Florida State has garnered most of the talk with him. Michigan has picked up ground, too, since the Wolverines offered earlier in the spring. If there is one program to keep an eye on, it is Stanford. The Cardinal have a great selling point which is replacing five-star Ziaire Williams after the season. It is not every year that a talent like Williams selects a program like the Cardinal which is why Jerod Haase’s bunch needs to hit while the iron is hot.

Daimion Collins
Daimion Collins

Arkansas’ most realistic options for the 2021-22 season might not even be known at this moment because Eric Musselman typically finds a lot of his roster success via the transfer portal. Sure, the Hawgs are going to win their fair share of high school recruiting battles, which we saw in the 2020 class, but look for Arkansas to continue to be involved with the very best every spring on the transfer market.

Now, Arkansas has invested a lot of time with some of the top 2021 prospects in the Southeast. Last week, Daimion Collins cut his list to a final 10 that included Arkansas, though Oklahoma and Texas are the two to beat. His travel teammate, Trey Alexander is also on the Hawgs' board but OU is the favorite alongside Oklahoma State. Four-star wing Chance Moore is an option, as is Mike James.

Finally, Musselman has made it a priority to keep the best in-state talent home and while Jalen Ricks is completing his prep career at Oak Hill Academy, there is a chance that he returns home for college. Texas A&M is also heavily entrenched, but Ricks is one to monitor.


Alex Fudge
Alex Fudge

Florida will not graduate a single player from its roster after the upcoming season but there is a chance that Tre Mann (if he withdraws from the NBA Draft), Scottie Lewis and Keyontae Johnson could all choose to pursue professional careers after the spring. If that happens, the Gators would need to add a versatile wing, playmaking guard and athletic forward to their roster.

They already nabbed one of the three with Kowacie Reeves who should infuse oodles of versatility, explosiveness and length into the UF program. In the playmaking department, Robert McCray, Rahsool Diggins, Carter Whitt, Tyrese Hunter, Darius Johnson and Jaden Akins sit as Florida's top targets.

Circling back to your question, the one prospect the Gators need to get is Alex Fudge. It did help that Michigan transfer Colin Castleton picked the Gators earlier in the spring but Fudge could fill a number of roles if Lewis and Johnson do leave early for the league. There are others on Florida’s board, but Fudge tops the list.