Things are beginning to ramp up with the class of 2018 as some of its top members have narrowed their college lists. We assess where things stand with Rivals150 guard Jalen Carey and forward Simisola Shittu, and how Maryland, Providence and Butler finish out their 2018 classes in this week's #TwitterTuesday.
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At this point who do you consider the favorite for Jalen Carey?— Sean (@engel_sean) August 7, 2017
Jalen Carey, ranked No. 52 in the 2018 Rivals150, released his final list of schools on Sunday: Miami, UConn, Rutgers, Syracuse, Villanova and Kansas. While all six teams involved do have a fairly good chance at him, three schools may be above the rest.
It's hard to imagine Carey selecting Rutgers after Steve Pikiell's program just picked up the commitment of Rivals150 scoring guard Montez Mathis on Friday. Villanova could be a sleeper in Carey's recruitment, though the Wildcats seem to have invested a little more time chasing after five-star 2018 guard Jahvon Quinerly and David Duke. Kansas remains squarely in the mix and while the Jayhawks did land the transfer commitment of California guard Charlie Moore earlier in the spring, KU would love to pair Moore alongside another playmaker.
I would still place my bets with Carey landing at Miami, Syracuse or UConn.
The Hurricanes will receive his first official visit on Aug. 25. Jim Larranaga and his program may need to replace all three of their backcourt starters next spring, something that they definitely are selling Carey.
The Orange have gained the most traction and a commitment to the ACC program should come as no surprise. In fact, Syracuse should be seen as the current leader for Carey.
UConn continues to pick up ground by the day. The Huskies struck out on Montez Mathis last week and the pressure to secure the commitment of Carey may have been ramped up another notch or two.
What's the latest with Shittu and when do you think he'll decide?— Go Sports! (@goteam74) August 7, 2017
Simisola Shittu won MVP honors at the always talented NBPA Top-100 Camp in June and was one of the stars on the Nike EYBL circuit this past spring and summer. It has been difficult to figure out what programs really have a chance with Shittu, though a few bluebloods have begun tracking.
North Carolina came in with an offer for the five-star forward last week. He had talked in the past about liking the Tar Heels, so an offer definitely had to have caught his eye. North Carolina doesn’t have much of a pressing need in the frontcourt as it's hard to see any of its upperclassmen leaving early for the NBA at this point.
Kentucky is another program that has started to recruit Shittu, though the Wildcats have not offered just yet. UK restocked its frontcourt in a major way this past recruiting cycle and with the possibility of losing two or three of its incoming freshmen in the spring, John Calipari's program can Shittu on the chance to be the next one-and-done talent out of Lexington. If an offer is made, the Wildcats would immediately become a major factor in his recruitment.
While North Carolina and Kentucky each have begun to ramp up their attention with Shittu, Oregon remains the squad to beat. The Ducks have done tremendous work of landing the best talent from north of the border and this year should be no different. Thanks to their ability to develop and cultivate such other Canadian talents recently in Chris Boucher and Dillon Brooks, and the time that they have invested with Shittu, the Ducks may be tough to beat.
Who do you think Maryland closes on in 18'? Dotson/Locke/K. Johnson/M. Brown/De Sousa/etc.— Otter (@Hunt_Kali) August 7, 2017
The Terps have done wonders on the recruiting trail in recent years and the program's 2018 class is more of the same. Maryland scooped up the commitment of four-star wing Aaron Wiggins earlier in the spring and also boasts the commitment of five-star big man Jalen Smith. Where might the Terps look next?
Maryland would love to add another piece to its backcourt as the Terps recently made the cut list for Noah Locke. They have ramped up their attention with one of the best shot makers in the 2018 class. Virginia, Michigan, Xavier, Providence and Florida remain the squads to beat, though the Terps continue to gain ground.
Mark Turgeon’s program is also heavily in contention for Devon Dotson and the idea of pairing him with Wiggins cannot hurt the Terps' chances.
Silvio De Sousa, a good friend of incoming freshman Bruno Fernando, remains high on Maryland, though the recruitment of the five-star big man is rather difficult to gauge. Maryland may also be done in the frontcourt after nailing down the twin sibling commitments of 2019 big man Makhel and Makhi Mitchell on Saturday.
That all brings us back to Keldon Johnson, a 6-foot-6 scoring wing and one of the best 2018 prospects on the East Coast. The Terps have gained major momentum of late with Johnson and the recent hiring of Kevin Broadus only helps Maryland's cause further. Virginia, NC State, Oregon, UCLA and Texas remain in contention but, at this moment, things could be trending toward Maryland’s direction.
What are Providence's chances with David Duke and Noah Locke? Any word on Keyontae Johnson?— Will Waters (@Willw90) August 6, 2017
The Friars remain heavily in contention for Noah Locke, ranked No. 75 in the 2018 Rivals150. Ed Cooley and his staff did a phenomenal job with Locke before his major breakout this summer. However, things remain heated with Virginia, Michigan, Xavier, Kansas, Maryland, Ohio State and Florida all in contention.
Just as well, Keyontae Johnson has continued to see his own recruitment explode in recent weeks. The Big East program has done wonders with natives of the Hampton Roads region but Johnson may be one of the more difficult ones to nail down.
That all brings us back to David Duke, No. 46 in the 2018 Rivals150. Providence has to be, at the very least, seen as the co-favorite for Duke, along with Villanova. He remains open to the process and has not cut down his school list yet but Providence, just like it did with Locke, did a phenomenal job of getting involved before his national emergence. Seeing that he is a Providence native and has a great familiarity with the program, the Friars remain the school to beat.
Henry and Hunter Jr. - Odds Butler lands 1 of them? Odds Butler lands both of them?— Kyle Murphy (@merfe05) August 7, 2017
Butler made quick work of its head coaching transition as the university swiftly hired former player and assistant Lavall Jordan to take over the program. Since taking over, Jordan has done an awesome job of keeping intact what was, on paper, one of the best classes in school history. Kyle Young did back off of his original commitment but the roster remains solid and ready for another run through the Big East and into the NCAA Tournament.
The biggest concern for Butler's 2018 recruiting effort is finding a wing that can defend various positions, score and grow into the kind of combo forward that has become a hallmark of the program.
Aaron Henry, one of the top breakout players from July, remains the Bulldogs' top priority. He recently narrowed down his list to five, which includes Butler along with Illinois, Michigan State, Ohio State and Xavier. The latter two programs will receive his first official visits at the end of the month. It won't be easy, but Butler can beat out some of the top local programs for Henry. I would give the Bulldogs a 35-percent chance of securing the three-star's commitment.
Henry's good friend and Gary Harris Elite travel teammate, Eric Hunter, is also being heavily recruited by Butler. Trying to pair the two together again at the college level may only help the Bulldog cause, though I think there's a roughly 20-percent chance for the program to nail down both commitments.
I would be very surprised if Butler didn't land at least one of Henry and Hunter.