Twitter Tuesday: Kentucky in good spot with Hopkins, Clark
The wheels keep spinning and while it was one of the quieter weeks on the commitment front, the month of September is due to bring its share of fireworks. In the latest #TwitterTuesday, we examine some of the recruiting world’s more heavily discussed topics including Kentucky’s ongoing recruiting chase, two four-star forwards set to commit on Sept. 9, and a bevy of other subjects.
Nothing really new on either account beyond Bryce Hopkins narrowing his list to a final nine on Sunday. The top-35 forward has shown little willingness to end his recruitment as early as some imagined when Kentucky offered two weeks ago.
Is UK the favorite? Yes, but it will not come easy. Cal, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa State, Michigan, Oregon, Providence and Texas are all finalists, according to Hopkins. A timetable for a decision has not been set and while Kentucky is one to watch, don’t underestimate the chance that Illinois, Indiana or Texas has with the four-star.
Skyy Clark has not revealed yet when he is going to decide. For now, Kentucky is the favorite and it could take him in 2021 or 2022, but if Hunter Sallis were to commit to the Wildcats, too, chances are much greater that we see Clark in Lexington not until the fall of 2022.
Do not underestimate the chances North Carolina has with Clark, though. The Tar Heels are among the favorites for both Clark and Sallis. If Sallis picks UK and Clark wants to play in college next fall, his talents could be on display in Chapel Hill.
For now, the Wildcats are in a favorable spot with both Hopkins and Clark as we get closer to both their commitments.
Michael James doesn’t quite know who he is going to commit to on Sept. 9, so it is rather impossible to credibly pick his ultimate selection. Texas A&M was the first program to prioritize him, which he reciprocated with an extended unofficial visit last year.
Much has changed since then, including his breakout nationally which has brought elite programs into his recruitment. Cincinnati has garnered some talk with him, as has Alabama, Louisville, Oklahoma State and Virginia Tech.
Louisville just lost Bryce Hopkins to a decommitment and James would be the perfect replacement to take his scholarship. However, it could be too late with the four-star, which is why the Aggies remain the pick, though my confidence level in such a prediction is low.
Arkansas’ chances are slim with James, especially after landing Chance Moore last month, but it is not done in the 2021 class. Trey Alexander, Jalen Ricks, Jon Lawson, Alex Fudge, Kaleb Washington, and Jahmai Mashack remain top targets for Eric Musselman’s crew. One can be assured that they will be active participants within the transfer portal and as long as Musselman is there.
Ben Gregg, one of the best shooters in the high school ranks, is set to make his college commitment on Sept. 9. He will not have cut his list before deciding and has not shown his hand much as far as who he might be favoring. However, talk behind closed doors surrounds Arizona, a program that may have the best relationship with Gregg and his family, and also boasts a major need in the frontcourt due to the upcoming graduation of Ira Lee. But don't count out the in-state program.
Duke is one of the few programs that will not offer someone unless the particular prospect visits the Durham campus, or Coach K or a staff member gets the chance to evaluate the recruit in-person. The pandemic has impacted both avenues which makes predicting when they might make their first offer public a bit tricky.
However, the quicker Duke tidies up its 2021 class, the faster it can get ahead in the 2022 class. The Blue Devils would love nothing more than to have Trevor Keels and Pat Baldwin or Caleb Houstan pick them so that they can turn their attention to the 2022 class.
When that time comes and it doesn’t feel as if Keels and Baldwin are far off from committing, Blue Devils’ fans should watch Jaden Bradley, Dariq Whitehead, Dereck Lively, Kijani Wright, Bruce Thornton and Donovan Clingan. Landing a point guard and a center will likely be the greatest need.
Yes, Florida State practically has bowed out of the 2021 class which is no real problem since it is Leonard Hamilton’s best class since taking over in Tallahassee. Chances are, Duke and perhaps another, surpasses the Seminoles in the team rankings, but as of today, FSU is set to enroll the top-ranked class in America next fall.
Hamilton and his staff got to work early in 2021, landing four four-star prospects, three of whom can be found in the top-50. And the Seminoles were probably the leader for Josh Minott until Matthew Cleveland picked them. If they do add another, it will not be via the high school ranks but rather, the junior college or transfer portal for more experience.
For now, the 2022 class has the eye of Hamilton and his staff. A point guard is a definite need which is why Jaden Bradley, Scoot Henderson, Richard Isaacs and Dillon Hunter are high on their board. Dariq Whitehead is already a priority, as are Malik Reneau and Vincent Iwuchukwu.
Nothing new with Mason Miller. Is Indiana one of the teams to beat? Yes, but Miller is not someone that is entirely absorbed within the recruiting process. Rather, he has taken a lone official visit to Ohio State last winter, and his recruitment took a turn earlier this summer when his father, Mike Miller, left the staff at Memphis, which knocked the local Tigers out of contention.
While prospects are coming off the board at a record rate, if I had to guess who would wait until the spring to commit and sign, Miller would be one of the first that would come to mind. In the meantime, Florida could make a late push thanks to both of his parents playing varsity sports there. TCU might emerge as a landing spot due to his uncle’s presence on the Horned Frogs’ coaching staff; meanwhile, Creighton, OSU and Virginia are three others to watch.
For Archie Miller and his staff, Miller is definitely a priority, along with Trey Kaufman, the top remaining in-state prospect.