Twitter Tuesday: Mac McClung, Michigan, Penn State, more
While some progress has been made as far as on-campus workouts go for this summer, most of the attention remains on recruiting and future classes. That leads us to another batch of questions for this week’s #TwitterTuesday, in which we address the possible landing spots for Mac McClung, Michigan’s 2021 recruiting efforts, the work of Pat Chambers at Penn State and much more.
2022 Rankings: Top 75
You bet. While the Davide Moretti news may have surprised some, talk had begun to swirl over the winter that his junior season would be his last in Lubbock. Those plans were finalized last weekend when he signed with an agent. He will likely play in his home country, Italy, next year.
This coincided with Texas Tech sitting among the finalists for Mac McClung. Like Moretti, rumors began to make their way throughout the industry last winter that McClung would be looking to transfer. He decided to hold off from changing programs until earlier this month. Since then, a group of seven made the final cut for him.
North Carolina and Tennessee garnered most of the talk immediately following his transfer, yet both failed to make his list. Auburn and Wake Forest are two others that have been heavily discussed as possible landing spots, but my best guess is that he will pick Texas Tech. As it stands, he would have to sit out but it appears that he will push for a waiver to play immediately in the fall. If given such a chance to play right away, McClung’s dynamic abilities could give the Red Raiders something different along the perimeter.
I really don’t want to get Michigan fans’ hopes up after what they had to endure earlier this spring. Sure, the Wolverines will enroll a top 25 recruiting class in the fall, but their 2020 group could have included Isaiah Todd and Josh Christopher, who are now headed elsewhere.
It is back to the drawing boards for the Wolverines, and again they are chasing after the nation’s elite, which looks as if it will become the norm every recruiting cycle. They just jumped in with an offer to Peyton Watson, are heavily entrenched with Jalen Warley, who could make the leap into five-star status soon. Michigan is a finalist for Jaden Hardy and Pat Baldwin and remains involved for Max Christie, Chet Holmgren, Charles Bediako and Michael Foster.
Hate to say it but I don’t see it in the cards for any of the group, although I wouldn’t count the Wolverines out just yet on Warley, Bediako and Watson.
While I wouldn’t quite call them the leader, they have made up a TON of ground with Harrison Ingram. The five-star wing out of Texas included the Big Ten program on his final list just days after landing a Michigan offer. Purdue and Stanford are two to beat, but I wouldn’t count out the Wolverines. Much still has to play out before Ingram comes off the board and the amount of attention that Juwan Howard has personally invested in recruiting him could be a game changer.
I will disagree with the last part. Sure, it would be much easier to win if Penn State were to continually enroll four- and five-star prospects that inner-league foes such as Indiana, Michigan State and Ohio State have become accustomed to, but it’s not like it hasn’t been done elsewhere. Remember, it was just a few months ago that Dayton entered March with legitimate chances of winning a national title without a single prospect that they had recruited out of high school that was rated higher than a three-star. It did take the superhuman powers of Obi Toppin and a number of transfers that were highly touted to enroll, but I digress. Bottom line: It can be done.
Back to your question. It all comes down to consistency. Pat Chambers is far from the issue in Happy Valley. While there were questions regarding his longtime fate at PSU this time last year and why athletic director Sandy Barbour would keep him around for so long without an NCAA Tournament appearance in eight seasons. But her belief in him paid off with a breakout campaign this winter. Chambers must now keep the Nittany Lions in the upper half of the Big Ten, which seems capable thanks, to the depth of his roster.
At the end of the day, this is still a program that has won three NCAA Tournament games since 1955, is known for it women’s volleyball more than its men’s basketball, is more than a two-hour drive from a major city and is in a conference that is not as easy to ascend. The gig is not for the faint of heart, which is why Chambers’ leash was rightfully so long. He is not going to get away from what got the program where it is now, by snatching one or two highly touted prospects every now and again that come from a recruiting hotbed that they prioritize, diligently evaluating under-the-radar targets and putting a precedent on skill development above all else.
I applaud it, because all it does is give these elite prospects another option before the NBA. In my mind, more options are never a bad thing. Do I believe that the G League is for everyone? No, not at all. I am a huge fan of the college experience and what it can do as far as maturation, guidance, learning and, really, just being a kid for one or two more years before players turn pro.
From the onset of this new G-League select program, the general feeling was that it was only intended for those that had no intention of going to college. That is not the case any longer with Jalen Green and Daishen Nix in the fold. The latter was already signed to play at UCLA, and Green had planned to play at Memphis in the fall. I am not a fan of the G League poaching from the college game when neither of the schools had any inkling it was going to happen.
That changes now that schools have an understanding of what they are up against. Schools will now forge a new route, and they must figure out who is worth being recruited and who will likely not attend college.
In short, this is not the end of college basketball. There will be some players who could set the college game on fire, but instead will play in the G League. That will cause a trickle-down effect that might take one talented player away from Kentucky, which then may take one away from Cincinnati, which may then take one talent away from Miami of Ohio, and so forth.
This may lead to players sticking around the college game longer, and the better teams being the more experienced units, which was reflective some of what we saw this past season with Toppin leading Dayton, Payton Pritchard running things at Oregon and Cassius Winston being the face of Michigan State’s program.