Twitter Tuesday: Memphis, Duke, Malik Hall, North Carolina
In this week’s Twitter Tuesday mailbag, Rivals.com basketball analyst Corey Evans takes a deep dive into Memphis' class, looks at how North Carolina and Purdue will fill their needs and examines how Duke can rise in the team rankings.
Things are aligning for Memphis to make a run and finish with one of the best classes nationally. Now, this revolves entirely around James Wiseman, the second-ranked prospect in the 2019 Rivals150. If he doesn't choose the Tigers, then it's unlikely that Penny Hardaway's program will finish with a lofty team ranking, but ultimately I believe Wiseman will be a Memphis Tiger.
Hardaway has already secured commitments from Rivals150 forwards Malcolm Dandridge and D.J. Jeffries, the latter of whom came off the board over the weekend. Trendon Watford and Precious Achiuwa are seriously considering Memphis, and the Tigers continue to keep in close touch with top-50 guards Jahmius Ramsey and Boogie Ellis.
It's not crazy to think that Memphis could finish the class with Dandridge, Jeffries, Wiseman and one of either Watford or Achiuwa. If that happened, the Tigers' 2019 haul would rank among the top-five of the team rankings.
Who do you think Duke will land for the Class of 2019?— jay (@ranchpizzas) October 29, 2018
Duke has struggled some this fall, but momentum is now in the Blue Devils' favor and I like where things are headed as the early signing period approaches.
Even with five-star Wendell Moore in the fold, Duke still has some major work to do. The Blue Devils have found traction with recent visitor Boogie Ellis and I expect Duke to win out for him in the end, though defeating UNC and Memphis will not be easy.
From there, the program's most pressing concern comes in the frontcourt. Vernon Carey was a heavy lean for the Blue Devils in the spring, but Michigan State may have eclipsed them as Miami and Kentucky remain in the picture, too. However, a visit to Durham two weeks ago went great. Duke would love to pair Carey with this weekend’s visitor, five-star big man Isaiah Stewart.
While getting the last visit from Stewart prior to a likely early signing could be all that is needed for Duke with the big man, I actually like the Blue Devils' chances with Carey more. He will not sign early, but he will commit before the new year. A Moore, Ellis and Carey group would create a strong three-man class heading into January with Duke continuing to pursue top-10 forward Matthew Hurt.
where is Malik Hall headed and what are Purdue's chances with Zeke Nnaji— ThreeTwaunMoore (@ThreeTwaunMoore) October 29, 2018
Where might he commit? Michigan State and Purdue offer the closest proximity to Hall while Oregon provides him something entirely different. However, I see Hall remaining in the Midwest and picking Purdue, though this is an entirely a gut selection.
On the other hand, Zeke Nnaji is still in official visit mode and will complete things this weekend as he heads to Purdue. The Boilermakers, while they have not gained most of the talk with the top-40 forward, are a major dark horse and can offer Nnaji a tremendous success rate with their prior bigs and high-end academics.
Arizona, Baylor, UCLA and Kansas round out Nnaji's final five, but most of the talk has surrounded the Jayhawks and Wildcats up until this point. However, Nnaji has played things close to vest and with Purdue getting his final trip before his commitment, there's a good chance that the Boilermakers get it done with the ultra-versatile and super talented prospect.
In your opinion, who does UNC have a better shot at landing Cole Anthony or Boogie Ellis? Do you see any scenario in which they land both?— HL (@HL_Squared) October 29, 2018
There was a thought heading into the weekend that Boogie Ellis, a top-50 guard, was set to commit to Duke during his visit. While the visit went well according to sources, no commitment was made, which can only mean good things for Blue Devils’ top rival, North Carolina.
Ellis announced Saturday that he would reveal his finalists on Wednesday, a group of five that will include Duke and North Carolina, along with some combination of San Diego State, Memphis, USC and Georgia Tech. From there, a commitment is expected to made next Friday, Nov. 9.
However, I actually like North Carolina's chances better with Cole Anthony. While Memphis and Duke have garnered the most talk of late with Ellis, North Carolina looks like the program to beat for Anthony as he recently narrowed his school list on Monday to a group that consists of the Tar Heels, Oregon, Notre Dame, Wake Forest, Miami and Georgetown. Sit tight though, a commitment for Anthony is not expected until the spring.