I'm no bracket expert but barring a pretty epic collapse, I can’t imagine Nebraska not making the NCAA Tournament. Lately, the Huskers have quietly been one of the better stories of the 2017-18 season. Seems like it wasn’t that long ago that there was a lot of talk about Tim Miles being on the hot seat and that players were unhappy. Then again, winning is the cure for just about anything and at 19-8 overall and 10-4 in the Big Ten there’s been lots of winning.
What has really stood out to me is the player development of those in Lincoln. Miami transfer James Palmer is one of the most improved players in college basketball, former five-star Isaac Copeland is figuring things out and the guy who is really starting to stand out to me is sophomore Isaiah Roby. He’s not yet totally consistent but I see a lot of versatility there and think he’ll be a star in the Big Ten before it’s all said and done.
Can EJ Liddell obtain a 5th star, where do you see him ending up?— chad wasem (@ChadWasem) February 12, 2018
Can E.J. Liddell get a fifth star? That’s a good question. Last month, the 6-foot-7 combo forward from Belleville (Ill.) West was one of the huge movers in our class of 2019 rankings update, jumping all the way up to No. 42 overall from the 90s. So, he’s not that far away as it is.
What prompted his big move was seeing how skilled he is facing the basket. We always knew about his toughness and motor, but seeing his full arsenal playing with his high school team was eye opening.
To be a five-star he’d have to continue to show more there and look like a full-time wing but regardless he looks like a potential college stud. Illinois and Missouri have put in a bunch of early work and as of today I would call them co-favorites. Florida and Ohio State are among his most recent offers and I can see several other big-time programs jumping in.
May we please get a Twitter Tuesday without a Romeo Langford update?— Wreck Hoops (@wreckhoops) February 12, 2018
Sorry Wreckhoops, Indiana, Kansas and Vanderbilt fans have a fever and the only cure is more Romeo Langford. That being said, not much has changed with the 6-foot-5 shooting guard who ranks No. 6 nationally and is the top remaining prospect on the board.
The past couple of times I’ve discussed Langford I’ve said that if I had to call it I would give Vanderbilt a slight lead to land the New Albany (Ind.) High star. I think Indiana has helped its chances this year and even though the Jayhawks appear to have possibly slipped some, I think people around the Kansas program still feel they have a chance with him. Langford himself hasn’t given up much. Wish I had more, but things are pretty quiet right now and I’ve not heard any hot rumors of late regarding him.
We had a bit of an E.J. Montgomery frenzy last week discussing him in the Starting Five, Twitter Tuesday and heading over to Marietta (Ga.) Wheeler to sit down with him and his coach for an update. Since then John Calipari has been in and now in addition to the visits he’s taking to North Carolina (where he was Monday night while the Tar Heels hosted Notre Dame) and Duke (this Wednesday night), Montgomery is now expected to take an unofficial visit to Kentucky later this month.
Now, Montgomery’s full list also includes Clemson, Georgetown, Georgia, South Carolina, UCLA, USC, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest but it’s my opinion that the Tar Heels, Blue Devils and Wildcats are in a tier above everybody else while perhaps Georgetown and Vanderbilt are next in line. As for a decision timeline, I wouldn’t expect anything to happen anytime soon.
As for the rest of your question, I think UNC remains the team to beat for Wendell Moore (with Wake Forest as a sleeper candidate) and it’s a bit early to tell on either Jaden Springer or Isaiah Todd.
Ochai Agbaji from Oak Park High in KC is an interesting get by the Jayhawks after not even being on Rivals radar. What does Self see in him?— Clay Hedges (@ClayHedges) February 12, 2018
A senior at Kansas City (Mo.) Oak Park, recent Kansas commit Ochai Agbaji hasn’t been totally off the radar as I went to scout him and rated him a three-star prospect last winter. However, his transformation from solid mid-to-upper mid-major prospect to legitimate Big 12 prospect over the last six months has been something to behold. He’s improved tremendously as a shooter, is a more versatile scorer and is a high level athlete with toughness.
I think Bill Self and his staff like the idea of having a local player who is committed for the long haul. In the past they’ve had good luck with guys such as Brady Morningstar, Tyrel Reed, Conner Teahan and Travis Releford developing into quality upperclass players and the hope is Agbaji does the same.
C.J. Walker is one of the more interesting players in the class of 2019. Physically, he has the traits and athletic ability to be a top 50 prospect. He runs all day long, is a smooth and effortless athlete, and is a combo forward with the tools to eventually develop into a full-time wing. However, he’s also reaching that stage where he needs to go more from prospect to player who can be consistently relied upon to produce.
He’s playing alongside a potential star in Nassir Little and hopefully Walker will develop some of Little's tenacity, and we’ll see a player on a mission this spring and summer. You hear people say it about high school players all the time, but Walker is one of those guys that really could be as good as he decides he wants to be.