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Twitter Tuesday: Peach Jam, Mizzou, Kentucky, more

Jonathan Kuminga
Jonathan Kuminga (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

We have a pinch-hitter for the Twitter Tuesday mailbag this week. Eric Bossi answers questions about the Peach Jam, Mizzou, Kentucky and more.

MORE: Big week ahead; Michigan's latest signee | Rivals Roundtable

2020 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2021 Rankings: Rivals150

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Obviously, that can be a pretty loaded question and there are many kids with a lot to gain. The mid-majors trying to get those high-major offers, the player trying to put his name on the national radar and many others have a lot to gain for various reasons. But, if we want to strip it down, the top four in the class of 2021 could have the most to gain.

Wings Jonathan Kuminga, Terrence Clarke and Patrick Baldwin Jr. --- who are all in the same pool -- along with skilled four man Paolo Banchero are currently ranked one through four in the rising junior class and each has a legitimate claim to the top spot. How these guys play during the Peach Jam could have an awful lot to do with how the rankings shake out at the end of the summer. More than rankings, these guys are on the precipice of locking down really big-time offers (and don’t get me wrong they have plenty of strong offers already) but a great performance at an event like Peach Jam can really change things.

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Good question right here. I refer to the “boom-or-bust” guys as high-risk/high-reward types and each year we see guys where we feel like they are going to be awesome or really struggle with no in-between. Usually though, the boom-or-bust guys are players who enter with considerable hype, social media following and sometimes unfair expectations.

I’ll go with Arizona’s point guard Nico Mannion, Washington forward Jaden McDaniels and Kentucky’s Khalil Whitney among 2019’s five-star prospects.

Mannion has created tremendous hype and always put up big numbers, but there has always been some skepticism about whether he can defend at the elite college level or continue to score off the drive like he does. If he stumbles any, the social media hounds will be off and running. But, he’s been questioned before and seems to come out on top.

With McDaniels, it’s just a matter of coming out of his shell and being consistently as good as his talent level. As long as he adjusts to the physicality of college hoops, he should be great and look like a tremendous value for a guy who landed just outside of the top five.

Then with Whitney, he’s a ridiculous athlete with size and strength. Can he knock down jumpers with regularity or get better off the dribble? The hype that the UK one-and-done machine has created makes it awful hard for players to live up to expectations at times, so he’s got his work cut out for him.

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I went ahead and grouped these all together to save us all a little time.

I’ll start with the prospects of Missouri keeping one of the trio of star players from the St. Louis metro home. In order of most likely to least likely, I see it as Cam’Ron Fletcher, Ryan Kalkbrenner and then Caleb Love. I know that Fletcher has added recent offers from North Carolina, Kentucky and Kansas and that Michigan State has been strong, but I do think Cuonzo Martin and his staff have been getting their message through to him and have a legit chance.

With Kalkbrenner, it could come down to knocking off Illinois, while Stanford (where he recently visited) could be a sleeper. I also think there’s a chance that the 7-foot shot blocker sees his recruitment blow up similar to that of Fletcher and Love.

As for Love, I’ve always gotten the sense that he’s likely to leave home for school and North Carolina, Kansas, Indiana, Louisville and Texas look to be be tugging at him a bit.

As for how the top players in the 2020 St. Louis class stack up against previous classes, we won’t know until they hit the college scene but they should be pretty good. Now, there’s no Jayson Tatum like the 2016 group (Xavier Sneed and Tyler Cook have been tremendous in college), but it could easily compare to that one when it’s all said and done.

But at least for recent history the class of 2011 is going to be nearly impossible to beat. Brad Beal, Ben McLemore, B.J. Young and Roosevelt Jones was one heck of a group. Heck, Otto Porter wasn’t from that far away, either. But to the original question, the top of the 2020 class in St. Louis has a chance to be a top three group from the metro over the last 10 years.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH MISSOURI FANS AT POWERMIZZOU.COM

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Ashton Hagans
Ashton Hagans (https://usatoday.com)

I actually wrote in the late winter that I hoped those two would take a strong look at what P.J. Washington did and return for their second season. Now that they are back, I’m fully expecting big leaps forward for both of them, especially Ashton Hagans.

The game has slowed down for Hagans and although he’s never going to be the world’s most dangerous shooter, he will be better there and more confident, and could emerge as this year’s leader. He’s got strong will, can be impactful on both ends and after a year learning the ropes should be set for big things.

As for E.J. Montgomery, I always felt he was UK’s best big outside of Washington last season, it was just a matter of finding his fit. He always wants to gravitate toward the perimeter but I feel he’ll learn. He’ll be stronger, he’ll have watched what working from inside out did for Washington and if he’s a natural competitor then he should be more hungry than ever to prove that he was worthy of all of his high school accolades.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH KENTUCKY FANS AT CATSILLUSTRATED.COM