Twitter Tuesday: Stock boosters, new coaches, Malik Hall
In this week's Twitter Tuesday, Rivals.com basketball recruiting analyst Eric Bossi takes a look at the evolution of positionless basketball, predicts some of college basketball's biggest stock boosters for next season, discusses first-year coaches and more.
This is a great question and it’s not easy to answer because we are taking an already inexact science and making it even more inexact. I spend a lot less time worrying about how somebody fits into traditional positional definitions than I did in the past and I spend more time on feel for the game, basketball IQ, productivity and motor.
Look at a guy like Draymond Green. He was a three-star prospect ranked towards the end of the Rivals150 coming out of high school because he was a short and somewhat out of shape power forward. Now, we’ve seen so many guys like him change the game and find fits that I think he would be looked at entirely differently.
A more current example of this would be E.J. Liddell from the class of 2019. Liddell is probably 6-foot-6 (at most) and he’s a four man all the way in today’s game. Ten years ago, I would have been really worried about him as a prospect but today I see a guy who can really shoot the ball, is explosive straight up, has a high basketball IQ and because of that I don’t stress about his height near as much. That’s why he’s easily a top 50 player for me. Ten years ago, I would have lamented him being 6-foot-6 instead of 6-foot-9.
I don’t think I’m the only one who has really taken a hard look at how I evaluate prospects and while measurables are still important, positionless basketball and being able to fulfill key roles have certainly changed the game up.
Arkansas’ Daniel Gafford never actually entered the Draft or else he would be my answer, but I could stay within the SEC and look at a pair of big men in Austin Wiley at Auburn and Jontay Porter at Missouri. I’m not sure Wiley would have been drafted and now he’ll have a full season to prove that he can be the man. Porter would have been drafted but a return to school, getting in better shape and showing he can lead a team could mean the difference between being the late first/early second round pick he would have been this year and possibly being a lottery pick next year.
Another who stands out to me is Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. He’ll probably play fewer minutes in this upcoming season but he should be able to play better minutes and improve efficiency enough to perhaps get himself into the first round. If we are talking about the guy who may mean the most to his team, then Purdue’s Carsen Edwards has to be in the discussion.
This is a tough one because it’s so much in the eye of the beholder. I think we have seen a resurgence by Memphis under Penny Hardaway. He was very visible during the April live periods and he has certainly caused a buzz, but the question is can he lure kids from outside of Memphis? Five-star Trendon Watford - who the Tigers are in deep with - may be a great test here, perhaps even moreso than James Wiseman.
Under Chris Mack, Louisville is being mentioned by more kids than in some time. It is getting guys on campus and has already landed four-star Josh Nickelberry. Considering the mess he inherited, he’s off to a great start.
Then the other guy who really stands out to me is Jeff Capel at Pittsburgh. Like Mack, he inherited an awful situation and he’s done some wonders. Landing Trey McGowens and Au’diese Toney and getting them to come in as 2018 guys is a big deal for Capel. Then in 2019, the Panthers seem to have some serious momentum building and they have cast pretty wide net.
I don’t think you could go wrong with any of those three.
A small forward from Florida, Diante Smith is set to enter the 2019 Rivals150 when we update it in early July. He’s got very good size (pushing 6-foot-7), is a slasher in transition and shoots well enough to keep defenders honest. I also feel Smith will develop into a high end college defender.
Now who does he remind me of? I’ve never claimed to be the greatest at comparisons and I always caution the reader to remember a comparison just means similar to and not as good as. But anyway, if I was going to compare him to a guy you may be more familiar with as a former SEC player I’d probably go with Danuel House. Not quite as good, but similar size, similar athlete and similar ability to slash to the rim with a developing jumper.
Malik Hall was very good at the NBPA Top 100 Camp and he’s had an excellent grassroots run with MoKan Elite in the Nike EYBL. To me, he’s an ideal college player because he fits that combo forward mold. Use him as a big small forward or a smaller four man who can help spread the floor. I look at what Vince Edwards was at Purdue or what Dillon Brooks was at Oregon and I can envision Hall playing a similar type of role.
Not surprisingly, both Purdue and Oregon are pretty deep in the mix with Hall. Texas A&M, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma are among the others in the mix as well while Villanova and Louisville stand out to me as relative newcomers to his recruitment that are making some headway.
Can I say for sure that Luke Kasubke is going to make the Rivals150 for the class of 2020? No, I can’t say that for sure. At least not yet. However, the 6-foot-4 shooting guard is certainly somebody who is going to be in the discussion and even if he’s not there after the summer, he still has two years of high school.
He has good enough size, can shoot very well from deep and is getting good experience. What I’m interested to see is how he reacts as a junior at Chaminade where he’ll become the primary focus of defenders. Can he continue to knock down jumpers at a high clip and show some more ability as a one on one shot creator? If he does that, he’ll have a very good shot at getting ranked.
Missouri looks to have put themselves in pretty good position early but Kansas State, Illinois, Creighton, Northwestern and many others are going to be in the mix and there have been no rumblings that he’ll be looking to decide early.