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Twitter Tuesday: Top shooters, futures at Ohio State, South Carolina

The NBA Draft is just two days away, and as last year’s college stars get ready to hear their names called on Thursday evening, their former programs prepare for the future without them. In this week’s #TwitterTuesday mailbag, we dive deep into the top scorers we have scouted, the future at Ohio State and South Carolina and the best fit for four star junior Cole Swider.

MORE: Bossi on the 2017 NBA Draft | Top players at NBPA Top 100 camp

Romeo Langford
Romeo Langford (Courtesy of Adidas)

Romeo Langford, a top-five prospect in the 2018 class, sure can put the ball through the basket. Langford does go down as one of the better scorers that I have had the chance to scout and evaluate in recent years. However, he has battled inconsistency issues in the past, so I'm excluding him from my top five.

Who can I recall as the top scorers in recent years?

In no specific order:

- Collin Sexton, the face of the summer of 2016, was ridiculous last year as he burst onto the scene as a five-star recruit and threw up numbers that we hadn’t seen in a while. Averaging over eight points more than the closest competitor on the Nike circuit, Alabama fans will come to love all that Sexton does.

- Just like Sexton, Michael Porter continued to improve, as he finished this spring as the top prospect in the 2017 class. His effortless skill set enables Porter to put up 30 points in the blink of an eye. The cupboard is not totally bare at Missouri, but they will rely pretty heavily on Porter’s polished and versatile scoring acumen this winter.

- Malik Monk is slated to be selected in the early portions of this week’s NBA Draft. But just like Langford, he was rather inconsistent in scoring. When he is hitting, as he did against UCLA back in December, Monk can carry his team for prolonged spurts. The 6-foot-3 scoring guard can convert out to 25 feet, and while there are questions about his long-term position in the NBA and if he can bring it each time out, when Monk is cooking, no one can score it like the Arkansas native.

- Maybe the most polished scorer that I have had the chance to watch and evaluate is Jayson Tatum. When placed in the mid- and high-post settings on the floor, he's nearly unstoppable. He has become better at extending the defense with the perimeter jumper, but his footwork and scoring touch are at a level that I have never seen before in the high school ranks.

- Another Dukie, Luke Kennard has run up NBA mock draft’s in recent weeks, primarily for his shot-making skills from 15 feet and out. The first time I had the chance to watch Kennard live, during his sophomore year, he scored 43 points against future UNC wing Justin Jackson. He has improved as a distributor off of the high ball screen, and the lefty’s ability to get separation off of his man and score with a hand in his face is one of the best that I have ever seen.

Kyle Young
Kyle Young (

Not many high-level programs like Ohio State go through such an abrupt coaching change this late in the year. However, the Buckeyes moved swiftly by naming former Butler head coach Chris Holtmann as its head coach two weeks ago.

A slam dunk of a hire, Hotlmann did yeoman’s work at Butler, where he won more than 60 percent of the games he coached. Holtmann took the next step up in leaving for Ohio State, a top-15 job that brings much more pressure (and money) and the need to win right away.

The upcoming season may be a lost cause as it is more about setting the culture that Holtmann has in mind and also working in his younger crop of ballplayers so they can receive ample amounts of minutes for the future. The commitment of Kyle Young on Monday is gigantic for the Buckeyes, and while it would be nice to add another comparable talent in the coming weeks, the 2018 class is going to be where the Buckeyes enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Already, Ohio State has made great inroads with top-100 talents Elijah Weaver and Luther Muhammad. The Buckeyes sit in the top five for each, primarily thanks to the relationships that the staff had built at Butler. They also must make sure that they can get back into the hunt for nearby top-100 forward Pete Nance, a 2018 prospect who will visit Northwestern and Michigan this month, and also prove to the program’s prior commits, Darius Bazley and Justin Ahrens, that they can thrive there. Keeping four-star guard Dane Goodwin in the hopper is vital, too.

The upcoming season may be rough, but there is no doubt Holtmann will turn the program around and get the Buckeyes back on the right path to future success in March.

Cole Swider
Cole Swider

Sean is referring to Cole Swider, a four-star 2018 forward who recently narrowed his list of schools to Xavier, Villanova, Duke and Syracuse. He will take official visits to each program this month outside of Villanova, though one could be set up in the coming weeks; he has visited the school a number of times already.

The question about Swider's best fit is difficult to answer. Each program has done phenomenal work in the past with guys like the 6-foot-8 junior. A strong shooter who has made 42 three-pointers during his time on the Nike EYBL circuit, Swider is not just a one-trick pony. He has become a better athlete in recent months and is a very smart and competitive ballplayer.

Syracuse would love to have the type of wing who would excel nicely off of the ball. He would be able to play nicely alongside incoming freshman Oshae Brissett, as each can switch between both forward positions.

Villanova has become known for its willingness to play small ball lineups, and Swider would be a major conundrum for opponents as a power forward. He is a throwback type of wing-forward who would excel nicely within Jay Wright’s offense.

Xavier has done phenomenal work of late with Swider-types, most recently Trevon Bluiett, a 6-foot-6 forward who was more of an undersized power forward once he had enrolled, but now has turned into a legit NBA prospect and the potential 2018 Big East Player of the Year.

Duke, just like the others involved, would definitely offer a comfortable landing spot for him. They have done great work with perimeter shot makers in the mold of Mike Dunleavy, J.J. Redick and Luke Kennard in recent years. Finding and getting Swider open jump shots will not be an issue.

In the end, Swider cannot go wrong with his school choice. And while he may not be a one-and-done type of prospect, he is the type of ballplayer who could and should leave an immediate impact on wherever he chooses.

Zion Williamson is the giant elephant in the room, or the state, for South Carolina. The state has become known for producing top of the line talent, but Williamson takes things to another level. The five-star forward may be the most highly watched and anticipated prospect that we have seen since LeBron James.

Kentucky, UNC, Kansas and Duke remain heavily in the mix for Williamson, though South Carolina may be the final school to round out his premature top-five. Landing him would not only send shockwaves throughout the state, but also the nation. The five-star recruit might change the outlook of the program greater than its recent Final Four run.

Beyond Williamson, South Carolina would love to add another scoring piece. They will not lose too much, so really, the 2018 class is just a bonus. Taking a risk on some of the top talent along the East Coast may be the route that they take.

They would love to have the chance to host Jairus Hamilton and Nassir Little, two of the better forward prospects in the 2018 class, for official visits in the fall. Seeing that they just hired Chuck Martin, the one-time head coach at Marist, the Gamecocks may tap into the Northeast in further prioritizing Jalen Carey, Eric Ayala and Jake Forrester.

A commitment from any of those prospects would be a giant haul, but the true litmus test will be in 2019, when the state boasts such talents as Juwan Gary, Deuce Dean and Christian Brown, three in-state recruits that would immediately bolster the program.