basketball Edit

Twitter Tuesday: Updates on Chase Hunter, Diante Smith, Ohio St., Mizzou

RANKINGS: 2018 Rivals150 | 2019 Rivals150 | 2020 Rivals150 | 2018 Team

The July evaluations periods have come to a close and so have the travel careers of the members of the 2019 class. In this week’s #TwitterTuesday, we assess the recruitment of Chase Hunter, where Alabama’s focus is for its 2019 class and what Ohio State and Missouri’s early signing period could look like.

MORE: The Bossi Awards from Vegas | Corey Evans' takeaways from Las Vegas on Sunday | Eric Bossi on LeBron's son

Chase Hunter
Chase Hunter (Lakepoint Athletics)

Chase Hunter played alongside five-star 2020 guard Anthony Edwards on the travel circuit this summer, and Hunter used the heightened attention to his advantage. Hunter has seen his recruitment expand from a middling fringe high-major recruitment into one that is chock full of offers from some of the best programs nationally.

Hunter told that he would take his first official visit to DePaul on Aug. 8, and he will then visit Oklahoma the weekend of Aug. 24. He also said he was working on setting up visit dates for Georgia and Clemson. Assume that those four are the top contenders for his commitment.

However, many others are involved, as Georgia Tech, Providence and Virginia are the latest to offer Hunter. Virginia Tech is another school that could potentially receive a visit from the top scorer, and Houston and Wake Forest are two others to keep an eye. Meanwhile, Kansas has expressed interest in recent weeks.

Georgia, which is in his home state, has gained some traction with Hunter and one has to believe Tom Crean will lock down one of the best from the area in his first full year in Athens, whether it be Hunter or someone else. Things still remain unclear, however, as to who the leader is for Hunter.

Diante Smith
Diante Smith

The decommitment of Diante Smith was more of a mutual agreement that should end up being beneficial for each side. So I would not look at it as Smith not being good enough. He is a Rivals150 member that has a boatload of potential on the wing, thanks to his size, versatility and scoring ability.

That being said, Alabama did add to its perimeter core upon the pledge of four-star small forward Juwan Gary. This past week in Las Vegas, following the break-up between the Tide and Smith, Alabama's staff heavily attended the games of Rivals150 wing Jaylen Forbes. There is thought that Forbes is now one of the top targers on Avery Johnson’s board at the wing position.

Forbes is someone that has somehow flown under the radar despite producing at a strong rate on the Nike EYBL circuit this spring and summer. His recruitment is littered with respectable programs including UAB, Kansas State and Ole Miss but if a program of the Tide’s caliber comes calling, Forbes is more than likely to give them a hard look.

Alabama has put a ton of time and attention into the recruitment of top-30 guard Kira Lewis and five-star forward Trendon Watford, the top in-state prospects in the 2019 class. Jaden Shackelford, one of the top shooters in the 2019 class, told on Sunday that Alabama placed its first phone call to him, so he's just another player to keep tabs on as the early signing period approaches. CJ Walker remains a top priority of Alabama's, too.

D.J. Carton
D.J. Carton (Ron Bailey/

Ohio State currently sits with a top-five recruiting class this summer, thanks to the commitments of two top-30 prospects, Alonzo Gaffney and D.J. Carton. With Gaffney’s versatility in the frontcourt and Carton’s ability to play either guard position, the duo gives the Buckeyes plenty of wiggle room in completing its 2019 class.

Ohio State is in need of just one more player to round out its 2019 class, but we have seen in recent years that roster changes tend to occur once the season wears on, so the Buckeyes' personnel needs could expand six months from now.

OSU’s primary target is E.J. Liddell, and the top 50 forward from Missouri will be cutting his list in the coming days. Kansas State, Missouri and Illinois are the top contenders for him, though Duke has begun to express interest. He will likely visit OSU in early September, and a commitment could come earlier in the fall than it will for some of his peers.

The Buckeyes are already much further ahead with their 2019 class, so they are going to try to knock it out of the park as they complete their class. That is reflected by the attention that they have invested in Lester Quinones, Zeke Nnaji, Omar Payne, Trayce-Jackson Davis, Isaac Johnson, Malik Hall, Brandon Newman and Sam Williamson. The Buckeyes have cast a wide net, but all they need is one and I do not see them striking out on all of the Rivals150 prospects listed here.

Cuonzo Martin
Cuonzo Martin (AP Images)

I would be shocked to see Missouri miss out on all of its targets in the 2019 class by the time the early signing period rolls around in November. Cuonzo Martin has not struggled on the recruiting trail since taking over in Columbia, and while the Tigers are not a top favorite for any of their targets, history suggests they’re going to find a way to land one of the more talented seniors in the nation.

One of those could be Rocket Watts. The top 50 guard is down to a final list of schools, and although much of the talk has been about the in-state Michigan and Michigan State programs, Mizzou assistant coach Cornel Mann established a great rapport with Watts and his camp during Mann's previous tenure at Oakland. That rapport was only strengthened once he was hired at Missouri last spring. Mizzou may be the dark horse for Watts.

E.J. Liddell, another top 50 prospect that we noted earlier, should include Missouri as he narrows his school list. The same could be said for Malik Hall, Harlond Beverly and Mario McKinney. A 6-foot-5 wing from the region, Isiaih Mosley has also seen his stock improve in recent weeks and the Tigers could potentially become his college stop beginning next fall.

Expect for a few other targets to pop up on Missouri’s recruiting board in the coming weeks, thanks to the now completion of the July evaluation periods. Regardless, I would be absolutely shocked if Missouri did not nail down at least one signing by the end of November.