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Twitter Tuesday: Vernon Carey, Memphis, Pitt, more

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STARTING FIVE: Big-timers making moves

In this week’s Twitter Tuesday mailbag, we take a deep look at the final weeks of Vernon Carey and Isaiah Stewart’s recruitments, Anthony Edwards’ suitors and where Pitt strikes in the frontcourt.

All eyes are on Vernon Carey and Isaiah Stewart as both prospects are focused on a select group of finalists and are just weeks away from ending their recruitments.

Carey, the top-ranked prospect in the 2019 class, took the final step toward a commitment last week by cutting his list to Duke, Michigan State and North Carolina. This has always been a race between the latter two, so it is not surprising to see the Blue Devils and Spartans make it. The Tar Heels' inclusion raised eyebrows, and it would be a shock to see Carey commit to Roy Williams' program. I am on the fence with where he will ultimately land, but let’s go with Duke for Carey.

On the other hand, Stewart just completed his official visits over the weekend. After getting a look at what Duke can offer, this recruitment is eerily similar to that of Carey’s. Duke, Michigan State and Washington are the only three programs that I can realistically see Stewart choosing. Could Michigan State be left without a dancing partner? It could be the case. I think Washington pulls off the stunner and Mike Hopkins’ relationship wins out with the five-star center.

Anthony Edwards, arguably the top scorer in America, made major noise last week by reclassifying into the 2019 class. The now third-ranked prospect just sped up his college recruitment a full year and, in doing so, should see some of the nation’s best programs invest even greater time into his recruitment.

Could Memphis become involved? Sure, why not? I mean, this is a program that has been told yes more than no since the hiring of Penny Hardaway back in the spring. Do I believe that Edwards might be intrigued by the Tigers’ pitch? Sure, but then again, I do not see him landing with the Tigers.

If not Memphis, then where might Edwards end up? Florida State was the heavy favorite during the earlier stages of his recruitment and that remains the case. Whenever Leonard Hamilton is out in the lead, it is about a done deal. However, there are two other programs worth keeping tabs on: Auburn and Georgia. Bruce Pearl has been tremendous at landing the best from Atlanta while Tom Crean hired two respected recruiters of the region that should give them a chance.

Auburn, Florida State and Georgia are the three for Edwards but Florida State still is the team to beat.


The Panthers absolutely have to, right? Jeff Capel and his staff found, what looks to be, foundational pieces in freshmen Au’Diese Toney, Trey McGowens and Xavier Johnson but the team's frontline remains thin at best.

The recruitment of Akok Akok is one of the weirdest ones that I have covered in recent years. There is now news that he will enroll mid-year, which only speeds up his recruitment. UConn looks to be the team to beat, but the Huskies would have to square away their scholarship count as they are all full for this year.

Tyrese Samuel, a four-star forward from Canada committed today to Seton Hall so he is longer an option. Qudus Wahab remains a heavy target, but there is no timetable for his commitment - it could happen tomorrow or it could happen in the spring. Georgetown and UConn are the most talked about outside of Pitt.

The Panthers are also involved with Karim Coulibaly, a three-star center that told last week that the Panthers are among the six standing out. Top-35 center Kofi Cockburn will take an official visit to Pitt in the coming weeks, too.

In the end, I would be rather shocked if the Panthers do not land at least one of those listed above, although they would probably prefer two. The grad-transfer wire and decommitment front are also avenues to monitor as Pitt tries to address its frontline issues.

Great question here. It all begins and ends with Duke and Kentucky, but which other three make the cut?

Duke: Whether the Blue Devils are 1A or 1B next to Kentucky, it would be difficult to not place them among the elite. Mike Krzyzewski has made this a destination program for the best of the best. He can sell his five national titles, three Olympic gold medals, 12 ACC titles and a basketball-first school.

Kentucky: It is Kentucky. Sure, there were a few down years during the Billy Gillespie era but outside of that, the proof is in the pudding for the Wildcats. They have the facilities, basketball-crazed town and university and a coach that is the most forward-thinking of them all. Throw it all together and what you have is one of the most difficult recruiting pitches to decline.

North Carolina: The home of Michael Jordan, this program's bloodlines, basketball-affixed fan base, winning culture and success rate is difficult to say no to.

Kansas: While much respect must be given to what Bill Self has done in Lawrence, it is not like this was a sleeping giant awaiting to be woken. The birthplace of the sport, Kansas checks all of the boxes of what an elite prospect looks for and will continue to do so even when Self’s tenure comes to an end.

UCLA: Many non-UCLA fans wonder why there is such dislike of the Steve Alford era. The Bruins demand excellence, that is why, and thanks to the work that John Wooden achieved in Westwood, the location, and the college home to some of the best that have ever played, UCLA is difficult to dismiss.