basketball Edit

Twitter Tuesday: Vols' future; FBI probe; Jaden McDaniels

Tre Mann
NIck Lucero

The summer months are upon as the some of the top class of 2019 prospects have already begun to schedule visits and cut down their school lists. In this week’s #TwitterTuesday, we take a deeper look at ramifications of the FBI investigation into the sport, how Tennessee and UNC could fair in the 2019 class, and the recruitment of super talented junior Jaden McDaniels.

MORE: USA Basketball trials coverage | Pangos coverage

A lot of questions regarding the future of Tennessee and for good reason as the Vols enter the new season with the chances of having one of its best years in recent memory. Last week, they landed the commitment of four-star center DJ Burns but how might Rick Barnes make sure that the culture that he has restored in Knoxville remains intact after this season? They must hit on its top class of 2019 prospects, starting with Tre Mann.

The top-40 guard is down to a final three of Kansas, Florida and UT. He has already visited each of the SEC schools and a commitment could happen before July rolls around. If I was a betting man and was told that Mann would be forced to give his pledge tomorrow, the Volunteers would be the choice, though much more still has to play out.

Alongside Mann is his travel teammate CJ Walker. The Rivals150 junior has been tremendous this spring as he has become much better at playing off of his instincts and producing in closer proximity to the basket. Pretty much the entire SEC and ACC, outside of the blue bloods within it, have made Walker a priority. However, the intrigue is there for Walker to team up with Mann in college, of which bodes well for the Vols.

Mann and Walker are two of their top targets in the 2019 class, and with Davonte Gaines already committed, Tennessee will continue to focus on some of the top junior prospects natiionally including Jalen Lecque, Josiah James, Jaylin Williams, Kobe Brown and Drew Pember.

The recruitment of McDaniels is all of the place. The breakout of the spring travel season, McDaniels has recently pulled in offers from Kansas, UCLA and Oregon, added to the ones that he had previously had from Arizona, Washington, Oklahoma, Texas and San Diego State. While this looks like a blue blood battle, McDaniels is a bit of a different kid and he is not going to be swayed by someone’s brand.

The younger brother of SDSU standout Jalen McDaniels, the top-35 forward, who will be a five-star prospect during our next update, has spoken openly about his feelings about the MWC program, including once we sat down with him at last week’s USA Basketball under-18 trials. The fact that the Aztecs were one of the few that were heavily involved with his brother before his own breakout in high school and have continued to cultivate his talents as he will likely hear his name called in the 2019 NBA Draft after just two years in college, definitely has caught the younger McDaniels’ eye.

However, he did go on to tell Rivals.com that he is in no rush to make a college decision, of which should give even more time for some of the top programs nationally to catch up to others that have already invested the appropriate time and attention with him. Arizona, Texas and Oklahoma remain three of the top contenders and while SDSU will remain a heavy pursuer, it will be a daunting task to draw the super talented forward to southern California next fall.

No. Arizona had some issues, as you had stated, as it saw all three of its commitments back off of their pledge. However, the Wildcats have had no issues gaining some traction on the recruiting front, re-establishing the commitment from top-50 guard Brandon Williams, a surprise to many, and also cashing in on the transfer front coming with Pitt forward Ryan Luther and Samford guard Justin Coleman.

Ken brings up Kansas, but all that the Jayhawks did is put together a top-10 class this spring and they will add them to three of the top transfers in the fall as they are just one of the few that have a legitimate chance of contending for the national title next April.

USC, despite seeing a few players back off their original commitments, has come out on fire this spring. It was able to patch together a top-25 recruiting class this spring but already, in the 2019 class, sit with two five-star commitments with the potential for more on the way.

Miami responded by landing three of the top transfers this spring; Auburn hasn’t done a whole lot, but then again, they haven’t had to since they won’t be losing very much to graduation; Oklahoma State has remained involved for some of the top up and coming talent and have nabbed a few transfers and class of 2018 prospects this spring, too; lastly, Louisville, following the coaching change, just picked up the commitment of four-star junior Josh Nickelberry as Chris Mack and his staff seem to have turned a new page.

Unless major penalties are thrown down once the NCAA gets the clearances to step in, little to no change has occurred to those that were originally named in the investigation.

Let’s halt the breaks here a little bit. I get it that it is no fun to see UNC’s blue blood peers, Kentucky and Duke, continue to celebrate recruiting wins, but the Tar Heels did just land their highest ranked recruit since Harrison Barnes and finished with a top-10 class this spring. Furthermore, outside of EJ Montgomery, they have not missed out any others as their top targets are a bit further away from a commitment.

The Tar Heels already sit with a four-star junior pledge in Jeremiah Francis and have gained major traction with some of the top 2019 frontcourt prospects spring. Sure, there is a major difference between making the final cut for a prospect and ultimately landing the respective recruit but a strong 2019 class is likely in the cards for UNC.

During my time in Colorado Springs this past week at the USA Basketball under-18 trials, three of the top big men, Armando Bacot, Will Baker and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, spoke very highly of UNC. I would be not be surprised to see all three spend one of their five official visits allotted on the program. That doesn’t even include top ranked junior Vernon Carey, who kept the Tar Heels within his already cut list of five.

Toss in Matthew Hurt and Keion Brooks, two others that spent time this past week in Colorado Springs, that view the Tar Heels in good light, along with five-star in-state wing Wendell Moore, who has kept UNC within his own final five, and Roy Williams and his staff are tracking towards a strong 2019 class as any uproars over UNC’s lack of commitments should be quelled quickly.