basketball Edit

Twitter Tuesday: Where Watford stands with LSU, UNC-Duke, Virginia

Izwjrsezw51mdgchsgsf
Trendon Watford (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

In this week’s #TwitterTuesday, we take a look at Will Wade's suspension at LSU could mean for Trendon Watford, why comparing Duke and UNC is not fair, Pitt’s chances with the Champagnie brothers, how UConn completes its 2019 class and Virginia’s chances with its 2020 class.

MORE: Spartans snag a sleeper, Sean Miller's curious comments

LSU coach Will Wade's suspension stemming from a report that he is on an FBI wiretap talking about a 'strong offer' to current freshman Javonte Smart's handler and mother has definitely thrown a wrench into the recruitment of five-star Trendon Watford.

The five-star has been focused on a group comprised of the Tigers, Alabama, Indiana, and Memphis, while Duke has also begun to recruit him. However, all signs had pointed toward Watford committing to LSU, that was at least barring a late run from the Blue Devils.

With Wade’s future at LSU up in the air, the chances of the Tigers overcoming such difficult obstacles could be too much. Even if Wade were to be able to have his name cleared, it might come too late after other coaches negative-recruit against LSU (similar to the falling out at Arizona last year). Furthermore, this could open things back up for those involved and give Duke a chance to steal him late.

*****

This year’s UNC group related to Duke’s current roster is like comparing apples to oranges, as crazy as it might sound. North Carolina has relied on a bevy of upperclassmen and just a lone freshman in its starting five compared with Duke that, with a healthy Zion Williamson, has just one upperclassman in its starting unit. Yet, here we are and each could receive a No. 1 seed in next week’s NCAA Tournament, reflecting further that there is more than one way to build a national contending unit.

Roy Williams would have loved to have landed Williamson or any of the other Duke freshmen, but he happily enrolled a bit more slighted high school prospects that have developed tremendously in Chapel Hill. Luke Maye was expected to walk-on before they missed on Brandon Ingram; Cam Johnson was a spring addition for Pitt before he transferred and developed into the second coming of Danny Green; lastly, Kenny Williams wasn’t thought to be good enough when he committed to VCU before UNC had the good fortunes of landing him the second time around.

We make such a fuss about elite recruits because they are game-changers. They can morph a program into a national title contender in the blink of an eye where misses can force programs to buy into the long process of development. Either way, development versus recruiting wins is in the eye of the beholder, which seems to have worked out well in the favor for both Duke and UNC.

*****

Yes, the end is near for Julian Champagnie and Justin Champagnie. The talented juniors took an official visit to Pitt last month and just last week, were on the campus at Dayton. They have also taken unofficial visits to St. John’s and Rutgers in recent weeks but it looks as if things are aligning in Pitt’s favor.

They have been leaning toward an earlier decision since the change of the calendar year and I would not be surprised if such were to occur within the coming days. In doing so, my bet is that their verbal pledges are given to the Panthers and that the talented juniors decide to reclassify into the 2019 class.

*****

That is still up for debate as there is no definitive pick-up for the Huskies. Best-case scenario, UConn would love to add Precious Achiuwa. The five-star forward just took an official visit to UNC over the weekend and has already been to Kansas. He has taken unofficial visits to Memphis and Western Kentucky this school year as St. John’s is also involved. A late comer to the party is Georgia as the Bulldogs could be the darkhorse. He is not close to committing.

The Huskies will remain in pursuit of other frontcourt options including Tre Mitchell, but rumors have swirled around him ending up at UMass. Providence and Virginia Tech are involved, too. They have also kept tabs on junior college standouts Khadim Sy and Emmanuel Agboh, and are most likely to be active in the grad-transfer market this spring.

MORE UCONN: StorrsCentral.com

*****

You’re entirely right and kudos to the Virginia staff for getting ahead with its 2020 targets. In order of most likely to least:

1. Henry Coleman. While Duke is definitely the sleeper here, I like Virginia’s chances most. Virginia Tech might be the stiffest competition thanks to its family ties, but I do not see him leaving the state.

2. Terrance Williams. He has already taken official visits to Stanford and Virginia. Could the offer to Coleman and Williams come down to who takes it first? We will see as it looks as if Williams is in no rush to make a decision. Georgetown, Pitt, South Carolina and a handful of others are involved.

3. Johnny Juzang. Just like Williams, Juzang has already taken an official visit to Charlottesville. UCLA has always had a soft spot with Juzang, but with a bunch of turmoil out west, the Cavaliers are not as great of a longshot to land his commitment as many might assume.

4. Reece Beekman. His placement is not because the Cavaliers have no chance but just that they sit in an even better spot with the three above him. Beekman has already taken official visits to Houston and UVA but I would expect many others to enter the mix this spring as he is on the cusp of his national breakout.