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TwitterTuesday: Hoosiers' big day, Buckeyes' next move, more

Andrew Nembhard
Andrew Nembhard (FIBA)

The first of the three live evaluation periods is now in the books as college programs were able to get a better look at their top targets. In this week’s #TwitterTuesday, we discuss Ohio State's options for filling its point guard vacancy, a tremendous 24 hours for Indiana, how Missouri will replace Michael Porter Jr. and the chances of five-star guard Andrew Nembhard reclassifying.

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Tim brings up Rivals150 prospects Elijah Weaver and Eric Ayala, two guards in the 2018 class that are considering Ohio State. The debate remains whether Ayala will attend college in the fall or not, while Weaver will most definitely enroll in the fall of 2018.

The Buckeyes, in need of major guard depth entering the new college basketball season, would love to land at least one more piece for the upcoming year. The team's backcourt was already lacking and the recent decommitment of Braxton Beverly did not help the cause. Ayala, originally a member of the 2017 class before reclassifying, could be one of the answers for Ohio State. Head coach Chris Holtmann and his staff were a presence at his games this past week in Cartersville, Ga. Ayala has spoken openly about the idea of reclassifying back into the 2017 class and a decision is likely to come in August. If he does do so, expect for Ohio State to have a much better chance this time around compared to if he were to remain in the 2018 class. Others that could be in the mix for the standout guard for this fall include Indiana and Oregon.

Weaver, one of the most tracked guards in the 2018 class, has faced a national recruitment for over a year now. Holtmann developed a strong relationship with Weaver while he was at Butler, and now he can sell Weaver on playing in the Big Ten. Besting the likes of Florida, Oklahoma State, Villanova and Virginia may be difficult but Ohio State continues to push.

Right now, I think the Buckeyes have a much better shot at Ayala than Weaver.

Archie Miller made quick work of the recruitment of Race Thompson, landing the Rivals150 forward on Sunday evening. While Thompson is another quality addition to the Big Ten program, the class of 2018 is vital to the long-term success of Miller’s tenure in Bloomington. Monday, however, might be the day that IU fans look back on as the reason why the newly named head coach flourished as the Hoosiers' lead man.

Graduating Josh Newkirk, Robert Johnson, Collin Hartman, Tim Priller and Freddie McSwain, the Hoosiers will need to land at least four in the 2018 class. Their top target this summer, Romeo Langford, would be the ultimate gem of the class.

Within the past four days, Indiana offered Jericole Hellems, Aaron Henry and Nate Hinton, three hard-playing and versatile wing prospects. While Miller has become to rely heavily on smaller ball lineups dating back to his teams at Dayton, it will be interesting to see if the Hoosiers will continue to see pursue any of the three. The reason for this? IU had a tremendous few hours on Monday as it picked up the commitment of Jerome Hunter, a Rivals150 forward that can play all across the floor, and just minutes later, grabbed Damezi Anderson. The latter being a shot-making wing that brings good size to the perimeter where Hunter and Anderson could create even greater momentum for IU’s top target.

The recruitment of Langford has remained a blueblood affair for the past year or so. Louisville has been heavily involved since he was a freshman but Miller has made up major ground since taking over in Bloomington. While it does have the makings of an Indiana-Louisville battle, do not count out UNC, Kentucky, UCLA or Kansas.

Ohio State quickly snatched up the commitment of Rivals150 wing Torrence Watson last week, a small forward that had also been considering Missouri. Filling that exact position on the floor is very important seeing that big shoes will be left by Michael Porter Jr., the top-ranked prospect in the 2017 class and possible top pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.

Where does Missouri go next? The Tigers had been in the mix with Jericole Hellems prior to his major breakout this past week at the Nike Peach Jam. Cuonzo Martin has made it a point to focus on the talent coming from St. Louis. Hellems, while he is a time away from a college commitment, will likely look heavily at the SEC program.

Jairus Hamilton, a four-star forward from North Carolina, is nearing a cut list of five or seven as the Tigers have pushed their way into contention. NC State, Wake Forest, Duke and UNC are the likely landing spots, though it would be difficult to question Martin’s ability to beat some of the very best on the recruiting trail thanks to his recent track record.

Lastly, Talen Horton-Tucker is another small forward that Missouri could heat things up for. It is likely that the super versatile and skilled recruit will remain in his Midwest locale for college but the Tigers could sell the chance to come in and take over the majority of the minutes left by Porter, which may appeal to the four-star prospect.

While Horton-Tucker and Hamilton would be tremendous hauls, Hellems may be the likeliest for the Tigers in the 2018 class.

Virginia is in need of a point guard in the 2018 class, hence their continued pursuit of capable seniors that can step in and immediately leave their mark in the backcourt. While the Cavaliers sit in a decent spot for Rivals150 talents Elijah Weaver, David Duke and Jahvon Quinerly, could they ramp up their attention for Andrew Nembhard?

A five-star guard prospect in the 2019 class, Nembhard had an excellent showing at the Peach Invitational Tournament this past weekend in Augusta, Ga. Standing over 6-foot-3 and one of the very best passers in high school basketball, Nembhard could see his recruitment take a giant leap in the weeks ahead as the chances of reclassifying into the 2018 class looks likely.

Stanford, Gonzaga and Florida are the three programs that have gained the most traction with the UPlay Canada star. However, others have begun to show greater attention for Nembhard but the Cardinal, Bulldogs and Gators have created a very strong relationship with the Canadian. Virginia has, in the past, recruited Nembhard but if the program feels as if its chances of landing Weaver, Duke and Quinerly have begun to diminish, it could increase its attention toward Nembhard, especially upon his reclassification, which could take place in August.

Sam brings up a great question on just how much better the top-ranked prospects in the 2018 class, Marvin Bagley and Zion Williamson, are compared to their peers. Bagley, the No. 1 prospect in America, is hands-down the best prospect in high school basketball, regardless of class, and the distance between him and the rest of his classmates is rather large.

Williamson, the most watched and followed prospect in America, is battling back from a knee injury that he had suffered in the spring, as he is holding on by tooth and nail for his No. 2 overall ranking. He did play better as the week wore on in South Carolina and remains cemented at his spot in the rankings.

However, the gap is rather small between Williamson and a few of his other elite classmates. Bol Bol is directly behind Williamson and, as a long-term prospect, Bol may have the edge. Cameron Reddish is a very unique prospect thanks to his standing height at 6-foot-7, added into his ball handling skills, where he is best used as a playmaker at the point guard spot. Add in the fact that top ranked 2019 wing, R.J. Barrett, could reclassify next month into the 2018 class, and Williamson will have to finish the month out on a strong note to keep his ranking.