UAA Saturday: Cone makes news, Murrell makes shots
AURORA, IL. – A full day of hoops was on the docket at the Under Armour Association Chicago. There was a slew of sleeper uncovered but it was the potential decision of Jalen Cone to reclassify and the standout play of Matthew Murrell that drew the greatest attention.
CONE HAS DECISIONS TO MAKE
The name of Jalen Cone is not a new one in the recruiting world but it may begin to be talked about more in the coming weeks for more reasons than one. The talent and explosiveness are not lacking with the 5-foot-9 guard, which is why he is already a member of the Rivals150, but it more so regarding the fact that he could potentially reclassify a year up and into the 2019 class this summer, which would then bring a bevy of newer suitors into his college recruitment.
“Things are starting to pick up a little bit more but with the news that some colleges are offering me to come early because of some guys entering the draft and others not coming back,” Cone said about a potential move into the 2019 class. “They need somebody to fill the point guard position so things are really starting to pick up.”
Baylor, Louisville, Miami, NC State, Stanford, Texas A&M and Yale have kept in close contact with Cone in recent weeks, though Tennessee, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest have brought up the idea of taking the talented guard this fall.
“Really, it will be all about what is best for me and figuring out if I need another year of high school to mature my game more but if it is good for me to go to college and play now or even redshirt, then that would be the option I would choose,” Cone said. “If I do it, I would have to decide very soon so I would have to look at what the best fit is for me and to see how long the coaches are going to be there. I don’t want to go early to college and then they leave after I am there for just one year.”
Cone is an elite sparkplug at the point guard position that can get a bucket in the blink of an eye. He posted 23 points, five rebounds and four assists on Saturday afternoon and is tracking towards a coveted recruitment in the coming weeks thanks to the news getting out that he could make the move a year up and into the 2019 class.
MURRELL'S TRUE VALUE
There are shot makers and then there is Matthew Murrell. The 6-foot-4 scoring guard didn't have his best on tap Saturday, but long-term, the value in Murrell's shooting threat looms large.
A solid member of the Rivals150 prospect, his ranking will go up and in a major way during the next update. Seeing that Murrell shoots the ball at such a solid rate, an asset that is as valuable as ever in today’s game, it cannot be understated just how much of a wanted recruit he already is and will be in the coming months.
Following his outing, Murrell told Rivals.com that Florida, Iowa State, Memphis, NC State, Ole Miss and Tennessee are the six programs standing out. He took an official visit to Arkansas whenever Mike Anderson was presiding over the program and is hoping to officially visit Florida sometime in June.
Expect for newcomers to enter the picture with the college evaluation period two weeks away. Prospects that can make shots, defend multiple positions and are not lacking in the athleticism department are of the utmost importance which makes Murrell a trending, national recruit this spring.
Scoring is never a struggle for Marcus Dockery. The Maryland bound guard came out on fire in Chicago as he nailed a number of pull-ups but also scored in traffic whenever bigger bodies were present. However, Dockery plays with a fire about him and the willingness to play off of the ball where his sparkplug mentality should acclimate well to his College Park home a year from now. He still needs to finetune his decision-making but he is also someone that is never afraid of the spotlight. He finished with 21 points on Saturday and is primed to be a day one offensive punch for Mark Turgeon’s bunch.
The last time that I saw Zeb Jackson, the Ohio native was still trying to get a feel for what his basketball identity might be. Was he a scoring lead guard or a facilitator? Was he an explosive athlete or rather a smooth ball screen operator? In Chicago, Jackson was bits of each which helps add up to the perfect fill-in for Zavier Simpson a year from now. He might not be the defensive dynamo that Simpson is but offensively, an argument that he is a more polished and versatile scorer upon enrollment.
JUNIOR TARGETS EMERGE
The state of North Carolina has never been at a disadvantage whenever it has come to high-flying athletes and it looks as if Ricky Council IV is the next in line. Full of energy and potential on the defensive end, where Council impresses the greatest is in the open floor. He is a more than capable mid-range scorer, though his 20-foot jumper does need some work, but his abilities around the basket are second to none. His recruitment is just beginning to pick up as Rice has invested the greatest time with him thus far, although FAU, George Mason, Providence and Radford have kept in close contact.
Jordan Hall impressed in a major way on Saturday morning as the Philly Pride product displayed the ability to play a variety of spots on the offensive end. His feel for the game and willingness to create for others, along with his shot making prowess whenever his feet are set, reflects that he is due to see a bump in his recruitment. Rider, Robert Morris, and St. Francis (PA) make up his current offer list but more will be on the way. Delaware, Duquesne, Hofstra, Lafayette and La Salle are among the others that have kept in close tabs as Hall has the makings of an Atlantic 10-level type of pick-up from the 2020 class.
Taj Thweatt, a 6-foot-7 forward running with the Team Rio outfit, showed that he has the capabilities of a high-major recruit in Chicago. He scored through contact, hit a catch and shoot jumper and was a major weapon on the offensive glass. His skillset is still evolving but the positionless forwards in today’s game has never been of greater value. Currently holding offers from Rutgers, Seton Hall, and Temple, Thweatt’s versatility and energy should help his recruitment expand outside of his northeast locale and see a number of other power level programs jump into the picture.