Wednesday Leftovers: Hassan Diarra's leaders; historic July risers
The #TwitterTuesday mailbag once again spills into Wednesday thanks to readers thirsty for college hoops recruiting info. Eric Bossi has some answers on Hassan Diarra, Bruce Weber, July rises and the next player to take over the college hoops world.
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First of all, I’m going to cop out here a little and say that I couldn’t pick just one. Hassan Diarra’s recruitment is somewhat late-blooming and schools are really just starting to go after the four-star point guard. California, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa State, Maryland, Penn State, Seton Hall, St. John’s, Texas A&M and Wake Forest have all offered since May after Diarra entered the spring with mostly upper end mid-major offers.
So far, of those new schools he’s only been on campus at St. John’s and new coach Mike Anderson has a playing style that is a great fit and the Red Storm have definitely worked their way into the mix. Others that could be making strong first impressions include Illinois, Iowa State and Texas A&M. But, I think we are a month or two from figuring out which schools are truly those to beat for Diarra.
This is a good question, because I don’t think that spending a month coaching either USA Basketball’s 18U or 19U teams in the FIBA World Cup has proven to be all that fruitful on the recruiting trail. Going back to 2015, Bill Self, John Calipari, Shaka Smart and Sean Miller have all done the same thing that Weber has with only Calipari’s team failing to bring home a gold. But, none of those guys cleaned up on guys who hadn’t yet committed and made their team.
Miller didn’t net any recruits (he missed on Terrance Ferguson the first time around and then saw him go pro after committing), Self didn’t get anybody, Calipari did get Immanuel Quickley and Smart actually landed Mohamed Bamba and Matt Coleman after they played for him. But again, it didn’t lead to a windfall.
I wouldn’t expect Bruce Weber to all of the sudden have Kansas State in the mix for anybody who either played for him or tried out for the team. But, it’s a great opportunity to go to kids and say “hey look how I used Reggie Perry and helped to put him on the map as a potential first-rounder” and it also likely opened up Weber’s eyes to playing a little faster and more wide open after competing Internationally.
Maybe his time in Greece could lead to the Wildcats getting involved with an International player, but I’m thinking Weber’s focus was more on winning gold than scouting future Wildcats. Bottom line, there’s no downside to Weber’s experience and it could help them down the road, I just wouldn’t expect immediate dividends or Kansas State all the sudden being involved with some blue chipper as a direct result of coaching the U19 team.
This is a fun question and I guess it depends some on how you define complete unknown and national prospect. But, if we are talking all-time, I can’t think of anybody who has an unknown to superstar turn like the one that Tracy McGrady had way back in the summer of 1996. I was just getting ready to start my senior year of college when T-Mac emerged as this utterly dominant wing that nobody had ever heard from Florida. His rise will be tough to beat.
Also, because there are so many more events, the shoe circuits have grown and because the game is so much more heavily scouted, the climbs tend to be gradual as we just don’t see many guys go from say totally unranked to hottest thing on the streets status during July. But, some guys who come to mind to me are Kezie Okpala from the class of 2017, Andrew Jones in 2016, Dean Wade in 2015 and maybe Frank Mason from the class of 2013.
It’s still amazing to me that much of the West Coast was asleep on Okpala and that his recruitment never went national before Stanford locked him up. But even with him, the majority of his move into the national top 35 was based on his senior year of high school.
Jones was unranked prior to a monster July before his senior season and that boosted him to Texas, the national top 25 and eventually the 2016 McDonald’s All-American game.
Wade was basically unknown outside the state of Kansas and looked to be tracking as a mid to upper end mid major recruit. He hit Las Vegas in the summer of 2014 and was all the sudden swimming in offers while rising from unranked to four-star status.
Then there is Mason who was initially committed to Towson State. Playing for Team Loaded with many other more touted prospects, he kept bringing high level coaches back and that July before his prep school year is 100% responsible for him catching the eye of Kansas and landing in Lawrence before emerging as a top 75 type prospect nationally
I like this question a lot Because lets face it, none of us saw Zion mania or Trae Young mania coming before it hit. Well, maybe we saw Zion a bit before it hit, but we never imagined it would be to the extent that it was. But, odds are it happens to some extent again and I would think it has to be a guy with a big personality and big social media following who is in a position to be featured and who plays somewhere that gets plenty of national media attention.
R.J. Hampton would have been perfect for this had he not gone to Australia, so he’s out. If Nico Mannion takes off at Arizona, I could see non-stop news about him, but being on the West Coast and playing late at night won’t help. So, with that in mind I’ll peg either North Carolina’s Cole Anthony or Georgia’s Anthony Edwards.
Anthony is a point guard, has a big personality, has the huge social media following, is the son of an NBA player and will play for a program in UNC that never lacks for coverage. If he comes out of the gates firing early, the hype machine could warm up real quick. As for Edwards, he’s got a lot going for him too. He’s flashy, he’s a high flyer, he’s marketable and he’s in a position to potentially lead the SEC in scoring as a freshman and put Georgia on the map. If the Bulldogs are wining early and he’s putting up big numbers, then look out because we’ll have a never ending cycle of news on “Ant Man”.