Wednesday Leftovers: Trendon Watford, Kentucky PGs, more
We didn’t get to all of your questions in #TwitterTuesday, so we made to sure to hit on a few others for Wednesday’s Leftovers pertaining to the recruitments of Trendon Watford, Precious Achiuwa and Antony Leal, where Kentucky looks in the 2020 class for its point guard and the future of the Pac-12 Conference.
MORE: Twitter Tuesday mailbag
After Trendon Watford’s official visit to Alabama this past Saturday, who do you feel leads for him?— #BeatDuke (@aterry65) January 7, 2019
Trendon Watford completed his third official visit over the weekend to Alabama, the in-state program that has recruited him the longest. Indiana is the last remaining program on his final list that he has not visited, and I expect him to visit Bloomington next month.
Selecting a favorite has not been the easiest where, at one time, the Tide, LSU and Memphis could have thought to be the team to beat. Things still aren’t too clear, but if anyone has been picking up momentum, it would be LSU. The Tigers’ head coach, Will Wade, was in for Watford prior to his visit to Alabama and in recent weeks, not many have invested as much into the recruitment of him than the staff in Baton Rouge. There may be a glaring hole in the frontcourt with the possible early departure of Nazreon Reid along with the graduation of Kavell Bigby-Williams, and while there is still some time to go before a commitment, LSU may be close to garnering the favorite’s label.
Who in 2020 might uk go after for the point guard position?— bill webb (@cftyuik) January 7, 2019
Kentucky has already made a move in the 2020 class at the point guard position by offering both Jeremy Roach and Sharife Cooper. The two five-stars were the first two guards in their respective class to land the coveted UK offer and each has already visited campus.
For Cooper, Auburn may be the team to overcome as the Tigers have a great rapport with him and have already secured the commitments of two of his travel and high school teammates in Babatunde Akingbola and Isaac Okoro.
On the other hand, Roach is focused on a final four of Duke, Kentucky, UNC and Villanova. Many believe that his recruitment will come down to Duke and UK, though I would not discount Villanova, either. However, Roach is much further along with his recruitment compared to most others and I would not be surprised to see him commit before July.
RJ Hampton is someone worth keeping tabs on, too, though Cooper and Roach seem to be the two that John Calipari and his staff have locked their eyes on within the 2020 ranks.
What kind of chance does Unc have with Precious Achiuwa?— bh-unc-fan (@bdheelfan) January 6, 2019
North Carolina would love to add someone like Precious Achiuwa, a five-star forward and one of the top available prospects this winter, but I do not see it in the cards. The Tar Heels jumped into the picture last week with an offer and the promising part for UNC is that he has yet to take an official visit throughout the process and a cut list has not been produced. This is not to say that many others have not invested time and attention in recruiting him as Kansas, Memphis, St. John’s, UConn and Western Kentucky are just a few that have done so.
UCLA was a prominent program to watch, but with the coaching change in Westwood, it could give UNC one less program to beat. There is still much more time to go before Achiuwa even comes near committing, so the Tar Heels have some room to make their move, but I would still give their chances with him at less than 20 percent with where things currently sit.
Do you see Notre Dame as a serious player for any 2020 prospects? They’ll need a big class after not signing a single 2019 prospect (assuming no Cole Anthony).— Mike Canfield (@MCanfieldCFB) January 6, 2019
Sure, Notre Dame has been left with a goose egg in the commitment column this winter, but not a whole lot was needed seeing that the Irish enrolled a five-man class this fall. Next year may be a little bit different as they will see Temple Gibbs, John Mooney and Rex Pflueger graduate, but they have gained some traction with some talented prospects in the 2020 class.
Hunter Dickinson is the Irish's top priority and I feel pretty good for them with the five-star center. Dickinson is tailor-made for Mike Brey’s system and would be a tremendous haul. Trey Galloway is a Rivals150 member that remains high on the Irish, as does Jamal Mashburn Jr., Grant Huffman, and Andre Jackson. Another to keep an eye on is Jaden Ivey, one of the best guards from the state whose mother, Niele Ivey, is an assistant coach for the women’s program at ND.
Leal is a pretty dang good ball player, good enough to earn a spot in the Rivals150. Better yet, he is the best 2020 prospect from the state and while things are a bit down in the Hoosier State, there is a great value in a 6-foot-4 guard that can shoot, finish, defend and create for his teammates.
The interesting situation is that Leal grew up a giant Indiana fan and is less than a 10-minute drive from campus. The Hoosiers have yet to offer and the thought is that if they do, it would lead to an immediate commitment. That is something that might be weighing on Archie Miller’s mind right now but if I were him, I would love to have someone in his mold. He bleeds Indiana basketball, will compete and give positive energy for four years, and, at worst, make shots throughout his stay on campus.
Things are beginning to pick up so Indiana may need to hurry as Butler, Northwestern, Stanford and Xavier are just a few others already in with an offer, but Indiana would be difficult to topple if IU decides to jump in.
Does the lack of non-conference success effect the PAC 12’s ability to recruit?— plainname (@plainname1) January 7, 2019
You would have thought that it would have left some sort of impression on Rivals150 members but that has been far from the case. The Pac-12 saw just three of its league members make the NCAA Tournament last season, with none winning a single game. It might be in even worse this year as the Pac-12 could be a one-bid league.
Despite the downturn in success on the playing floor, we sit with Arizona and USC with the top two classes in America, Washington remaining on the final lists for two five-star prospects, Oregon boasting three four-star commitments along with that of another five-star, and Arizona State, Oregon State and Utah having in hand what looks to be immediate contributors in the 2019 class.
For now, this might be rock bottom for the league as the talent due to come in remains among the best that the nation has to provide.