Basketball Recruiting - Wednesday's Leftovers: Deivon Smith, Virginia, Illinois
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Wednesday's Leftovers: Deivon Smith, Virginia, Illinois

There was still much more to address this week in the college hoops mailbag. Today, we highlight the early work completed at Virginia in the 2020 class, leaders for Deivon Smith, Illinois’ top recruiting targets, Indiana’s 2021 in-state priorities, and my favorite big man from the first live period over the weekend.

Deivon Smith
Deivon Smith (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

Deivon Smith told Rivals.com this weekend that he really does not have a leader at the moment. He has been a busy man in recent months, whether it has been competing at the various high school and national camps, or playing with the Atlanta Celtics on the adidas circuit. Once his summer completes later this month, then I expect for him to give a greater look into his recruitment.

A cut list will first be made before taking his official visits. Not many have recruited him with a greater priority than Miami as Jim Larranaga was at number of his games in Alabama. However, Alabama, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Oregon and Xavier are just a few others that could receive a visit from him. I do like the spot that Alabama and Oregon are in and much could come down to whether the distance from his Atlanta locale plays into his college choice.

That is a very good question and one that I had to think deeply on. Sure, Virginia had already secured the commitment of Carson McCorkle prior to its national title run, but since then, it has gone out and gotten commitments from four-stars Reece Beekman and Jabri Abdur-Rahim.

Impressive work, I do have to say, but, then again, the Cavs were the leader for Beekman and winning the national championship just pushed them over the top. Regarding Abdur-Rahim, if John Beilein would not have left for the NBA, he may have ended up in Ann Arbor (sorry Michigan fans).

That is not to take away from all that Virginia has accomplished this spring and summer but more of a compliment of their early work and also the right circumstances that led to its recent recruiting wins. Now, if they can somehow land Keon Johnson in a few weeks or Henry Coleman, who just saw his stock explode, or get a head start with its 2021 class before the season begins, then the effect of the national title will be felt.

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Illinois has placed a high priority on the best within its state, which means they are chasing DJ Steward and Adam Miller. Steward just visited Illinois’ campus, but they are in a better position for Miller. The top-35 guard plays for the same travel and high school program as current Illini star Ayo Dosunmu as Brad Underwood has kept the Chicago native high atop his wish list. Ryan Kalkbrenner, a travel teammate of Miller’s, could end up in Champaign, too, which would give them a quality inside-out duo. Andre Curbelo, Jalen Bridges and Cliff Omoruyi are three others that the Illini have remained after this summer and could receive visits from before a commitment is made.

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Trey Kaufman is one name to know for Indiana fans in the class of 2021 but the primary target for the Hoosiers is Khristian Lander. The five-star guard has been to campus a few times already and Archie Miller has not been short in returning the interest as he was at a number of his games this weekend in Alabama.

Lander told Rivals.com that the Hoosiers were the first to call him on the first permissible date of contact on June 15 and that they are one of the few programs standing out early on. Defeating Louisville, Purdue and maybe a few bluebloods might come to be difficult, but Lander is someone that Miller has had his eye on since his hiring and wants to bring into the fold.

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He might not want for me to call him a big man, but in today’s game, he is one and I came away heavily impressed with all that Henry Coleman accomplished at the adidas Summer Championship last weekend. While he is more of a tweener at the power forward position, Coleman is a productive ballplayer that gets the job done each time out. Finding consistency in a hard-playing, competitive and energized prospect is never easy to find; toss in his intangibles and leadership qualities and there is not a whole lot to not like about the Richmond native.

I am not the only one that feels this way as Arizona State and then Duke offered him over the weekend. Virginia was the perceived favorite for him and remain in the picture despite landing the commitment of Abdur-Rahim. Michigan has picked things up with him and NC State and Virginia Tech are two others to keep tabs on for when a cut list is made in the coming weeks.