Wednesday's Leftovers: Dishing on Kansas, Pitt, Nebraska, more
As the late signing period tips off today, there are still many questions to be answered at programs across the nation. In this week’s Wednesday’s Leftovers, we look at how Kansas and Pitt can respond this spring, Nebraska’s new recruiting philosophy, the leaders for Duquesne transfer Eric Williams, what VCU has in Rivals150 junior Ace Baldwin and the top 2019 class in the CAA.
If Kansas does miss on Matthew Hurt and Cassius Stanley it could go the small-ball route. The Jayhawks are in a very good spot with RJ Hampton, a five-star junior who will likely reclassify into the 2019 class this summer. Devon Dotson will most likely return for his sophomore year after putting his name into the NBA Draft last week, as could Quentin Grimes. Another season of Marcus Garrett and Ochai Agbaji, along with the enrollments of Rivals150 guards Isaac McBride and Christan Braun should make for a relatively deep perimeter. A healthy Udoka Azubuike, a final year from Mitch Lightfoot and a fully eligible Silvio De Sousa, along with Precious Achiuwa or Tristan Enaruna - and maybe a transfer of some sort - and the Jayhawks are in a much better spot than many might believe.
Yes. Pitt has a major need in the frontcourt and should strike at the center spot. Over the weekend, the Panthers hosted two of the top junior college bigs in Emmanuel Ugboh and Khadim Sy. Either one would suffice, but Jeff Capel would also be more than happy in taking both. If they do miss on both, look for the Panthers to peruse the transfer market this spring to help a need down low.
Also, let’s not forget about Finnish forward Olivier Robinson-Nkamhoua, who visited Illinois over the weekend and is expected to see Tennessee in May. He's more of a power forward, but he would add depth where it is severely lacking.
For now, Fred Hoiberg is going to stick with what he found success with at Iowa State, which is hitting the transfer market hard and often. The Huskers staff did just that this weekend by hosting a trio of transfers in Oklahoma State’s Maurice Calloo and UNLV’s Joel Ntambwe and Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua. Junior college standout Jervay Green was also on campus, as he reaffirmed the commitment he made to Tim Miles.
Former Nebraska commit Mika Adams-Woods will likely look elsewhere, but Nebraska fans should remain optimistic. While Hoiberg was never really known for his recruiting wins on the high school circuit, he did find success landing slighted and underrated prospects in the mold of Georges Niang. Throw in a number of impactful transfers - who should be aided by the hiring of Matt Abdelmassih, a former assistant of Hoiberg’s at ISU - and an older and more experienced outfit should become the norm moving forward.
Missouri and Oregon are the two to beat. The Tigers just hosted Williams over the weekend for an official visit, his first trip since he announced his decision to transfer two weeks ago, and Oregon is expected to host him this coming weekend. The Ducks have exerted arguably the most effort, as they visited him in Pittsburgh before his Missouri trip, and then spent some time with his mother in Cleveland later that day. For now, the Tigers and the Ducks are the two to beat, but if his recruitment makes it to May, he could be looking elsewhere.
Late Saturday evening, VCU celebrated one of its biggest recruiting wins in years, thanks to the commitment of Ace Baldwin. The lefty guard should produce from day one and bring some Baltimore toughness Richmond.
Baldwin is fearless, and he is the likely replacement for all-league guard Marcus Evans. He is a crafty playmaker who can create for others and himself. He brings good size to the lead guard spot and should fit in seamlessly in Mike Rhoades’ vaunted defense. Baldwin is the type of guard who can - and should - uphold the strong culture on Broad Street.
James Madison has put together a strong group, led by Michael Christmas and Michael Fowler, but College of Charleston takes the top ranking in the CAA. The Cougars are set to enroll one of the top scorers from the Southeast this fall in three-star guard Brenden Tucker. There was a bevy of power-level programs involved prior to his commitment and his services will be put to good use next season. DeAngelo Epps and Trevon Reddish are two other solid additions, as is Dontavius King, a hard-nosed, active and productive big man who can play both spots in the frontcourt. College of Charleston has been a contender for the CAA title for the past few years and not much should change in the future, thanks to its 2019 class.