{{ timeAgo('2019-08-21 06:14:01 -0500') }} basketball Edit

Wednesday's Leftovers: Dishing on UK, Va. Tech, LSU, more

Earl Timberlake
Earl Timberlake (https://rivals.com)

Thanks to an onslaught of questions this week, Wednesday’s Leftovers is jam-packed with information regarding Kentucky’s 2020 search, Virginia Tech’s potential this fall, suitors for Earl Timberlake, how LSU might fare this season and Villanova’s hunt for 2021 guards.

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2020 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2021 Rankings: Rivals150


While Kentucky went on a major run two weeks ago, thanks to the commitments of BJ Boston and Cam'Ron Fletcher, I see the Wildcats remaining silent for another few weeks. Five-star guard Jalen Green will not commit until Christmas Day. In the meantime, will also be turning their focus to Josh Christopher and Lance Ware.

Each have scheduled a handful of visits for the coming weeks, but UK is the leader for both. Christopher’s recruitment was one that was believed to be down to Arizona State and several West Coast powers until Michigan hired Juwan Howard and Kentucky offered. Now, both of those programs are fighting it out for Christopher’s signature, along with ASU, Missouri and UCLA.

Ware was thought to be a done deal after Kentucky offered, but he has remained patient with the process. Providence has recruited him the longest, while Ohio State has also developed a good relationship with him. However, if anyone can swipe Ware away from the Wildcats, it is Michigan.

Daishen Nix announced Tuesday he has committed to UCLA. However, Kentucky still is in dire need of a lead guard in the 2020 class, which is why the Wildcats have ramped up their attention toward Devin Askew, who could potentially reclassify later this year and will likely visit the UK campus this fall.

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That is not going to happen. If it did, it would mean the Hokies' current commitments, four-star guards Darius Maddox and Joe Bamisile, would end up being two of the lesser-ranked members of its 2020 class. Top-five classes consistently include at least one five-star commitment, if not two or three. The Hokies are not involved with anyone of that nature. But I do foresee a top 25 class.

Maddox and Bamisile make up a great backcourt that will win a lot of games in Blacksburg. Holding their commitments before September is impressive and the Hokies hope to strike next in the frontcourt. Myles Stute will visit Virginia Tech next month and no one has recruited the Rivals150 forward longer. They have a good shot with him, and while most of the talk regarding Henry Coleman has been tied to Duke, VT is the school his father attended and the staff there has built a very strong relationship with Coleman.

PJ Hall just visited Blacksburg on Saturday and he will return in October for an official visit. Florida and Tennessee are the two to beat, but the Hokies have come on lately. Land Hall, Coleman or Stute - and maybe another in the frontcourt - and what you have is a strong, top 25 class for Mike Young’s first full year at Virginia Tech.

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It is a total guessing game with Earl Timberlake. He has never been one to show his hand a whole lot or really speak much on his recruitment. What we do know is that he is down to a final seven. He visited Providence and South Carolina officially during his junior year, and has official visits scheduled to Pitt (Aug. 30), Miami (Sept. 13) and Alabama (Sept. 25). He is planning on using his remaining two official visits on North Carolina and Seton Hall.

There is a chance that he could complete all five of his official visits before November, which might lead to an early signing. Who he signs with is an entirely different story. Providence has been in the picture the longest, which is why he took his first official visit there last year. Miami is one to watch, thanks to the staff’s connections to the DMV region, and if there are two dark horses they would be Alabama and Pitt.

The latest whispers that I have heard connect Timberlake to South Carolina. But for now, things remain uncertain. His five official visits should clear things up a whole lot before a possible signing later this year.

There is less talent than what LSU was able to showcase last year. Naz Reid and Tremont Waters are both gone and receiving NBA paychecks, and the loss of Kavell Bigby-Williams can't be understated because of his shot-blocking and scoring efficiency.

Replacing those three will be difficult, but I do like the players Will Wade has brought in and what an offseason of development could mean for Emmitt Williams and Skylar Mays. It should also be a year that doesn’t bring as much scrutiny as the Tigers faced last season, when its head coach was hit with an in-season suspension.

Wade is super high on incoming freshman James Bishop and he proved his worth during LSU's overseas tour last week. Charles Manning was one of the top junior college recruits last year and he should be a quality body off of the bench. But Emmitt Williams and Trendon Watford will be the reasons why the Tigers might surprise this season. Williams has returned to his blue-collar playing style. As he plays next to the super-skilled Watford, LSU could actually outplay preseason expectations and return to the Sweet 16.

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Villanova has become known for its guard play, so saying that they will land a guard in the 2021 class, (that is if they don’t secure one this recruiting cycle, an option we covered last week), is far from a hot take.

Who that might be is a total guessing game, but there is a select group that the Wildcats have already prioritized. If Devin Askew decides to remain in the 2021 class, the Wildcats’ brand and style of play could intrigue him enough for the top 20 guard to commit to Villanova. He will likely take an official visit this fall or winter.

Regional targets Trevor Keels and AJ Griffin are two others to keep tabs on, especially Keels, whose high school teammate, Brandon Slater, is entering his sophomore season for the Wildcats. Max Christie also holds a Nova offer but defeating Duke, Michigan State, Northwestern, Purdue and Villanova could be difficult.

Other names will surface in the coming months, but look for the Wildcats to strike at least once in the backcourt in the 2021 class since they will need to replace Collin Gillespie.

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