Wednesday's Leftovers: Jon Kuminga, Michigan State, more
Too many false rumors have spread regarding Jon Kuminga and his college decision. In the latest edition of Wednesday’s Leftovers, analyst Corey Evans does his best to set the record straight and outline the most recent news with the five-star who remains a member of the 2021 class. Evans also offers his thoughts on who will be the next to commit to Michigan State, the difficulties facing Wake Forest head coach Steve Forbes and much more.
2022 Rankings: Top 75
We are all waiting for Jon Kuminga to make his decision and reclassification announcement.. For whatever reason, commitment dates have been reported, whether they were June 16 or June 22. In fact, Kuminga had never actually set a timetable for his decision. He has finalized his school list to a group of four while also including the G League among his finalists, but that is all that he has had to say.
I would be rather shocked if Kuminga plays a minute of college basketball. Kuminga has not officially said it, but I believe he will make the move into the 2020 class and the G League is where he will spend his year between high school and the NBA beginning in the fall. There were overseas opportunities that Kuminga could have taken, but at this time staying domestic and competing alongside Jalen Green, Daishen Nix and a few others will likely be the route that he takes.
If there is one college that can potentially lure Kuminga in it is Texas Tech. The Red Raiders have invested the most time recruiting him in recent weeks and they have a strong in-road thanks to his brother, Joel Ntambwe, being a member of the program.
He is not going to Duke or Kentucky. Auburn could work its way into contention, but Texas Tech looks like the only school that could convince him to go the college route. However, that is going to take a lot of work. For now, the G League is the best bet.
I’ll go with Jaden Akins, though I wouldn’t be shocked if he didn’t pick Michigan State. The in-state guard is one of the most prioritized Midwest prospects in the 2021 class and other programs such as Iowa, Michigan, Missouri and Xavier have put a high value on him. Michigan State would still like to add another guard in the 2020 class, especially if either Xavier Tillman or Josh Langford don’t return. Regardless, netting an immediate impact guard from the 2021 class is a must.
Speaking of which, that would not take them out of contention for Max Christie. The five-star guard does not appear to be near a college commitment, and he has been adamant about taking his visits in the fall before deciding. Kobe Bufkin, another in-state prospect and travel teammate of Akins, is also high up on the Spartans' board.
In the frontcourt, keep an eye on Charles Bediako, James Graham and Jeremy Sochan. Now that Bediako is set on remaining in the 2021 class, a commitment likely won’t happen until he takes visits. MSU just offered Graham, and Spartans could gain some traction with the regional target. Lastly, Sochan remains stuck in England due to the ongoing issues with international travel, but once he returns to the U.S., MSU will be one of the select few that will have a chance with him.
Much rides on what rules are implemented in the coming weeks. We are still waiting to learn whether evaluation windows will happen in August and/or September and whether programs will be allowed to bring kids to campus for visits. Rumors have flown that there will be an evaluation period, while others have said there is no chance. The same could be said for on-campus recruiting: One camp believes that visits will resume in August, while others feel that such activity will be barred until spring.
If evaluation periods are not put into play and visits remain impermissible for the next several months, it makes Steve Forbes’ job at Wake Forest that much more difficult. It didn’t help that he was taking over a program that has been in the basement of the ACC, but for him to be forced to fill a roster without having the chance to complete in-person evaluations or the ability to bring kids onto campus? That is almost not even fair.
However, Forbes has gotten to this point because of his outgoing personality, his willingness to think outside the box and the ability to outwork his competition. That’s not going to change at his new digs, which is why his exuberance is more than evident via the Zoom calls or virtual visits that are practically the only productive tools for recruiting at the moment.
The 2021 class might not be his best during his tenure in Winston-Salem, but it will be a good one. I always look more toward a coaching staff’s second recruiting class compared to its first, but I’d expect a momentum-building group in the coming months.
Auburn has not been shy about offering scholarships to members of the 2021 class, but there are a group of priority targets for the Tigers. Among the five-stars, look no further than JD Davison and Jabari Smith. Davison is the top in-state talent, and Smith is from Atlanta, an area that the program has made a great connection with in recent years. I expect the Tigers to be involved with these two until the very end and wouldn’t be surprised if they were to land both.
Things don’t stop there, as Auburn has kept a close pulse on Chance Moore, a four-star wing that is a member of the McEachern program, the same high school that Sharife Cooper and Isaac Okoro attended. Matthew Cleveland is another from the Atlanta area that Auburn has kept as a top target in recent months. In the frontcourt, Franck Kepnang and Lynn Kidd are two others that Bruce Pearl and his staff have invested much time and effort into recruiting.
Just like in recent years, I expect Auburn to secure another top 25 class in the fall of 2021.
Yes, and they already are in action. Just because the three shoe circuits might decide to cancel all of their events this summer - something that adidas and Nike have already said they are going to do - that doesn't mean the rest of the travel basketball industry will follow suit.
We have already seen a number of Pangos camps run throughout the West Coast and the Fantastic 40 event in Las Vegas is still set for the end of July. On the Radar Hoops and HoopSeen will be running a number of tournaments throughout the state of Georgia and in the South in the coming weeks. GASO, RCS Sports and a number of others will be hosting events in Texas.
Just this past weekend, I attended a one-day event that was held by the Wildcats Select travel program, a travel team-based clinic that is becoming the norm throughout the nation. Also, the Upward Stars and CP25 SE Elite programs have already run in recent weeks. The next question is whether there will be any live periods in August and/or September. Either way, there will be basketball in one form or another.