Wednesday's Leftovers: Kentucky's next move; UNC; more
Wednesday’s Leftovers (Thanksgiving edition!) is here thanks to a smorgasbord of questions to entertain. Heading into the winter, a number of schools still have a few spots to fill with its 2020 class, which includes Memphis’ dry spell, where Indiana and North Carolina strike next, and Kentucky’s continued needs heading into the winter.
TWITTER TUESDAY MAILBAG: Ziaire Williams, Hunter Dickinson
Who will round out UKs 2020 class— adam (@AdamHun11579430) November 24, 2019
Kentucky is definitely not done with its 2020 class and I am not sure why it raised eyebrows last week after Isaiah Jackson committed that UK was going to add again. This is Kentucky, the decade’s gold standard in recruiting, that has added at least one prospect to its program every spring.
The Wildcats could be done in the backcourt but the frontcourt, its primary concerns entering this season, will be where they add. Jackson, CamRon Fletcher and Lance Ware are great, but more firepower is needed.
JT Thor, who decided to hold off from signing last week, is one alternative, though Oklahoma State is the leader. Calipari is in the running for Greg Brown, but he would have to make up a lot of ground during Brown's visit to Lexington in January.
Cliff Omoruyi would be the ideal pick-up that would answer many of its needs, but he is sometime away from deciding. They have some ground to make up, but Omoruyi has the desire to play next to a true playmaker guard which Devin Askew can offer, an intriguing option for the four-star senior that could strengthen UK’s chances.
The grad-transfer realm could be the avenue they take, even if they strike with one of Thor, Brown or Omoruyi. Last year it was Reid Travis and this season it is Nate Sestina; don’t be surprised if another built in a similar cloth pitches next year.
Will Memphis land someone? Why do you think Penny’s momentum has cooled?— Corey Wishnia (@cwishn) November 24, 2019
Memphis will land someone, just give it some time. While I can’t recall the last time a program finished with the nation’s top recruiting class in the spring and the next fall, failed to sign a single prospect, look deeper into Memphis’ roster and there is not a whole lot that they might actually need. James Wiseman and Precious Achiuwa are all but gone, but don’t forget, Isaiah Stokes will become eligible next year, and a healthy Malcolm Dandridge will help, too. There could be a surprise early departure alongside Wiseman and Achiuwa, which is where its 2020 commitments would help, as in a Jalen Green and/or Greg Brown.
Getting back to what the root of the problem is, expectations have to be lowered some. No, I am not saying that they can’t continue to churn out top-10 classes consistently but rather, it was the perfect storm whenever Hardaway overtook the program. Members of the 2019 class, Wiseman, Dandridge, DJ Jeffries, Ryan Boyce and Damion Baugh, all had prior connections to Hardaway or the city of Memphis, which made the sell job that much easier. In the 2020 class, the area is down for talent. Yes, Achiuwa, Boogie Ellis and Lester Quinones were major wins, similar recruiting victories that could still be ahead, but expectations may have to dampened some.
The Tigers primary recruits won't commit until the spring and the city as a whole is down, which contributed to their silent fall.
Do you see a 4th player in the Indiana class?— Lance Becker (@LaBeck81) November 24, 2019
For sure. Indiana did a great job of stockpiling its perimeter with Jordan Geronimo on the wing, and at the guard position, top-instate seniors Anthony Leal and Trey Galloway. That is a solid three-man bunch, but also not all that will be needed in Bloomington for next season.
A lead guard that can both playmake and facilitate is a major need at IU. Who might fill that spot remains up for debate and likely won’t be answered until the spring, whether it is via the decommitment, reclassification, international, or grad-transfer fronts. The same can be said for an interior post player, especially if Trayce Jackson-Davis leaves after just one season of college ball.
The Hoosiers will lose Devonte Green and De’Ron Davis after this season due to graduation. They could stand pat, but Archie Miller wants another primary ballhandler and rim presence. Neither options are easily answerable but the Hoosiers are definitely not done in 2020.
Will UNC land anyone else for the 2020 class?— Micah Holloway (@Micahholloway24) November 24, 2019
My bet is that North Carolina is not done with its 2020 class, despite being full on its scholarship count for next year. Thanks to a strong five-man class that practically checks all of the boxes, the Tar Heels won’t strike not any time soon, but rather in the spring and only if an early departure hits the program.
The Tar Heels will attempt to draw out the recruitment of Ziaire Williams, though I do not see the five-star playing things out that long and instead, will commit to a west coast-based school. Greg Brown is a far-fetched target. Their final strike could come with a grad-transfer.
Roy Williams indoctrinating five freshmen, all of which could contribute in some way next season, at a program that has relied often on much older talent, may be asking a lot. Six freshmen would be something else! This all brings us to the grad-transfer realm, which would make a whole lot of sense where adding a much more experienced piece to its roster next season similar to what UNC did earlier this year with Christian Keeling and Justin Pierce.
Kerwin Walton update?— nick (@ncgrpy) November 24, 2019
Kerwin Walton is done with his visits and is now in decision-making mode. He completed his official visit tour to Vanderbilt last week, and has already been to the campuses at Arizona, Cal, Creighton, Iowa State, Miami, Minnesota and North Carolina. Walton is one of the top shooters in the 2020 class that possesses quality size on the perimeter. Selecting a clear favorite has never been the easiest with Walton, which became that much more difficult when his stock took off thanks to a slew of tremendous performances in July.
I would expect a college commitment in the coming weeks. By Dec. 1, he will have gone three weeks after completing his official visits. Arizona remains my FutureCast selection and I feel fairly confident.