Wednesday's Leftovers: Latest on Memphis, Indiana, Florida, more
Things are beginning to pick up on the recruiting front, as many players in the Rivals150 have cut their lists and a number of others have already made their college decisions. For this week’s Wednesday’s Leftovers, we get to your questions about which programs might be the favorites for James Bouknight, Drew Timme, Isaiah Stewart and Akok Akok, and also how things are looking for Indiana, Memphis and Florida as the fall approaches.
The 2019 class could be an absolute boom for the Memphis basketball program, or the Tigers could fall on their face and come up with none of their top targets, but I do not see the latter happening. And while I do think they miss on Matt Hurt and CJ Walker, I believe they are the favorite for Trendon Watford. Memphis has picked up major ground with him, and while defeating LSU, Florida State and Alabama may be difficult, the Tigers should be able to do just that.
DJ Jeffries, following his Kentucky decommitment, was thought to be an easy pick-up for Memphis. That isn't the case, though Memphis is involved, as are Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Kansas, and MSU might be a bigger presence than others think. Finally, James Wiseman, the third-ranked senior who was formerly coached by Penny Hardaway on the high school and travel circuit scenes, has not said much about his recruitment despite the attention paid to him. Is it Kentucky or is it Memphis? It is a total toss-up, really, but when push comes to shove, I guess I say it is Memphis, though that sentiment changes by the week.
Honestly, the idea that Indiana desperately needs a lead guard in the 2019 class has been overblown. Would the Hoosiers loved to have nabbed five-star guard DJ Carton? Sure, but it was not the end of the world that they missed, as their pressing needs remain in the frontcourt and on the wings. They need a bucket-getter in this this class to replace likely one-and-done Romeo Langford. That could be Keion Brooks. In the frontcourt, all eyes remain on Trayce Jackson-Davis, though they have found traction with Matt Hurt, Isaiah Stewart and Zeke Nnaji.
Archie Miller and his staff would like to add a guard-wing piece, at the least, so Brandon Newman, Armaan Franklin and Jahmius Ramsey are worth keeping an eye on. The returns of Devonte Green, Al Durham and Robert Phinisee will help IU next year, but if there is a guard within its grasp, it is James Bouknight, a Rivals150 guard that the Hoosiers are battling UConn, VCU, Miami and Virginia Tech for.
Florida’s prime target in the 2019 class is Tre Mann. The top 30 guard has put off his commitment for the time being, and he will visit UNC next month as the Tar Heels could be gaining ground, though I do believe the Gators will end up with his commitment.
Mann’s travel teammate, CJ Walker, will be cutting his list soon, as his recruitment has gone national. Should the Gators be perceived as the heavy favorite? No, but they are among the tops for his commitment, a pledge that I think they land.
Five-star big man Isaiah Stewart visited Georgetown last weekend, which will likely be the last visit he takes prior to the publishing of his final list. Currently down to a group of 10, the Hoyas have remained a factor in his recruitment. I am not totally sure that they make his final list of schools. Even if they do, Duke, Michigan State and Villanova may be the three to beat as the fall months approach. Indiana, Texas, and Notre Dame are strongly in contention, too, as is the local Syracuse program, but I do not see Georgetown as the ultimate destination for Stewart. He is intrigued by the idea of learning under the tutelage of Patrick Ewing, but that might not be enough to get the Hoyas over the hump for the elite power forward.
Rivals150 guard James Bouknight announced his final five last week: Indiana, UConn, Miami, VCU and Virginia Tech. While he has scheduled a visit for Miami, and VCU may have recruited Bouknight the longest, UConn and Indiana sit in the best spot for him.
If I had to select one as the program to beat, UConn might be it. Much still has to play out in the coming weeks with Bouknight, and his visits to his finalists should clarify things further. However, the Huskies and Hoosiers are the ones to beat for one of the better shot-makers in the class of 2019.
It is a complete guessing game with Drew Timme, and that is even after he decided to narrow his school list earlier this month to a group of 10. That group includes Michigan State, Illinois, Purdue, Louisville, Alabama, Texas Tech, Gonzaga, Texas A&M, Arizona and Oklahoma.
Illinois is in the hunt, but its chances with him might not be as strong as it is for Gonzaga, Michigan State and Purdue. Illinois coach Brad Underwood does have an advantage over others in that he was one of the first on the scene for Timme, and prioritized the top 50 prospect during his time Oklahoma State long before any others. Getting a great feel on Timme’s recruitment remains difficult, and where he ends up scheduling his official visits might help clear things up some.
Give me Syracuse or UConn for Akok Akok. The four-star forward put together one of the better summers that a rising senior could ever dream of, but even before that his recruitment had risen, as some of the best programs in the Northeast had placed a heavy priority on him.
Syracuse and UConn gained some traction in the spring, and that momentum didn’t stall a bit in July. Whispers have engulfed UConn and Syracuse of late, though Akok has stated he is wide open with his recruiting process. Expect for the two former Big East rivals, to go along with Texas Tech, Pitt, Providence, and Georgetown, to have a chance with the top-30 prospect.