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Wednesday's Leftovers: Vernon Carey, Matthew Hurt, Pitt, more

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Vernon Carey Jr.
Nick Lucero/Rivals.com

There is still work to be done this winter for some of the best in rounding out their 2019 classes. In this week’s Wednesday’s Leftovers, we take a stab at the Vernon Carey and Matt Hurt dynamics, how Pitt answers its frontcourt need, what Wisconsin’s early-season success could mean moving ahead, and where Iowa State is focused with its 2020 class.

MORE: Twitter Tuesday mailbag | Three-Point Play

As you said, the thought of Carey choosing North Carolina on Thursday is difficult to envision and while I still do not see him going anywhere else but Duke or Michigan State, UNC has definitely caught his eye. No one has made up more ground over the past month or so than the Tar Heels. Carey was practically minutes away from placing a phone call to Roy Williams in November that he would not be visiting Chapel Hill for an official visit and instead decided against it. From there, UNC made the final three and Kentucky and Miami did not.

I still believe that UNC has Carey’s eye some to some degree that he wanted to make sure he investigated further before cutting them entirely. Is it enough for Williams to land the best player in America? Again, just as you had stated, I do not see it as this one is a battle between Izzo and K.

Could Penny Hardaway secure his highest rated recruit that does not live anywhere near the Memphis campus in Matthew Hurt? I do not see it in the cards. We assessed Hurt’s situation yesterday in the #TwitterTuesday column and my fellow national analyst Eric Bossi sat down with him last week in discussing his situation thoroughly but the Tigers, to my understanding, are fighting a major uphill battle.

Sure, Hurt does have a great relationship with Mike Miller dating back before he was close to be hired on staff at Memphis. However, the rapport that Bill Self, Roy Williams and Richard Pitino have built with him and his family is just as good, too.

Kentucky has picked up some ground and his visit did not hurt its cause, either. Kansas and UNC still must be toppled, and the same could be said for Duke, a program that he will visit next month. Could Memphis win the Hurt battle? Yes, but much more work has to be done before it becomes even close to a reality.

I feel much better with Qudus Wahab for the Panthers compared to Kofi Cockburn. Cockburn will visit Illinois before the end of the month and could potentially visit the Oakland campus shortly thereafter. He has already visited UConn and is also considering Florida State, Kansas, LSU, St John’s and Syracuse as his recruitment is much more muddled compared to Wahab.

The four-star center prospect is down to a final five featuring Georgetown, Pitt, Syracuse, UConn and Virginia Tech. He told Rivals.com last week that he will make a December commitment as none of the programs involved have a tremendous feel for which way that he might be leaning. However, Georgetown, Pitt and UConn seem to have garnered most of the talk, whether deserved or not, and of the two, Wahab is the likeliest to become a Panther for first year head coach Jeff Capel.

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Guessing that you are talking about Iowa State and their focus in the 2020 class as it recently put to bed a three-man class last month. Although, it could still be on the lookout for another point guard this winter as the potential for sophomore Lindell Wigginton to enter the NBA Draft in the spring remains.

Out of the junior ranks, Jalen Terry is one name to keep tabs on. The top-50 guard has already spent an official visit on the Cyclones where this could be a battle between ISU and Michigan State. Dudley Blackwell is another as they wouldn’t mind dipping back into the Sunshine State as the Rivals150 junior told Rivals.com last month that he could take his first official visit to Ames in the weeks ahead. Xavier Foster, the top in-state prospect, has been to campus a number of times where this is brewing to be an Iowa-Iowa State battle for the top-30 recruit. Ty Berry, Jayden Stone, Matt Murrell and Chris Moore are just four others to monitor within the 2020 class.

It sure could not hurt as the Badgers have already shown that last season’s results were more of a flash in the pan than a foretelling of doom. However, Greg Gard, just like his predecessor in Bo Ryan, was never about the recruiting rankings but rather about finding the right fit in a prospect. Furthermore, protecting its home turf and the prioritizing their region was of the utmost important.

Wisconsin would absolutely love for Jalen Johnson, the top junior from the state and a top-10 wing-forward, to commit to the Badgers. That may be difficult as he has already visited Arizona, Duke and UCLA, but he is also a well-thought-out kid that will be looking for the right home for college. Jonathan Davis, another talented in-state junior, is a heavy target of the Badgers’, as is four-star forwards Ben Carlson and Dawson Garcia, each natives of Minnesota. Gard putting the program back into the proper gear might not be what wins out for all four but it definitely helps in the hunt for such highly touted juniors.