Wednesday's Leftovers: Ziaire Williams, Duke, Oklahoma
The mailbag was running over with questions this week, and Wednesday’s Leftovers is loaded with information pertaining to some of the nation’s elite. Today, we take a look at North Carolina’s chances with Ziaire Williams, the latest on Cliff Omoruyi, who leads for Kennedy Chandler and what Duke and Oklahoma might achieve with their 2021 classes.
Completely out? No, North Carolina is still in the running for Ziaire Williams despite being full on scholarships for the year. Early departures and unexpected defections do happen, which is why the Tar Heels remain in touch with the five-star prospect. Their only chance would be for Williams to hold off from committing until after the season - and a roster loss. Then, and only then, would UNC have a chance to take Williams, so look for Roy Williams to string out the top-10 prospect so the Tar Heels might have a chance in the spring.
I don’t expect that to happen, though. The feeling is that Williams will visit Oregon and potentially UCLA in the coming weeks and then go into deliberation mode. The three programs to beat are Arizona, Stanford and USC. The Cardinal had most of the talk this summer, while the Trojans were the talk of the fall. However, my prediction currently sits with Sean Miller’s program and a commitment will likely to be made in late winter.
Cliff Omoruyi is behind only Hunter Dickinson as the top available center prospect. Last week, Omoruyi narrowed his school list to a group of eight consisting of Arizona State, Auburn, Kentucky, Memphis, Miami, NC State, Rutgers and UConn.
Earlier this fall, Omoruyi decided to postpone his remaining his visits until the spring. He has already taken an official visit to Auburn and has been to Pitt, Rutgers and UConn. Arizona State has received most of the talk in recent weeks, but could the distance from home work against the Sun Devils?
Also make note of Kentucky. Omoruyi has taken a great liking to potentially playing alongside such a great playmaker in Devin Askew. The two developed strong chemistry dating back to their camp days, and Askew could be a chip that John Calipari uses as he tries to woo Omoruyi to Lexington.
Look for Omoruyi to potentially visit the local programs when his calendar allows, as was the case when he visited Rutgers last week. From there, official visits will be taken once his high school season completes, with a signing likely to happen in April.
I am not sure where the idea came from that Kennedy Chandler was a done deal for Memphis. Yes, the Tigers have done a tremendous job of keeping the very best from the city at home since the hiring of Penny Hardaway, but Chandler seems to be from a different mold.
First, he has zero ties to Hardaway or his staff, as he plays for MoKan Elite on the travel circuit and attends Briarcrest Christian. Are the Tigers one that will be under heavy consideration once he is set to make his decision? Yes, but I am willing to take the field on this one.
North Carolina just offered last week, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the other bluebloods followed. Once programs realize how poor the point guard crop is in the 2021 class is - and how great of a playmaker Chandler is - more will jump in. He has already visited Ole Miss, Tennessee and Syracuse officially, and he will head to Florida State and Michigan in February, and maybe Carolina, too.
Keep an eye on the bluebloods, but if he does stay closer to home, Tennessee may be more difficult to beat than most believe.
After enrolling a giant class this fall, Oklahoma has been rather silent with its 2020 class, primarily because there weren’t many pressing needs. Three-star guard Trey Phipps is going to be a good one in Norman, but the 2021 class could be a much larger one.
Its top priority is Manny Obaseki. The four-star guard told me last week that OU and Texas A&M are the two programs currently standing out, but that he will also visit Texas Tech on Jan. 25, that being his first official visit. I would also expect visits to Oklahoma and A&M once the calendar flips.
Jerrell Colbert is one name to keep an eye on, but his recruitment remains in the infancy stages. Another Texas native that Oklahoma has done a great job with is Daimion Collins, and the Sooners have also done a good job with local targets Trey Alexander and Bijan Cortes. I would be surprised if they didn't land at least one of the two guards.
Oklahoma has also looked west and tried to make some progress with some of the best talent out that way, including TyTy Washington, Nolan Hickman and Zaon Collins. The Sooners should be fairly active again this spring and summer with a bigger class ahead for 2021.
Duke might not be entirely done just yet with its 2020 class. The Blue Devils are still a finalist for Hunter Dickinson and I expect his decision to be made any day now. I see him committing to Michigan, however, which might allow the Blue Devils to strike later in the spring via the decommitment front or even attempt to reclassify someone in the mold of Jon Kuminga.
The 2021 class should be another good one for the Blue Devils. While they’re sitting with five commitments in the 2020 class, the 2021 class won't be as large but could supply greater star power.
They sit with the lone five-star 2021 commitment in AJ Griffin and should have a great chance with Patrick Baldwin Jr. and Max Christie. Pulling either away from the Midwest may be difficult, but if either were to leave, it would be for Duke. The Blue Devils will land at least one of the two, and they should also have a very good chance with Paolo Banchero, though I like Kentucky's chances. Kennedy Chandler, Chet Holmgren and Charles Bediako are worth monitoring, too.
Pitt is not done with its 2020 class. The Panthers did address their frontcourt needs by landing Noah Collier, John Hugley and Max Amadasun. They would like to now look to the backcourt, but there are not a lot of quality options currently available. Sure, the Panthers could further pursue Jalen Terry, but the top-50 guard may be a tough get. Mike Miles is one name that has popped up, and the potential to reclassify a capable 2021 guard is always an option. However, I wouldn't expect Pitt to make news anytime soon. Rather, it will keep a pulse on the high school market, monitor the transfer portal and see what comes about after the various coaching changes in the spring.