Wednesday's Mailbag: Moussa Cisse, UK, Louisville, more
Corey Evans has several questions to address in this week’s Wednesday’s Mailbag. First up is the ongoing saga of Moussa Cisse. Which color Tiger will Cisse select, and is a commitment near? Evans also looks at potential reclassifications that might work in favor of Kentucky, Louisville’s next potential pick-up and more.
2022 Rankings: Top 75
The tides have turned on the Moussa Cisse front. LSU was the leader in the clubhouse last month when he announced his reclassification into the 2020 class, and it felt like a commitment would immediately follow. Weeks then went by without a college decision, which allowed the rest of his finalists to find some traction, which is apparently what has happened.
A commitment is now expected sometime this week, and if that is the case Memphis likely will be keeping him home for college. We have been told a number of times to be on the lookout for his decision, so maybe this is another false alarm, but the Memphis chatter has grown in recent weeks. I would almost be surprised now if he didn’t commit to Memphis which would give Penny Hardaway's program arguably the best shot-blocking weapon in college basketball next season.
Clark is one of the best playmakers in the 2022 class and he is a national target. If he made the leap into the 2021 class, he would be in the conversation for the best point guard in the nation in that class. He recently moved with his family to Nashville, leaving the West Coast and settling into Kentucky’s back yard. The Wildcats just offered him last week and things are trending toward a UK lean on Clark’s part. He might also jump into the 2021 class later if all things work out accordingly.
Huntley-Hatfield, the younger cousin of former UK standout Alex Poythress, has not been shy about his feelings toward the blueblood. The Tennessee native reclassified into the 2022 class two years ago and is much younger compared to others in the 2021 class, so it is not as if he is older for his current class. But his talent and abilities would definitely be welcomed by John Calipari as early as next fall.
If Clark reclassifies it would take the Wildcats out of contention for Kennedy Chandler, while Huntley-Hatfield would actually be a bonus when it comes to recruiting Paolo Banchero to play alongside him. Throw in Jaden Hardy, Jacob Toppin (who will sit out this upcoming season) and maybe a four-star prospect to fill things out and what you have is another top class that would keep the Wildcats among the best in college hoops.
Actually, let’s throw Gabe Wiznitzer into Louisville’s 2021 class. I know he will enroll this fall, but he will also redshirt, which would keep him in his original class. So, he will be seeing the floor for the first time alongside Bryce Hopkins, El Ellis and Bobby Pettiford. I like the overall talent base of Louisville's 2021 class, but if it wants to compete for anything more than a first weekend appearance in the NCAA Tournament a home run commitment is needed.
Ellis brings experience, Pettiford possesses explosiveness and toughness, Wiznitzer boasts a rounded skill-set in the frontcourt and Hopkins is a versatile wing-forward with star potential. But Chris Mack and his staff have also made it a point to recruit elite talent nationally, which is why Mack's next commitment, if one does happen this fall, will come from one of the best.
There is no heavy Louisville lean, but Malaki Branham, Aminu Mohammed, Roosevelt Wheeler, Jordan Hawkins, Hunter Sallis, Harrison Ingram and Jalen Warley remain top targets for the Cardinals. Of the group, Branham, Mohammed and Wheeler are the likeliest, though I wouldn’t count the Cardinals out with any on the list. They have a great need for a ball-handling guard-wing, which is why Sallis, Ingram and Warley are such massive priorities. But any of the seven would do when it comes to securing a face-of-the program type of player in the 2021 class.
Despite the emergence of regionalized recruiting in recent months - correlated with the ongoing pandemic - Miami has remained a major threat throughout the Northeast and in the thick of it with some of the best prospects in that portion of the United States.
Gabe Dorsey has several higher academic schools to choose from, along with Penn State, where his brother will be a freshman this fall. But Miami is a team to beat, though a decision date has not been set.
The Hurricanes are also involved for Rahsool Diggins but their chances are slim with the four-star guard. Keep an eye on Tyrese Hunter and Stevie Mitchell. Both have the Canes high on their school list, but the question is whether they will be willing to leave their region for college.
Others worth tracking include John Camden, Alex Fudge, Lynn Kidd, Moussa Diabate, Mac Etienne and Samson Johnson. Miami will have to replace a fairly large group after the season due to graduation, so look for Jim Larranaga and his staff to be one of the busier ones in the coming months.
Last week, top 20 power forward Daimion Collins made the first step toward his eventual college decision when he cut his school list to a group of ten consisting of Alabama, Arkansas, Baylor, Houston, Kansas, LSU, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech. Of the group, LSU, Oklahoma, and Texas have connected with him the most often.
Digging deeper into the situation, I moved my FutureCast to OU last week. Texas is the Sooners' greatest competitor and the fact that the Longhorns were his dream school growing up only helps UT’s case. However, Collins has developed a strong rapport with Lon Kruger and his coaching staff. He competes for the Team Griffin travel program that is sponsored by former Sooners standout Blake Griffin and is very close friends with OU commit Bijan Cortes. If things ended today, Collins would be Norman bound.
On a confidence scale of one to 10, I would say it is around a five. Robert McCray, one of the latest to work his way into the Rivals150, has not seen as many high-major programs enter his enter his recruitment as his Upward Stars’ travel teammates Cesare Edwards and Josh Beadle. But that doesn’t mean McCray doesn’t have quality college options.
Some of the best mid-major programs along the East Coast have taken a strong liking to McCray, but if he wants to play for a high-major program, then it will more than likely happen at Florida or Wake Forest. Both programs have a need in the backcourt and have placed his name among the top of their recruiting boards. There is no timeline for a decision, but if one is near Mike White and Steve Forbes have the best shot to land him.