USA Basketball Trials: Duke & Kentucky create all the buzz
We are now less than a month to go before the beginning of the early signing period and at the current moment, Kentucky and Duke, the two top talented getters in past years, hold just one college commitment combined. That is all due to change and with a litany of opportunities to be at places such as those in Durham and Lexington, a bevy of each of the program’s 2017 targets were on hand in Colorado Springs for the USA Basketball trials.
The talk of the camp surrounded around what program might do and furthermore, what prospects they might land in the coming weeks. The point guard position has been heavily debated of late as both school must find a ball handling floor general that can come in and contribute immediately next year. Duke has focused in on Matt Coleman but the Texas Longhorns have steadied the storm as the Longhorns may be too difficult to defeat. The likes of Quade Green, Trevon Duval, and Trae Young have recently received further correspondence form the Blue Devils but could it be too late? Syracuse is the heavy favorite for Green, though Kentucky will host the Philly product this weekend and things are still in the beginning stages for Duval.
Speaking of Young, the 6-foot-2 floor general was superb all weekend long and has yet to hit a wall with his progressions as a well-rounded ballplayer. The SEC bunch is pushing hard for a commitment but Oklahoma and Kansas remain heavy in the mix where this recruitment will go on for a while longer and spill into the spring.
At the combo forward position, both Duke and Kentucky have their eyes on Kevin Knox. While Duke has been seen as the heavy favorite for the 6-foot-8 forward, Kentucky and UNC have gained ample ground in recent weeks and please do not forget about what Leonhard Hamilton has been known to do in landing elite recruit after elite recruit that call the state of Florida home.
PJ Washington laced things up in Colorado Springs and it would seem that Big Blue Nation might be ready to celebrate a commitment from the 6-foot-7 power forward. Sure, others such as UNLV, Texas, and UNC have stuck to their guns, yet a visit to Lexington this weekend might be the last time the premier rebounder of the ball hits the open road as an uncommitted prospect.
Down low, while the likes of Mo Bamba and Nick Richards were not in attendance, two prospects that both blueblood programs remain involved for, one big man that did suit up in Colorado was Wendell Carter. The 6-foot-10, polished-as-can be center, has been heavily courted by Duke for some time now and even John Calipari saw the writing on the wall and has eased out of contention for the Pace Academy star. However, Tommy Amaker and his Harvard Crimson program is no longer just in the fight for the kicks and giggles of it all; the Ivy bunch could undoubtedly land the elite 5-man and it wouldn’t shock many with the recruiting biz.
Speaking of Carter, there has been some buzz surrounding the potential package deal with Gary Trent. The 6-foot-5 shooting guard comes in the throwback variety and is one of the best shot makers in all of high school basketball. The Blue Devils, Michigan State, and UCLA are the last three standing for the top of the line bucket getter but the lure of playing for a national championship and alongside good friend and USA teammate Wendell Carter might be too difficult to say no which may only push further for the top-five big man’s commitment to the program based out of Durham, North Carolina.
Others such as Hamidou Diallo, John Petty, Deng Gak, and Tremont Waters are also being courted by either or both of the blueblood programs and with four weeks to go before the early signing period, expect for Duke and Kentucky to land its fair share of talent heading into the college basketball season. However, your guess may be as good as those within the industry as to who lands where.