Commitments of the Week: Alabama & UNCW make a surprise
The first signing period began on Wednesday where a few of the top remaining uncommitted seniors came off the board in announcing where they would be playing their college ball next year. Sure, much that was done during the week has only cemented what we had already known. However, what programs did the most work and created even better momentum heading into the college basketball season this week?
While it would have been tough to beat Kentucky in any other week thanks to their own top-30 commitments, what Alabama did was even better, in speaking on the Tide’s recent past. Outside of Avery Johnson’s program on the power conference rung, it was UNC-Wilmington that walked away with a steal in former UCF commit and bouncy off-guard Clayton Hughes.
POWER CONFERENCE COMMITMENTS OF THE WEEK
ALABAMA ROLLS IN JOHNY PETTY & COLLIN SEXTON
Upon taking over the head coaching vacancy in Tuscaloosa two years ago, there really has not been much that Avery Johnson has failed to do. He began his first recruiting class with a bang by getting two top-50 recruits to commit and overachieved on the hardwood by fighting to the end for a tournament berth. This year? Well, all that the staff at the SEC program has done thus far has put together a top-two national recruiting class thanks to this week’s commitments of John Petty and Collin Sexton.
Petty, the top in-state recruit from Alabama out of the 2017 recruiting cycle, picked the Tide over Kentucky. Very rarely does John Calipari lose out on a guy that he wanted from the start which gives greater insight on what is cooking down in Tuscaloosa. A 6-foot-5, slender but talented wing, while Petty does demand the ball at times, he has a fine scoring prowess from 22-feet and in and underrated playmaking skills as an off the ball weapon.
On the same day as Petty’s commitment, Alabama also rolled in five-star guard Collin Sexton. One of the most entertaining, competitive, and potent scorers in all of the land, the 6-foot-1 lead guard selected Bama over the likes of NC State, Kansas, and Georgia Tech.
Sexton, an elite scorer on the high school, travel, and international scenes where he secured the MVP trophy during the under-17 World Championships this past summer in Spain, is going to become the face of the program quickly for the Tide. Someone that can score the ball at all three levels on the floor and gets to the foul like so much that it would make James Harden jealous, landing the Peach State native is a massive coup, which might be an understatement to some extreme.
Throw in Sexton and Petty to the already signed frontcourt of Herb Jones, Galin Smith, and Alex Reese, and Alabama is not just looking good for SEC supremacy this fall with its 2017 class, but could be set up for an unbelievable turnaround in years to come on the hardwood, giving Avery Johnson’s program the title of the winner of the week that was out on the trail.
NON-POWER CONFERENCE COMMITMENTS OF THE WEEK
CLAYTON HUGHES COMMITS TO UNC-WILMINGTON
Speaking of laying down a new, sturdier foundation, the work that Kevin Keatts, the former Hargrave Military Academy head coach and Louisville assistant, has done thus far at UNC-Wilmington, is beyond superb. After winning the CAA Tournament last season, the future might even be brighter for the Seahawks. This past week, Keatts and his gang solidified its future by signing three prospects out of the high school ranks, one coming with some surprise in Clayton Hughes.
A 6-foot-5 scoring wing with some major bounce at the basket, the Tennessee native was originally slated to attend UCF this fall. However, upon the coaching change in Orlando, Hughes decided to hit the reset button as he took a year of prep at Hargrave Military in Virginia. This past week, Keatts went back to his old stomping grounds by landing Hughes, an excellent addition to the CAA program.
Already boasting the signatures of Evan Cole and Brion Whitley, two fantastic recruits for UNCW this fall, many seemed to have forgotten about Hughes, someone that carried a litany of high-major interest during his high school days in Jackson. Replenishing the backcourt was a need for Wilmington this fall and now having secured two immediate shot makers with athleticism to boot with the likes of Whitley and Hughes, there is much to like with the 2017 core of talent headed to Keatts’ bunch next fall.
- Clyde Trapp, 6-foot-6 small forward, Lower Richland High School (South Carolina)
- Gary Trent Jr, 6-foot-5 shooting guard, Prolific Prep (California) – NATIONAL RANKING: 13
- Oshae Brissett, 6-foot-8 forward, Athlete Institute (Canada) – NATIONAL RANKING: 48
- Sefan Smith, 6-foot-1 point guard, Bill Crothers Secondary School (Canada)
- Nahziah Carter, 6-foot-5 small forward, Bishop Kearney High School (New York)
- AJ Ford, 6-foot-7 forward, St. Petersburg High School (Florida)
Losini Kamara, 6-foot-3 shooting guard, Park Center High School (New York)
- Malik Burnett, 6-foot-2 shooting guard, Lee High School (Alabama) – STATE RANKING: 9
- Latravian Glover, 6-foot-6 forward, South Miami High School (Florida)
- Zach Jacobs, 6-foot-7 forward, Trinity Episcopal School (Richmond)
- Clayton Hughes, 6-foot-5 swingman, Hargrave Military Academy (Virginia)
- Taveion Hollingsworth, 6-foot-3 shooting guard, Dunbar High School (Kentucky)
- Chris Vogt, 6-foot-10 center, Graves County High School (Kentucky)
- Jordan Horn, 6-foot-3 point guard, Tartan High School (Minnesota)
Greg Walter, 6-foot-7 forward, International Sports Academy (Florida)
- Troy Brown, 6-foot-6 wing, Centennial High School (Nevada) – NATIONAL RANKING: 11
- Kris Wilkes, 6-foot-8 forward, North Central High School (Indiana) – NATIONAL RANKING: 15
- Daejon Davis, 6-foot-3 combo guard, Garfield High School (Washington) – NATIONAL RANKING: 54
- John Petty, 6-foot-5 shooting guard, JO Johnson High School (Alabama) – NATIONAL RANKING: 27
- Collin Sexton, 6-foot-2 point guard, Pebblebrook High School (Georgia) – NATIONAL RANKING: 8
- Rayshaun Hammonds, 6-foot-7 small forward, Norcross High School (Georgia) – NATIONAL RANKING: 40
- Nick Richards, 6-foot-10 center, The Patrick School (New Jersey) – NATIONAL RANKING: 14
- PJ Washington, 6-foot-7 power forward, Findlay Prep (Nevada) – NATIONAL RANKING: 28
- Garrison Brooks, 6-foot-8 power forward, Auburn High School (Alabama) – NATIONAL RANKING: 112
- Felipe Haase, 6-foot-10 center, Miami Christian School (Florida)
- Hayden Koval, 7-foot-2 center, Link Year Preparatory School (Missouri)
SAM HOUSTON STATE
- Chidozie Ndu, 7-foot center, Sunrise Christian Academy (Kansas)
- Elvin Rodriguez, 6-foot point guard, Forest Trails Academy (North Carolina)
- Relando Rodgers, 6-foot-9 center, TaylorMade Academy (Florida)
- Anfernee Simons, 6-foot-2 guard, Edgewater High School (Florida) – NATIONAL RANKING: 54