Having already gone over some of the winners from the early signing period, that coming from both the power and non-power conference level, let’s take a look ahead at who has the most to gain in the weeks and months ahead. This is not a loser’s column but more so about the programs and ballplayers that could come out as winners during the winter months.
We all know that Duke is going to get theirs out on the recruiting trail. While they do sit within the top-15 of our class rankings, there still is a lot to be done with the Blue Devils’ 2017 class. Boasting signatures from two top-50 wings in Alex O’Connell and Gary Trent, the ACC blueblood remains on strong guard with a bevy of the remaining elite talent still left on the board. A December commitment seems to be in the cards for top-50 guard Matt Coleman as Duke is fighting off Texas and Stanford for his talents. They also remain in the mix for Trevon Duval, a five-star lead guard out of New Jersey, but where the program out of Durham has their eyes is in the frontcourt. Wendell Carter, the top rated prospect out of the senior class, is hedging towards a commitment on Wednesday where the Blue Devils seem to be in a great spot for him. Furthermore, Kevin Knox, another five-star forward out of Florida, has spoken highly on Duke in the past where, if all goes right for the Blue Devils, the ACC gang will once again come out as giant winners from the winter months.
Just like Duke, Bill Self and his staff still have some work to do out on the recruiting trail. While they do boast a talented combo guard with Marcus Garrett and have Mississippi State transfer Malik Newman sitting out, the need for further fire power on the wings of the floor and down low is evidently clear. Billy Preston is nearing a college decision and in recent weeks, the Jayhawks have made up tons of ground on USC for the talents of the five-star forward. His former teammate at API, Trevon Duval, recently published his final list of schools with the Jayhawks included within his final five. A few others to keep an eye on for the Big 12 program is Kenny Wooten, a massively improving forward from California, MJ Walker, a five-star small forward from Georgia, and Trae Young, as Kansas has made up some ground in the pursuit of the sharpshooting lead guard out of Oklahoma.
The Cuse escaped the early signing period with a lone signee in hand, that coming from top-50 forward O’Shae Brissett. Sure, the Canadian is a tremendous talent but there is a lot more needed at Jim Boeheim’s program. Rest assured Syracuse fans, sunny days look to be ahead for the former Big East brigade. On Saturday, Syracuse is favored to land its lead guard recruit that it has been yearning for in Quade Green. The five-star guard is someone that has been lacking since Tyler Ennis laced up his sneaks for the Orange and on Monday, the Orange could go a step further by landing Bourama Sidibe, a top-125 big man that is also looking at Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. To top it all off, Hamidou Diallo, a five-star and top rated shooting guard from the 2017 class, has begun to show some love to Syracuse, thus, a late signing would be an unbelievable ending to a well-rounded senior class for Boeheim and his program.
PROSPECTS READY FOR STOCK SOARING
While a majority of the top college prospects are already off the board and those that do remain within the top-125 of our rankings have already narrowed down their list of schools, who might be some of the new names that see their recruitment skyrocket this winter?
Kenny Wooten, a prospect that we already spoke on, is someone that will become a priority college prospect. The elite athlete and super long bodied forward is just a menace on the defensive end as the former Nevada commit has seen his stock improve steadily in recent weeks and by the New Year, we expect for the California native to become a nationally acclaimed name due to his versatility and upside.
Brewster Academy has two prospects that have more than enough talent and potential to become highly followed power-conference recruits.
First is Michael Okauru, a 6-foot-4 combo guard out of North Carolina, a prospect that is actually used best on the ball and has improved his jumper in recent months, making him a threat on the offensive end as a playmaker and scorer. He has shades of Florida lead guard Kasey Hill to him and could see his stock soar in the weeks ahead.
His teammate at Brewster, Curtis Haywood, is everything that you look for in a college prospect. The Oklahoma native is a versatile defender as he stands at 6-foot-5 where he shows off a near 7-foot wingspan, is a capable shot maker, with toughness to boot; add it all up and the senior wing has the makings of a high-major recruit.
Remaining in the prep ranks, we have been harping on Isaac Kante for a while and with the season now at hand, expect for the New Yorker’s stock to explode in the coming weeks. A polished 15-foot and in big man that is great out of the high post setting, the lacking crop of productive frontcourt pieces is there, thus making the Putnam Science 4-man that much more valuable.