Fastbreak Friday: Harvard, Kentucky, & Oklahoma roll out the red carpet
Wow, it sure was a busy weekend on the recruiting front last Saturday and Sunday as a bevy of top-125 recruits came off the board. Things didn’t change much throughout this past week as Marquette, Wisconsin, and Michigan State dipped into the pool by grabbing their very own prospect from the upcoming classes. This weekend, things may not be as fluid as the prior weekend, but there will be a few programs pushing for a commitment.
While things aren’t as a clean and cut when it comes to predicting our commitments over the course of the next 72 hours, Ole Miss, Memphis, and a few others do stand in a good spot for a visitor this weekend. In the meantime, Harvard takes the spotlight in hosting the top ranked prospect in all of America….that’s right, Harvard!
HARVARD HOSTS THE ELITE OF THE ELITE
Every year, some of the very best students that the world has to offer descend upon the campus of Harvard University, hopefully setting themselves up to be the best within their respective fields. However, how often does the Ivy League institution get the chance to boast the very best high school basketball player that world has to offer? Not very often, hence the reason for why this weekend is so immense for Tommy Amaker’s squad.
Wendell Carter, a 6-foot-11 center from Pace Academy in Georgia, will not just be taking a sympathy visit to Cambridge these next 48-hours; he will be using the first of his five allotted official visits to see what the Crimson have to offer.
One of the very most skilled big men that the prep ranks has seen in some time now, Carter is someone that is a dying breed within all of basketball. He can have an offense be run through him on the block, can score facing the basket out to 17-feet, has improved his athleticism and physical frame substantially in recent months, and is one of the most consistent double-double producers in all of the land.
While Kentucky, Georgia and Georgia Tech are also in the running for the Peach State native, the heavy favorites come down to a final two: Duke and Harvard. It will always be difficult to decline an invitation to suit up for Coach K in Durham, yet Carter is just that different that he could change around the entire complexion of the college recruiting process and opt to attend the New England based school next year. He will be joined by Mario Haskett, a 6-foot-1 combo guard that has already committed to the Ivy League program and one better expect for then LC Bird star to do his very best to dish out his first offer as a member of the program.
Danilo Djuricic will also visit and while a commitment could be added from the 6-foot-7 Canadian, if one could be landed from the number-one ranked prospect, look for Tommy Amaker and his staff to take a one week vacation down to the Bahamas for they may have created the biggest splash in recent memory on the recruiting trail.
OTHER NOTABLE VISITS
It is mid-September and Kentucky has yet to host a recruit for an official visit. That changes this weekend as PJ Washington heads to campus. The top-30 power forward is one of the best rebounders in his entire class and while others such as UNC, Texas, and UNLV are heavy in the hunt for the Texas native, Kentucky seems to be the favorite for him. A commitment might not be received this weekend, though an early signing out of the productive Findlay Prep senior may be in the cards come November.
While the Fighting Irish missed out on its top forward prospect in Jaren Jackson on Thursday as the La Lumiere star committed to Michigan State, the ACC bunch is back at it again in hosting three prospects found within our top-60 of our rankings from the 2017 and 2018 classes. Robby Carmody and Cormac Ryan, two very talented and athletic junior shooting guard prospects, head to South Bend for a quick stay on Saturday. Beforehand, Darryl Morsell, one of the top stock boosters form this past summer, gets a look at Mike Brey’s program beginning Friday. It will be the Maryland native’s first official visit as the Irish will continue to battle the likes of Maryland, Virginia Tech, Dayton, and Villanova for the guard’s services.
This is the weekend that Lon Kruger and his staff have been waiting for. Not only do they get the chance to host top-50 junior guard Quentin Grimes and committed senior forward Brady Manek, but the hometown kid, Trae Young, takes his official visit to OU. The Norman native is a five-star lead guard that would immediately leave a giant footprint on the Buddy-less Sooner program, something that one has to assume Oklahoma is force-feeding down his throat with how he could be used just like the now New Orleans Pelican shooting guard. Kentucky and Kansas remain other viable threats but this weekend is a giant one for the Big 12 gang.
The Vols are set to host some of the better underclassmen talent over the next few days in Knoxville but it is the thunder and lightning combo of two senior forwards that they will give the most attention to. Isaiah Stokes, the younger brother of former Tennessee star Jarnell Stokes and a top-125 recruit in his own right, heads to campus. Along with him is Tyler Polley, a slender but skilled, shot making forward from the state of Florida. A commitment from either of the two would be a great addition to Rick Barnes’ bunch moving ahead.
In what might be the most comprehensive list of visitors that we will see all fall long, Buzz Williams and his staff in Blacksburg plan to bring in 18 prospects from the states of North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Florida, New Jersey, along with a few from the Washington, DC region. The likes of Rasir Bolton, Anthony Harris, Kiyon Boyd, Oscar Tshebwe, and Earl Timberlake are the headliners and receiving a commitment from any of those on campus would be a great landing for the ACC crew.
We hit on four of the six predicted commitments last week and are now 100-percent this fall in our commitment of the week predictions. Who may be ready join Jericho Sims, Darius McNeill, and D’shawn Schwartz in making us correct again? While things aren’t as clear cut, we give a shot at our commitment of the week along with a few others that might pop off the board before Monday morning rolls around.
PREDICTION OF THE WEEK
WILLIAM DOUGLAS COMMITS TO OLE MISS
A super tough lead guard from the state of Tennessee, William Douglas became a hot name this past July but all throughout the spring and summer, Ole Miss has been the most talked about name surrounding the Christian Brothers guard. It is Alabama weekend in Oxford and with Nick Saban and his crew ready to battle the Rebels, Andy Kennedy and his staff will be hosting a plethora of visitors from the upcoming classes. However, the buck stops here with Douglas as the playmaking lead guard will come off the board and call the SEC program at Ole Miss during his four years of college play.
NOTABLE COMMITMENTS TO TRACK
DAVID NICKELBERRY COMMITS TO MEMPHIS
A 6-foot-7 wing-forward type that is best used on the ball, David Nickelberry would be a tremendous addition to a restocking program at Memphis. This being his first official visit to date, the Sunshine State native could decide to be patient with the process, or he could call it a day and commit to Tubby Smith and his gang, giving the program in the AAC an elite playmaker and mismatch option from the 2017 class.
DARIUS BANKS COMMITS TO DUQUESNE
Another product of the state of Florida, Darius Banks is a hard playing small forward with a confident and consistent jumper that he can hit with range. A bevy of mid-major programs have continued to track the 6-foot-5 senior but after landing the services of another Sunshine State native last weekend in Jamari Wheeler, the Dukes might just be another inch closer to creating a solid two-man class of Florida recruits this fall.
ETHAN THOMPSON COMMITS TO OREGON STATE
This one may take some time or just like Nickelberry, end this weekend. Ethan Thompson, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard with an unbelievable feel for the game and shot making powers under his belt, heads to Oregon State, a familiar program for him. His older brother, Stephen, is a rising sophomore on the team and his father is an assistant on the staff in Corvallis. Syracuse remains in pursuit but the Beavers will do their very best to end things these next few days and in doing so, add another top-100 recruit to its cupboard of talent.
CJ ROBERTS COMMITS TO MISSOURI
Missouri needs some talent to get the program headed back in the right direction and after a solid 2016 class that brought in some toughness and upside, the 2017 class will hopefully start this weekend. Hosting CJ Roberts over a 48-hour span, the Texas native has become known for his microwave scoring abilities from 22-feet and in. Recently releasing his top six this past Thursday, Kim Anderson and his crew will be itching from a commitment from the three-star guard all weekend long.