Fastbreak Friday: Key prospects visit Arizona, Kentucky, UNC & St. John's
In what is shaping up to be the most loaded list of college visitors all fall long, whether it be for various midnight madness festivities at places like Kentucky, St. John’s, and Arizona, or seniors looking to finish out their official visit tour, the next few days will be jam packed with some of the best hitting the road.
Kentucky will roll out the red carpet for its Big Blue Madness as it hosts several of its top targets from the 2017 class along with a few others from the younger ranks. They won’t be alone in attempting to impress as we give a quick glimpse at the top visits ahead along with taking another stab at possible commitments that could ensue before Monday morning rolls around.
BIG BLUE MADNESS ONLY FOR THE BEST
Every year, Big Blue Madness takes center stage as John Calipari proclaims what looms ahead for his Wildcats in Lexington. The excited Kentucky faithful get their first viewing of what could be many of their players’ last Octobers at UK as they get emceed into the event, throw down spectacular dunks in the dunk contest, and run up and down the floor in a quick exhibition.
This year, nothing will be out of the norm and as usual, some of the top prospect on the UK recruiting board will be in attendance for a weekend stay. The SEC program has yet to land a ballplayer from the 2017 class and while most of their damage is usually occurs in the springtime, Kentucky does oftentimes have at least one recruit in the hopper by now. That could all change in the days ahead as they will look to push for a commitment or two.
Hosting five members of the senior class, all five are McDonald’s All-American candidates as each can be found with the top-30 of our 2017 HoopSeen Top-125 Rankings. In need of a lead guard recruit for next year as De’Aaron Fox, the five-star recruit that will lead the way during his freshman year this winter, is expected to be a one and done. Hence, Calipari and his gang will host Quade Green and Trae Young these next few days. Green, a native of Philadelphia, has been seen as a Syracuse lean for a while so seeing the 6-foot guard in blue and white isn’t looking too good. However, Young, a 6-foot-2 lead guard with a penchant for shot making, has a final six but it is Kentucky and Oklahoma that are out in the lead for the Norman, Oklahoma native’s commitment. This one will go down until the spring but a good weekend could make UK the one to beat.
Kentucky will then peer into the frontcourt as it hosts Kevin Knox, PJ Washington, and Nick Richards. The most former is down to a final five with Duke, UNC, and Florida State in heavy pursuit and while he is a ways off from a college commitment, the Sunshine State native would flourish in Lexington. It is the latter two visitors that are heavy Kentucky leans and if all goes right and push comes to shove, might the blueblood program land both by weekend’s end? It is a strong possibility. Washington, down to a final three, is making a return visit to UK as he visited just a few weeks back. Richards is in the same mold and with another visit in line for the tough minded big man this weekend, UK could come away with two fabulous and premier rebounders of the ball from the 2017 class.
The staff at UK didn’t just stop there as they will host a few others from the younger classes as Romeo Langford, the top ranked shooting guard, Cameron Reddish, a top-10 small forward, and Immanuel Quickley, a top-five lead guard, all of whom are members of the 2018 class, will hit the Lexington campus for a quick stay. Christian Brown, a top standout from the USA Basketball minicamp last week and his travel teammate, Ashton Hagans, will also be in attendance, along with Christian Watford, all three being top-50 recruits from the sophomore class.
While the list in Lexington is tough to beat, Sean Miller and his very own Wildcats will play host to their own top, elite targets these next few days. Led by already committed and five-star big man DeAndre Ayton set to be on campus, one better believe that the Bahamian native will do his best to lure talent to play alongside him for what could be a monstrous recruiting class in 2017. Lonnie Walker and Ira Lee will join the number-two ranked senior in Tucson. Word is that the Wildcats have jumped into the lead for Walker, a top-30 recruit from Pennsylvania as a commitment could occur by weekend’s end, though the Reading High standout has spoken on taking all over his visits before coming off the board. Others heading to the Pac 12 campus this weekend will be top-50 recruits Brandon Williams, a lead guard that Arizona is out in the lead for, Gerald Liddell, and Quentin Grimes.
Last week’s hurricane changed some plans for the Gators but now with sunny skies, Florida will play host to its top recruits left on the board within the 2017 class. Already sitting with a top-25 recruiting class aided by the commitments of two, top-125 guard commits, Mike White’s bunch will hope to cement its frontcourt with a pair of top-100 visitors. Kimani Lawrence, nearing the end to his recruitment, will give the Gainesville campus a look as Pitt and Arizona State remain in the fight for the top-50 wing’s commitment. Along with him will be IMG big man Isaiah Stokes, a sturdy and productive 15-feet and in big man that is being hastily pursued by Iowa State, TCU, and Tennessee.
There hasn’t been a ton of talking about the in-state Bulldogs’ chances with top ranked big man Wendell Carter but this weekend, the Peach State native will give a hard look at the SEC program. A premier back to the rim and polished center that has been seen as a heavy Duke lean with Harvard standing a chance, Mark Fox and his crew will do their best to impress the elite big man. Sure, landing a commitment from the five-star center would be a giant, giant reach but just getting involved within Carter’s final four list of schools at least gives the Bulldogs a fighting chance with the premier low post asset.
The Tar Heels have put together one of the top 2017 classes within the ACC and a top-25 class in all of the land where this weekend, the ACC program in Chapel Hill will hope to add to it. Jarred Vanderbilt, the top ranked prospect set to be on campus, is a bit of a far-fetched landing spot but the sell that Roy Williams will give may be difficult to say no to. Along with the five-star senior will be Sterling Manley, a 6-foot-9 center out of Ohio that is down to a final four including UNC, Xavier, Purdue, and WVU. If all goes right, this weekend could be the end to the Pickerington Central big man’s recruitment. The top-ranked east coast recruit from the junior class will also be on campus as Zion Williamson makes the quick drive up from South Carolina in giving a look into the UNC basketball program. A few other notable visitors include Trinity Christian teammates and top-50 prospects out of the 2019 class coming in the form of Joey Baker and Josh Nickelberry.
While the Johnnies have been a bit silent on the recruiting front after putting together a very solid 2015 and 2016 recruiting class, the Big East bunch will look to the future this weekend as they host the very best from the New York City-New Jersey region for its midnight madness. Its headline visitors will be Naz Reid, a five-star forward from Roselle Catholic, Moses Brown, the top ranked center from the 2018 class, Precious Achiuwa, the younger brother of former St. Johns’ star God’s Gift Achiuwa, and Ranney School stars Bryan Antoine and Scottie Lewis. Landing any of the five would be an enormous addition to Chris Mullin’s program but with a litany of talent in Queens this weekend, a commitment from any on hand would lead to even further success for the Red Storm.
- ANTHONY MACK – MISSOURI
- STERLING MANLEY – UNC
- IKEY OBIAGU – BAYLOR
- LONNIE WALKER – ARIZONA
- PJ WASHINGTON – KENTUCKY
- LUTHER MUHAMMAD – ST. JOHN’S
- BRANDON WILLIAMS – ARIZONA