Fastbreak Friday: Top targets visit Duke
Quite possibly the last weekend of the fall that we see such an extensive list of visitors across the nation, a few programs will roll out the red carpet in hosting some of their top targets from the upcoming classes. Last weekend, Kentucky, Arizona, and UNC did just the same and this week, it is the Duke that takes the spotlight as they do their very best to persuade the elite to call Durham their future home.
Besides Duke, others such a Syracuse, Xavier and VCU will do their all to come away with a commitment of their own. While Xavier has already solidified its 2017 recruiting class and will play host to some of the best from the 2018 class, VCU and Syracuse are attempting to finishing out their own senior class as they host a prospect that they remain a favorite for. Before the weekend ensues, we take a look at where the best are and what might occur before Monday morning rolls around.
DUKE BRINGS THE CRAZINESS
Last weekend, Kentucky brought in the best as they received the spotlight as they produced their own midnight madness festivity, this coming in the form of the Big Blue Madness. The likes of John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, and Willie Cauley-Stein were all in attendance and this weekend, it is Duke’s turn to impress their slew of visitors.
Holding a lone commitment at the time being, the ACC squad will attempt to truly kick off its class in solid fashion as they bring in their top targets for a weekend’s worth of stay. Leading the group is Wendell Carter. The five-star and top ranked senior recruit out of Georgia visited the in-state SEC program last weekend but, at the time being, the hunt for the big man’s signature is coming down between Coach K and a disciple of his, Tommy Amaker and his Harvard basketball program. Duke has been the heavy favorite for some time now and this weekend could go a long way to gaining the big fella’s verbal and as an extra incentive, a fellow five-star senior recruit will join him in Durham.
One of the most polished scorers of the basketball from the high school level, others such as Michigan State and UCLA have remained in pursuit but it has been Duke as the heavy favorite for Gary Trent Jr. A five-star recruit out of Minnesota, Trent and Carter have spoken in the past about their desire to play together in college. Call it a package deal or not, the only school on both of the elite targets’ list is the Duke Blue Devils; advantage to the blueblood program in Durham for the deadly, inside-out duo.
Getting another chance to push for a top available lead guard commitment, Matt Coleman will head to the Carolina campus for a quick stay. The Oak Hill star is down to a final four, though the heavy favorites pertain to the Blue Devils, Texas, and Stanford. Heading to Austin next weekend, expect for Coach K and his staff to put the pressure on a bit more heavily due to the need for the top-50 recruit and his looming commitment in the weeks ahead.
While the visitor tour from Coleman, Carter and Trent will receive plenty of the attention, Duke will also look to the future as they host three, top-50 recruits from the junior class. Zion Williamson, the top east coast recruit from 2018, the Spartanburg Day star will take the short trip up from South Carolina and get a peek into Coach K’s program. The Blue Devils have already offered the premier producer and so have they with its two others visitors as Cameron Reddish, a 6-foot-7 small forward and a five-star recruit within his own right, and Tre Jones, the younger brother of former one-and-done guard Tyus Jones, will hit the campus for several hours.
Could a commitment come from those in attendance from the 2018 trio? If anyone, it would be Tre Jones that could pop. However, expect for the perennial national championship contenders to finish things off with both Carter and Trent in cementing their status as the favorite for both of their services and adding even more momentum to the future commitment of Matt Coleman.
OTHER VISITS OF NOTE:
While the week didn’t end in a good note as the NCAA findings were released dating back to the Katina Powell incident, the Cards did start off the week with optimism thanks to the commitment of top-125 forward Jordan Nwora. Rick Pitino and his bunch will attempt to get back on the positive side of things this weekend as they bring in two, top-25 recruits from the 2018 class. Hoping that already committed top-100 seniors Darius Perry and Malik Williams will help in the lure of the juniors as they too will be on campus, the ACC gang will host Luguentz Dort and Darius Garland. While it is still a bit early in the process for both, the Cardinals should be seen as strong suitors for either of the dynamic recruits in the coming months. Topping off of the visit list for the Cards is Lance Thomas, a high upside forward from the Peach State that is down to a final four of schools where he plans on committing on November 1.
Holding a lone commitment at the time being, this coming from combo guard and heavy scorer of the basketball Thomas Allen, the Wolfpack have hopes of landing another piece or two in the coming days. Taking the cross country flight to Raleigh for a 48-hour stay, Charles O’Bannon Jr, a top-50 swingman from Las Vegas, will get a glimpse into the NC State basketball program. A plethora of west coast programs have remained involved, though the ACC gang will have a different selling point to the big time scorer. Joining him from the state of Georgia will be Nic Claxton. The long armed and skilled power forward has seen Georgia and Baylor the last two weekends as the Wolfpack will get their chance to entertain the intriguing senior. Outside of the senior duo, NC State will bring in a few other younger prospects headlined by Zion Williamson. After visiting Duke on Friday evening, Saturday will be the Wolfpack’s chance to host the five-star forward from South Carolina.
Just like the Cameron Crazies in Duke, the Orange faithful will gather for their own midnight madness festivities at Syracuse. While there will be tons of eyes placed onto the playing floor, Jim Boeheim and his staff will also be adding some extra attention to its top visitor on campus, Quade Green. Making another trip to the ACC program, Green has been seen as a heavy lean to the Orange. While there has been some talk about Duke and Kentucky adding some extra attention into the Philly native, things could be nearing the end with the top-25 recruit. Others such as Naz Reid and Khalil Whitney will visit from the younger classes, while Oshae Brissett, a versatile and skilled combo forward from Canada, will take his first official visit of the fall to the ‘Cuse this weekend.
Will Wade has hit the ground running in Richmond and after putting together another quality class led by Lavar Batts this fall, expect for VCU to attempt to add to it even further to it, cementing its case for top class within the Atlantic 10 and a top-25 one nationally. Hosting all three of its commitments from the 2017 class, the Rams will play host to its last, primetime target from the senior group in Mayan Kiir. The hard playing and tough-nosed power forward out of Florida would be the cherry on top to the class assembled early on by Wade and his crew and nearing the early signing period, a commitment from the interior producer might not be too far off.
The work that the staff in Cincinnati has done this fall is nothing short of commendable. Putting together what might be the best group of senior recruits in school history, Xavier will look to the future this weekend as they hold their own midnight madness festivity. Bringing in two, top-60 recruits from the 2018 class and a bevy of others, the Musketeers will try to inch their way closer to another commitment, this one coming from a target from the junior ranks. Ayo Dosunmu, a top-20 prospect from Chicago, will head to the 513 and so will in-state target and versatile forward Jerome Hunter. Landing any of the two in the months ahead would be a giant addition to Chris Mack’s crew in what could be another fabulous recruiting class for Xavier.
COMMITMENTS TO KEEP AN EYE ON:
Quade Green – Syracuse
Zach Kent – Northwestern
Mayan Kiir – VCU