JY's Meat & Three: BIG commits happen in 2020 class, more coming & MJ Stream Week
It is lunchtime somewhere. So, welcome back to the lunch hour read of the Meat & Three. Every weekday I dive into a big picture topic and three things to get you through a quarantine spring. We dive deep into some recruiting notes from the class of 2020, introduce a Michael Jordan centric week of streaming here in the Meat & Three and, of course, the Stan Johnson photo of the day.
THE MEAT: BIG DOGS OFF THE BOARD
The class of 2020 had some important commitments over the weekend that are worth noting, closing the gap of the best available players left on the recruiting board for the senior class.
Five-star wing forward Ziaire Williams committed to Stanford and four-star forward JT Thor committed to Auburn.
Williams, our No. 5 ranked player in the class of 2020 nationally, has all kinds of high-level NBA potential. He is a projected lottery pick. The last time Stanford had a lottery pick was 2008 when Brooke Lopez was taken No. 10 overall by the New Jersey Nets.
While that star power is nice and looks great in recruiting conversations, Stanford wants to win on the court. The program hasn’t been to the NCAA tournament since 2014.
Williams joins Max Murrell, a big man from Nebraska, Noah Taitz, a point guard from Las Vegas, and Brandon Angel, a wing from California. Right now, the Cardinal holds the best incoming class from the Pac-12.
Assistant coach Adam Cohen has been the recruiting powerhouse for head coach Jerod Haase. This class gives the lineup terrific balance anchored by star power. You could argue Williams’s commitment is one of the five most important pledges in the 2020 class.
Thor’s commitment to Auburn marks the end of a long and winding road of recruiting twists and turns. He visited Oklahoma State and it looked like the Cowboys were going to be the winner in the long run. There was also talk about him reclassifying and going to the 2021 class and entertaining the NBA Draft entry like Thon Maker did.
But Auburn got it done and landed the top 60 senior from Norcross (GA).
Thor fits the mold for four man that Bruce Pearl has had success with. Chuma Okeke and Tobias Harris come to mind. Thor is an important piece to this already strong Auburn 2020 recruiting class.
He joins five-star point guard Sharife Cooper from McEachern (GA), Chris Moore, a rugged forward from Arkansas, and Justin Powell, a big guard from Kentucky. The 1-2 punch of Cooper and Thor is a scary guard/big man combo. Although Chris Moore could be the four-year value commit of the SEC.
With Williams and Thor off the board, the available star power is shrinking in the 2020 class. Next up are decisions from McDonald’s All-Americans Jalen Green, Greg Brown and Josh Christopher.
Green, one of the most entertaining players in the country, also has Auburn on his short list. Memphis is there, too. Where will the Fresno, California native pick? I’m betting on Penny Hardaway and his program. Green will announce on Friday.
Brown, an Austin, Texas native, will pick between Kentucky, Memphis, Auburn, Texas and Michigan. I’d go all-in on the Longhorns.
Christopher, who starred at Mayfair (CA) HS, is set to make his decision on Monday. He will choose from Arizona State, Michigan, UCLA and Missouri. Michigan has been a leader in the clubhouse for a while now.
The documentary we've all been waiting for is almost here. The Last Dance, a 10-part docuseries, focuses on the 1997-1998 Chicago Bulls. Each episode will be an hour-long and aired on ESPN.
The series will begin April 19 and run through May 17.
To ramp up for what should be a terrific run of Michael Jordan and his Bulls teams, we will focus on five of MJ’s most memorable games.
Today we start with Game 1 of the 1992 NBA Finals, the infamous “Shrug” game. MJ was never known as a dramatic threat from three but in the opening game of the NBA championship, the GOAT got hot from deep. He only hit 27 three-pointers in the regular season but in this game, he hit six in the first half of action.
THE STAN JOHNSON PHOTO OF THE DAY
I asked our guy Stan Johnson to send me some of his favorite shots from the 2019 season on our HoopSeen platform. We begin his gallery today in the Meat & Three.