In our latest edition of The Weekender, 247Sports basketball analysts Eric Bossi, Brandon Jenkins and Jerry Meyer are tackling a variety of topics. Which undecided five-star’s decision is the most important? What freshman from a top 2020 recruiting class is being somewhat overlooked and who could emerge as a major spring target?
1. Which undecided five-star’s decision is the most important to the schools recruiting him? Who can least afford to miss?
Bossi: I think the answer has got to be Hunter Sallis. Ranked No. 7 in the industry generated 247Sports Composite and No. 6 overall by 247Sports, the five-star point guard from Omaha is the subject of a pretty intense recruiting battle. Officially, Sallis lists 12 but from the looks of it, his recruitment is going to boil down to whether or not he wants to stay close to home and go to hometown Creighton or nearby Iowa State, or leave for a blue blood like Kansas, Kentucky or North Carolina. Every team on his list would love to have him, but if they miss the Cyclones (Tyrese Hunter), Jays (Ryan Nembhard) and Wildcats (Nolan Hickman) all have a quality point guard committed so the blow wouldn’t be quite as bad. Kansas is excited about freshman point guard Dajuan Harris, but does need another ball handler and if North Carolina loses five-star freshman Caleb Love after this season then they could be in a real bind. It is close, but because of the danger of Love bouncing for the NBA, Roy Williams and the Heels can probably least afford to miss on Sallis.
Jenkins: The recruitment of Daimion Collins is the most important to the schools pursuing him. The No. 19 ranked player in both the Composite and 247Sports rankings, Collins is down to a final five of Kansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Texas, and Texas Tech. Out of the schools who made the final cut, Texas sticks out as the program who cannot afford to miss here. The Longhorns will lose frontcourt players Jericho Sims, Royce Hamm, and Greg Brown to graduation and the NBA draft respectively. Missing on the in-state priority recruit could potentially force the Longhorns staff to seek the transfer route to replace their interior production. The odds are currently not in their favor as Collins recruitment looks to be a battle between Kentucky and Oklahoma.
Meyer: I’m going with Chet Holmgren and Minnesota. It is quite the opportunity for Minnesota to have 247Sports No. 1 ranked prospect in its backyard. Holmgren, a 7-foot highly skilled player could be a difference maker for the program in terms of his play for one year and the future impact on recruiting. If say a Gonzaga or Michigan were to lose out on Holmgren, it is not nearly as harmful to the program compared to Minnesota losing out on him.
2. Looking at the top 10 ranked classes from the 2020 recruiting cycle, who is a player that hasn’t been too hyped that could surprise everybody during his freshman season? Why?
Bossi: On the local level, the excitement for Arkansas’ homegrown crop of 2020 talent is exciting. Nationally, though, while the class has been given praise I don’t think it has gotten quite the attention deserved. In particular, I really like the potential for four-star big man Jaylin Williams to make an instant and lasting impact on the Hogs front court. He has SEC size and bulk and great hands. His skill level and touch are going to catch some people by surprise.
Jenkins: Texas Tech finished at No. 10 in the 2020 Basketball Team Rankings last year after landing their first McDonald’s All-American in program history, Nimari Burnett. However, I see Micah Peavy as the player who could surprise everybody during his freshman season. Peavy’s toughness, length, and feel fit perfectly within the Red Raiders’ culture. He will not be looked upon for scoring production as much as Jahmi’us Ramsey was last season. But if he buys into a role as a primary lockdown defender, reliable rebounder, and a consistent complementary offensive weapon, he could open some eyes nationally.
Meyer: Two players pop up in my head – Puff Johnson for North Carolina and Chris Moore for Auburn. Both are quite different players but they are both under the radar in regards to potential impact and both have intriguing games. Johnson, the younger brother of Cameron Johnson, is very similar to his older brother. He is a great shooter with length, has a repertoire of scoring methods and has a feel for the game. I could be a year early on impact, however, as strength gain is a need for him. Strength is not a need for Moore, who is a physical beast with athleticism and a ferocious competitive streak. He isn’t a shooter like Johnson, but his physicality and competitiveness could likely have an quick impact.
3. The commitments have been flying off the board in 2021, who is a player currently ranked outside of the 247Sports top 150 whose recruitment you could see take off as schools scramble to find off the radar talent? What does his recruitment currently look like?
Bossi: Three days ago my answer would have been Wisconsin shooting guard Brandin Podziemski. But, his blowup has already happened thanks to offers from Kansas and Kentucky. So, I’ll go with a true sleeper in California big man Demarshay Johnson. A super athletic 6-foot-9 frontcourt player from Oakland, Johnson has great length, can really run the floor, dunks everything and has big upside as a rim protector. That he is still without any reported offers is something that I have been struggling to understand. The kid is talented.
Jenkins: Zhuric Phelps quietly had one of the best summers in the south region from a production standpoint and is carrying on that same momentum as we head into the high school season. The 6-foot-3, 175-pound lead guard is now the main scoring option on a Duncanville (Texas) squad loaded with Division I talent. Phelps ended the summer looking at a potential final list that included the likes of DePaul, Louisiana Tech, and Tulsa. However, local program SMU has jumped in the mix and offered and I expect more schools to follow. Seeking a high major recruitment, if Phelps does not accept the Mustangs’ offer and continues to wait, look for his list of suitors to expand.
Meyer: Kordell Charles is a strong option for this question. A big wing out of Canada, Charles is down at IMG Academy and is coming off a lengthy recovery from a leg injury. Charles was beginning to establish himself after some positive showings during the summer of 2019. The injury, however, has been a set back for his ranking progress and his recruitment as well. Don’t be surprised if things heat up quite a bit once he gets on the court for IMG Academy this season. In the last week or so, Charles has added offers from Illinois and South Florida and is tracking to be highly sought after.