Thursday, September 5, 2013
Where will top prospects end up?
By Adam Finkelstein
With only 13 five-star prospects left on the board, all it takes is a quick glance down their recruiting lists to come to a quick conclusion: The vast majority are being recruited by a long list of the same schools. So when it’s all said and done, some of those schools are going to be left out in the cold.
Remaining 5-Star Prospects
Point guard Tyus Jones has visited Baylor and will see Kentucky, Kansas and Duke.
Jahlil Okafor (Chicago, Ill./Whitney Young), 6-10, 265, C: He and Tyus Jones will visit Kansas and Duke in October after seeing Baylor together last weekend. They’ll visit Kentucky on separate dates because of scheduling conflicts. Okafor is also scheduled to see Arizona independently.
Cliff Alexander (Chicago, Ill./Curie), 6-8, 225, PF: He has eight schools left on the board. Kansas and Michigan State are perceived as the favorites, but Illinois, Kentucky, Louisville and Arizona are also in play. DePaul and Memphis remain on his list as well.
Tyus Jones (Apple Valey, Minn./Apple Valley), 6-1, 171, PG: Coming off his trip to Baylor, his three remaining official visits -- Kentucky, Kansas and Duke -- are all aligned with Okafor’s. Popular opinion is that Jones favors Duke, while Okafor is less certain.
Trey Lyles (Indianapolis, Ind./Arsenal Technical), 6-8, 210, PF: Louisville and Kentucky are thought to be the favorites, while Florida and Butler remain on the list as well. He saw Louisville last weekend, visits Florida on Oct. 5 and then visits Kentucky for Big Blue Madness on Oct. 18.
Kevon Looney (Milwaukee, Wis./Milwaukee Hamilton), 6-8, 190, PF: He was at Florida last weekend and will be at Duke this weekend. He’s scheduled to be at Tennessee later this month and also will take officials to Michigan State and UCLA, as well as an unofficial to Wisconsin.
Myles Turner (Bedford, Texas/Trinity), 6-11, 225, C: Kansas is his only scheduled official visit, thus the Jayhawks are perceived as the favorite. Texas, Duke and Kentucky will do in-home visits, while Oklahoma State, Arizona and Louisville make up the rest of his list. SMU is making a late charge.
Rashad Vaughn (Golden Valley, Minn./Findlay Prep), 6-6, 200, SG: North Carolina, Kentucky and Kansas are thought to be among his leaders, while Iowa State, Minnesota, UNLV, Baylor, Arizona, Georgetown, UCLA and Connecticut make up the rest of his 11-school list.
Stanley Johnson (Fullerton, Calif./Mater Dei), 6-6, 220, SF: He has visits scheduled to Arizona, Kentucky and Florida. Oregon, USC and UCLA also are among his final six. He could see both local options unofficially.
Justise Winslow (Houston, Texas/Saint John’s), 6-5, 208, SF: He’s expected to cut his eight-school list -- Duke, Florida, Kentucky, Kansas, Texas A&M, Arizona, UCLA and Stanford -- to five in the near future in order to set up his visits.
Devin Booker (Moss Point, Miss./Moss Point), 6-5, 185, SG: He’ll see both Michigan State and Kentucky this week and then Michigan and Missouri next month. Michigan has the deepest roots, while his dad starred at Missouri. Florida has yet to be ruled out as well.
Jordan McLaughlin (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Etiwanda), 6-0, 165, PG: USC gets the first crack this weekend with UCLA and Kansas to follow. His final four is rounded out by Indiana, although no visit has been set there yet.
Goodluck Okonoboh (Boston, Mass./Wilbraham & Monson), 6-9, 215, C: Florida and Indiana are perceived as the favorites, while Duke and Ohio State are also very real options. UNLV is the wild card in his final five.
Kelly Oubre (Fort Bend, Texas/Findlay Prep), 6-7, 190, SF: He’ll be at Kansas for Late Night in the Phog on Oct. 4 and Kentucky for Big Blue Madness. He’s also considering Florida, Georgetown, Louisville, Oregon, Connecticut and UNLV.
John Calipari might have missed on his top point guard, but you can bet Kentucky won’t be left in the cold. With the Wildcats only having one commitment so far in the 2014 class, Karl Towns (Metuchen, N.J./St. Joseph), you can pretty much guarantee that Kentucky will get a minimum of two and perhaps as many as four of these guys.
It’s a similar story in Kansas. Bill Self has three potential one-and-done freshmen, so he’s heavily involved with eight of the remaining 13 five-star prospects, and looking to close a big class. Given that his recent recruiting momentum has never been stronger, he’s also likely to nab three or four of these guys.
Take Kentucky and Kansas out of the equation and now you have a handful of the nation’s most prestigious programs battling it out for seven or eight remaining five-star prospects.
Duke is perceived as the leader for the Okafor/Jones package deal and is also in good shape with Looney, but lacks many great contingency plans after that.
Arizona could have as many as four guys leave early for the NBA draft and is planning to bring in a five- or six-man class as a result. The Wildcats are involved with six of the remaining 13, but might only be in a position of strength with Johnson. Will he be enough Worse yet, where do they go if they lose out to the likes of the aforementioned three and go 0-6?
The defending national champion -- Louisville -- also needs frontcourt help. The Cardinals are technically still options for Turner and Alexander, although it looks like Lyles could be the top priority for Rick Pitino. If not, the Cardinals could focus on four-star products like Jaylen Johnson (Ypsilanti, Mich./Ypsilanti) and Chinanu Onuaku (Upper Marlboro, Md./Riverdale Baptitst), among others.
Michigan State is playing catch-up after expelling time and resources chasing the Okafor/Jones package deal. Alexander is likely the Spartans' best shot at a major score, but he may favor Kansas. If that’s the case, Looney and Booker are up next, while four-star Tyler Ulis (Matteson, Ill./Marian Catholic) is just as important as any of the three.
Other former national champions like Florida, Indiana, UCLA and Connecticut also have widespread roots. Florida needs a big and a wing, Connecticut needs multiple bodies in the frontcourt, and the Huskies and the Bruins are both looking for their next point guard.
Indiana is back to square one after decommitments from Trey Lyles (Indianapolis, Ind./Arsenal Technical) and James Blackmon (Marion, Ind./Marion).
We haven’t even talked about last year’s national runner-up, Michigan, or other programs like Baylor, Minnesota, Oklahoma State, USC or UNLV, who are all involved with multiple players on the list.
The scenarios are endless. One inescapable fact is that this year -- more so than any in recent memory -- you have an incredible amount of the nation’s most prestigious college basketball programs chasing the same small crop of prospects. It’s turned into a game of musical chairs, and as the song gets closer to stopping, someone is going to be left without a chair.