Evans Seven: Big visits on tap as Early Signing Period nears
The Early Signing Period is just three weeks away, which means that this will be one of the final weekends for some big visits before the period ends. A few more Midnight Madness festivities are on the docket at Duke, NC State and Texas. In this week’s The Evans Seven, we shed light on those three programs’ outlooks this weekend, along with a few others that have a whole lot on the line over the next few days.
Arkansas got on the board for the first time in the 2020 class last week, thanks to a commitment from Davonte Davis. The Razorbacks are hoping to add to that commitment this weekend as two other in-state talents visit.
KK Robinson has already visited Illinois, Kansas and TCU, but the draw of returning home for his college career might be too much to decline. Moses Moody, a top 50 wing and someone that Robinson has grown up playing with, will join him in Fayetteville. Moody has already taken an official visit to Michigan, and Kansas, Oregon and USC remain involved. A timeline toward a signing has not been set, but if his Arkansas trip is a good one, Moody could change gears and sign early.
Jaxson Robinson will also be on hand, and while this will be his first official visit to Arkansas it will be the third time that he has been on campus in the past three months.
It is a big weekend at Duke, highlighted by the Blue Devils' Countdown to Craziness. The Blue Devils consistently bring in a few of their top targets to the event every year, and this year is not out of the norm.
Jaemyn Brakefield, Henry Coleman and Jeremy Roach will be on campus for the festivities, and the latter will be pushing his school and travel teammate, Hunter Dickinson, to join him next season. Just weeks from his college decision, this will be Dickinson's final trip before he commits. Florida State and Notre Dame are involved, but Michigan and the Blue Devils have received the most talk of late.
Paolo Banchero, a five-star junior from Seattle, will take his third official visit this fall. He has already visited Kentucky and North Carolina, and some believe that it will be tough to pull him away from the local Washington Huskies. AJ Griffin, a top 10 junior, will also take an official visit to Duke, his first official to date.
3. NC STATE
Kevin Keatts has done a great job of prioritizing the best from his state. Nick Farrar and Cam Hayes have already committed, and junior guard Terquavion Smith has as well. All three are expected on campus for the Primetime with the Pack festivities on Friday evening.
However, the headliner of the weekend will be Josh Hall, the Wolfpack’s lone official visitor, who is leaning toward a late signing. But if there is one program that could convince the five-star player to sign early it would be NC State. Hall would be an immediate replacement for C.J. Bryce. Hall published his final 12 a few weeks back, but the Wolfpack are among the leaders for him.
While the Sooners are not relying on Bryce Thompson’s commitment as they did with Trae Young in the fall of 2016, the in-state target’s decision could raise the ceiling of the program immediately. Oklahoma has held a scholarship for Thompson and would love to parlay his visit this weekend into his signature next month. Lon Kruger and his staff have developed a great rapport with him and his family and making another trip will be more about answering any last questions that he might have and also outlining how exactly he might be used next year. Kansas and Oklahoma State are fighting off the Sooners, and North Carolina, Arkansas and Texas are also involved.
Thompson will be joined by his travel teammate and OU commit Trey Phipps, who will also be taking his official visit to the Big 12 program.
Texas has still yet to strike in the 2020 class, but this weekend could change that. First, top 50 guard Matt Murrell will take his official visit to Austin, which will complete his visit tour. He just visited Ole Miss and could be near his decision. Auburn and Vanderbilt are also involved, but it feels like a battle between the Rebels and the Longhorns for his decision, with UT having the most momentum.
Micah Peavy will join him, and while there was a belief earlier this year that he would not sign until spring, it now appears he could be weeks away from signing. Texas Tech is in the lead, with Florida and TCU also involved.
Lastly, Kerwin Walton will be on hand before he visits Miami and North Carolina the following two weekends. He has visited Arizona, Creighton, Iowa State and Minnesota in recent weeks and is likely to sign next month.
UConn has already plugged one of its primary holes this fall, thanks to the commitment of Andre Jackson. The versatile, slashing forward will be back on campus this weekend to potentially help his future coaching staff with its other major need.
Javonte Brown, a four-star center prospect in the 2021 class who will likely reclassify into the 2020 class later this year, will take his third official visit in the past month. He has already been to Kansas and Texas A&M, and while he could also visit Arizona before deciding his trip to Storrs is the final one that he has scheduled. Look for his college decision to be made in the coming weeks.
The Huskies will also bring sophomore center Donovan Clingan to campus for the First Night, UConn’s version of a Midnight Madness festivity.
It is the last go-round for the nation’s top guard, Cade Cunningham. Having taken four of his official visits this will be his final trip, and it will take him to the Pacific Northwest. While many eyes were raised when Washington made his final list, Cunningham has a few ties to the Huskies. Assistant coach Jerry Hobbie once coached Cunningham’s brother (and current Oklahoma State assistant coach), Cannen Cunningham, at SMU. Also, Hopkins was an assistant coach on the USA under-19 staff that featured the five-star guard. The chances of Cunningham actually picking the Huskies are slim, but Hopkins did just enroll Isaiah Stewart, beating a slew of national powers that included Kentucky. Might Hopkins be able to do it again? Expect a decision to be made before December and possibly immediately after Thanksgiving.