Florida Man: A FutureCast for Holmgren, Gators' future, Brandon Murray
Each week, Rivals national basketball analyst and very own Florida Man, Rob Cassidy, takes readers around the hoops recruiting world, touching on news, notes and developments that relate to prospects and teams from coast to coast.
This week, he predicts Gonzaga will land one of the nation's best prospects, explores an impressive week for Florida targets, checks in on a surging LSU signee and tips his hat to the quintessential Bob Huggins victory.
FLORIDA MAN PODCAST: The tournament bubble in Indy
FUTURECAST OF THE WEEK: Chet Holmgren to Gonzaga
I’m not close to the only one who has been saying Gonzaga was the frontrunner to land five-star center Chet Holmgren. Things have been tending that direction for months, so i figure now is as good a time as ever to make things official with a FutureCast.
Holmgren, who is set to challenge for the top spot when the 2021 prospect rankings refresh next week, took an official visit to Spokane back in October of last year. That trip seemed to cement the Zags’ lead. These days, Mark Few’s program looks like the best team in the country and are trending toward having freshman Jalen Suggs selected in the top three of next year’s NBA Draft.
Things are good in Spokane and, by all accounts, poised to get a lot better when the 7-foot Holmgren signs his letter of intent.
OPINION OF THE WEEK - Gators continue to make solid evaluations
My Rivals.com cohort Dan McDonald had a chance to see Florida signee Kowacie Reeves last week and came away from the game raving about the 6-foot-6 guard. The future Gator has truly elite size for the position and his jump shot has become miles more consistent than it was a year ago. Add in the fact that Reeves can score in the high post, and it seems a player that was once ranked on sky-high potential is starting to fulfill that prophecy. Reeves will be in the discussion to add a fifth star when the rankings refresh next week.
Florida targets also managed to shine at Beach Ball Ball Classic Myrtle Beach last week. By all accounts Mike White’s program leads for Taylor Hendricks, who had a nice run at the event and helped lead his team to the finals, where he came up just short of posting a double-double.
UF target Dillon Mitchell (2022), whom the Gators were among the first to offer, also impressed. One of the more athletic prospects in the 2022 class, Mitchell is starting to develop a consistent jumper to go along with his length and quickness. He could add a fourth star in the week ahead. The Gators’ decision to offer him early may look incredibly smart down the road, as the 6-foot-7 forward is sure to add additional high-major offers in the year ahead.
STOCK UP - Brandon Murray
Currently a three-star prospect, LSU commit Brandon Murray has outplayed that ranking for IMG Academy this season. Murray has long had the reputation of a pure scorer and has taken his game to the next level this year. He poured in 31 in a contest I attended at the Sunshine Prep Classic in Bradenton, Fla., a few weeks back and followed that up by going for a neat 25 on the final day of last week’s Beach Ball Classic. Murray is becoming more efficient and is a better passer than he sometimes gets credit for being. The future Tiger has certainly made a case to add star in the coming update.
West Virginia's Bob Huggins has 890 career victories, but I’m not sure there’s ever been a more Huggins-like win than the one he managed against Oklahoma State on Monday. The Mountaineers found a way to claw back from 19 points down midway through the second half and did so via defensive pressure, effort and rebounding. WVU grabbed 22 offensive boards on 41 missed shots. The comeback was like watching lumberjack pound a square peg through a round hole with a steel mallet.
Some people describe good basketball as poetry in motion. Huggins’ brand has always been more like a rottweiler chewing somebody’s face, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Poetry is boring as hell.