Florida Man: Memphis on a roll, recruit updates, parting thought
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 from coast to coast.
This week, he has a look at the Memphis Tigers' recent run of commits, discusses a French import poised to make noise, puts in a Futurecast for Arizona and discusses a Rivals150 guard who is broadening his recruiting horizons.
MEMPHIS IS ON A ROLL
The Tigers may not be landing top 20 prospects, but Penny Hardaway’s program is still one of the hottest teams in the country when it comes to recruiting. Roughly two weeks ago, Memphis rallied late to snag the commitment of four-star forward Jordan Nesbitt away from Illinois. Winning a battle over the Illini in St Louis is never easy, but Nesbitt said it was the personal attention from Hardaway that sealed the deal. The program followed that up on Tuesday night by winning the pledge of four-star center Sam Ayomide Onu. To land him, the Tigers beat out Kansas, among others.
Memphis may or may not be looking at a top-five class at cycle’s end, but either way it’s already clear Hardaway’s 43-24 record in his two years at Memphis is allowing the program to continue to stand toe-to-toe with heavy hitters on the recruiting tail. The program's four-man recruiting class also averages 6-foot-8 in height, so the strategy is obvious.
FUTURECAST OF THE WEEK: Shane Nowell to Arizona
Nowell to the Wildcats has seemed like a “when” not an “if” for some time now. Still, there's reason to believe the story of the 6-foot-4 guard’s recruitment could be coming to a close soon. Most other schools involved are beginning to acquiesce, so all signs point to Tucson here.
Logic says the announcement will take place within the month. At the same time, most assumed it would have happened already. The waiting game could come to a close without warning, but there's no reason for Wildcats fans to sweat just yet.
EMERGING: Mady Traoré
A 6-foot-11 forward from France, Traoré has been in the U.S. for less than a year and already has major college coaches interested. Now at Maryland’s Bishop Walsh High School, Traoré recently received an offer from Arizona and it suddenly feels like the dam on his recruitment is about to burst. The massive forward moves incredibly well for his size, and he boasts a 7-foot-3 wingspan. If his game matches his measurables and athleticism this season, he’ll have a case to move into the top half of the Rivals150.
Traoré is still developing and adjusting to the American game, but the list of colleges sniffing around his recruitment is already long and distinguished. Schools such as Maryland, Auburn, Oregon, St. John’s, Georgia and Georgia Tech have all inquired about the big. It seems like he could be just a few impressive games away from having a long list of high-major offers. Traoré is definitely one to watch in the class of 2022 as he boasts an NBA body and massive upside.
I spoke to Traoré on Monday and will have more on him later in the week.
People close to Cardet now say he’s more wide open and considering Kansas State, Auburn and others in addition to the Tide. The Tigers recently offered and could now be serious players, as Bruce Pearl’s success - along with the strength of his 2021 recruiting class - will certainly be alluring.
K-State offered the four-star wing back in May, and the fact that his former Team Breakdown AAU teammate Selton Miguel is currently on the Wildcats’ roster is helping Bruce Weber’s pitch. Cardet, who mentioned the Wildcats as an option following a game in the Hoops Exchange Fall Festival two weeks back, had a Zoom call with Weber’s staff earlier this week, so things seem to be intensifying.
Kenny Gillion coaches Cardet at West Oaks Academy and recently told Rivals that he thinks his four-star guard is looking for a place that will allow him to “play on and off the ball, play minutes early and increase his chances to get to the NBA.”