McDonald's Nuggets: 2020 prospects, Robbie Armbrester, more
Dan McDonald is back with his weekly column, McDonald's Nuggets. This week’s column targets a few class of 2020 prospects that could outperform their rankings, a recruiting note on Robbie Armbrester, his 2021 Commit of the Week and two transfers of note.
2022 Rankings: Top 75
WHAT’S ON MY MIND: Class of 2020 prospects who could outperform their rankings
It was Rivals Rankings Week for our hoops team with the 2020 class, and we did a pretty good job of slotting the prospects in what is a really strong class nationally. With it being a collaborative effort among a few of us, obviously there are some prospects where we have differences of opinion.
There are two five-stars that jump out to me as guys that could outplay where we have them ranked. I see LSU-bound shooting guard Cameron Thomas being a star early for Will Wade. He’s one of the top scorers in the class, and he’ll be counted on next year to get buckets. Don’t be surprised if he leads all freshmen in scoring next season.
Right behind him and also headed to the SEC, Isaiah Jackson is another one I could see performing at a level beyond his ranking. Admittedly, I haven’t seen a ton of the Michigan native, but what I have seen has been really impressive. I love his length, athleticism and how active he is. He’ll need to improve his skill level offensively, but with Kentucky’s frontcourt depleted, he’ll have an opportunity to make an impact right away.
Outside of five-star range but again staying in the SEC, Kermit Davis stole one with Matthew Murrell. Like Thomas, he’s a lethal scorer and has big shoes to fill with Breein Tyree graduating. There will be an opportunity for him to make an impact early and he’s the type of talent that could score 1,500-plus points if he stays in Oxford for four years.
Going further down the rankings and finally outside of the SEC, Reece Beekman is going to be a terrific player for Virginia. He’s an elite defensive player with his length and athleticism and he’s a really good floor general offensively. He’s a capable scorer as well, and I suspect he’ll get better under Tony Bennett. He’ll help the Cavaliers continue to compete for ACC titles.
And lastly, Virginia’s in-state rivals Virginia Tech scored a good one with Darius Maddox. I love his ability to score and love his toughness. He’s a perfect fit for what Mike Young wants to do offensively, and he could develop into a high-end defensive player as well.
RECRUITING NOTE: Robbie Armbrester makes a big move
He’s now making a move that could only increase his exposure to college coaches and add more top schools to his offer list as he’s decided to transfer to Wasatch Academy in Utah for his senior year. The 6-foot-6 Georgia native can play both forward spots as he possesses the strength, toughness and athleticism to play inside, and he’s improved his skill level enough to play on the perimeter.
2021 COMMIT OF THE WEEK: Jaylon Tyson to Texas Tech
Chris Beard scored a big one this week to start off his 2021 class by landing a commitment from Jaylon Tyson. The 6-foot-6 guard has great versatility in the backcourt as he can be both a primary scorer or play more of a facilitating role. The Red Raiders fended off Creighton, Houston, Oklahoma, SMU, TCU, Texas A&M and Xavier to secure his commitment.
TOP TRANSFER(S) OF THE WEEK: Chaundee Brown and Nojel Eastern to Michigan
As Corey Evans highlighted in his Thursday column, it’s been a very unique start to Juwan Howard’s tenure as head coach at Michigan from a recruiting standpoint. His first year has been full of ups and downs, but this week was a good week for the Wolverines as they snagged commitments from two of the top transfers of this off-season in Chaundee Brown and Nojel Eastern.
With the proposal to allow student athletes to transfer one time without sitting out being tabled until next year, it’s unknown if either will be eligible this year. But there is no doubt both will make a significant impact when they can take the floor.
As a junior at Wake Forest, Brown averaged 12.1 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. Eastern only averaged 4.9 and 4.0 rebounds per game this year as a junior at Purdue, but he was at 7.5 points and 5.5 rebounds with 2.5 assists per game as a sophomore, when the Boilermakers made a run to the Elite Eight. One thing to keep in mind with Eastern is that while he has committed, he still has some hurdles to clear before he's able to make his way to Ann Arbor.