McDonald's Nuggets: Freshmen to watch, Daimion Collins, more
WHAT’S ON MY MIND: Five incoming freshmen to watch this season
Last week, I talked about five class of 2021 prospects outside of five-star range who could outplay their rankings at the next level. This week, I’m looking at some incoming freshmen who were outside of five-star range that I see making a big impact.
Let’s start with Ole Miss freshman guard Matthew Murrell. After watching him play with Team Thad during his last travel season, he quickly became one of my favorite guards in the class. He’s strong, tough, has good size and he can really score it. He’s going to be a star for the Rebels before long.
Xavier fans should be really excited for the arrival of freshman point guard Dwon Odom. He’s an alpha dog point guard that makes guys around him better. Travis Steele and his staff have done a really good job reeling in talent since taking over, and Odom is the perfect lead guard to make sure everything works. He has potential to be a lock-down defender and he can get his own buckets, too, although he’ll need to keep working on becoming a better shooter.
At this point, I trust Tony Bennett knows what he’s doing with guards. Reece Beekman is exactly the type of guard Bennett has had success with the last few years. He’s long, versatile and a really smart player. His length and athleticism will make him tough on the defensive end, which is how you get on the court at Virginia.
Kadary Richmond picking Syracuse is another really good fit for both sides. At 6-foot-5, his length and athleticism will make him tough in the front of Syracuse’s 2-3 zone, but it also allows Jim Boeheim to slide him to the back row of the zone. Offensively, his quick first step getting to the basket and his overall ability to score should help him break into the Orange’s rotation this year.
Selton Miguel is the type of prospect that could have fit at any program, but it’s Kansas State which will benefit from the intangibles he brings. He plays with an edge and a confidence that rubs off on teammates and makes everyone on his team better. His competitiveness and ability to score should get him on the court early and set the stage for a great career in Manhattan.
RECRUITING NOTE: Daimion Collins cuts list to five
Earlier this top week, the No. 10 overall prospect in the 2021 class, Daimion Collins, trimmed his long list of options down to a top five of Kansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech. Up until the last few months, it looked like Collins was destined to be a Longhorn because he has a really strong relationship with former Texas assistant Jai Lucas. With Lucas deciding to leave Texas for Kentucky this off-season, the Wildcats are now firmly entrenched with Collins and the Longhorns are fading.
The other school under serious consideration here is Oklahoma, and it wouldn’t be crazy to consider the Sooners the favorite here. Oklahoma hosted him for an early official visit before the dead period. Lon Kruger and his staff have done a terrific job making him feel at home in Norman, and this could be one where distance comes into play. I’m not ready to put in a FutureCast pick just yet, but I’m giving a slight edge to Oklahoma over Kentucky right now because of the familiarity and the location.
PREDICTION: What will Jabari Smith decide Friday?
Jabari Smith’s journey has been a fun one to follow over the past couple years. His ascension from a mostly under-the-radar player to a top five prospect in the 2021 class happened in a hurry in late 2018. Georgia and Georgia Tech were the first two high-major offers to come in, but since then the offers have trickled in from all over the country
A 6-foot-9 forward who has developed a really well-rounded overall game, Smith will be a monster addition for the program he chooses Friday. The choices are down to Auburn, Georgia, Georgia Tech, LSU, North Carolina and Tennessee. At one point this summer it looked like the in-state Bulldogs had the edge. Then there was a time when the Volunteers were generating the most buzz.
As we close in on a decision at 5:10 p.m. EST on Friday, Bruce Pearl’s Tigers appear to trending in a big way to secure the highest-ranked commitment in school history on Rivals.com.
2021 COMMIT OF THE WEEK: JD Davison to Alabama
Last week, we previewed JD Davison’s decision and correctly predicted him to stay home in favor of the Crimson Tide. That commitment is absolutely huge for Nate Oats and his staff. It’s always a big deal for Alabama to secure the top talent in-state, but to fend off two SEC rivals in Auburn and LSU makes it that much sweeter.
On the court, this is a really good fit. Oats wants his teams to play fast and be unselfish. There aren’t many guards around the country with end-to-end speed like Davison, and he’s also a terrific passer to go along with it. Don’t be surprised if Alabama keeps the momentum going in the 2021 class with some more impactful commitments in the near future.