Ranking the Contenders: Trevor Keels
If there was a way for Trevor Keels to take things to the next level, he did that and more with his junior season. Emerging as a national recruit and with the bluebloods calling practically every day, Keels remains entranced by what the sport’s best can offer.
Entering five-star territory in January, there was a point in the beginning of the spring that Keels was thought to be close to committing. No decision was made, which has only given more time to his suitors to enhance their respective pitches with him.
While he has not publicized a final school list and has not determined when he would be willing to decide on his eventual landing spot, Keels remains wide open with the process and sits as one of the best perimeter prospects available.
2022 Rankings: Top 75
Villanova has already landed two four-star prospects in the 2021 class, but before either had committed, Keels was on the cusp of becoming the kick-starter to its class. Instead, he remains an available target, but the Wildcats continue to sit among the leaders.
Hailing from the Washington, DC area that has always been kind to Villanova with Kris Jenkins, Josh Hart and Justin Moore, Jay Wright would love nothing more than to see Keels become the next to suit up for the Wildcats from the region. Villanova will have a major need in the backcourt next year with Collin Gillespie graduating and have reserved a spot for Keels to see time immediately along its backcourt.
There is not much separating Villanova from Virginia, and while Nova has been involved with the Paul VI product dating back to his freshman season, the same could be said for the Wahoos.
A capable shot-maker that can play on and off the ball and is one of the more underrated perimeter defenders, there are not many others tailor-made for Tony Bennett’s system than Keels. Joining his former travel program teammate, Casey Morsell, is another sell that could only help UVA with the top-15 recruit. Virginia doesn’t have many needs in the 2021 class, which has allowed for it to focus on Keels as the guy it wants before all others.
The Blue Devils offered Keels following a dominant two-game stretch in December and there were even whispers that he could be close to committing. Instead, he has remained patient with the process and the Blue Devils have not fallen off in their pursuit.
They just missed on Max Christie but in actuality, Duke laid off recruiting the five-star in recent weeks and has ramped things up with Keels, who may fit its system and personnel better because of his size and shooting prowess. Does Duke freshman Jeremy Roach, Keels' former school and travel teammate, help Duke’s pursuit? Time will tell, but it cannot hurt.
4. NORTH CAROLINA
North Carolina will have some holes to fill along the perimeter with there being a fair chance Caleb Love goes the one-and-done route. UNC is involved with Kennedy Chandler, D’Marco Dunn, and Hunter Sallis, while it has continued its discussions with sophomore guard Skyy Clark, who could reclassify later in the year.
However, there is a major shot-making need that Keels would be slated to fill and even though Kerwin Walton and Puff Johnson should help, another capable ballhandler would not hurt. Former school teammate Anthony Harris remains in Chapel Hill, but he will have to work a little overtime to help the Tar Heels make up ground with the three hovering ahead of them in the race for the five-star.
There was a moment that Michigan had garnered some talk as a potential landing spot for Keels, but after taking two commitments in the backcourt in recent weeks, the Wolverines' chances may be diminishing.
That is not to say that Juwan Howard and his staff are stepping off the gas pedal in its pursuit of Keels. They remain in need of another ballhandling guard which is why Keels, along with Angelo Brizzi, Jalen Warley, and Harrison Ingram remain high on their board. Keels’ former travel teammates, Terrance Williams and Hunter Dickinson, will enroll at Michigan in the fall, which should only help, but it has a lot more work to do if Michigan wants to feel good about where it stands with the five-star prospect.
6. OHIO STATE
Seeing that Ohio State is one of the two spots that Keels has officially visited, it would be safe to say the Buckeyes have a chance. Chris Holtmann’s bunch has already won out with Rivals150 prospects Kalen Etzler and Meechie Johnson but remain in need of another ballhandling guard that can complete a multitude of tasks along the perimeter.
Malaki Branham, Kendall Brown and Jalen Warley are also on their board. The Buckeyes have done a good job of getting in the mix with some of the best remaining backcourt talent and should break through in some way, but chances are that it won’t be with Keels.