Rivals Roundtable: Recruiting changes, March Sadness, top moment
This week in the Rivals Roundtable, national analysts Eric Bossi, Corey Evans and Dan McDonald discuss the coronavirus and its impact on the college season and the ones that lay ahead. Also, while the season has been completed in an ominous way, what was the most defining moment from the past few months?
1. What is the biggest impact of the coronavirus crisis on college hoops recruiting?
Bossi: There are certainly many. The biggest issue is for new coaching staffs who are looking to complete rosters. Nobody can really do visits or go out and see players right now, so it makes things extremely tough to evaluate and complete a roster. Taking transfers, at least, there should be some good film available to go off of. But, this a new world we are living in for the time being and coaches will adjust.
Evans: I would say just the fact that we do not know what the 2020 spring and summer recruiting calendars might look like. The all-star festivities have already been canceled and Nike and adidas have canceled April events. This only means that the staffs that have already laid the groundwork with the class of 2021 should be even more ahead compared to others.
In a few years, if we see another Ja Morant trickle to the mid-major realm, it is because of the coronavirus’ impact during the spring and summer of 2020. Expect for missed evaluations and also slept-on prospects to be the reverberating theme based off of such cancellations.
McDonald: Every year we see some late movement with recruiting classes that is based on coaching changes leading to prospects who signed early backing out of their initial commitment. It's quite possible we don't see as much movement among coaches this year because of the COVID-19, which means there won't be as many prospects opening up late.
2. Do you agree with canceling the NCAA tournament?
Bossi: Absolutely. We like to give the NCAA a hard time about things and they are often the subject of a lot of blame and frustration. In this case they made the right call and I was glad to see they didn't drag their feet in doing so.
I know some people wanted a postponement, but the reality is we still don't have a great idea of how heavy the impact from this or how long we are going to be breaking from normal. Frankly, I don't think enough people are taking the potential spread of the virus as serious as we should be. I was glad that the NCAA made a quick decision.
Evans: I do. No one knows how long this will take to subside. Could the next few weeks be enough for it to be slowed? Might it take longer? The last of our concerns should revolve around whenever we can play a basketball tournament.
Don’t get me wrong -- dreams have been shattered for fan bases, coaches, and, more importantly, the players themselves. However, the timeline for this worldwide crisis is set as unknown. Could postponing until a later time in May have been the right move? Maybe so, but that is hopeful thinking. There would also be concerns regarding where tournament games in a month like May would be held and how it might impact the NBA Draft for those that would be participating.
There are just too many unknowns. It was the right call.
McDonald: If I were in charge, I would've at least bought myself some time through the weekend to see where this deal goes through the weekend. I don't think there would have been any problem waiting until Monday to gather more information before making a final decision. That also buys a little more time to look into potentially moving everything back a week or two if needed. However, I get why the NCAA took the action it did on Thursday afternoon.
3. Now that the season is complete, what was your favorite moment?
Bossi: Good question. I thought Cassius Winston's senior day at Michigan State was pretty touching and heartwarming. That young man has been through so much this year after losing his brother that it was nice to see him have that moment of love with his teammates, the Michigan State fans and of course Tom Izzo and his staff. Winston had an incredible career for the Spartans and deserved that moment.
Evans: The 2019-2020 campaign should be remembered for the greatness of Obi Toppin. It all began in Maui when Toppin almost singlehandedly defeated Kansas by himself in a thrilling Maui Invitational championship game. Toppin continued to decimate all of those opposing him and was the closest thing the sport had that could match Zion Williamson.
No, Toppin will not get the chance to cap his college career like many Dayton fans had hoped with its first ever Final Four run since 1967, but Toppin’s spree of plays in November will be the moment I remember the most.
McDonald: I enjoyed seeing some of the surprises the sport gave us this year. Most people thought Baylor and Florida State would be good, but to see them finish as two of the top teams in the country was very cool. Penn State had a historically good year, and it's a shame their players and coaches won't get to experience the NCAA Tournament after their breakthrough year. Who would have thought North Carolina would collapse the way it did? I'll remember it as just a very weird season.