Starting Five: Big decisions coming
It is shaping up to be a big week for commitments from the class of 2021. Top 25 Matthew Cleveland is one of three rising juniors to set an announcement and there could be more coming. In the Starting Five a preview of the set decisions and more.
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1. CLEVELAND WILL ANNOUNCE ON TUESDAY
Well, it won't be much longer before he announces his decision.
The super athletic 6-foot-6 wing from Atlanta (Ga.) Pace Academy will reveal his decision on Tuessday afternoon.
A slasher with size and a quickly improving jump shot, Cleveland has been one of the most talked about players of the summer thanks to his play with the Atlanta Celtics. As the time for his final choice grows closer, the feel here has been that Florida State is most likely the team to beat.
The prospect of pairing him up on the wing with another long and active wing like Bryce McGowens has to be pretty excited for Leonard Hamilton and his staff. If they pull it off, they'll have two potential McDonald's All-Americans in the fold
2. FOUR-STAR BRANHAM ALSO DECIDING WEDNESDAY
Four-star Malaki Branham will announce Wednesday. He even has a time, 2:22 pm.
The strong and athletic wing who can knock down shots or finish through contact around the rim has been heavily courted for some time now. However, it would appear Alabama, Cincinnati, Louisville, Ohio State and Xavier are among those who have done the best with him.
If there is a favorite, it is likely Ohio State. Should Chris Holtmann and the Buckeyes pull Branham off, he would be the third Rivals150 player from Ohio's 2021 class (Kalen Etzler and Meechie Johnson are the other two) to decide to stay home.
3. RILEY DOWN TO FIVE, SET FOR FRIDAY DECISION
The product of Brentwood (N.Y.) High will announce his decision on Friday morning at his high school.
One of the most athletic backcourt players in America, Riley moved into the Rivals150 off of the strength of a strong junior season. Had his all-around game matched up to his athleticism this summer, he could have been one that saw his stock soar.
Regardless of current ranking, he's got the potential to be a very good player wherever he lands. As for a prediction, there's really not been a lot floating around about Riley and where he is leaning just yet, so he's a hard one to gauge.
4. HOUSTAN MAKES MOVE TO 2021
One of the best shooters and players in the class of 2022 is now one of the best in the class of 2021.
Caleb Houstan a 6-foot-8 small forward from Canada who plays at Montverde (Fla.) Academy has moved up a class and instantly becomes one of the most heavily sought after rising seniors in the country.
Houstan has tremendous size for the wing, is a deadeye shooter and can also be used as a stretch small ball four man for a team that wants to play four out and one in. Houstan settles in at No. 9 overall in the 2021 Rivals150.
Houstan had become Duke's first offer in the class of 2022 and that offer is certainly still good for the class of 2021 and he's got some other heavy hitters involved. Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Gonzaga, Michigan, Michigan State, North Carolina, Oregon and Virginia are just a few of the other involved programs.
5. HOPKINS AN EVEN BIGGER PICKUP THAN THOUGHT
Back when the 6-foot-6 forward committed in November, he looked like somebody capable of helping Chris Mack and the Cardinals early. However, as time has gone by, he is turning into somebody that looks like he will make an immediate impact.
Strong and skilled, Hopkins has great hands, a great motor and a high level feel for scoring the basketball from several different spots on the floor. In particular, he's tremendous operating from the elbow or the extended elbow where he is a strong driver, can pull up for shots and makes great reads as a passer.
The level of talent in the gym on Sunday night was pretty impressive and Hopkins simply couldn't be checked.