Starting Five: Five-star Chandler's top 10, decision coming for Terry
Five-star junior point guard Kennedy Chandler has narrowed down his list of schools and top 50 senior point guard Jalen Terry is all set to decide. Scott Drew has Baylor rolling and more from Eric Bossi in this week's edition of the Starting Five.
1. FIVE-STAR JUNIOR KENNEDY CHANDLER DOWN TO 10
The top ranked point guard in the class of 2021, five-star Kennedy Chandler is down to 10 schools.
Even though he's only a junior, Chandler has invested plenty of time into visiting the programs on his list and he has more visits set up. He saw Kansas and Memphis unofficially during the fall and has already been to both Ole Miss and Tennessee officially. This weekend he'll be at Duke unofficially when they host Louisville, he'll visit Florida State officially the first week of February then heads to Michigan in mid-February and is planning to see Kentucky unofficially on the weekend of Feb. 22.
As for early leaders, it's anybody's guess right now. Duke, Kentucky, Memphis and Tennessee have been thought to be in good shape, but there's still a long way to go with this one.
2. TOP 50 SENIOR JALEN TERRY SET TO ANNOUNCE
James Terry, the father of top 50 senior Jalen Terry, confirmed on Sunday that his son is ready to announce his decision.
Down to Louisville, LSU and Oregon, Terry will announce his decision Friday. The exact details of what time and how he'll announce his decision were still being worked out as of Sunday, but the former Michigan State pledge has seen all of his finalists and is an athletic floor general that all three could really use in their 2020 class.
When Terry first backed off the home state Spartans and almost immediately visited Louisville, the Cardinals were the top name in his recruitment. As time has passed, much of the attention has shifted to LSU and Oregon and as of today if I had to make a pick, I would lean towards choosing Dana Altman and the Ducks.
Corey Evans and I will be following this one closely this week and hope to have a more concrete feel for what direction Terry may be headed within the next couple of days.
3. BAYLOR IS FOR REAL
During the season, I always like to pick a team of the week/weekend and this time around it wasn't very difficult to pick Scott Drew and the Baylor Bears.
This Baylor team isn't loaded with highly ranked high school recruits -- though sophomore guard Jared Butler a former four-star prospect is blossoming into a star -- and they've made excellent use of transfers. What really stands out with this group, though, is their collective toughness from top to bottom.
In addition to Kansas and Texas Tech, the Bears have already knocked off Arizona, Butler and Villanova and they have as impressive a body of work as any team in the country. Things are getting awfully real for Drew and company and they'll look to keep their foot on the gas this week in a pair of games they'll be favored in when they host Iowa State and travel to Oklahoma State.
4. ACHIUWA ELEVATES GAME IN WISEMAN'S ABSENCE
Prized freshman James Wiseman was supposed to be returning from NCAA suspension during Memphis' Sunday game with South Florida. But, as everybody knows, he decided in December to withdraw from school and focus on the NBA Draft rather than riding out his suspension and joining the team.
His absence has allowed another prized freshman, Precious Achiuwa, to take a gigantic step forward and he was terrific again on Sunday scoring 22 points, grabbing 11 rebounds and blocking five shots in a come-from-behind win that brought a needed halt to a two-game losing skid.
That Achiuwa is thriving is no surprise. He was a five-star prospect for a reason. But for all of his athleticism and gifts, Achiuwa was sometimes more of a me guy than a team guy and wasn't always the most efficient player during his high school days.
That's all changed in Memphis and particularly since Wiseman has been out. Averaging 15.1 points, 10.3 rebounds and 1.6 blocks on the season, Achiuwa has been electric in the absence of the touted seven-footer. Over the last six games, Achiuwa has upped his averages to 19.3 points, 11.2 rebounds and 2.7 blocks a game while making a blistering 67% of his field goal attempts.
Achiuwa deserves a ton of credit for adjusting his game to help his team and in the process, he's thrived individually.
5. WARLEY AND KEITA ENTER 2021 RANKINGS
Finally, because of some changes in classes and a move by four-star Josh Primo to Canada, a few spots opened up in the 2021 rankings. While the class will get a complete update at the end of the month, the two new members of the Rivals150 are Jalen Warley and Yaya Keita.
One of the fastest rising players in the junior class, Warley is a skilled facilitator who debuts at No. 50 nationally. In a few weeks, we'll shift him to point guard as well and he's got high majors across the country scrambling to find out more about the big-time playmaker.
After watching Keita a few times over the weekend, I'm convinced he belongs in the rankings. A native of Mali, Keita is still very much a work in progress, but his size, athleticism, rugged toughness and non-stop motor are more than likely going to land him on the high major level and with a spare spot open in the rankings (from when Jadun Michael decided to move to 2020 and signed with Wichita State), Keita enters at No. 140 overall.