Starting Five: NBA Draft uncertainty, recruiting updates
As concern over the impact of coronavirus spreads, there is uncertainty across the board. Could it have an impact on underclassmen declaring for the NBA Draft? Eric Bossi takes a look at that and several recruiting notes in this week's edition of the Starting Five.
1. DRAFT UNCERTAINTY COULD KEEP SOME IN SCHOOL
The concerns over the coronavirus pandemic and the uncertainty over how much it will spread is impacting each and every one of us on a daily basis. Like many other business, the NBA is feeling the impact. The season is suspended and we don't know when (or if) our favorite players and teams will hit the floor again this season.
Of particular importance to fans of college hoops is how that uncertainty may lead to more players skipping out on testing the waters and simply choosing to return to school. It's pretty easy to see why.
Currently, there's no way for teams to work players out. There is no way to conduct visits and meetings. We don't know if there will be a Draft Combine and we don't even know if the Draft is actually going to take place in June or be delayed until a later date.
I've spoken with several NBA sources over the last few weeks and many of them have indicated that they aren't expecting near as many underclassmen to apply for the Draft and get feedback. In fact, they are hoping fewer do because they simply aren't sure how they can provide as much feedback to players as they would like. Of those that do apply, they aren't expecting as many to remain in the Draft as in previous years.
There isn't much positive out there right now, but perhaps fans of college hoops can look at there potentially being more returning players next year as somewhat of a silver lining.
2. JUCO FRESHMAN EL ELLIS' STOCK IS SOARING
It usually takes a little longer for junior college players to see their recruitments take off. At least until the summer before their sophomore seasons. But North Carolina native and Tallahassee (Fla.) Community College combo guard El Ellis is an exception to the rule.
Because Ellis, well, his recruitment is booming right now.
After averaging just over 14 points and four assists per game while being named the Panhandle Conference Freshman of the Year, Ellis has been stacking up offers at a rapid pace.
A scorer with bounce and quickness who shot over 40% from three, Ellis earned offers from DePaul, East Carolina, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina Central, Texas A&M and others during the winter. Of late though, things have really taken off with Arizona State, Connecticut, Iowa State, Louisville and N.C. State all offering scholarships in the past week.
It's going to be a while before Ellis can look to set up any visits, but he's establishing himself early as one of the premier 2021 JC recruits in the country.
3. SENIOR FORWARD DILLON JONES STILL WIDE OPEN
As programs anywhere from the mid major to lower end high major levels attempt to find players from the class of 2020, I'm shocked that 6-foot-6 combo forward Dillon Jones of Bel Aire (Kans.) Sunrise Christian isn't picking up more attention.
A skilled forward who is a high-level passer, plays with toughness and is a great piece in a winning culture, Jones was a big part of Sunrise being one of the top high school teams in America this season.
Sunrise Christian coach Luke Barnwell said Charleston is recruiting him hard, Missouri State is involved and that Dayton has been in touch. Obviously, he cannot take any visits right now but the South Carolina native -- who is open to going anywhere for school -- is being under-recruited and is somebody that more schools should be investigating.
4. EIGHT REMAIN FOR FOUR-STAR IKE CORNISH
A native of the Baltimore area, 6-foot-6 small forward Ike Cornish made the move to Greenville (S.C.) Legacy Charter for his junior year and the move paid off.
His athleticism, positional size and ability to score the ball put him on the map and he went from unranked to a four-star prospect who ranks No. 88 nationally in just a matter of months. If he gets a chance to play with Team Durant in Nike's EYBL this summer, his ranking could go up even more.
Rather than mess around with the recruiting process, Cornish is already taking steps to get things moving. Over the weekend he cut his list to a final eight of Clemson, DePaul, George Washington, Georgetown, Maryland, VCU, Virginia Tech and Xavier. All of them but Clemson and Maryland have offered, but those offers should be coming soon. Of those eight, Cornish has seen GW, Maryland and Xavier.
There's no clear leader yet, but the the battle lines have been drawn and the coaches will now have a few months to work Cornish via Facetime, phone and text to separate the real contenders from the pretenders.
5. 2022 FOUR-STAR JULIAN PHILLIPS STOCK COULD SOAR
When and if college coaches get a chance to watch current four-star Julian Phillips play travel ball with the Upward Stars on the Adidas 3SSB circuit, then he could see his stock soar even higher than it already has.
I've spent some time watching film on him of late and as you can see from the attached highlights, he's got big-time upside. A first-team All-State player in South Carolina's class AAAAA, I've always liked Phillips length and athleticism but considered him more of a slightly undersized four man who needed to gain a lot of weight.
Now, he may still be more suited for the four at this point but a few things really stand out to me and make me think he could eventually develop into a top 50 player in the class. For one, he's bigger and longer than I realized. Also, he's even bouncier than I thought he was. What I like most after film review, though, is that he's able to get to spots on the floor with his dribble and that he's starting to bury spot-up jump shots. A work in progress to be sure, but one with considerable upside.
So far, Clemson, DePaul, Georgia Tech, Iowa State, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Carolina State,Texas A&M and Wichita State have offered. But, as more programs get to see him I can see his recruitment continue to skyrocket even more.