Three-Point Play: Boom or bust, commits on deck, Gabe Wiznitzer
The next three weeks will determine next season’s outlook for Auburn and Memphis. Rivals analyst Corey Evans explores their boom-or-bust approach, previews a handful of looming commitments and explores the various avenues that Gabe Wiznitzer could take with his basketball future.
Wednesday's Leftovers: Ziaire Williams, Kentucky, transfers
2022 Rankings: Top 75
BOOM OR BUST FOR AUBURN AND MEMPHIS
Months, check that years, have gone into the recruitment of Jalen Green and Greg Brown. For all of the work that programs have invested in recruiting them, it will all either pay off with commitments in the coming days, or leave programs scrambling to recover.
Green, set to commit sometime around April 15 will pick between Auburn and Memphis. Fresno State, Oregon and USC are also options, as is the possibility of Green pursuing a professional career in the NBA's G League or overseas. Many presume that Auburn is the leader but I stand firm in my belief that Memphis is the team to beat. Green took his first official visit to the program during his junior year and his relationship with and trust in Penny Hardaway and Mike Miller may trump everything else on the table.
Could Brown join Green a week later by picking Memphis or, if I am wrong, Auburn? I wrote two weeks ago that Texas had taken the lead but there have been whispers in recent weeks that Auburn has gained ground and taken the leader spot with just two weeks until his commitment.
Pairing Green and Brown at Memphis together alongside D.J. Jeffries, Boogie Ellis and Lester Quinones would erase all of the anxiety the Tigers' fanbase had come to know throughout the winter. They both could also decline Hardaway’s pitch and join Sharife Cooper at Auburn, giving Bruce Pearl a national contender. Then again, they could go their separate ways with Green choosing the G League, Brown staying home at Texas, and leaving both sets of Tigers sorting things out with limited options available this spring.
HIGH-MAJOR COMMITMENTS AHEAD
While all eyes are on Green and Brown and their upcoming decisions, there are also a few other prospects that have the chance to impact a high-major program next year and are nearing their own commitment dates.
William Jeffress has been one of the more difficult prospects to read as far as which program he might be favoring. There is a good reason for that seeing that he was unable to take any of his official visits before the pandemic set in. Jeffress is focused on a group of 10 and has been diligent about finding a program that offers elite academics, which should help the cases of Northwestern, Stanford and Vanderbilt. Location doesn’t seem to be that big of a factor with him, and the Erie, Pa., native should be committed by the end of the month. Pitt remains my pick in the FutureCast.
Brandon Murray is in a similar situation. One of the top late-year risers from the 2020 class, Murray was hoping to take his official visits this spring but those plans were sidelined by the coronavirus pandemic. There is no timeline for his decision but he is down to a final five that is DePaul, ETSU, Georgetown, Georgia, and Rhode Island.
Donovan Williams hasn’t shown his hand just yet but a commitment is expected on Monday. Down to a final three of Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Texas, the former two have the greatest chance but KSU would be my pick for who he picks.
Tyrin Lawrence has been rather hush regarding a potential favorite but a decision will be made at 4 p.m. EDT Thursday. Cal has recruited him the longest and his relationship with Mark Fox, dating back to Fox's time as the head coach at Georgia, only helps the Golden Bears' chances with the Peach State native. However, Vanderbilt has made a late run at things while Ole Miss has been entrenched within his recruitment for months.
WIZNITZER WITH PLENTY OF OPTIONS
Just like William Jeffress, who made the decision to reclassify this winter and was hoping to take all of his official visits this spring before coming to a college decision, Gabe Wiznitzer is in a similar situation. While he still remains a member of the 2021 class, there is a chance that he could opt into the 2020 class later this year.
Wiznitzer is fully eligible as a member of the 2020 class once he graduates this spring but he is entirely fine returning to Hargrave Military Academy in the fall for a prep year. A big-bodied center that has great touch around the basket, there is very few like him in the 2021 class and even fewer like him in the 2020 class.
Prior to the NCAA's decision to temporarily halt in-person recruiting due to the coronavirus pandemic, Wiznitzer was set on taking an official visit to Providence. Cincinnati, DePaul, Ole Miss, West Virginia and Xavier are among the others that would like to have him on campus in the fall.
The list doesn’t stop there and while they haven’t broached the reclassification topic, Clemson, Davidson, George Washington, Indiana, NC State, Ohio State and TCU have continued to actively recruit him as a member of the 2021 class. Look for Wiznitzer to remain patient with the process and once he can begin to take official visits, exhaust those opportunities and, if presented with the right situation, make the move into the 2020 class and enroll in the fall.