Three-Point Play: Jalen Green, Jabari Smith, Eric Gaines
Is Auburn really the leader for Jalen Green? In today's Three-Point Play, Rivals.com analyst Corey Evans breaks down the latest with the top available senior, discusses the early leaders for Jabari Smith and the last few weeks of the Eric Gaines' recruitment.
2022 Rankings: Top 75
1. MEMPHIS LEADS FOR FIVE-STAR JALEN GREEN
Jalen Green has never been one to hurry things. On the floor, his pace is second-to-none and off of it, Green is one of the easiest going kids that you’re going to find. That has carried into his recruitment and while his season is coming to a close, a commitment remains far off in the future.
I bring this up because there has been a lot of talk of late surrounding Auburn’s growing chances with Green and that the Tigers might even be the leader for him. While we have never underestimated AU's chances, I don't think they are the team to beat.
That would be Memphis. Green’s relationship with Penny Hardaway and Mike Miller is strong and while things have not gone according as planned this season, Memphis remains in a good spot.
Fresno State, Oregon and USC are also involved but Green has a better chance of playing professionally next year compared to remaining on the West Coast. A college decision won’t be made until April, at the earliest, allowing the soon-to-be sped up coaching carousel to slow down and roster turnovers to take place. Memphis has the slight edge with Auburn nipping at its heels.
2. JABARI SMITH’S CONFUSING RECRUITMENT
For a top-five prospect in the 2021 class, one would assume Jabari Smith would lead a priority recruitment with a number of college basketball's elite programs involved. That hasn't been the case, which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
A 6-foot-9 power forward that boasts a great feel for the game, Smith’s biggest asset is his ability to make shots. Considering that shooting woes, not a lack of talent, oftentimes lead to early March exits, Smith would seem to be an ideal recruit. Think again.
Auburn may be among the early favorites for Smith. The Tigers have stood out with the time investment that they have made and the relationship that Bruce Pearl has developed with Smith and his family. It was strengthened even further over the weekend when he unofficially visited the Plains.
I don’t expect an early college decision from Smith, but if things were to end right now, Auburn might be where he lands.
3. GAINES BECOMES A PRIORITY
Eric Gaines was practically a no-name just a few months ago. Then word began to spread about the Peach State standout. Now, ranked No. 88 in the Rivals150, Gaines has his fair share of power conference suitors to choose from.
Back in the fall, before he had four-stars plastered next to his name, Dayton, Georgia State and St. Louis brought the explosive guard to campus. Murray State then began to pursue, hoping that he could potentially be the next great point guard to lead its program, that was until his breakout on the high school scene this winter.
“I knew my time was coming just because of my grind and work ethic,” Gaines said. “I just never looked back. I am someone that can get past my defender, get my team involved, and put the ball in the basket.”
It is because of those traits that he is a priority for so many programs. An official visit was scheduled to LSU for this weekend, but that was rescheduled due to his team’s playoff schedule. The Tigers might be in the best spot compared to all others in the field, though Alabama and TCU are in the mix.
A commitment doesn’t seem too far away for Gaines. Look for another visit or two before a decision is reached.