Three-Point Play: Jonathan Kuminga, Moussa Cisse, who's next?
It is decision day for Jonathan Kuminga, finally! Check that, Kuminga surprisingly committed a night ahead of time, picking the G League route over a bevy of other options, but there could be more to his decision. Rivals.com Basketball Analyst Corey Evans explains in today's Three-Point Play, along with a look at what Moussa Cisse means for Memphis and which top-50 junior could be next to commit.
Wednesday's Leftovers: Mason Miller, Ryan Mutombo, Vols
2022 Rankings: Top 75
1. KUMINGA'S DECISION
Last month, Kuminga announced that he would be choosing between five finalists: Auburn, Duke, Kentucky, Texas Tech and the G League initiative. The Blue Devils had not recruited Kuminga for months, and the same could be said for the Wildcats. That made it a two-team race between Auburn and Texas Tech, but even the Tigers backed off some, so in all likelihood his decision was down to the Red Raiders and the G League.
When he picked the G-League, he also turned down an offer that would have paid him over $1 million with incentives in the NBL, tax-free, which wouldn’t have included a shoe deal.
Through it all, Kuminga’s primary mentor throughout the recruiting process was his brother Joel Ntambwe, a sophomore forward at Texas Tech. That is right, a college student-athlete on a top-25 team has been helping Kuminga sift through the recruiting process.
While many believed that his presence on the Red Raiders' roster would help guide Kuminga to Lubbock, it may actually work the other way. Sources have told Rivals.com that Ntambwe could actually decide against returning to Texas Tech and could, in some form, represent his younger brother.
So the Red Raiders could end up not only missing out on Kuminga but also losing an integral member of its team for the upcoming season. That would be a tough pill to swallow, but my guess is that Chris Beard and Texas Tech will be just fine.
2. CISSE MAKES THE CALL
First off, Cisse is not James Wiseman, the former No. 1 player who had a bizarre three-game career with Memphis served as a huge disappointment. He won't be expected to touch the ball on practically every possession. However, he may be as good, if not a better, at blocking shots. In fact, you could make a fairly strong case that he could be as good of a fit and fill a bigger need for Memphis this season compared to Wiseman last year. Cisse is one of the best defensive playmaking centers that I have covered in recent years.
I am sure Memphis fans are beginning to give up hope after last season, from the entire Wiseman fiasco to how the season ended. It should be different this year, though. The Tigers have a dominant backline defender, capable playmakers, shooters and athletic wings which should all translate to an AAC contender and a team that can compete beyond the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament.
3. WHO’S UP NEXT?
With Cisse and Kuminga off the board, which high-flung recruitment will come to an end next? Usually, at least for the elite, the summer is quiet with travel games going full steam and leverage on their side. This year is, obviously, is very unusual and activity has slowed to a crawl. There is a chance that we will see have a flurry of decisions much earlier on the calendar.
We are on commitment watch with Kennedy Chandler. Could a decision come this week? It is a possibility but, either way, an announcement doesn't appear to be too far away. Tennessee is the team to beat, but maybe Kentucky or Memphis will make one last ditch effort.
It has been rather difficult to gain much news about Malaki Branham's recruitment, but we know that there are some programs that have a better chance compared to others. It would be a massive shock if Branham did not end up at Alabama, Cincinnati, Louisville, Ohio State or Xavier. My guess is that his recruitment will come down to the Crimson Tide and Buckeyes, but figuring out a commitment date is anyone’s guess.