Three-Point Play: Michael Foster, Vernon Carey and more
Just how good should Georgia be feeling about its chances with 2021 five-star Michael Foster? Has Duke freshman Vernon Carey been getting enough national attention? Plus, Eric Bossi discusses who he's most looking forward to seeing over the course of his next few weeks of travel in today's edition of the Three-Point Play.
1. IS GEORGIA THE TEAM TO BEAT FOR MICHAEL FOSTER?
It's still early and lots can change between now and whenever Phoenix (Ariz.) Hillcrest's five-star junior Michael Foster makes his decision. But for the time being, Tom Crean and Georgia look to be in very good shape and are putting forth the most effort into landing the versatile forward.
Late last week, Crean was in Arizona to watch Foster play in the Hoophall West. Foster and Hillcrest -- who parted ways with coach Mike Bibby on Monday -- struggled some at times but he's proven plenty of times that he has an inside/out game that he can use to inflict lots of damage.
When asked who was recruiting him the hardest, Foster pointed to Georgia.
“Georgia right now," he said. "The visit was valid, I love what they are doing. They let their players do what they need to do to make the next level. So that’s valid to me.”
Georgia's use of potential No. 1 draft pick Anthony Edwards has certainly caught Foster's eye as well.
“They have a No. 1 prospect and they let a No. 1 prospect do No. 1 things," said Foster. "Seeing that means a lot."
Foster doesn't yet have any timeline for deciding and he's interested in seeing who else wants to make a full run. As for Georgia, he wouldn't call them his outright leader but what he said has to be encouraging if you root for them.
“They ride the hardest right now.”
2. VERNON CAREY IS OFF TO ONE HECK OF A START
The No. 1 ranked prospect in the class of 2019 for much of his high school career, Vernon Carey Jr. was a bit inconsistent, battled his conditioning and fought through injuries during his senior year. As a result, he slipped some in the final rankings and many either outright or subtly questioned his desire.
Well, regardless of what may or may not have happened with him a year ago, the skilled big man has hit the floor with a vengeance during his freshman season at Duke. In fact, Carey has been as good as any freshman in America and given the questions and criticism he faced as he prepared for Duke, he's not getting near enough credit nationally for his outstanding start.
Through 10 games, Carey is averaging 18.5 points, 9.2 rebounds and 2.2 blocks in fewer than 24 minutes per game. He's in the best shape of his life, is playing with toughness and has done minimal floating to the perimeter.
Mike Krzyzewski and the Blue Devils staff deserve a lot of credit for their coaching and motivation of Carey, but at the end of the day he is due the lion's share of the credit for working hard and silencing any critics.
3. WHO I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING
Since the beginning of November I've already made my way to Texas (twice), Iowa and Arizona to scout high school and junior college basketball. By the end of this month I'll also make stops in Southeast Missouri, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Myrtle Beach and Raleigh.
I've already seen some impressive perfomances, but I'm looking forward to seeing more. Here's a look ahead at the five players I'm most looking forward to getting a look at over the next three weeks.
I'll start with 2020 five-star Josh Christopher. I don't really have many questions about his game at his point, but his recruitment is among the most intriguing out there. I am eager to see if he's willing to tip his hand at all regarding Arizona State, Michigan, Missouri and UCLA. The Bruins have been getting a lot of buzz. Will he say anything that backs it up?
I'm really interested to see what Marcus Bagley is up to. Thanks to his father Marvin Bagley II sharing some video with me, I've been able to see that the big wing headed to Arizona State is in very good shape and the highlights have been quite impressive and feature lots of above the rim play on both ends. If his play over the course of full games is in line with the highlights, then the future Sun Devil could be on his way up.
On Monday, seven-footer Kai Sotto from the Phillipines who is prepping at Atlanta (Ga.) The Skill Factory made waves when he visited Kentucky unofficially. I've not yet had the opportunity to see him play, but my co-worker Corey Evans was impressed by him during November. Can he be an impact guy? Is he more likely to explore professional opportunities? I'm interested to see for myself.
In the class of 2021, four-star forward Trey Kaufman is one whom many locals in the state of Indiana, well, they think we are out of our minds to only have him ranked No. 86 overall in the junior class. Have we underrated his skill and impact on the game? He's one I'm looking forward to see.
Finally, from the class of 2022 I'm looking forward to checking on the development of five-star shooting guard Chris Livingston. Has he added to his game off the dribble? How much has he filled out? Also, I'm most interested to see how his recruitment is starting to shake out? For a top-five prospect, things have seemed awfully quiet with him.