Three-Point Play: Point guard dominoes, recent commits, more
Is there another round of point guard dominoes set to fall? There could be. We also take a look at the most recent round of commitments, and introduce two of the best forwards in the 2023 class.
EVANS MAILBAG: Latest on Harrison Ingram and more
1. More point guard dominoes about to fall
We have already seen 20 of the 25 top point guard prospects in the 2021 class make their college decisions and it is not even the middle of September. Could another round of dominoes be about to fall?
Maybe the most recruited player in America, point guard Hunter Sallis just cut his list to a final dozen but there is also a general feeling that he is not too far off from making his college decision. Once he received a Kentucky offer last month, things began to speed up and while Kansas and North Carolina were the favorites beforehand, UK should now be thought of as a potential leader. Does Sallis beat others like Skyy Clark and/or Jaden Hardy to the punch, or does he wait to see what either of the two does before making his commitment?
That bring us to Clark. The five-star is expected to publish his final school list and you can bet that Kentucky and UNC will also be a part of it later, and a wild card like DePaul or UCLA would round things out.
A reclassification for Clark has to take place, too, of course, though that decision is still sometime away. Does Kentucky hold on and win out with the exceptional playmaker, or does the Clark make me look good and pick the Tar Heels?
That is still yet to be decided, but a commitment is not too far away, which would align with Clark and Sallis making their college decisions within the same time frame and setting off a round of dominoes that should impact next year’s national title race.
2. Recapping the past 72 hours
The last few days have been a busy one on the commitment front and I wanted to make sure I touched on some of the more impactful ones that were made.
Houston snuck one out of Georgia with Robbie Armbrester and while he hasn’t been as good as he was during the high school season, the feeling here is that once he enrolls and gets into the weight room, that he will be another key cog for Kelvin Sampson’s program. Rough and physical, Armbrester is just the type that has gone on to find success at Houston.
Tennessee is no stranger to kind words for yours truly and its latest recruiting win is just another reason why the Vols are among the handful of programs that I would want to be a fan of over the next five years. Jahmai Mashack is a tremendous prospect that has his best days ahead. He must refine various portions to his game, but we are talking about a two-way competitor that wakes up wanting to get better and should only improve his game in Knoxville.
One of the upset wins of the summer, Michael James picked Louisville on Wednesday and while he might not be as highly rated as former Cards’ recruit Bryce Hopkins, his toughness and consistent production should not be discounted. He has gotten more explosive and skilled over the past 12 months and although he is not the five-star that Louisville fans were clamoring for, he does bring a strong work ethic and a chip on his shoulder that should make him a Cardinal favorite the next four years.
A late entrant into the race for Ben Gregg, Gonzaga defeated a number of west coast goliaths for the shot-making forward that will likely be the replacement for Corey Kispert next season. A bit bigger and maybe not as athletic as Kispert, Gregg can shoot the lights out from 22-feet and should be another quality piece that Mark Few can build around.
3. Texas has next in 2023
We have yet to produce our initial Rivals150 for the 2023 and while we definitely know DJ Wagner and Mikey Williams will be found high up within it, two others have emerged in recent weeks displaying the talent and upside that will make each a top target for practically anyone in America.
Having the chance to watch some of Vonzell Thomas’ War B4 The Storm over the weekend, two sophomores from the state of Texas caught my eye not with just how talented they were, but also with the sense of maturity that their games are built around and the size they possess.
A 6-foot-8 power forward, Justin McBride has the looks of a younger Julius Randle. With grown man strength but yet to touch a single weight, opponents just bounce off McBride. He is more than just a rough-and-tumble big man that does his greatest work around the basket, but also someone that can play out of the face-up, has tremendous hands and touch in the lane and competes with a solid motor.
While McBride is the ideal small ball big man for today’s game, Ron Holland is the next versatile wing-forward in the Paul George mold. He competes with a chip on his shoulder, can score out to the perimeter and also at the basket by way of the poster jam, and defend three positions in the half-court. He should only get better under David Peavy’s watch at the powerful Duncanville High.
Add in the fact that both just turned 15 years old in July and what you have is two of the best prospects in the entire country from a state that is overflowing with elite talent.