Three-Point Play: William Jeffress, Cliff Omoroyi, MSU
Over the past few years, reclassification up a class has become more and more of a thing. Four-star William Jeffress gets the ball rolling early this year. Eric Bossi discusses Jeffress, potential movement on the Clifford Omoroyi front and whether or not there’s still hope for Michigan State.
2022 Rankings: Top 75
JEFFRESS MAKES THE MOVE TO 2020
One of the worst-kept secrets in recruiting circles has become reality as four-star combo forward William Jeffress has elected to graduate as a member of the class of 2020.
A 6-foot-7 product of Erie (Pa.) McDowell, Jeffress was honored as a senior over the weekend and has done enough to clear the way for him to play college hoops next season. To me, it’s an interesting move because of Jeffress’ youth.
If you’ve read my articles and columns before, you will know that I’m of the belief that moving up in class is extremely difficult and that unless you are a can’t-miss guy there are ramifications. This is doubly true for Jeffress. Not only is Jeffress going to miss out on an extra year of development at the high school level, but he doesn’t even turn 17 until June. To put that into perspective, there will be many ranked players in the class of 2022 who are just finishing high school when Jeffress will be finishing his sophomore year in college.
He has developed a jump shot, has some toughness, rebounds well and is cerebral. However, I hope that a redshirt year is at least under consideration.
Nevertheless, I’ll go ahead and predict that Jeff Capel and Pittsburgh ultimately land him. They have done great work and seem to be ahead of the pack. Baylor, Penn State and Stanford are among the others in the mix, but I really like the Panthers here.
Jeffress moving to 2020 means that that Georgia forward Elijah Tucker gets a promotion into the Rivals150.
ARE THINGS ABOUT TO PICK UP FOR OMORUYI?
One the players that fellow analyst Corey Evans and I get asked about the most is Roselle (N.J.) Catholic senior big man Clifford Omoruyi.
Ranked No. 36 nationally, the 6-foot-10 senior is down to Arizona State, Auburn, Connecticut, Rutgers and Kentucky and has run one of the quietest recruitments in America. However, that should be changing very soon.
Omoroyi took an official visit to Auburn in the fall and has seen UConn and Rutgers unofficially, but he’s about to enter visit mode. He’ll start things off on Feb. 19 when he hits Arizona State for an official visit. After going to Tempe, the plan is to hit (in order) Rutgers, UConn and Kentucky for official visits. Once he completes those, another trip to Auburn could be scheduled.
According to a source close to Omoruyi, dates are being worked on now and the hope is to be able to get them in while the college season is still going on so that he can get a feel for the game day atmosphere of each program. It’s just a matter of getting his schedule for the rest of the high school season and each of his finalists coordinated.
As for a leader, I still don’t have a great feel for this one. Bruce Pearl and Bobby Hurley have been thought to have made big impressions over the past six months and Rutgers is right there. But, I’ve not heard enough about any school or another to declare a leader and would like to see how the visits unfold.
CAN MICHIGAN STATE TURN IT AROUND?
What a season of college basketball. Each time I think I’m starting to wrap my head around it and see a team I think looks good, they yo-yo back in the other direction. Nobody is more emblematic of that than Michigan State.
The preseason No. 1 with a popular Player of the Year pick in stud point guard Cassius Winston, the Spartans got off to a tough start against a dangerous schedule and had looked to right the ship during December and early January. Now, they’re riding a three-game losing streak, have lost five of their last eight overall and have become the first preseason No. 1 since Kentucky in the 2013-14 season to fall completely out of the AP Top 25.
That Kentucky team ended up playing for a national championship. Could the Spartans do the same? Considering anything has proven to be possible during this college season, I woudn’t totally rule it out - but they’ve got their work cut out for them. They still have Winston, they still have Tom Izzo and junior big man Xavier Tillman can be a load. The question is: Can sophomores Aaron Henry or Gabe Brown (who has had flashes) take another step forward? Could a freshman like Rocket Watts or Malik Hall have a late-season surge? We’ll see, but I think we’ll find out all we need to know about the mettle of this team over the next week.
They make a trip to Champaign to face No. 22 Illinois on Tuesday and then come back to East Lansing to host Maryland on Saturday. They need to at least split these two games, but if they can find a way to win them both they should still be considered a factor nationally.