Basketball Recruiting - Twitter Tuesday: Emoni Bates, Carter Whitt, Trevor Keels
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Twitter Tuesday: Emoni Bates, Carter Whitt, Trevor Keels

In this week’s Twitter Tuesday mailbag, Rivals.com Basketball Analyst Corey Evans breaks down the ongoing recruitment of Emoni Bates to East Lansing, dishes the latest on Carter Whitt and Trevor Keels, and much more.

Starting Five: Commitment frenzy to continue this week

2021 Rankings: Rivals150 | Position

2022 Rankings: Top 75


Emoni Bates
Emoni Bates (Garrett Ellwood/USA Basketball)

My words were a bit misconstrued last week when I discussed Emoni Bates and his college future. Did Bates enjoy a recruitment typical of elite prospects? No, far from it, and Bates’ father, EJ, even said as such. Should Tom Izzo and his staff be applauded for doing what others failed to do? Yes.

However, there is still a lot of time to go before Bates actually graduates from high school, whether that is next year or in 2022. Also, with how things are trending in the sport with elite prospects looking toward professional opportunities in Australia or the G League, Bates' commitment to Michigan State is now just a step instead of the destination in the recruiting process.

Does it help that East Lansing is so close to Bates' Ypsilanti home? Yes, but Bates will have plenty of options that few of his peers will enjoy. Jalen Green could make up to $1 million playing in the G League this winter; there was talk that Jon Kuminga could have surpassed that number in the NBL; my guess is that Bates could trump those numbers and offers if he pursued a professional career.

However, Bates and his father have always focused more on the long-term than the short-term. If Bates is as good as many of us believe and all things fall into place, those one-year offers that he would see if he jumped to the NBL or G League will be chump change compared to what he earns throughout his professional career. Maybe Bates wants to play with some of his friends for another year and would like to enjoy the college life while also proving rival schools wrong.

The question then becomes if the NBA will change its entry date for the draft. If Bates does reclassify into the 2021 class, he would need two years in college to be eligible. However, rules change whenever unique situations are presented. Bates is such a special talent that I cannot see Adam Silver not wanting him in his league as quickly as possible.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH MICHIGAN STATE FANS AT SPARTANMAG.COM

Carter Whitt
Carter Whitt (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

I am not sure how much longer Carter Whitt will play out his recruitment, but Virginia Tech does have a great chance with him.

Back in the spring, Whitt was considering a move into the 2020 class that would have placed him onto a college campus this fall. He had taken a handful of official visits but decided that he was not physically ready for the college game just yet. Instead, he will finish his high school career at Brewster Academy in the fall.

Before attending the prep powerhouse, Whitt could potentially have already made his college decision. Wake Forest is out of the picture after taking the commitment from Robert McCray, and while Alabama, Boston College, Indiana, Nebraska and Ohio State had pushed at various moments throughout his recruitment, the programs to monitor include the Hokies, Florida, Marquette, Michigan and NC State. The Wolverines have not offered yet but they have begun to show greater interest, as have the in-state North Carolina Tar Heels. However, loyalty and the fit seem to be of the most important factors with Whitt.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH VIRGINIA TECH FANS AT HOKIEHAVEN.COM

Trevor Keels
Trevor Keels (Courtesy of @HoophallClassic)

I was just wondering that myself after Angelo Brizzi popped for the Wildcats last night. As of now, Villanova sits with four commitments in the 2021 class, and will see just three graduate following the season. That could put them into a scholarship bind but, then again, there is chance that Jeremiah Robinson-Earl could leave for the NBA after the season.

Seeing that Villanova is a guard-reliant program, the Wildcats could remain as a potential suitor for Trevor Keels. It will be a bit more difficult for Jay Wright and his staff to toss in Keels along with the two other guards that they have already landed, but if there is one system that can afford enough opportunities in the backcourt, it is Villanova.

It would be difficult to turn Keels down if he still wanted to come to Villanova, but how might things now sit with the five-star? Does Virginia now take the lead? Where does Duke sit with the do-it-all guard? What about North Carolina? Can Nova hold off the pack? The dominoes are falling, which should lead to a crazy and hard-to-pin-down recruitment.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH VILLANOVA FANS AT NOVAILLUSTRATED.COM

Ayo Dosunmu
Ayo Dosunmu (AP Images)

I would be a bit shocked if Kofi Cockburn does not return to Illinois in the fall. With over a week until he can pull his name out of the NBA Draft and return to college, I am sure NBA front offices have told Cockburn they would like to see him improve his ability to guard away from the basket and develop some sort of face-up game.

The real question is what happens with Ayo Dosunmu. The talk heading into the season was that it would be his final year in Champaign. Despite a rather successful string of months and improving his numbers practically across the board, the pandemic hit at the worst time with Dosunmu. Unfortunately, he could not show off that competitive chip of his during pre-draft workouts. That has him considering a return to college.

I think he will make the leap to the NBA but, for the sake of argument, let's say that he Cockburn return to Illinois. Does that make the Illini the Big Ten favorites? I am not going that far because if Michigan State returns everyone of note, the Spartans should be in the conversation for the national title. Iowa, Indiana, Rutgers and Wisconsin will not be easy to overcome, either. However, guards rule the game.

Dosunmu, Adam Miller, Andre Curbelo, Trent Frazier and Damonte Williams would form as good of a backcourt as there is in college basketball. If the Illini can be efficient with their shot-making, they should be a major factor in the Big Ten race and, potentially, a dark horse Final Four contender.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH ILLINOIS FANS AT ORANGEANDBLUENEWS.COM

Scott Drew
Scott Drew (AP Images)

Let’s get things straight. Elite commitments are not new to Scott Drew and his program in Waco. Baylor was one of the top recruiting outfits a decade ago when prospects such as Isaiah Austin, Rico Gathers and Perry Jones were committing to the Bears. However, Drew changed his approach and decided to get back to recruiting three- and four-star talent that he could mold and develop, building a program for the long haul instead of cultivating his teams on a year-by-year basis.

Now that he has his program where he wants it, he can be just as selective with his recruiting efforts with four- and five-star talent as he was with three- and lower-end four-stars. This time, though, he will be competing against the likes of Kansas, Texas and Villanova, compared to the regional high-majors and the mid-level teams he was up against before.

One can compare what Drew is doing to what Jay Wright did just years earlier. He was snake-bit with his highly-ranked signees. For one reason or another, they didn’t fit the ethos of a prototypical standout at Nova. After some soul searching, Wright got things back to the Villanova Way, which has led to two national titles over the past three title games. Could that be the direction that Baylor is heading?

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