Twitter Tuesday: Jonathan Kuminga, UK, mid-major recruits
In this week’s Twitter Tuesday mailbag, Rivals.com Basketball Recruiting Analyst Corey Evans dives into the ongoing recruitment of Jonathan Kuminga, examines Kentucky’s frontcourt issues, looks at where Pitt goes from here and more.
Jonathan Kuminga is expected to release his final school list in the coming weeks and the option of reclassification into 2020 remains on the backburner.
While many expect for Kuminga to be on a college campus in the fall, the latest that I have heard is that he would actually prefer to complete his high school career as a member of the 2021 class. Whether that actually holds up remains to be seen, just as who the actual suitors are for his commitment.
The programs that seem to have the best chances are Auburn, which holds my FutureCast selection, and Georgia, the last program to host him on a visit, along with Florida State, LSU and Texas Tech. If he makes the move up a year, these are the five programs that I believe he will choose from. If he remains in the 2021 class, his college suitors could multiply to include programs such as Duke and Kentucky into play.
Finally, while talks remain at just the beginning stages, there is always a chance that he makes the move into the 2020 class and then signs with the G League. The league's new Pathway Program has not finalized its roster for the fall and throwing Kuminga’s name alongside Jalen Green, Daishen Nix and Isaiah Todd is definitely in play.
I don't have any inside knowledge here, but if I was guessing, I would bet on Kentucky landing someone like Olivier Sarr and potentially Frank Anselem. Now, both are more of toss-ups for different reasons. For Sarr, the former Wake Forest standout is a sit-out transfer which means that even if Kentucky were to land his commitment, the Wildcats wouldn’t know whether he would actually be eligible in the fall unless he receives a waiver to play immediately.
Sarr would be a huge help, but Kentucky is super, super thin in the frontcourt and would likely need another body for depth sake. The Wildcats do not return a single low-post contributor from last season and while Isaiah Jackson and Lance Ware should help, relying upon two freshmen that aren’t primarily known for their paint producing skills is worrisome. Anselem wouldn’t be expected to give 15 minutes per night and is a big, long and active body that could fill a specific role as an energy-giver.
Kentucky is also in the final four for Evansville transfer DeAndre Williams who is expected to make his college decision by the end of the week, and the Wildcats continue to push for the reclassification of top-10 junior Moussa Cisse.
Top-75 forward William Jeffress, as expected, committed to Pitt last week. He gives the Panthers a versatile, tough-nosed and ever-improving talent in the frontcourt that can play a litany of spots on the court. Jeffress becomes the fifth member of a class that should entirely reshape Pitt's frontline next season.
The Panthers sit with one open scholarship that could be filled via a transfer later this offseason. However, no one is forcing Jeff Capel to use the remaining scholarship that he has available. Some coaches find it difficult to keep 13 players on scholarship happy all at once, unless one or two are sitting out due to a redshirt, and filling a scholarship just to fill a scholarship is never the most efficient means to success now, or down the road.
Look for the Panthers to sit still for now unless a worthy transfer arises.
Brandon Huntley-Hatfield, like many of his fellow elite peers in recent years, could have two decisions to make over the next 12 months. That is, not only where he wants to attend college, but also when he wants for that to take place.
Originally a member of the 2021 class, Huntley-Hatfield reclassified a year back and into the 2022 class over a year ago. Since then, he ascended the Rivals150 and secured his ranking as a top-10 prospect. In the meantime, and because of a loophole in the rules, Huntley-Hatfield has already taken official visits to Memphis and Ole Miss. Both are viable options for his commitment.
The younger cousin of former Kentucky standout Alex Poythress, Huntley-Hatfield has already taken an unofficial visit to Lexington so it shouldn’t come as a shock that the Wildcats are a serious contender, if not the favorite. Don’t sleep on Auburn, Michigan or Tennessee, either.
Look for his recruitment to pick up soon thanks to not just his talent level alone, but also because he could, and likely will, become a member of the rising senior class.
Boomer brings up Jordyn Adams, a freshman guard at Austin Peay that averaged 17.4 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists, while making 37-percent of his perimeter attempts as a freshman. Who, from the 2020 class, has the hidden abilities and the opportunity to find similar success next season? Three prospects headed to compete in the mid-major ranks come to mind:
... The backcourt is fairly loaded at Eastern Kentucky but if one freshman can work his way into the mix, it is Wendell Green. The person at the point of attack for the successful La Lumiere program the past two years, Green is a winner. Smaller but a complete competitor, don’t be surprised if he is running the show by the end of the year.
... A member of the Rivals150, Jarrett Hensley was a major win for Wes Miller at UNC-Greensboro. A 6-foot-8, rugged and tough big man, but also a versatile prospect that can extend the defense via the perimeter jumper, Hensley should have no issues fitting in.
... The new staff at James Madison found one of the more under-the-radar prospects this spring in Justin Amadi. A perfect combo forward for today’s style of play, Amadi is someone you throw out onto the floor and he gets stuff done. He steps into a relatively empty cupboard so Amadi has the chance to star immediately.