Twitter Tuesday: Kentucky, Jabari Smith, Texas Tech, Oregon
In this week's Twitter Tuesday mailbag, Rivals.com Basketball Analyst Corey Evans spotlights Kentucky’s limited offers in the 2021 class, discusses the leaders for Jabari Smith, looks at how Texas Tech will fill out its roster for next season and much more.
2022 Rankings: Top 75
That is a fair question. Kentucky has only offered four prospects from the 2021 class and while I expect that number to increase, there are also a few dynamics worth discussing.
First, Kentucky’s 2020 class was not full of one-and-done talent like in prior years. Yes, Terrence Clarke and B.J. Boston will be gone after the season, but I would be surprised if more than one of the other freshmen leave for the NBA in the spring. Maybe Keion Brooks departs after his sophomore year, but Dontaie Allen will be back, as will Rhode Island transfer Jacob Toppin.
At the minimum, that is a group of five returning to the Wildcats in 2021, and the program should feel confident about adding Jaden Hardy to their roster and they are a leade for Paolo Banchero. That makes seven, potentially, and even though they could miss on other 2021 targets, don’t forget that Skyy Clark and Brandon Huntley-Hatfield hold the Wildcats in high regard and could reclassify later in the year.
That is a lot of what-ifs, but if it all plays out accordingly, that is a realistic group of nine. Throw in another transfer talent, especially if the one-time transfer rule goes through, and another late 2021 addition and that is a strong 11 that could compete for a national title.
If you want a set-in-stone prediction for Jabari Smith, you won't find one here. Smith has given very little time or attention to the programs recruiting him and it is rather perplexing that zero bluebloods have offered him to this point.
Auburn, Georgia, LSU and Tennessee have made Smith a priority. Alabama, Georgia Tech and Ole Miss have also continued to stay in touch. Auburn, as I outlined last week in our Rankings the Contenders series, appears to be ahead of the pack but the gap between the Tigers and everyone else is slim.
If there is one program that could change the complexion of his recruitment, it is North Carolina. It is a matter of when and not if the Tar Heels offer. When they do, the Tar Heels could rocket to the top of his list.
Texas Tech has just one player on its roster that will graduate in the spring, VCU graduate transfer Marcus Santos-Silva. However, more could follow him out the door depending on how the season fairs, including Terrence Shannon, Micah Peavy, Nimari Burnett and, if he receivers a waiver to play immediately, Georgetown transfer Mac McClung.
Either way, the Red Raiders will in all likelihood have more than just one spot to fill. Per the norm, Chris Beard will kill it via the transfer wire in the spring, but that will happen months from now. In the meantime, the Red Raiders already sit with the commitment of four-star wing Jaylon Tyson, who could be the immediate plug-in for Shannon, while Jamarius Burton will hit the floor after sitting out this winter following his transfer from Wichita State.
Burton and Tyson should answer many of Texas Tech's needs along the perimeter. While Beard's program have extended a number of offers, none seem to be leaning to the Red Raiders at this point. They could be a sleeper for Jaden Hardy but they have a lot of ground to make up. Texas Tech is also involved with Harrison Ingram, Daimion Collins, K.J. Adams and Tyrese Hunter, with Adams and Hunter being likeliest Texas Tech commits down the line.
There doesn’t appear to be much action on Texas Tech’s part when it comes to the 2021 class and some clarity could be gained just by the transfer waiver process and how someone like Shannon and/or Burnett perform this winter. However, as long as Beard is in charge in Lubbock, talent will never be in short supply.
Creighton could have up to five scholarships to fill after the season due to graduation and early departures for the NBA, which is why the program's addition of four-star guard Ryan Nembhard was critical. The Blue Jays have also become a top landing spot for European talent thanks to the presence of Alan Huss on staff as he has developed great connections across the Atlantic Ocean.
One of those Euro talents is Jeremy Sochan, a four-star forward that will be completing his schooling in Germany after the pandemic interfered with his ability to travel back to the United States. Some programs may lose track of Sochan, but look for Creighton to be a finalist for him.
Domestically, keep an eye on Mason Miller, a four-star forward that is the younger son of Mike Miller, the former NBA star that left the college coaching profession last month. Nate Santos, someone built similarly to Miller, is also a top target for Creighton, as is Tucker DeVries, the son of former Creighton assistant and now Drake head coach Darian DeVries.
Hunter Sallis, a five-star prospect from Omaha, is also a target, though Creighton's chances are not great. In all, look for Creighton to land at least one good-sized shot-maker, a scoring wing, a Euro and strike once or twice via the transfer realm.
A dream class for Oregon would be Hunter Sallis, Jaden Hardy, Peyton Watson and Nathan Bittle, along with maybe one of the very best transfers available. Obviously, the chances of Oregon pulling all of that off is rather slim but it wouldn't be a stunner if the Ducks came close.
The Ducks sit with a commitment from four-star forward Isaac Johnson, who will enroll next fall after serving his two-year LDS mission. Aaron Estrada, a do-it-all guard that came to the program by way of St. Peter’s and will likely sit out this winter, will also hit the floor in the fall of 2021.
Who joins the two remains up for debate. Oregon is behind on Hardy and Watson, and while Sallis isn’t anywhere near a decision, he does hold the Ducks in high regard. Bittle, on the other hand, is viewed as a potential Oregon lean.
I will predict they strike somewhere in the backcourt, whether it with Warley or Sallis, secure Bittle, potentially add a versatile forward in the mold of Gregg, and sign a transfer or two.