Wednesday's Leftovers: Memphis, Illinois, Texas, more
In three weeks the Early Signing Period will begin, with some of the nation’s elite officially becoming a part of a college program. There is still some time to go before then, with a few of the best nearing their verbal commitments.
In this week’s Wednesday’s Leftovers, we take a look at the suitors for Bryce Thompson and Mark Williams, when Memphis might get on the board, Illinois and Texas’ primary focus this fall and the latest on Puff Johnson.
That is a tough one and I don’t even think that Bryce Thompson knows where he wants to go just yet. He will not go to Michigan State, and Arkansas and Texas remain on the outside looking in. North Carolina landing RJ Davis on Monday could change things, but, either way, I don’t see him in Chapel Hill. That leaves a group of three comprised of Kansas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
Thompson has always wanted to attend a basketball-first school, which KU can offer. However, the recent allegations against Bill Self’s program may have thrown a curve ball into his recruitment and make Thompson think twice about picking the Jayhawks. He could be the perfect backcourt teammate of Cade Cunningham at Oklahoma State, but he also could be intrigued enough to choose the local Sooners program that just helped catapult Trae Young to NBA stardom.
I expect a college commitment in the coming weeks, with a signing to be done next month. I will side with Kansas for now but OU is nipping at its heels, and Oklahoma State is not too far behind.
Duke. The Blue Devils have been connected with Williams for years now, despite just offering him earlier this year. His sister, Elizabeth Williams, was a standout for Duke’s women's program, and it would be easy to connect the dots with the younger Williams and the Blue Devils.
However, it is more than just family ties. Williams lives just a short drive away, is the ideal 5-man Duke is looking for this fall and has been its No. 1 center target in recent months. He will visit Duke next weekend and plans on committing Nov. 1 and then signing two weeks later.
Michigan and UCLA have done a tremendous job of not only working their way into contention, but also making him think twice about where he wants to play in college. However, momentum remains on the side of Coach K.
Sorry, Memphis fans, but I don’t see anyone committing to the Tigers for another two months. The wait will be worth it, though, because on Christmas Day it will be Jalen Green, the nation’s top scoring guard, picking the Tigers. He just visited USC over the weekend, and he could complete his visit tour with Fresno State, as Auburn and Oregon are also involved. But barring anything unforeseen, he will choose the Tigers on Dec. 25.
Where they go from there and how they finish in the team rankings remains to be seen. They will not secure the nation’s top class, as they did last year, but they could make a run for a top 10 group as long as Green comes on board and Greg Brown follows suit. Texas may be the leader, but the Tigers are nipping at their heels for the elite athlete.
Chris Moore and Dawson Garcia are two others that Memphis is targeting, though Moore is the likelier of the two to commit. The Tigers could also attempt to reclassify top-15 junior Khristian Lander, who discussed that idea with us last week.
I am not ready to say that Illinois will land both Andre Curbelo and Adam Miller but its recent work has things looking good for the Illini. Curbelo just visited Illinois over the weekend and the talk coming out of it is that the Illini are now the leaders. Could he commit before visiting Oregon? That is up for debate, but I placed my FutureCast prediction for Curbelo a few days ago in favor of the Illini, and I am confident that will prove to be accurate.
Miller, on the other hand, has not given a commitment timeline, but the feeling is that he will select Arizona State or Illinois. ASU received most of the talk earlier this fall, but not much has come of it yet. The Sun Devils remain my pick, but I am close to switching it in favor of the Big Ten team.
Texas really, really wants Greg Brown and the Longhorns would absolutely love to add a scoring guard next to him, which is why they prioritized DJ Steward and Niels Lane while also continuing to pursue Matthew Murrell and Bryce Thompson. They just hosted Murrell over the weekend, along with Micah Peavy and Kerwin Walton. They are playing catch-up with the latter two, but have momentum headed in their favor with Murrell. Florida is out for him, but Auburn, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt and the Longhorns remain in contention.
The Rebels have garnered most of the talk lately, but with Texas receiving his final visit and with a major need at the 2-guard spot, the Longhorns might be able to close things out with one of the top two-way guards available this fall.
Not at all. I am not saying that he will not commit to Arizona because the Wildcats have my pick in the FutureCast, but Puff Johnson has always been intrigued with what North Carolina can offer and the Tar Heels are not done with their 2020 class. They are searching for another scorer that brings greater size to the perimeter compared with what RJ Davis showcases.
Johnson is expected to visit UNC on Nov. 2, and while he could decide shortly thereafter, there is a chance that he schedules an official visit to his hometown Pitt program. More than likely, he commits to Arizona, but he is going to look at every option on the table before he makes a decision.