Basketball Recruiting - Wednesday's Mailbag: Harrison Ingram, UNC, Providence, more
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Wednesday's Mailbag: Harrison Ingram, UNC, Providence, more

Harrison Ingram
Harrison Ingram (Courtesy of USA Basketball)

In this edition of Wednesday’s Mailbag, we assess the final weeks of the Harrison Ingram recruitment, how North Carolina adds to its 2021 class, Providence’s recent string of bad luck and much more.

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2021 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2022 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team

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Man, things keep going back and forth with Harrison Ingram. I don’t think he knows what he wants to do, which is not a surprise since he has so many great options. He could go to Stanford and team up with his good friend, Isa Silva, while taking the baton from five-star Ziaire Williams after his one-and-done campaign. The addition of Ingram would catapult the Cardinal brand into the mainstream even further.

Is he a pioneer of sorts? Will he be the first five-star to choose Harvard? Or does he follow the recent trend of blue-chip prospects looking toward the HBCU route and pick Howard? Ingram could also lean toward the other end of the spectrum and choose the blueblood path that North Carolina offers. Michigan is also a serious suitor for him, and while the Wolverines have already celebrated the commitments of four Rivals150 prospects this summer, they are also offering him the ball as the primary play-maker, which has intrigued the Texan.

When it comes down to it, I see it as a dead heat between Michigan, Purdue and Stanford. All three would build entirely around Ingram, all three boast strong academics and all three have developed a strong relationship with him and his family. It is going to come down to who he trusts the most, which remains undecided at this point.

It's hard to say whether he will commit this month, but you can bet he will sign early. Until then, his recruitment remains a guessing game.

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At the end of the day, North Carolina actually does not need a whole lot in the 2021 class. Dontrez Styles is a solid start, and with his versatility he should be able to make an immediate impact next year, regardless of who stays and leaves Chapel Hill.

There are plenty of questions in the frontcourt. Garrison Brooks is the lone graduate, but there is a chance Armando Bacot, Walker Kessler and DayRon Sharpe could all test the NBA waters. So, don’t be surprised if the Heels make a push for someone along the lines of Efton Reid, a top-30 center that they have shown some interest in but have not offered.

Skyy Clark would be a HUGE haul for UNC, but that commitment will not come easy. Kentucky remains a strong suitor, and Clark still must reclassify. However, Hunter Sallis shares mutual interest with the staff in Chapel Hill, and D’Marco Dunn could also be seen as a Carolina lean.

A versatile wing-forward with shot-making powers is a major want, which is why Caleb Houstan and Pat Baldwin are priorities, but for now UNC is playing catch-up. Their chances with Trevor Keels and Harrison Ingram are not great, which could also be said for Jabari Smith. But if Trey Kaufman decides to look out of state, it could be good news then for the Tar Heels. If UNC lands Clark, Dunn, Styles and a wild card like a Kaufman or Reid, I think Williams and his staff - along with the rest of Tar Heel Nation - would gladly accept that mix of players.

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I am finally getting to the subject of Providence. I have received too many questions to count pertaining to the latest activity at Providence and why the Friars keep missing on their top targets. For the past two years, for one reason or another, Ed Cooley and his staff have continued to strike out on the recruiting front. I honestly couldn’t tell you why, other than they have had been hit by some bad luck and haven’t been able to close things out at the end of the day.

Cooley is consistently one of the most well-liked head coaches with recruits any time his name is brought up. He is down to earth, humble, works at it and has built a program that is always involved among the best in the Big East. In the end, PC has simply just swung and missed, but here we are entering a season in which Providence could finish as high as third in the Big East. The Friars are my sleeper in the league.

As for the 2021 class, Cooley and his staff want a lead guard, a versatile wing or forward and big man. Darius Johnson has included the Friars in his final three, and former- football-star-recruit-turned-basketball-standout Breon Pass is another option that intrigues them.

Off the ball, Lucas Taylor is the primary scoring wing they are looking at, although the bigger need is in the frontcourt. Rafael Castro, Legend Geeter, Jonas Aidoo, Kuluel Mading and Sam Ayomide are all interested in PC. If none of those players materialize, then the transfer route will be how the Friars go about rounding out their roster for next year. The Friars should lose just Nate Watson and Noah Horchler to graduation in the spring.

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Virginia has not done much in the 2021 class, but that seems to be the case almost every fall, and every year we are talking about the Wahoos as potential ACC title winners and Final Four contenders.

The 2021 class does not have to be a big one in numbers but it does in talent. Tomas Woldetensae, Sam Hauser and Jay Huff, who could be UVA’s top three scorers this winter, will all have graduated. Tony Bennett and his staff have done a fine job of using the redshirt option on those in the frontcourt, which should allow the transition to next season to be a smooth one. Enrolling Trey Murphy, a transfer from Rice, also fills a need in the versatile 3-4 category.

As of now, Virginia remains a heavy contender for Trevor Keels, Pat Baldwin, Caleb Houstan and Taine Murray. Keels is ready to narrow his list to a final three and could be potentially the first of the four to commit, though Virginia is playing from behind. The same could be said for Baldwin. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers are in the final three for Murray and will continue to recruit Houstan, who will most likely not decide until the spring.

In the frontcourt, they are among the leaders for Trey Kaufman, have an offer out to DaRon Holmes and are among the suitors for Ben Gregg and Efton Reid. Of the group, Kaufman is the likeliest. They are not on stable ground with Reid, and Gregg could be Gonzaga-bound.

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It just doesn’t look good for Georgetown this fall. If any of those three were to pick the Hoyas it would become Patrick Ewing’s greatest recruiting win to date and also make for one of the top upsets of the fall.

Let’s get to it, though. I guess we can start with Aminu Mohammed. Very little has been said regarding his recruitment, but the Hoyas can sell the idea of returning back home for college and giving the five-star the chance to become the face of the program right out of the gates. However, their placement here does not reflect that they are the leader for him, but rather that they are in a better spot with Mohammed than Pat Baldwin or Efton Reid.

Baldwin is up next, and while I am still willing to take my chances on him picking Duke or Milwaukee, there is a sense of uncertainty surrounding him. Hoyas assistant coach Louie Orr has developed great in-roads with him and his family, and if there is a dark horse in his recruitment it is Georgetown.

Lastly, while Reid would be the ideal big man on the Hilltop, Ewing and his staff have much more work to do with the 7-footer. Michigan, Ohio State and Pitt are the three to beat. The Hoyas can sell Ewing’s big-man background, Georgetown's close locale to his home base and strong academics, but their chances with Reid remain slim.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH GEORGETOWN FANS AT HOYAREPORT.COM