With Romeo Langford making his decision on Monday night, the elite prospects in the Class of 2018 are all accounted for in terms of a commitment. There are still a couple ESPN 100 prospects on the board, but for the most part, eyes on the recruiting trail have turned toward the 2019 class.
Over the past two weeks, college coaches went to events around the country for the two live periods -- the last time they will be able to watch prospects until July. It’s still very early in the process, but here’s a quick look at how the recruitments of the top 10 juniors in the country are shaping up.
1. James Wiseman, PF, East High School (Tennessee)
If you ask Wiseman, several schools are still involved. Over the weekend in Indianapolis, he specifically mentioned Kansas, North Carolina and Vanderbilt.
“It’s a lot of schools,” Wiseman said. “Nobody probably will believe that, but it’s true.”
In reality, though, this is a two-team battle: Kentucky vs. Memphis.
John Calipari and Kentucky were long seen as the favorite for the No. 1 prospect, but then Memphis hired Penny Hardaway to replace Tubby Smith. Hardaway has coached Wiseman for the Team Penny AAU program the last few years, and Wiseman transferred to East High School this past season, where Hardaway coached. Kentucky has a commitment from Wiseman’s teammate, D.J. Jeffries. Wiseman has long maintained he won’t reclassify into 2018.
Despite Memphis hiring Hardaway, the buzz lately has centered around Kentucky -- but there’s still a long way to go.
2. Vernon Carey Jr., C, University School (Florida)
Early on, it looked like Miami had a strong chance to keep Carey home for school. Carey’s father played football for the Hurricanes before spending eight seasons in the NFL. Jim Larranaga and his staff are still heavily in the mix, and went four-deep to watch him this past weekend in Indianapolis.
They’ve recruited him since eighth grade and aren’t letting up.
“It intrigues me, just to keep the legacy going on with my dad,” Carey Jr. said.
Michigan State has also been a mainstay in Carey’s recruitment, with Tom Izzo consistently watching him and Carey visiting East Lansing last September. Kentucky has made up some ground in the last several weeks, and assistant coach Kenny Payne has made him a priority in 2019. North Carolina also conducted an in-home visit in April and Roy Williams was at his games in Indianapolis.
All that said, Duke might be the favorite right now. The Blue Devils are recruiting him heavily, and the entire staff went down to Florida for an in-home visit last month.
For what it’s worth, Carey said he’s “probably not” reclassifying.
3. Charles Bassey, C, ASPIRE Academy (Kentucky)
This is an interesting one. While Bassey took an unofficial visit to Louisville -- where his high school is located -- recently, the clear favorite is . . . Western Kentucky. Rick Stansbury has been watching Bassey each of the past two weekends and the momentum has been building for the Hilltoppers for several months now. Bassey has bounced around a couple different high schools, but assuming he stays in the state, Western Kentucky is going to be the favorite.
4. Chol Marial, C, IMG Academy (Florida)
To be honest, no one has any idea what’s really going on with Marial’s recruitment. He’s had myriad of injuries over the last few years, so it’s hard to get a grasp on who’s been watching him and his recruitment has been under the radar as a result. It popped up again last week in Indianapolis, with Marial sitting out the second live period. UCLA’s Steve Alford did watch him in Dallas, and Georgetown is expected to make a push. UConn could also make an effort for the Connecticut native.
5. Matthew Hurt, PF, John Marshall High School (Minnesota)
Hurt’s recruitment has already taken a few twists and turns over the course of the past couple years, and that doesn’t look likely to end anytime soon. Before the live periods, he conducted in-home visits with Kansas, Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina, Indiana, Minnesota, UCLA and Xavier -- and Louisville has entered the mix with Chris Mack taking over. As with some other elite prospects, Memphis is also now recruiting him, as the Tigers were spotted watching him multiple times this past weekend.
6. Cole Anthony, PG, Archbishop Molloy High School (New York)
It’s difficult to get a read on Anthony, as he doesn’t often discuss recruiting. With that said, there’s a long list of schools still in the mix for the best point guard in 2019. Duke has been heavily involved for a while, although with Jeff Capel leaving for Pittsburgh, the Panthers are now recruiting him too. North Carolina has made a push recently, with Roy Williams watching him closely during the live periods. Villanova is keeping an eye on him, as is Kentucky. Louisville, Oregon, St. John’s and Michigan also watched him this past weekend.
7. Bryan Antoine, SG, Ranney School (New Jersey)
Antoine might end his recruitment sooner rather than later. Duke and Villanova are considered two of the favorites for the top shooting guard in the class, with the Blue Devils looking like the leader at this point. Jay Wright did watch Antoine and AAU teammate Scottie Lewis multiple times during the live periods, as did Kentucky, Florida and others. Those four schools also conducted in-home visits with Antoine in April.
8. Scottie Lewis, SF, Ranney School (New Jersey)
While there has always been talk of Lewis and Antoine playing in college together, it’s not a definite -- and it now seems more likely that Antoine plays for the Blue Devils. Duke is still involved with Lewis, as are Kentucky, Florida, Villanova, St. John’s and others. Four of those five also conducted in-home visits with Antoine, while St. John’s only visited with Lewis. Jay Wright and Villanova watched Lewis’ Team Rio group several times over the last two weekends and is thought to be making a push. Keep an eye on Florida and Kentucky, though.
9. Trendon Watford, SF, Mountain Brook High School (Alabama)
Watford is the younger brother of Christian Watford, who played at Indiana from 2009-13 -- but the Hoosiers are not a done deal by any stretch. Alabama has made a strong effort for Watford, looking to keep him home for school. Memphis conducted an in-home visit recently, as did Vanderbilt, LSU, TCU and others. Kansas and Florida State also still recruiting him. Avery Johnson was spotted regularly at Watford’s games over the past two weekends, and Kentucky is keeping an eye on him as well. Of course, Indiana is in the mix. Archie Miller visited Watford multiple times in April and made him a priority to watch during the live periods.
10.Jalen Lecque, PG, Christ School (North Carolina)
Lecque’s recruitment turned up a notch on Monday night, when Kentucky reached out and offered the point guard. The Wildcats have been monitoring Lecque for some time, but had not offered yet. Now that they’ve extended an offer, it will be interesting to see where his recruitment goes. Indiana and Louisville also offered recently, while Duke has been recruiting him and went to see Lecque before the first live period last week. Memphis has also entered the fray since Penny Hardaway took over. There’s a long list of schools in pursuit, but Kentucky’s offer will undoubtedly have an impact.