The Rebuild of the Hoyas

Key Departures: Rodney Pryor, L.J. Peak, Isaac Copeland, Akoy Agau, Bradley Hayes, Tre Campbell, Reggie Cameron II

Projected Starting Lineup:

PG: Trey Dickerson (GS.)

PG: Jonathan Mulmore (Sr.)

SG: Jagan Mosley (So.)

PF: Marcus Derrickson (Jr.)

C: Jessie Govan (Jr.)

Key Reserve Players:

SG/SF: Kaleb Johnson (Jr.), PF/SF: JaMarko Pickett (Fr.), C: Chris Sodom (Fr.), PF: Antwan Walker (Fr.), PG: Jahvon Blair (Fr.)

Discussion:

Patrick Ewing finally landed a head coaching gig, and it just so happens to be with his alma mater. Bringing this program back to the national stage will be quite the task, and this first year will be the hardest season of them all. After being in the NBA world as an assistant coach for more than a decade, coming to the college game brings on a completely different animal. Coaching teenagers, recruiting high schoolers, and competing in the Big East will be difficult to say the least.

I have a three guard set in the starting lineup. Trey Dickerson and Jonathan Mulmore are two points guards in the backcourt, along with sophomore shooting guard Jagan Mosley joining them as well. Dickerson is a grad transfer from South Dakota, who averaged 10.4 points and 2.8 assists last season for the Coyotes. Mulmore averaged 3.6 points and 1.9 assists in 20 minutes of playing time for the Hoyas last season. In a rebuilding year (and in a completely new era), it is essential to have leadership at the point guard position. Having both Dickerson and Mulmore will prove to be beneficial on and off the court for Ewing as he transitions to the college game. Mosley is a former four-star shooting guard who had a solid freshman season. He actually ranked second in assists per game for the Hoyas last year. Mosley will be called upon for more scoring this season with the departures of Rodney Pryor and L.J. Peak. He needs to make that step as a sophomore. These guards need to be efficient this season from the field in order for Georgetown’s success.

Marcus Derrickson and Jessie Govan are two key pieces returning, and will arguably be the two best players for Georgetown this season. Govan is the only returning double digit scorer. Both guys played under 25 minutes per game last year, but will probably play 30+ minutes as juniors. I actually think both guys have double-double potential, especially Govan. Govan has a terrific wingspan, he has a solid build/is strong, and mobile for a big dude in the paint. He can score inside and outside. Derrickson can play inside and outside as well. If both bigs can stretch the floor consistently, can polish up their offensive games, and be steady defensive presences, they will create quite the duo for the Hoyas. Their plates will be full this season.

Kaleb Johnson will be the bench player with the most experience. The former four-star hasn’t played much over the course of his first two seasons, but will play a bigger role as a junior. Jahvon Blair could see some action behind Dickerson and Mulmore. JaMarko Pickett is the interesting piece from this freshman class, and could find himself in the starting lineup if Ewing decides to go bigger. The former Ole Miss commit is a lanky, athletic forward with really good handles and mobility. He is quick for a 6’7″ forward. When he gets stronger and adds more weight to his frame, he is going to become a really good player. His potential to play both forward positions makes him a matchup problem, and his length gives him defensive ability on the wing.

Chris Sodom and Antwan Jones will play big man minutes off the bench behind Govan and Derrickson. Sodom is a lanky 7’3″ project. He will be a threat for lobs, and his defensive potential as a rim protector makes him very intriguing. Walker already has a nice build to his frame for a freshman. He is explosive, athletic, and can play both forward positions. He is a threat to run out in transition and has stretch four potential as well. Coach Ewing has some solid prospects coming in, and with the right coaching and development, they could become the faces of this program.

Patrick Ewing won’t rebuild this program overnight, it will take plenty of time. But, lets give him a few years, and then go from there. College basketball is better when Georgetown is relevant.

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Vanderbilt Could Hit a Home Run in the 2018 Recruiting Class

Vanderbilt is a strong contender for both Simi Shittu and Darius Garland in the 2018 recruiting class. Shittu is the sixth overall player on the ESPN Top 100 Chart and the number two power forward in the class. While, Garland is the 11th overall player and the number two point guard in the class.

If Bryce Drew can land these two five-stars, his program would be uplifted instantaneously. Garland has ridiculous handles and vision at the point guard position. He is crafty, quick, and immediately impacts Vanderbilt due to his ability to make his teammates better. He will create for himself, but will also set his teammates up for success. Shittu is an explosive, mobile, and versatile power forward with the ability to contribute in a multitude of ways. He is skilled, can finish around the rim with both hands, can run out in transition, is a work horse on the boards, a very good passer for a big, and can be a presence defensively. As he continues to improve as a player, I think he will eventually develop into a consistent stretch four guy and outside threat. He is a player who can dribble the ball up the court and can get all the way to the basket or can set up shop in the paint and operate from there. Shittu and Garland are game-changers for a program. Vanderbilt hasn’t been exciting and relevant since the 2011-2012 team led by John Jenkins, Jeff Taylor, and Festus Ezeli. Wade Baldwin and Damian Jones made some noise in 2015-2016, but ended up losing in the first four.

As it stands now, UNC and Vanderbilt seem to be the frontrunners for Shittu, while Indiana and Vanderbilt are the frontrunners for Garland. I honestly think Coach Drew will get both or won’t get either one. In other words, if one of the two doesn’t choose the Commodores, then I think the other one will look elsewhere as well.

What the Devon Dotson Commitment Means Going Forward

Devon Dotson, the 26th overall recruit on the ESPN Top 100 Chart for 2018 (and the sixth ranked point guard) committed to Kansas Friday evening.

What does this mean for the Jayhawks going forward?

Kansas is the clear frontrunner for Quentin Grimes, and I don’t think that changes with the Dotson commitment. However, in terms of Romeo Langford, I think the chances of him going to Lawrence are slim now.

As mentioned in an earlier post, Charlie Moore will be eligible to play in 2018-2019 for the Jayhawks. This means that Moore, Dotson, and probably Grimes will all be in the guard rotation for Kansas. Additionally, you have to wonder who returns from this year’s team. Between Malik Newman, LaGerald Vick, and Marcus Garrett, who will be back for the 2018-2019 season?

Simply put, I think there will be too many guards in the rotation, which means that Indiana is probably the clear favorite for Langford now. Don’t get me wrong, Kansas will still have a terrific roster for the 2018-2019 season even if they don’t get Langford. Plus, they already have commitments in 2018 from Silvio De Sousa and David McCormack. Zion Williamson continues to be on Bill Self’s mind as well.

Can Maryland Contend in the Big Ten?

Key Departures: Melo Trimble, Damonte Dodd, Jaylen Brantley, L.G. Gill

Projected Starting Lineup:

PG: Anthony Cowan (So.)

SG: Kevin Huerter (So.)

SF: Jared Nickens (Sr.)

SF: Justin Jackson (So.)

C: Michal Cekovsky (Sr.)

Key Reserve Players:

SG: Dion Wiley (RS Jr.), SG: Darryl Morsell (Fr.), PF/C: Bruno Fernando (Fr.), PF: Ivan Bender (Jr.), PF: Sean Obi (GS.), PF: Josh Tomaic (RS Fr.)

Discussion: 

The Big Ten is going to be super competitive this year. With Michigan State as the consensus top team in the conference, there are several teams fighting for that second spot. Maryland has the chance to be one of those teams.

The Melo Trimble days are over in College Park. There were ups and downs throughout his collegiate career, but his contributions to the program will never be forgotten. Sophomore guard Anthony Cowan now has full reigns to the program. Cowan was one of three players last season to average double figures in points for the Terps (along with Melo Trimble and Justin Jackson). He also averaged 3.7 assists per game, tying Trimble for the team high. The ball is going to be in Cowan’s hands even more this season, which means there will be more responsibility on his plate, especially leadership wise. With a great foundation developed from his freshman season, I think Cowan will take a huge step this season. Kevin Huerter is another player who I think is going to have a breakout season. Huerter has one of the sweetest shooting strokes in all of college basketball. He shot 37.1 percent from distance last season as a freshman and averaged 9.3 points per game. I expect both of those numbers to go up this season in a big way.

Jared Nickens, Dion Wiley, and Darryl Morsell are three players that I think will battle it out for a starting spot. Nickens is the seasoned veteran who had a down year last season, but is always a 3-point threat. Wiley is a former top 100 shooting guard from the 2014 recruiting class who has yet to get on track for the Terps. Morsell is a four-star shooting guard who is a bucket getter coming in as a freshman. Mark Turgeon will have a decision to make regarding who he wants to start on the perimeter.

Now, we get into Justin Jackson, yet another special sophomore on this team. Jackson tested the NBA waters, but ultimately decided to return to College Park for his sophomore year. Jackson is a 6’7″ forward with the ability to switch onto multiple positions defensively. He can guard all types of forwards, and is a real luxury to have because he is so versatile. Jackson also led the Terps in 3-point shooting last season at 43.8 percent and in rebounding. Jackson can shoot it from the outside and can stretch the floor, but he can also put the ball on the floor and can attack the basket. Jackson can do so many different things on both ends of the court, and is just destined to be a superstar player.

Big man Michal Cekovsky will play down low for Maryland. He was efficient with his minutes last season, scoring 7.6 points in 13.2 minutes of playing time. His minutes will go up, and he will need to bring down more boards as a senior. He will take on the Damonte Dodd role. Ivan Bender will play big man minutes off the bench. Bender was also efficient with his minutes last season. Cekovsky and Bender led the Terps in field goal percentage this past year. Hopefully Sean Obi will get some minutes as well. Obi, the grad transfer from Duke, got lost in the rotation in Durham, and didn’t get much playing time at all. Obi is a big body to throw down low and can be a force on the boards if given the minutes.

It will be very interesting to see how much playing time Bruno Fernando gets this season. The former SMU commit brings explosiveness and potential as a rim protector. He has terrific size and could develop into a really good player. Redshirt freshman Josh Tomaic could develop into a contributor off the bench for Mark Turgeon as well.

Maryland loses Melo Trimble, but they have three sensational starting sophomores to fill that void. Purdue, Minnesota, Northwestern, and Michigan are four teams that I think Maryland will contend with in the Big Ten race. The Terps will be a dark horse this season.

Keldon Johnson Down to Four Schools

Five-star shooting guard/small forward Keldon Johnson has narrowed his list down to N.C. State, Maryland, Kentucky, and Texas.

Texas has been recruiting Johnson for a very long time. Kentucky on the other hand, offered Johnson in August, so they have had to make up a lot of ground. Maryland and N.C. State seem to be on the outside looking in, especially the Wolfpack. Maryland is still in terrific shape for 2018. They have commitments from Jalen Smith and Aaron Wiggins, while also being a finalist (with UCLA) for five-star center Moses Brown. They are also in the final three for four-star point guard Eric Ayala (along with Miami and Oregon).

Kentucky has made Johnson a priority, so Coach Cal really wants him in Lexington. I think it comes down to Texas and Kentucky.

Quentin Grimes Down to Four Schools

Five-star combo guard Quentin Grimes has finalized his list to Kansas, Kentucky, Texas, and Marquette.

Grimes can play both guard positions, he has great vision, and can really score the basketball. Kansas seems to be the favorite to land Grimes, I’d be shocked if he didn’t up in Lawrence. Kansas is also heavily involved in Zion Williamson, Romeo Langford, and Devon Dotson. It is extremely hard to gage where Williamson will go, but as far as the other two prospects, Bill Self should land one of them. If Langford chooses Kansas, then I think Dotson will look elsewhere. If Langford chooses Indiana (or someone else), then Dotson should end up in a Jayhawks uniform. It really depends on who commits first. Charlie Moore, the transfer from California, will be in the guard rotation for Kansas as well in 2018-2019.

Having Grimes is a luxury because you can slide him to either guard position depending on the other pieces surrounding him. Q is a very special player in this class. He is the 13th ranked overall recruit on the ESPN Top 100 Chart for 2018.

R.J. Barrett Will Announce College Decision on November 10th

The number one overall recruit in 2018 will announce his college choice on November 10th. The finalists are Duke, Kentucky, and Oregon.

Duke seems to be the favorite to land Barrett with Kentucky second in line. Oregon is intriguing due to their Canadian connection with players, but they seem to be the odd man out right now.

If Barrett does indeed choose Duke, the Blue Devils will have a lineup featuring Barrett, Cam Reddish, and Tre Jones. This lineup of top ten recruits would be hard for any team in the country to match up with. However, whenever Kentucky is involved, you can never count them out.

Oregon has now been named a finalist for both R.J. Barrett and Bol Bol. Although it seems like the Ducks won’t land either player, they should be in really good shape for 2018. They already have commitments from Louis King and Miles Norris. And, they look to be the favorite to land five-star power forward Emmitt Williams.

 

Bol Bol Down to Two Schools

Bol Bol, the fourth ranked prospect on the 2018 ESPN Top 100 Chart, has trimmed his list of schools down to just Kentucky and Oregon. He will be attending Big Blue Madness in Lexington on October 13th (along with other highly ranked recruits).

Arizona was a top-runner for Bol for a while, but they are out of the picture now with the recent controversies surrounding the program. Arizona has been losing the interest of five-star prospects left and right. Simi Shittu and R.J. Barrett are no longer considering Arizona, while Nassir Little committed to UNC on October 4th. Even Shareef O’Neal, who has already committed to the Arizona Wildcats, is at a 100% for Kentucky on the Crystal Ball Predictions for 247 Sports. It is important to note that Bol and O’Neal are close friends and play AAU basketball together for Cal Supreme.

Arizona has commitments from O’Neal, Jahvon Quinerly, and Brandon Williams in the 2018 class already. It will be very interesting to see how their futures pan out.

I would be shocked if Bol Bol does not choose the Kentucky Wildcats. Kentucky is also heavily involved in five stars R.J. Barrett, Zion Williamson, and Keldon Johnson. I can’t see Coach Cal striking out on all three of those guys.

Can Chris Holtmann Revitalize the Buckeyes?

Key Departures: Marc Loving, Trevor Thompson, JaQuan Lyle, Derek Funderbunk

Projected Starting Lineup:

PG: C.J. Jackson (Jr.)

SG: Kam Williams (RS Sr.)

SF: Jae’Sean Tate (Sr.)

SF: Keita Bates-Diop (RS Jr.)

C: Micah Potter (So.)

Key Reserve Players:

SF: Andre Wesson (So.), PF/C: Kaleb Wesson (Fr.), SF: Kyle Young (Fr.), SG/SF: Musa Jallow

Discussion:

Chris Holtmann takes over the Ohio State basketball program after a successful stint in Indianapolis. He enters a tough situation, and will have to build this program back up. Jae’Sean Tate is the only returning double figure scorer from last season. Tate and Keita Bates-Diop (two former five-stars) will be relied on heavily for this program to get back to prominence. Bates-Diop only played in nine games last season. He was forced to have season-ending surgery in order to repair his left leg injury.

JaQuan Lyle was the last player from the 2015 recruiting class on the Ohio State roster. Now, he is part of the New Mexico basketball program, so everyone from that class is gone. Redshirt freshman Derek Funderbunk is also gone after struggling with off the court issues (academics) and facing suspension. Lyle never truly worked out in Columbus. He did lead the way in assists for the Buckeyes last season and shot over 40 percent from 3-point range. He has really good size for a point guard, but he faced issues off the court as well. C.J. Jackson will enter this season as the starting point guard from the get-go. He started nine games last season (Lyle started 23). In just 19 minutes per game last season, Jackson averaged the second most assists per game (behind Lyle). He will be a very important piece. Kam Williams, who seems like he has been in Columbus forever, will join Jackson in the backcourt. Williams is a very capable outside shooter. He shot 43.7 percent from downtown in the 2015-2016 season.

Sophomore Micah Potter will have to step up in a big way for Chris Holtmann down low. As a freshman, he gained valuable experience and even started in 12 games. Potter is a hardworking young big who can finish around the rim, and is a player who will get better and better with time. Andre Wesson will return as the most experienced bench player. Wesson is a very good wing player, who has the potential and ability to be a very good two-way player. He has a good motor, can get out in transition, and his outside shot will keep improving. His brother Kaleb will play a lot of big man minutes as a freshman for the Buckeyes. Kaleb Wesson is a big dude who can finish/score around the hoop and can take up a lot of space in the paint with his post-up. His vision and passing instincts are also impressive. If he can stay in good shape and can run the floor consistently, he can really help out this team as a freshman.

Kyle Young and Musa Jallow will play minutes off the bench as well. Young is a smart, versatile player who can play both forward spots. He has some explosiveness to his game as well. Jallow is an athletic shooting guard who was born to get buckets from anywhere. Both players will be called upon right away.

The Big Ten is loaded and Ohio State has to enter a rebuilding stage. Chris Holtmann was an excellent hire, and he should get this program back to relevance again soon. This will be the toughest year for Holtmann, but in a few years, I think they could be back to contending in the Big Ten consistently.

Darius Garland Cuts List to Four

2018 five-star point guard Darius Garland has officially cut his list to Vanderbilt, Indiana, Kentucky, and UCLA. He cancelled his official visit to Duke earlier this evening, which was scheduled for later this month.

Vanderbilt seems to be the frontrunner as of now with Indiana also in contention. The idea of possibly teaming up with Romeo Langford in Bloomington must be intriguing for Garland. Indiana and Kansas seem to be the frontrunners for Langford’s services.

It is hard to imagine Garland choosing Kentucky with Immanuel Quickley slated to be the next star point guard in Lexington. UCLA doesn’t have a star point guard coming in (as of now), so they are an option, but it doesn’t seem as though they are a major contender.

Garland is the second ranked point guard on the ESPN Top 100 Chart for 2018 and the 11th overall recruit. The school he chooses will get a terrific young point guard to run their program.