With the spotlight on Nike Peach Jam, the Under Armour All-American Camp and the Adidas Gauntlet during the first live July recruiting period, it may be necessary to keep an eye on three players that participated in the BasketBull Tournament at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, MA.
New Heights, who drew the largest crowd of the day, has two high quality 2017 prospects, while CBC’s young, big man took center stage.
Here is the breakdown of the three top prospects in the tournament:
2018 four-star SF Sidney Wilson (Bronx, NY)
The 6’6″ small forward, who played his high school basketball at St. Raymond’s and has transferred to Brewster Academy, has impressive length, size and athleticism. Wilson is not a great outside shooter but finished virtually everything in the painted area thanks to his touch and ability to finish above the rim.
Where Wilson can really make an impact is in transition, but more so on the defensive side of the ball. While he needs to continue to gain strength (he is a very thin at just 170 pounds), Wilson can guard numerous positions due to his physical tools and wingspan.
Minnesota, St. John’s, Rutgers and Oklahoma State have extended offers to the Bronx native, while he also took an unofficial visit to Rhode Island recently.
The Golden Gophers were two deep for Wilson at BasketBull on Saturday (including Richard Pitino).
2017 four-star PG Isaiah Washington (Bronx, NY)
Washington, who stands at 6’0″ and plays his high school ball with Wilson at St. Raymond’s, is a competitive guard with confidence on offense and tenacity on defense.
Washington does not have the physical tools that other lead guards have (doesn’t have great size or length), but he is a feisty defender who can stick to a ball handler like glue.
The point guard is the 10th best player in the state of New York and has offers from DePaul, Iona, Minnesota, New Mexico, Providence, Rutgers, Seton Hall, USF, Texas A&M and VCU.
The Golden Gophers were also two deep for Washington, while the Seton Hall Pirates had Shaheen Holloway representing the program.
2019 five-star C Chol Marial (Cheshire, CT)
Marial is headed into his sophomore year of high school and he is 7’3″.
Marial is unstoppable in alley-oop situations and finishes with authority around the basket. He obviously has absurd size but his long arms give him the ability to swat shots on the defensive end of the floor and grab passes that seem to be out of his reach.
At nearly 200 pounds, Marial is very thin at this stage of his career, and will need to put on weight in order to bang around with bigger bodies at the college level. The big man is also still learning the game. He doesn’t have the softest of hands and needs to improve his feel for the game on both ends of the floor.
Marial fouled out in CBC’s game on Saturday, so defending without fouling will be critical moving forward.
But with three years left of high school, that’s plenty of time for him to put everything together and continue to learn the nuances of the game.
It’s obvious to see his upside and potential, and to see the reason he ranked 7th in ESPN’s top 25 for the class of 2019.
St. John’s recently extended an offer, but Florida State, Georgetown, Iowa, and West Virginia are also in the mix.
Rick Barnes Says He Would Have Left Tennessee if UCLA Paid Buyout
Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes could have been the next head coach for UCLA, instead of Mick Cronin, if only the Bruins were willing to open up their wallets.
Barnes says that if UCLA would have promised to pay Barnes’ $5 million buyout, he would have left Tennessee to take the job at UCLA.
“I think I would’ve been the coach at UCLA,” Barnes said (h/t ESPN). “I’ve said that to people before. I really felt at that time that’s what would happen.”
Barnes was honest and open with his decision process during the news conference, saying that he struggled with making a final decision due to financial matters.
Barnes has since agreed to a new deal with Tennessee that will pay him $4 million per year before increasing to a $6 million annual sum by the end of the contract and provide more cash for his assistants.
“I’m supposed to be at Tennessee,” Barnes said. “And it’s really above and beyond the basketball program. I’m in love with this community. I’m in love with this state. I just think we got a lot of great things going on in this town.”
“A lot of praying went into it, I can tell you that,” Barnes said. “There was a lot going on. When you get down to a situation like that, it has to make sense from a financial standpoint. Bottom line is we couldn’t work it out with the buyout.”
Barnes also informed UCLA that he would not depart Knoxville without talking to athletic director Phillip Fulmer and others in the community.
I told them point blank, ‘I’m not going to walk out of here and not meet with my team,'” Barnes said. “‘I’m not going to walk out of here and not meet with people here that have been really good to me.’ … I said, ‘You just can’t say send a plane tomorrow and we’re leaving. I’m going to make sure this is done the right way.'”
“There was one time in my mind I truly felt that’s what would happen,” Barnes said about potentially taking the UCLA offer. “It got to that point where I felt like my prayers had been answered.”
The Madness is Underway
As we inch closer to selection Sunday, many conference tournaments are underway finding teams who will automatically make the NCAA Men’s basketball. Here are the teams that currently in the tournament:
Atlantic Sun: Liberty
Big South: Gardner–Webb
Horizon: Northern Kentucky
Missouri Valley: Bradley
MEC: Fairleigh Dickinson
Ohio Valley: Murray State
Summit League: North Dakota State
Summit League: Saint Marry’s
Out of the 32 conferences with automatic bids in the tournament, 12 of them have been clinched. All the until selection Sunday the remaining 20 conferences will have their tickets punched. Who will that be? Stay tuned!
Tennessee Basketball Ranked 4th In (Early) Preseason Top 25
A school built on football lure now has a thriving basketball team to get behind. In a early CBS basketball poll, the Volunteer squad is ranked 4th in the preseason. This should bring relief to a fan base whose struggled with a lackluster football team in recent years.
Under Coach Rick Barnes (SEC Coach of the year 2017) the Vols went 26-9 last year, won a share of the regular season SEC title and reached the final of the SEC tournament. Tennessee should return most of their pivotal pieces for the 2018-19 season.
Admiral Schofield (2017-2018 ALL SEC second teamer) who tested the NBA waters has returned for his senior year to play along side Grant Williams (SEC player of the year) and Kyle Alexander. If they can stay healthy along with the supporting cast, this team has a legitimate chance to reach the final four.
According to Andy Katz, “Tennessee is the team to beat in the SEC this year,” and did I mention Coach Barnes recruiting is nothing to take lightly. Recently committed 5 star combo guard, Josiah James added his name to the class of 2019 and pushed the Vols recruiting into the top 10 nationally.
Although it’s too early to tell how this season will play out its certain the hype is warranted and reaching heights it hasn’t seen since the Bruce Pearl era.
Could it be!? Tennessee – a basketball school?
Follow the journey when the Volunteers tip off against Louisiana Lafayette on November 9th.
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