Recruiting Roundup: Twelve top 100 prospects still waiting to commit
The college basketball season ended on Monday, and the next few weeks could be crucial in shaping how several programs will fare next season. Many of the top prospects in the class of 2015 have yet to either make verbal commitments or sign a National Letter of Intent. With less than a week before the start of the spring signing period, it’s a good time to assess where those prospects may end up. The list below includes every uncommitted and unsigned prospect ranked in the top 100 of the Rivals 150.
Jaylen Brown, No. 2, forward, 6'6", 200
Brown has described Kentucky as “probably the best basketball program right now in America,” but he’s still considering seven other schools in addition to the Wildcats: California, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kansas, Michigan, North Carolina and UCLA. The small forward took an unofficial visit to Kentucky last month and potentially could join two other elite prospects (power forward Ivan Rabb and center Caleb Swanigan) who are also considering the Golden Bears. Brown, who led Wheeler (Ga.) High to a state championship in March, said this week that he’s looking to make a decision toward the end of April.
Malik Newman, No. 3, guard, 6'4", 185
Newman has not released a list of favorites, but Kentucky, LSU and Mississippi State are among the schools he’s believed to be considering. Newman’s father, Horatio Webster, played at Mississippi State and Newman, who attends Callaway (Miss.) High, has already met with new Bulldogs coach Ben Howland. LSU, which counts No. 1 prospect Ben Simmons and No. 14 prospect Antonio Blakeney as members of its 2015 recruiting class, is reportedly recruiting Newman as a point guard, while Kentucky may prefer him to spend more time off the ball.
Thon Maker, No. 5, forward, 7-foot, 218
Maker was born in South Sudan, raised in Australia and later moved to the United States. He had been attending the Carlisle (Va.) School but transferred to Orangeville Prep in Ontario last year. Maker indicated in February that he plans to reclassify from 2016 to 2015. The 7-foot center visited Indiana in March and is also being recruited by Kentucky and Kansas. While some had speculated that Maker would play overseas next year, Maker told Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports this week that he will either enter college—possibly not until the second semester—or attend a prep school for one year.
Cheick Diallo, No. 7, forward, 6'9", 220
Diallo, a native of Mali, scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to earn the Most Valuable Player award at the McDonald’s All-American game last month. He recently said that he could announce his decision around the Jordan Brand Classic game on April 17. The Our Savior New American (N.Y.) School standout is considering Iowa State, Kansas, Kentucky, Pittsburgh and St. John’s. Former Cyclones assistant Matt Abdelmassih had been recruiting Diallo, but he recently left to join new Red Storm coach Chris Mullin’s staff.
Ivan Rabb, No. 8, forward, 6'8", 191
Update: Rabb committed to Cal.
There was speculation over whether Rabb would reveal his college decision after leading Biship O’Dowd (Calif.) High to a win in the state championship game at Haas Pavilion last month. Rabb decided to delay an announcement, but he could make public his oral commitment to Arizona or Cal at some point over the next few days. The power forward played for the Oakland Soldiers, a grassroots program from which Arizona has landed several players over the last few years. However, Rabb reiterated this week that he’s seriously considering the Golden Bears. “I just see the energy and they’re hungry,” Rabb told USA Basketball.
Stephen Zimmerman, No. 11, center, 7-foot, 230
Update: Zimmerman committed to UNLV.
Zimmerman is considering Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, UCLA and UNLV. While he has yet to announce when he will reveal his choice, Zimmerman indicated that he could wait to see which players decide to return to school or declare for the NBA draft. Zimmerman reportedly also said that he won’t sign a National Letter of Intent. The 7-foot center averaged 14.4 points, 10.1 rebounds and 4.2 assists this season at Bishop Gorman (Nev.) High, whose coach, Grant Rice, is the younger brother of UNLV head coach Dave Rice.
Caleb Swanigan, No. 17, center, 6'9", 270
Update: Swanigan committed to Michigan State.
Swanigan is set to announce his college decision at the Nike Hoop Summit in Portland, Ore., on Saturday. He reclassified from 2016 to 2015 last spring and led Homestead (Ind.) High to a state championship in March. Swanigan visited Cal with Rabb a few weeks ago, but other potential options are Duke, Michigan State and Purdue. The Spartans’ 2015 class also includes fellow McDonald’s All-American power forward Deyonta Davis, while Swanigan could potentially join Rabb (and Brown) at Cal.
Brandon Ingram, No. 19, forward, 6'9", 185
Ingram scored 15 points and grabbed five rebounds in an impressive performance for the West team in the McDonald’s All-American game on April 1. This week he was named Mr. Basketball in North Carolina after averaging 24.3 points and 10.4 rebounds and leading Kinston High to a fourth consecutive state title. UNC and Duke are viewed as the fontrunners to land Ingram, who said he wants to announce his college decision by the end of the month. He’s also considering Kansas, Kentucky, N.C. State and UCLA.
Brandon Sampson, No. 41, guard, 6'4", 180
Update: Sampson committed to LSU.
Sampson committed to St. John’s in January but decided to reevaluate his options after the Red Storm and former coach Steve Lavin agreed to part ways in March. LSU, Mississippi State, SMU and UCLA reportedly are among the schools strongly pursuing the Madison Prep (La.) Academy standout. Sampson also reportedly was set to meet with St. John's Mullin and Abdelmassih this week. Whichever school Sampson chooses, he told NOLA.com he doesn’t want to hear about “playing to the system or coming off the bench. I wanna come in and play big minutes as a freshman.”
Damontrae Jefferson, No. 55, guard, 5'7", 150
Jefferson, a point guard, is not rated as highly by other recruiting services and reportedly has drawn scholarship offers from UMass, Rhode Island and Southern Miss. The Milwaukee native has garnered attention for his flashy dribbling and highlight dunks, a style of play that lends itself to hyperbole. However, coaches reportedly have raised concerns about Jefferson’s attitude.
Marcus LoVett, No. 92, guard, 6-foot, 170
LoVett transferred from San Gabriel (Calif.) Academy to Morgan Park (Ill.) High prior to this season. He starred in the Chicago Public League and scored 45 points in a loss in the semifinals of the state playoffs. St. John’s was viewed as one of the frontrunners to land LoVett before Lavin's departure, but Mullin reportedly is expected to pursue LoVett. Illinois is considered another strong contender for the star point guard. LoVett reportedly has begun drawing interest from more high profile programs.
Nick Noskowiak, No. 96, guard, 6'2", 170
Noskowiak originally signed his National Letter of Intent with Marquette last November but was granted a release from his NLI in February. That followed comments from Noskowiak and his father after Noskowiak initially stated that he had been struggling with depression. He returned to play for his high school, Sun Prairie (Wisc.) High, and has since been linked to multiple schools, including Iowa State and USC.