On the eve of the Spring Signing Period’s commencement the storylines continue to mirror made-for-TV dramas for high school basketball’s most talented prospects.
From the lure of professional riches to choosing family over brand, the country’s top players are faced with challenging decisions about their futures.
Here’s a look at a handful of the top storylines headed into the Spring Signing Period.
Will family ties ultimately win out for Patrick Baldwin Jr.?
By now we all know that Hamilton (Sussex, Wis.) wing Patrick Baldwin Jr.'s dad Patrick Sr. is the head coach at UW-Milwaukee and the Panthers are one of the schools Baldwin is considering along with Duke, Wisconsin, Kentucky, North Carolina and Georgetown.
But is Baldwin really going to turn down his dad?
Really? After a pandemic?
In February, Baldwin told SI that he was "75% sure" that he knew where he was going.
Most believe that this is a two-horse race between the Blue Devils and Panthers. Both teams struggled this past season; Duke finished 13-11 and UW-Milwaukee finished 10-12.
Does Baldwin aide in the rebuild for dad or Coach K?
Pro options a real possibility for elite prospects.
Two SI All-American First Teamers could potentially opt for the professional route, be it the G League or overseas, over college. Hillcrest Prep (Phoenix, Ariz.) forward Michael Foster and Coronado (Henderson, Nev.) shooting guard Jaden Hardy.
Both Foster and Hardy have games and statures that should translate to the pro game, Hardy is a 6-foot-5, 185-pound athlete who finishes with authority in the lane and efficiently drains three-pointers from well beyond the NBA line. He’s masterful at creating his own shot and has the quickest, most efficient release in high school basketball.
At 6-9, 220 pounds, Foster is a rebounding machine who doubles as one of the most versatile and skilled offensive players in the country, with efficient three-level scoring ability.
Foster told SI that he’s been impressed with the development of the five players who made the jump from high school to the G League last season and the platform and exposure they’ve received this season.
Could that translate into he and Hardy following suit?
Who lands the ultimate prize of Chet Holmgren?
The SI All-American Player of the Year dominated on the court in every regard this season, leading Minnehaha Academy (Minneapolis) to a state title as a result. Still, his best work may have come off the court in his ability to keep his recruitment thoughts off the radar.
Holmgren was masterful at sidestepping questions about his recruitment, opting to focus on his pursuit of the championship with his team, but now that the hardware is in the trophy case, he told SI he’ll figure things out “pretty soon.”
As it stands, Holmgren’s list consists of Gonzaga, Ohio State, Minnesota, Michigan, North Carolina, Georgetown and Memphis.
Most believe the Zags are the team to beat for Holmgren, but, in the recruiting world, surprises can be common when leaks are scarce.
Transfer portal’s impact on decisions.
As college basketball’s transfer portal approaches 1,300 players, elite high school seniors must add another level of due diligence to their information-gathering sessions with schools on their list.
Now, they must factor in whether they could be competing for time with an experienced upperclassman who wasn’t on the depth chart two weeks ago.
From blue bloods to mid majors to Power 5’s, everyone is in the market for a talented transfer, and not all elite players want to come in and compete for playing time.
The impact of the transfer portal will be felt, the question is to what degree.