College basketball recruiting is no exception to the impact COVID-19 has had on the world. The pandemic has slowed recruiting and evaluations down as the AAU circuit is just now getting underway with regional only tournaments taking place.
For college basketball prospects, the summer AAU circuit is more beneficial than their high school season. Players play better competition and have more eyes on them during the AAU circuit. While it has slowed recruiting down, the virus hasn’t stopped it in its tracks completely.
College Basketball Recruiting Updates
Kendall Brown Commits to the Baylor Bears
In, perhaps, a little bit of a shocker, five-star small forward Kendall Brown selected the Baylor Bears yesterday, vaulting them to the top of the 247 Sports composite rankings. Brown chose Baylor over some high profile finalists like the Kansas Jayhawks, the Ohio State Buckeyes, the Marquette Golden Eagles, and the Arizona Wildcats.
Head coach Scott Drew is adding a third big-time prospect to his top-ranked class. The Bears already had commitments from high four-star shooting guard Langston Love and top-100 power forward Jeremy Sochan.
In Brown, coach Drew is getting an extremely athletic and long wing. While the game is gearing towards smaller lineups, Brown, despite standing 6-foot-8, is a small forward all the way.
While he still needs to develop his perimeter jumper a little, he is an excellent finesse slasher and secondary ball handler. Scott Drew will have plenty of options with Brown in the lineup.
Matthew Cleveland Announcing Tuesday
Borderline five-star recruit Matthew Cleveland will be announcing his decision on Tuesday afternoon. It appears that head coach Leonard Hamilton and the Florida State Seminoles will be adding a major prospect to their class. Cleveland will form an excellent one-two punch in the 2021 recruiting class with fellow high four-star shooting guard Bryce McGowens.
While Cleveland is leaning towards the Seminoles, the Kansas Jayhawks, Michigan Wolverines, NC State Wolfpack, and the Stanford Cardinal are all still fighting for Cleveland.
If Cleveland does announce for the Seminoles, coach Hamilton is getting a very intelligent player, as evident by the mutual interest with Stanford. Cleveland is an extremely athletic and long wing scorer. He is an OK shooter that can keep defenses honest, but he will need a little work in that area before leaving Flordia State for the NBA. With his size, length, and athleticism, Cleveland can be a premier defender in the ACC.
Malaki Branham Set to Announce Wednesday
One of the top players in the midwest, Malaki Branham is set to announce a decision on Wednesday afternoon at 2:22 PM EST. Branham, who plays his high school ball at Los Angeles Lakers’ superstar LeBron James former digs, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary high school is deciding between the in-state Ohio State Buckeyes, the Alabama Crimson Tide, the Louisville Cardinal, and the in-state Xavier Musketeers.
While the finalist for Branham have duked it out in a tightly contested college basketball recruiting battle, it appears the Buckeyes will be the choice come Wednesday. This would be a major boon for head coach Chris Holtmann.
In 2016, the best player Ohio State signed from Ohio was the number eight recruit in the state, DJ Funderburk.
The 2018 Ohio class mainly scorned the Buckeyes also as Justin Ahrens, the seventh rated recruit that year, was the top-ranked Ohioian to sign with the Buckeyes.
If the athletic, slashing, off-guard, Branham, selects the Buckeyes it will show that Holtmann has bucked the trend. Branham would make it three-for-three with the top-ranked players in Ohio for the 2021 class. He would be joining Meechie Johnson and Kalen Etzler. Adding Branham would propel Ohio State up to the second-ranked class in the 247 Sports composite rankings, behind Baylor.
Jordan Longino to Announce on Thursday
Top-100 shooting guard Jordan Longino will be announcing his decision on Thursday. Although he is expected to announce for the Villanova Wildcats, the Indiana Hoosiers are fighting to stay in it. Head coach Jay Wright is putting together a typical Villanova class.
Villanova currently has two commits, high four-star wing Trey Patterson and top-100 center Nnanna Njoku. If Longino selects Villanova, it would add to what is already the eighth-ranked recruiting class.
As a player, coach Wright would be getting a high-level scorer and an elite perimeter shooter. Two traits every coach in America wants. However, Longino isn’t just a scorer. He would bring fantastic ability as a secondary ball-handler in coach Wright’s guard-oriented offense.
Standing at 6-foot-5, Longino is able to showcase his excellent pull-up game. He is able to get his shot up over smaller players, while also maintaining a high-level catch-and-shoot game as well.
Adding Longino would give coach Wright a perfect fit for his Villanova offense.
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