Rivals Roundtable: Next five-star, national POY, rising 2020s
This week in the Rivals Roundtable, national analysts Eric Bossi, Corey Evans and Dan McDonald are looking to the future. Which four-star could push for five-star status during July? Who is a way-too-early favorite for player of the year in college basketball and which currently unranked prospect could use July to turn heads?
1. Which four-star could play his way to five-star status this July?
Bossi: Give me Cam’Ron Fletcher here. A couple of times the athletic 6-foot-6 wing from St. Louis (Mo.) Vashon has been knocking on the door of five-star status and each time he’s stumbled a bit. But, I feel like he’s the most focused we’ve ever seen him headed into July. He’s better with his ball-handling and playmaking, is taking better shots and seems to have bought into using his physical tools to be a difference-maker on defense.
Recent offers from Kentucky and North Carolina put a target on him to play up to that level, so July is going to be huge. Michigan State, Missouri, Illinois and many others are trying to catch his eye.
Evans: I know that it is a big leap, but Jabri Abdur-Rahim might force our hands into giving him that fifth star. One of the most complete scorers in the high school game, Abdur-Rahim is not a tremendous athlete and must continue to refine his defensive abilities. However, given his valuable scoring ability, he definitely should be in the conversation for the five-star label.
Recruiting-wise, Michigan was out in front early until John Beilein decided to take the Cleveland Cavaliers’ coaching job. From there, Virginia picked things up and currently, he is on an official visit there. The Cavs are definitely the leader, but do not sleep on Villanova. Also, Juwan Howard has done a good job of getting the Wolverines back into the picture.
McDonald: I'm going with Earl Timberlake. I absolutely loved his game at the EYBL in April. He's a big, strong wing and a really good athlete. I love his versatility. I know he's only a few spots from five-star range right now, but I think he'll earn that last star at next update.
On the recruiting side, North Carolina just offered, which is always a big one for highly ranked prospects. Before that, Providence and South Carolina had him on campus and Alabama, Louisville, Pittsburgh and Seton Hall are involved. I'm guessing the Tar Heels will be tough to beat in this one.
2. Who is your preseason national college Player of the Year?
Bossi: Both my heart and my head tell me that I have to rock with Michigan State’s Cassius Winston here. He’s too good, Michigan State is going to be too good and it is hard to come up with a player in college hoops who is more prepared to make that type of run as a senior. I love his leadership, his toughness and there’s no doubt in my mind he’ll have a big chip on his shoulder after going just 4-for-16 with only two assists to four turnovers in the Spartans' Final Four loss to Texas Tech back.
I’ll throw out a sleeper pick too: Seton Hall guard Myles Powell. That guy is going to put up monster numbers and the Pirates look like they have a sneaky good team for 2019-20.
Evans: It has to be Winston. The graybeard has practically upped his numbers in every major statistical category each season and should do the same during his final go-around in East Lansing. The Michigan State standout is someone that can put his team on his back and lead them to victory despite some physical limitations.
Averaging more than 18 points and seven assists last season, he is one of the best leaders that Tom Izzo has ever coached. Surrounded with another talented cast, the Spartans have the chance to win the national title for the first time since 2000, which is just another reason why Winston gets my vote for national player of the year honors.
McDonald: This is probably not going to surprise anybody who has read my takes over the past year, but I'm going with Anthony Edwards on this one for a few reasons. The first, and most important, one is that I think he's the best player in the country. He's going to be in a situation at Georgia where the team should be good enough to get into the NCAA Tournament, and he'll clearly be the top player and will put up big numbers. Like Zion Williamson, he's a freaky, strong athlete and will have all sorts of crazy highlights. Tom Crean has coached some really high-level guards that have put up big numbers. The stars align nicely for Edwards to win this award.
3. What 2020 prospect will play his way into the Rivals150 in July?
Bossi: Give me Max Murrell all day long on this one. During April, I was able to get a short look at the skilled and athletic 6-foot-8 (maybe 6-9) stretch four-man from Omaha and I was really intrigued. Moved well, had a body to grow into and competed on top of everything else.
Over the last week, though, Murrell’s stock has gone bonkers after a big showing in front of college coaches during the first of June’s two live weekends. Creighton, Kansas State, Iowa, Minnesota, TCU, Virginia Tech and more have offered in the last week and I’d expect more to be coming his way.
Evans: I’d have to side with Myles Stute. No, he is not a high-rising athlete or a giant for his position on the floor, but he is a competitive combo forward prospect that can do a litany of things.
Take for instance the NBPA Top 100 Camp earlier this month. Stute knew the platform that was presented for him with the college coaches being able to evaluate the event for the first time. He then went out and made a handful of catch-and-shoot jumpers, defended different positions and finished with sneaky athleticism at the basket. Because of it, his recruitment has blown up.
Within the past two weeks alone, Boston College, Iowa, Iowa State, St. John's, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt all have offered. Expect for Stute to trim his list after the Nike Peach Jam in a few weeks before then taking a handful of visits throughout the month of August which would lead to a signing in November.
McDonald: We have had Ebenezer Dowuona in our rankings at every update except the most recent one. If it were totally my call, he would still be in there. His offensive game has continued to come along and he's a really talented rim protector. He knows his role and he's a really good athlete running the floor. Those are the type of big men that have a ton of value in today's game.