Three-Point Play: Bronny James, Emoni Bates, Matt Cross, Kerwin Walton
In today's Three-Point Play, national analyst Corey Evans examines the attention paid to Bronny James and Emoni Bates. He also dishes the latest on four-star forward Matt Cross and July’s top breakout Kerwin Walton.
WEDNESDAY'S LEFTOVERS: Deivon Smith, Virginia, Illinois
2021 Rankings: Rivals150
1. BRONNY’S ATTENTION DWARFS THAT OF BATES
It was the first slate of games at the Nike Peach Jam and Bronny James and his Strive for Greatness 15-under bunch hit the floor. A standing room only crowd was there to behold the son of LeBron James, though he was nowhere in sight. This has become the norm for the younger James and throughout the course of the week. The amount of attention on the rising 9th grader is something that I have never seen for someone of his age.
What I found funny about all of this, though, was that for as good as James can be, there were far more eyes on him than on Emoni Bates, who was arguably the best prospect in the entire event.
I expect that to all change a year from now as Bates is the type of prospect that, relatively speaking, doesn’t come around often.
With the one-and-done era likely ending in the near future, Bates could be among the first prep prospects since 2006 to make the jump straight to the NBA. Maybe next year, fans will stick around to see what Bates is all about, adding to the spotlight on the sport's next star.
2. CROSS READY FOR MORE
A top-80 prospect in the 2020 class that has become a national target, Matt Cross has never been a giant proponent of the recruiting process and all of the attention that comes along with it.
Having taken official visits already to Butler, Indiana, Miami and South Carolina, Cross told Rivals.com last month that he might be ready to make his college decision once his travel season completed. That will not be the case. Instead, Cross will take two more official visits in the coming weeks.
Florida and Texas A&M were not viewed as legitimate contenders for Cross in recent weeks. However, both Mike White and Buzz Williams was present at a number of his games last week in Augusta and thanks to their increased attention, the Gators and Aggies will receive official visits from the standout forward
On July 22, Cross will visit Florida and will follow with a trip to College Station, though a date is still being worked out. The feeling surrounding Cross is that Indiana and Miami might be out in front but visits to the two SEC programs could change things. Regardless, look for Cross to finish out his visit tour this month with a decision likely to be made shortly thereafter.
3. JULY’S TOP BREAKOUT
While we expected interest in Kerwin Walton’s recruitment to increase following his performance in Alabama, no one saw this coming. Now, some of the nation’s best programs have entered the picture for the three-star prospect.
A 6-foot-5 small forward from Minnesota, Walton was originally in the Rivals150 until the most recent update. He might be the first to tell you that he didn’t have the greatest of springs, but that quickly changed during the lone travel live period last week.
On Saturday morning and in front of a throng of college coaches, Walton hit 10 3-pointers and then followed it up just hours later with five more. Shot-makers remain of great value and seeing that Walton boasts added size on the perimeter and it is rather easy to see why he has intrigued so many power conference coaching staffs in recent days.
Before his breakout performance, the five programs most involved within his recruitment were Baylor, Creighton, Kansas State, Minnesota and Purdue. Things have changed immensely after offers from Arizona, Cincinnati, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas, Miami, Vanderbilt and West Virginia have come in. The expectations are now that Walton will play things out for another few weeks and see who might else enter the fray. From there, a cut list will be made and visits taken this fall.