Wednesday's Leftovers: Dishing on UNC, Kentucky, Bama, more
In this week’s edition of Wednesday’s Leftovers, we focus on how North Carolina, Kentucky and Alabama might fill out their 2020 needs, and a look at an early leader for second-ranked guard Cade Cunningham.
North Carolina can go in a variety of directions as it completes its 2020 class. Day’Ron Sharpe is a great start, and more will be on the way, including possibly Ziaire Williams, who is a strong target for the Tar Heels. Stanford, along with many of the West Coast powers, is involved, although the early work UNC has done could pay off. Greg Brown and Donovan "Puff" Johnson are two others the Tar Heels have their eyes on, and just this week they offered top 40 wing Cam'Ron Fletcher.
In the backcourt, getting Cade Cunningham to UNC is a bit of a reach, and while the Tar Heels have just begun to recruit Caleb Love they have more work to do there. Bryce Thompson is my guess for the backcourt, though Jaden Springer is another avenue they could take, as is potentially reclassifying top 20 sophomore Cam Hayes.
In the frontcourt, they remain involved with five-star Walker Kessler, but Auburn might now be the lead and whether he would be OK enrolling alongside Sharpe remains up for debate. Isaiah Todd is another candidate, and putting him on a roster along with Williams and Thompson would potentially give UNC the best class in America.
Kentucky is in a great spot with a handful of elite guard prospects in the 2020 class. The Wildcats could be in the lead for BJ Boston, a five-star wing. A commitment is not imminent, but he is down to a final four comprised of Auburn, Duke, Florida and Kentucky, as John Calipari and his staff have really ramped up their attention toward him this spring.
The same can be said for Jalen Green as the top scoring guard in the 2020 class was watched by Calipari on Monday at the USA Basketball under-19 trials. Alabama, Florida State, Memphis and Oregon are four others to watch with Green. Lastly, Kentucky has made a move with Daishen Nix as he looks to be its top lead guard target in the 2020 class. Along with the three, Cunningham and Sharife Cooper are two others Kentucky is involved with. How the Cats fill out their frontcourt remains to be seen, though, as they haven’t found much traction with as many along the frontline.
Alabama is going to finish with a nationally ranked 2020 class, thanks to the positive momentum the Tide have enjoyed with a slew of Rivals150 prospects – unless they miss on practically all of their targets. Nimari Burnett will take an official visit to the SEC program in September, and Earl Timberlake and Hunter Dickinson also might. The latter two are teammates at DeMatha Catholic, and Nate Oats would love nothing more than to keep the lethal duo together for another string of years in college.
Circling back around to Burnett, while the chances are minimal, the Tide have pitched the idea of Burnett teaming up further with his good friend and travel and school teammate, Jalen Green, in Tuscaloosa.
Keep tabs, too, on regional prospects Deivon Smith, Rongie Gordon and Colby Jones. They have also invested some time with top-40 wings Cam'Ron Fletcher and Marjon Beauchamp. Look for Alabama to land three of those players.
Oklahoma State. Cunningham told Rivals.com earlier this week that he really likes the program and its head coach, Mike Boynton. When Boynton was an assistant coach at OK State, he gave Cunningham his first high-major offer. The Cowboys have not backed off since then, and have practically worked on building their entire program and class around Cunningham’s abilities.
Cunningham told Rivals that he is hoping to cut his list from 10 to a more manageable group soon. Duke, Kentucky and Texas might make the cut, as each has either invested a good amount in recruiting him and each has the pedigree that someone of Cunningham’s mold would be intrigued by. However, Oklahoma State remains the program to beat for Cunningham.