National analysts Eric Bossi, Corey Evans and Dan McDonald are back with the weekend roundtable. Which wing is most important? Who are their early Final Four picks and a weekly look at commitment watch are discussed.
1. Which available wing is most important to the school recruiting him?
Bossi: There are a lot of good answers here, but I’ll go with the most talented one who doesn't have rumors swirling that he may play overseas. That's Ziaire Williams. The smooth 6-foot-8 five-star scorer is coming off another visit to North Carolina and he’s also seen USC officially this fall. He’s got other finalists, but word is leaking that he could be nearing a decision.
At UNC, he would be the feather on top of a great class and at USC he would be paired with 2020’s No. 1 player Evan Mobley and continue a strong recruiting run for Andy Enfield. Can Arizona, Stanford or somebody else beat out either of those two? I’m not so sure.
Evans: Kansas with Bryce Thompson. The recent allegations levied against the program have scared a few prospects away from considering the Jayhawks any further and while it could play a part in the recruitment of Thompson, he is still taking a visit to Lawrence this weekend.
Two weeks ago, prior to the notice of allegations, I would have said Thompson was all but a done deal in favor for Kansas. Now? Things have changed a little but there is still a chance that he could end up at KU thanks to the trust factor which began when his father, Rod Thompson, played for Bill Self for one season at Tulsa.
It is going to be difficult for Kansas to snag many other five-stars in the coming months due to the allegations that they are facing, which makes it vital that it lands the one that remains a possibility in Thompson. Expect for a decision this fall with North Carolina, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, alongside the Jayhawks, sitting as the four to beat,
McDonald: I'll go with Jaden Springer with Tennessee in particular. The Vols have been in thick of this one since the beginning of his recruitment and get him on campus this weekend for his official visit. Memphis has made it interesting and he did take a visit to Michigan, but I like Tennessee's chances here, and it'd be a big one for Rick Barnes if he can get it done.
2. The season is about to tip off. Who are your Final Four picks?
Bossi: When you have a player of the year candidate running the point in Cassius Winston and a coach like Tom Izzo, Michigan State is a pretty easy pick. I also think Kansas and Kentucky are relatively easy picks. Kansas has depth, size and a stud point guard in Devon Dotson while Kentucky is actually going to have experience, by their standards, for a change. If E.J. Montgomery takes the step forward I’m expecting and freshmen like Tyrese Maxey do their thing, the Cats will be dangerous. Finally, give me Villanova as a “sleeper” pick. They may be too young this year but Jay Wright has things loaded up in Philadelphia and has proven to be one heck of a coach.
Evans: Michigan State seems to be too easy of a pick but with Winston running the show and hopefully a healthy Josh Langford paired alongside him, plus, a microwave of a scorer in Rocket Watts, they are destined for the Final Four.
Maryland has a complete core that is talented enough to get there and behind a more efficient Anthony Cowan, a breakout sophomore season with Aaron Wiggins, and stardom now at hand for Jalen Smith, the Terps keep on dancing.
Finally, I wanted to throw Kentucky or Florida into the last spot, but it is never as cut and dry as it appears which is why I will go with Florida State. Leonard Hamilton is fairly optimistic heading into the season. They don’t have the load of bigs that they usually possess, but Trent Forrest is ready to have the keys, MJ Walker should bring greater consistency and Patrick Williams is the ace in Hamilton’s pocket.
McDonald: I think you're trying too hard to be different here if you don't put Michigan State in. Out of the ACC, give me Chris Mack getting to his first Final Four as the Cardinals brought back a lot of key pieces, particularly Jordan Nwora, and bring in a lot of firepower too.
Mike White will also make his first Final Four this year as I love the additions the Gators made with Kerry Blackshear Jr. and the star-studded recruiting class. Andrew Nembhard coming back is significant too. Lastly, just because I think so highly of Chris Beard as a coach, I'll go with Texas Tech to come visit me in Atlanta in early April 2020.