The next college basketball season is a long way away, but it will run its course without the next set of recruits. These are recruits who are part of the Class of 2018, and won’t play in a live college regular season game until November of 2018. What matters, though, is that the recruiting wars for these prospects are already contentious, and will have plenty of ramifications on the remainder of the decade. Moreover, current changes in the coaching business are affecting the destinations of various recruits. Two of the players on this list very likely will go to a different school because of a recent coaching change.
Marvin Bagley III
There are a lot of recruiting services which regard Bagley as the top-ranked recruit in the Class of 2018. At a point in the development of basketball when so many power forwards like to play facing up to the basket and shoot three-pointers, Bagley is something of a throwback. He likes to play with his back to the basket in post-up situations. He will still be growing into his body and should have a little more muscle on what is currently a very wiry frame. He is already long and rangy, but he could some become powerful and strong. This is why people see so much upside in Bagley, and why he is therefore such a highly touted prospect.
The other prospect to be seen on Bagley’s level in a lot of recruiting rankings, Williamson has made a very strong impression in some of the more public and visible high school showcases from the end of the past basketball season. He was seen violently dunking in a number of games, showing a level of explosiveness and a capacity to play over the top which other impressive recruits couldn’t quite match. Williamson is an imposing player, the kind of player who gets noticed and who, moreover, is able to make the kinds of spectacular plays which will compensate for the inevitable mistakes that are part of being the college freshman he will soon become.
The son of Shaquille O’Neal will soon be on the recruiting market. That in itself makes O’Neal a recruiting magnet and a source of intense interest for programs around the country. This is one of two athletes LSU would naturally hope to get. Since LSU fired coach Johnny Jones to replace him with Will Wade, the Tigers might have a better chance of landing him, since Jones had become a distinct liability for the program. Wade could give LSU a new foothold in future recruiting battles. We’ve seen how one or two recruits can turn things around for an SEC team (see: South Carolina), so getting O’Neal would be a big get for LSU. He alone might be able to make them competitive enough to get back in the March Madness conversation.
Speaking of that, consider the next prospect as well:
This is a Louisiana product whom Will Wade would love to be able to pair with Smart. Ideally, LSU will pull in both prospects, but if Wade can merely reel in just one of either O’Neal or Smart, he will feel confident and emboldened in his ability to get coveted recruits to Baton Rouge and rebuild this SEC program which is a sleeping giant. LSU has rarely struggled to get talent; coaching that talent has consistently been the problem for the Tigers.
This is the younger brother of Michael Porter, Jr., the subject of a change in the recruiting landscape. Michael Porter was supposed to go to Washington, but the Huskies fired Lorenzo Romar, who had formed a strong relationship with Porter and whose presence as Washington coach was a requirement for the Porter family to have Michael play there. Porter switched his commitment to Missouri and Cuonzo Martin after Romar was fired. Jontay Porter might therefore be headed to Missouri as well, though other schools will want to get in on the Porter family sweepstakes.
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