Under Armour Finals: Who the head coaches were watching
They call it an evaluation period, but in July it is just as much about the top prospects seeing a coach as it is a coach seeing the top prospects. Wednesday and Thursday featured plenty of head coaches at the Under Armour Finals, and National Basketball Analyst Eric Bossi kept tabs on the nearly 30 head coaches he saw as he moved around the gym.
Clemson: Brad Brownell already has a commitment from three-star shooting guard Johnny Newman, and priority recruit Zion Williamson didn’t take the floor until Thursday at Adidas, so he dropped in on the UA Finals Wednesday night. He checked in on a Rivals150 big man, in-state wing Aaron Nesmith, and budding 2019 star Josiah James.
Louisville: Rick Pitino was all smiles watching Team Breakdown's committed combo guard Anfernee Simons, a top-35 prospect who could push for five-star status. Pitino was among the many coaches checking on five-star big man Moses Brown; four-star combo forward Darius Days also got some of his attention, and Wednesday night’s trip included observation of Rivals150 big man Immanuel Bates and Jamal Mashburn Jr.
Miami: The Hurricanes had several targets in attendance, and Jim Larannega saw as many as he could. Among those drawing his attention were top-35 point guard Devon Dotson, five-star big man Moses Brown, four-star DC Premier teammates power forward Jermaine Harris and wing Saddiq Bey and Rivals 150 center Emmanuel Dowuona.
Virginia Tech: Buzz Williams arrived on Thursday and was immediately up front and center for top=30 2019 forward Joey Baker. Williams also checked on four-star forward Darius Days and gave a look to the South Carolina tandem of 2018 three-star wing Aaron Nesmith and four-star 2019 point guard Josiah James.
Iowa State: Considering four-star point guard Tyler Harris was just on campus for an official visit and is thought to be leaning the Cyclones' direction, it makes sense that Steve Prohm was very visible for him with Team Thad. Three-star big men Russell Barlow, Javian Fleming and Morris Udeze also drew looks.
Kansas: Bill Self was a very busy man on Thursday. On his hit list were five-star point guard Jahvon Quinerly, who is expected to visit the Jayhawks, five-star big man Moses Brown and five-star Nazreon Reid. Four-star Jermaine Harris has entered the Jayhawks' radar along with others like another priority PG recruit Devon Dotson and in-state 2019 stars Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and Zach Harvey.
Kansas State: Not surprisingly, Bruce Weber also spent a lot of time tracking 2019 in-state stars Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and Zach Harvey. From the class of 2018, Rivals150 forward Miller Kopp got a long look. Others drawing the Wildcats boss' attention were 2019 Rivals125 guard Jahmius Ramsey, 2019 four-star wing Marvin Price and 2020 in-state star Ty Berry.
Oklahoma State: It’s still early, but new head coach Mike Boynton made sure to take a good long look at potential 2020 star Bryce Thompson, who is an Oklahoma kid. In 2018, the Cowboys are working hard for combo guard Elijah Weaver and also watched his Rivals150 teammate Emmanuel Dowuona. Four-star wing Saddiq Bey is another who drew the head coach’s attention.
West Virginia: If Bob Huggins could design his ideal power forward recruit, the prospect would likely be really similar to 2018 four-star forward Jermaine Harris. Huggins was watching the DC product’s every move in Atlanta.
Maryland: Mark Turgeon and his staff really want to lock down regional talent, and 2019 four-star twins Makhi Mitchell and Makhel Mitchell got plenty of attention. Four-star point guard Devon Dotson recently visited and got a look, as did four-star wing Saddiq Bey and power forward Jermaine Harris. From the New York/New Jersey area, five-star rising senior big Moses Brown got a look, as did five-star 2019 teammates Bryan Antoine and Scottie Lewis.
Minnesota: Head coach Richard Pitino arrived on Thursday and made very sure that potential 2020 in-state star point guard Jalen Suggs saw him. In the more immediate future, four-star point guard Eric Hunter has the Gophers in his final six and got a look. Also drawing Pitino's attention were Rivals150 forward Miller Kopp and four-star pogo stick Josh Leblanc.
Nebraska: The Huskers are also in the top six for four-star point guard Eric Hunter, and Tim Miles was front and center on Wednesday night. Recently offered big man Russell Barlow also drew a long look.
Northwestern: Chris Collins already has four-star forward Pete Nance and four-star guard Jordan Lathon in the fold and can be somewhat choosy. He spent his first two days of the live period among the throng of coaches that were babysitting/hoping to be seen by Rivals150 wings Miller Kopp and Saddiq Bey.
Ohio State: Taking in his first live period as the head coach of the Buckeyes, Chris Holtmann’s first looks were given to top-30 combo guard Elijah Weaver, skilled combo forward Darius Days and four-star point guard Eric Hunter.
Oregon: Fresh off of a Final Four appearance, Dana Altman was sure to check in on top-50 commit Miles Norris from the class of 2018. Altman was also watching Norris’ five-star 2019 teammate, Cassius Stanley of Earl Watson Elite. 2018 four-star combo guard Eric Ayala got a look, as did rugged 2019 combo forward Donta Scott from Philadelphia.
Oregon State: The Beavers have had Rivals150 wing Emmitt Matthews on campus, so Wayne Tinkle made sure to show him love during his first outing. Three-star big man Riley Battin got a look, as did Miller Kopp and Las Vegas wing Jamal Bey. From 2019, the Beavers really like four-star wing Majok Deng.
UCLA: The Bruins' Steve Alford arrived on Thursday to see a nice crew of big-time prospects. The Sports U five-star tandem of point guard Jahvon Quinerly and big man Nazreon Reid was on his hit list, as was 2019’s Joey Baker. From the West Coast, 2019 five-star Cassius Stanley, top-30 2019 wing Josh Green and 2020 point guard Nico Mannion, all of the Earl Watson Elite program, got looks.
Alabama: Avery Johnson was on hand, and he appeared to be targeting big men. Five-star Moses Brown got a look, as did two other prime SEC targets in four-star Josh LeBlanc and three-star Javian Fleming.
Arkansas: Mike Anderson and the Razorbacks suffered a tough blow when five-star Reggie Perry backed out on them a week or so ago. So, finding a replacement for him is imperative. Like much of the SEC, they checked out four-star Josh LeBlanc and three-star Javian Fleming. Also drawing looks were Rivals150 center Emmanuel Dowuona, Rivals150 combo forward Jordan Phillips and three-star forward Aaron Henry.
Florida: Mike White is starting to zero in on top-30 combo guard Elijah Weaver and top-35 point guard Devon Dotson as his backcourt of the future, and they both got a long look. White also checked in on 2019 point guard Josiah James and 2020 scoring machine Jamal Masbhburn Jr.
LSU: Will Wade and LSU already have five-star guard Javonte Smart, and they want to add five-star big man Nazreon Reid – who recently visited Baton Rouge – to the mix. In addition to Reid, Wade tracked Josh LeBlanc, Javian Fleming and Darius Days, among others.
Ole Miss: Add Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy to the SEC viewing party for three-star big man Javian Fleming. Kennedy is also chasing Fleming’s four-star Team Thad point guard Tyler Harris. Ole Miss was among the huge group to watch Rivals150 forward Miller Kopp, and Illinois utility guard Ty Mosely got a look from the Rebels' head coach.
Texas A&M: Billy Kennedy seemed to be covering as much ground as any coach at the Under Armour Finals. He was one of the many all over four-star forwards Josh LeBlanc and Darius Days, and was also in the Miller Kopp and Javian Fleming viewing parties. 2019 point guard Josiah James earned an offer, and Texas guard Jahmius Ramsey already has an offer. The Aggies boss also watched Kopp’s 2019 brother, Anderson Kopp, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them offer him as well.
Connecticut: Head coach Kevin Ollie was sure to keep a close eye on top-30 guard Elijah Weaver, who is giving the Huskies a long look. Ollie is also in strong on Weaver’s Team Breakdown teammate, Rivals150 center Emmanuel Dowuona. From 2019, top-60 and skilled forward Jaiden Delaire has to be rising up the Huskies’ wish list, especially as an in-state kid.
Seton Hall: Kevin Willard was another moving all around the building as he tracked the likes of five-stars Jahvon Quinerly, Nazreon Reid and Moses Brown. Four-star combo guard Eric Ayala looked to be getting a look, and Willard spent a lot of time tracking any of the Jersey or Philadelphia area based programs in attendance.
Villanova: Jay Wright was on hand both Wednesday and Thursday, and there’s no doubt that it had a lot to do with his No. 1 point guard target, Jahvon Quinerly. The Wildcats are also in it for Elijah Weaver, and they are among those who have put in a strong early effort for 2019 five-stars Bryan Antoine and Scottie Lewis.