By Ramblermania.net recruiting expert, Blers.
September Round Up
As the first round of commitments gets underway, it’s pretty easy to get worried that other schools are loading up on talent while we seem stagnant, but that’s just part of the recruiting process. Player rankings will continue to shift as the high school season begins, some players excel, others struggle, and different team needs become apparent. We have at least three spots left to fill but one high level verbal commit already.
The one issue we’ve run into early is several of our point guards targets have fallen off the board. Xavier Castaneda and Brandon Wade committed to other schools; Xavier Pinson, a PG from Simeon who we had documented interest in, committed to Kent State. Shereef Mitchell out of Omaha visited two weeks ago, and seems to have a lot of potential on both sides of the ball, but he also may go the prep school route in search of a higher offer. (Creighton was in to see him earlier this week.) We did have a new name pop up on an official visit this week in Isaiah Budjoso.
There is still plenty of time, but the point guard position is really in a state of flux following this season. We don’t know if Custer will play out his eligibility, or if Skokna will be capable of assuming the starting role next season. I wouldn’t be shocked if we end up with a JUCO point guard by seasons end with the intention of going all in on a 2019 PG for the following class.
Documented Official Visits for September
Cooper Kaifes (?) – followed Custer on twitter same day Shereef Mitchell did, but possibly nothing.
Off the Board
Brandon Wade– Wade was someone I was convinced would be in a Rambler uniform; however, when we didn’t get a commit after the visit I was a bit worried. He ended up committing to Duquense in the A-10. Apparently their coach had been on him since he was a freshmen. We were in his final 3 along with Toledo (where his father played).
Xavier Castaneda– Another high-level point guard we missed on who chose USF. Getting him was always going to be a bit of a reach given his high level of play.
Kendle Moore– Committed to Drake. There’d been no news of us having contact with him, and in a Twitter exchange regarding Tim Finke, his uncle stated we backed off Moore a while ago (I really like him as an offensive spark for Drake, he’ll be fun to watch).
Vincent Williams– Committed to VCU. We were always a stretch for Williams. He’s a nice talent, we offered just as he really started to pick up, even got a Butler offer a few days before committing.
Still on the Board
(Open Offers according to Verbal Commits)
Cooper Kaifes- Official Visit in September
Shereef Mitchell- Official Visit in September
Keshawn Justice-Official Visit in September
Lamar Norman-Unofficial earlier this year
Drew Peterson- Unofficial earlier this year
Gaven Pinkley- Think he’s off our radar.
Franklin Agunanne is a ESPN 4 star, Rivals and Scout 3 star player who according to many had High Major interest. He comes from La Lumiere, one of the best programs in the country. They won the Dicks National Championship last season, so not only is Porter getting a state champion, but a national champion as well. He looks like he could play now based on his size and muscle mass. Elite defender and rebounder with a growing offensive game. A trio of Krutwig, Negron, and Agunanne is exciting. That has potential to be an elite frontcourt by 2019-20.
Tim Finke– Finke’s a former top 100 player in the nation who plays for Champaign basketball. He had a rough (by his standards) go shooting the ball in the summer after being injured. There was a good amount of buzz about him and us on Twitter after this tweet by one of his high school coaches.
It is doubtful that these struggles will continue, as he has been an elite prospect since his freshmen season. He held offers from Illinois, Ohio State, ND, Vandy, and Oregon. However, all of these schools seemed to have backed off following his struggles. Loyalty has played a big role in some of our better gets the past few years; and I doubt we’ll be as fickle as bigger programs. Finke would be Loyola’s biggest get since Doyle, and while I don’t think it’s likely, I don’t put our chances at 0%. Word is he will play out the high school season and commit in the Spring.
Isaiah Bujdoso– Point guard out originally from Canada but playing for Sunrise Christian. Plays under control, pass first but can score when he wants. He’s not the most athletic point guard I have ever seen but has more athletic upside than either Clayton or Bruno. Has offers from Wichita State and St. Bonaventure, as well as some other mid majors. He took a visit last week, no word on when he is looking to commit.
Trace Ramsey– 6’8 wing type out of Valparaiso. Athletically gifted, likely playing against lesser competition. Reminds me a bit of Chastain before he committed, more polished down low, but less of a jump shot. Like Chastain he’s probably best attacking the rim off the drive. We just offered him over the weekend, so I don’t know much. Has offers from Toledo and Western Michigan.
Lots of options and pieces still on the board, and probably plenty that we don’t even know about. Things can change quickly with recruiting; take Agunanne for example. His recruitment moved extremely fast. I mentioned him briefly in the last round up and within a few weeks, he committed. There was no formalized offer or visit, he just popped up as a commit one day.
In terms of another commitment, I feel like we have a good shot at Keshawn Justice and maybe Cooper Kaifes. That said it is hard to say, you’d like to have kids wrapped up directly following a visit, and they’re both a few weeks removed from theirs. We are recruiting kids at a higher level than we have previously, so they all definitely have other options they’ll want to check out. That said hopefully we’ll have at least one guard commit before the November deadline!