College Basketball Talk’s Recruiting Roundup: Isaac Humphries, ’15 Point Guards

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Each Monday and Friday, College Basketball Talk’s Scott Phillips goes over some important news and notes in the world of college basketball recruiting. Today, why high school basketball prospects form lists, the lack of point guards in the 2015 class and Australia 2016 big man Isaac Humphries.

Isaac Humphries hits the college basketball recruiting landscape

One of the best Class of 2016 prospects has yet to play regularly against American competition, but 6-foot-11 center Isaac Humphries is making some major waves this week at the FIBA U17 World Championships in Dubai.

A native of Australia, Humphries is coming to the United States this fall to play with prep basketball powerhouse La Lumiere in LaPorte, Indiana and after his 41-point, 19-rebound performance against Canada on Monday, Humphries has the look of a potential elite prospect.

La Lumiere assistant coach Brad Johnstin told NBCSports.com that Arizona, Duke, Florida, Kansas, New Mexico, Notre Dame and Vanderbilt have all inquired about Humphries and he’s sure to garner even more attention once he comes to the United States.

Having just turned 16 in May of this year, Humphries is intriguing as a prospect going forward because he has sound fundamentals, good hands and feet and plays with physicality in the post to go along with his good size.

Why do high school basketball prospects form lists?

One of the questions I hear the most from college basketball fans that are unfamiliar with recruiting is why do high school basketball prospects form lists?

With the July live evaluation period in the books, now we’ll often see high school basketball prospects forming a list of schools they are still considering. Sometimes, these lists are reported by members of the media, and other times, kids decide to release a tweet with the logos of the schools they’re still considering.

I’ve heard kids being called selfish and misguided for forming lists, but they do serve a very important purpose.

While a list of 10-12 schools might seem a bit excessive, a high school basketball prospect forming a list of eight or so schools gives a clear message that he only wants to be recruited — and hear from — a certain number of schools.

You’ve seen how teenagers operate on their phones. Now imagine a hoard of overzealous college coaches constantly texting and checking in? Without a list to keep some coaches in check, that can probably be tiresome to deal with.

But a list also gives the schools recruiting a prospect an idea of where that player might stand in the process, since each player is only allowed five official visits.

Ultimately, some measure of attention-seeking can come from forming a list, but why shouldn’t a teenage athlete enjoy the recruiting process? It could be one of their few times to shine in the athletic spotlight.

The lack of Class of 2015 point guards

As I’ve mentioned a handful of times on CBT, there is a glaring lack of point guards in the 2015 class and we’re starting to see high-major programs make a major priority out of finding top-flight lead guards.

Since Rivals doesn’t do positional rankings, I looked at Scout.com‘s point guard rankings and of the top 25 point guard prospects in the 2015 class, 11 are already committed.

Now, as we see top point guard prospects like Jalen Brunson, Juwan Evans and Glynn Watson setting official visits, college programs are quickly realizing that they need to make a move to secure a top point guard before its too late.

As we see some schools swing-and-miss for point guards this fall, it will be intriguing to see which point guards get a lot of college coaches in for open gyms this fall and high school basketball games during their senior seasons. We’ll likely see a trickle-down affect as high-major coaches begin to prioritize second- and third-tier prospects on their list, if they’re really looking for someone to take care of the ball.

Maryland’s Kevin Huerter declares for NBA draft, won’t hire agent

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Maryland wing Kevin Huerter announced on Friday afternoon that he will be declaring for the NBA draft without hiring an agent, giving him the option of returning to school by May 30th.

“This will be a great experience for Kevin to get honest feedback from NBA teams and executives,” said head coach Mark Turgeon. “Taking advantage of this opportunity will allow Kevin and his family to make an informed decision about his future.”

Huerter is a 6-foot-7 wing known for his ability to shoot from the perimeter. He averaged 14.8 points and shot 42 percent from three as a sophomore.

He is also the third player from Maryland to declare for the 2018 NBA Draft. Justin Jackson, a borderline first round pick who missed time last season with a shoulder injury, has signed with an agent while Bruno Fernando is testing the waters. Maryland, who has an excellent recruiting class coming in, will be a preseason top 20 team if Huerter and Fernando both return to school.

Huerter is a borderline first round pick.

Michigan’s Charles Matthews to test NBA draft waters

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Michigan guard Charles Matthews announced on Friday that he will be declaring for the NBA draft, but that he does not intend to sign with an agent, meaning he has until May 30th to withdraw from the draft and return to school.

“After careful consideration with my parents and coaching staff, I am excited to announce that I will be declaring for the 2018 NBA Draft without hiring an agent,” said Matthews. “I give thanks to the Lord for this amazing opportunity, as well as the entire University of Michigan for their support. Go Blue!”

Matthews, a redshirt sophomore that averaged 13.0 points and 5.5 boards for the national runners-up, was a four-star prospect coming out of Chicago and spent his freshman season at Kentucky.

Matthews is a likely second round pick with the potential to climb into the first round should he prove to be a more consistent three-point shooter. He shot just 31.8 percent from beyond the arc this past season.

Virginia’s Hunter to return to school for sophomore season

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De’Andre Hunter announced on Friday afternoon that he will not be entering his name into the NBA draft and will return to Virginia for his redshirt sophomore season, a decision that will have as much of an impact on the 2018-19 college basketball season as any that is made this spring.

Hunter, now a potential top ten pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, was one of the breakout stars of the 2017-18 season. A 6-foot-7 combo-forward with a 7-foot-1 wingspan, Hunter averaged 9.2 points and 3.5 boards while shooting 38.2 percent from three in just under 20 minutes a night for a Virginia team whose pace severely limits the kind of numbers a player like him can put up.

Throw in his ability to defend on the perimeter and in the paint, and Hunter is precisely the kind of player that NBA teams are looking to land as basketball becomes more and more built on positional versatility and the ability to space the floor.

And it’s that versatility that will make Hunter so important for the Cavaliers next season.

Let’s go beyond the simple fact that he is going to be the only guy on the Virginia roster that can create his own shot against length and athleticism and that there is a chance that he could end up being an all-american next season if things play out the right way. What makes Hunter so important to Virginia his that his defensive versatility is what allows Virginia to matchup with teams that want to try and play small-ball against them.

That’s precisely what UMBC did in the first round of the NCAA tournament, a game that Hunter missed with a broken wrist. We all know how that played out, and I’m not even dumb enough to pin all the blame of a 20-point loss to a No. 16 seed on a guy that played less than 20 minutes a night.

Virginia choked once they realized that there was a chance this could happen, but I would argue that a major reason they couldn’t ever truly assert their dominance was because they were unable to matchup with UMBC’s four-guard lineup without Hunter.

With Hunter back, Virginia is the No. 6 team in the NBC Sports Preseason Top 25. If he had declared for the draft and signed with an agent, I’m not sure I would have had the Wahoos in the top 20.

He takes Tony Bennett’s club from simply being good to once against being a contender for the ACC regular season title.

Vanderbilt the sixth Kentucky player declares for the NBA draft

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Jarred Vanderbilt is now the sixth Kentucky Wildcat to declare for the NBA draft this spring, joining P.J. Washington and Wenyen Gabriel in testing the waters without signing with an agent.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Kevin Knox and Hamidou Diallo have all declared for the draft and signed with an agent.

Vanderbilt announced his decision on Friday afternoon.

“This season wasn’t easy for me,” Vanderbilt said. “At the end of the day, my goal has always been to make it to the NBA.”

“I know I have more to my game to show, but now I’ve got to figure out if the time is right for me to do it at the next level or if I would be better to return to school.”

Vanderbilt missed the first 17 games of his freshman season with a left foot injury, a foot that he had injured twice before during his high school career. He then missed all four of Kentucky’s postseason games with a left ankle injury, and there is a chance that he could end up needing surgery to correct this issue this offseason.

All told, the 6-foot-9 Vanderbilt played in 14 games as a freshman, averaging 5.9 points and 7.9 boards in just 17 minutes a night. But issues with his ability to shoot from the perimeter and a lower left leg that has proven to be extremely problematic, there is a good chance that Vanderbilt would go undrafted should he decide to turn pro.

Alabama’s Braxton Key reportedly seeking transfer

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Alabama is expected to lose Braxton Key to a transfer this offseason, according to a report from the Tuscaloosa News.

Key is a 6-foot-7 sophomore forward for the Crimson Tide that was impressive during his rookie season, when he averaged 12.0 points and 5.7 boards before testing the NBA draft waters.

But Key dealt with a knee injury prior too the start of his sophomore season, missing 10 games, and finished the year averaging just 7.0 boards and 5.3 boards before opting to try and find a new program.

He will have to sit out the 2018-19 season but will have two years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2019-20. He’ll be one of the most sought-after transfers on the market this spring.