As one of the top players in the Class of 2017, 6-foot-8 small forward Michael Porter Jr. has been on the receiving end of attention from many high-major programs. Monday night Porter, a native of Columbia, Missouri who’s ranked second in the class by Rivals.com, revealed his top five schools at this point in time.
The five schools that made the cut (in alphabetical order): Indiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Virginia and Washington.
Of the five schools on Porter’s list Missouri and Washington may be the most interesting given the family connections. Not only is Missouri the hometown school, but Porter’s older sisters Bri and Cierra are members of the women’s basketball team.
And one of the assistants on that coaching staff was Porter’s father, who earlier this spring joined Lorenzo Romar’s staff at Washington. The elder Porter isn’t the only Washington connection either, with Michael’s younger brother Jontay being a commit in the Class of 2018.
Recruiting, and on-court results, have picked up at Virginia Tech since Buzz Williams took over as head coach. In his second year at the helm the Hokies won ten conference games, and in reaching the Postseason NIT made their first postseason appearance since 2011.
Thursday night Virginia Tech landed its first verbal commitment in the Class of 2017, as four-star shooting guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker made his pledge.
The 6-foot-5 Alexander-Walker, who’s ranked 91st in his class by Rivals.com, also took official visits to Maryland and USC before making his pledge to the ACC program. Alexander-Walker attends Hamilton Heights Christian Academy in Chattanooga, Tennessee, but as a native of Canada plays his grassroots basketball for the Canada Elite program on the Under Armour Association circuit.
Good with either hand, Alexander-Walker can play either on or off the basketball. And that versatility should serve him well in a system that places a high value on “switch-ables,” or players who can fill multiple roles.
The Canada connection paid off for Virginia Tech in the recruitment of Alexander-Walker, with assistant coach Jamie McNeilly being a native of the country himself and having a connection to the Walker family. The Hokies will lose two perimeter players at the end of the 2016-17 season in Devin Wilson and Seth Allen, which will give Alexander-Walker the opportunity to earn minutes as a freshman.
Back in mid-January UConn made waves on the recruiting trail by securing a verbal commitment from 7-foot-1 center Zach Brown, a player seen by many as one of the top prospects in the Class of 2017. That partnership came to an end Thursday, as the two parties decided to part ways. News of the mutual decision was first reported by Scout.com.
The Miami native is currently ranked 28th in the Class of 2017 by Rivals.com, and Thursday’s news opens up a spot in the front court that UConn head coach Kevin Ollie and his staff will now have to fill. Amida Brimah, who’s currently going through the NBA pre-Draft process, will be a senior next season should he return to Storrs as will Kentan Facey.
Among the interior options who will have eligibility remaining beyond next season for the Huskies are sophomore Steven Enoch and incoming freshmen Mamadou Diarra and Juwan Durham.
UConn was in the running for 2016 power forward Taurean Thompson, but multiple outlets have the Brewster Academy product considering Michigan State (which added UNLV grad transfer Ben Carter Wednesday), Seton Hall and Syracuse at this point in his recruitment.
Friday morning Oklahoma State addressed a major need in its 2016 recruiting class, landing a player who just happens to call Norman (home of their biggest rival) home.
6-foot-5 shooting guard Lindy Waters III, announced via Twitter that he’ll be a Cowboy. The four-star prospect, who attends Sunrise Christian Academy in Wichita, Kansas, is Oklahoma State’s third verbal commitment in the Class of 2016 joining fellow guard Thomas Dziagwa and wing Cameron McGriff. He’s a native of Norman, Oklahoma, attending Norman North HS his first two years of high school.
“One of the breakout players of the July evaluation period, Waters is a high-level shooter with good size for his position,” NBC Sports recruiting analyst Scott Phillips said. “Oklahoma State is getting a capable wing shooter who can comfortably space the floor from anywhere within NBA range.”
Waters played for the Oklahoma Wizards Elite program on the adidas Gauntlet circuit, averaging 13.5 points and 4.7 rebounds per game at the adidas Uprising Summer Championships in Las Vegas in July. Throughout the Gauntlet series prior to Las Vegas Waters averaged 16.6 points and 5.2 rebounds per game, shooting 47.4 percent from the field.
Waters picked the Cowboys over Butler, Houston and Harvard. And with sharpshooter Phil Forte III entering his final season of eligibility, landing a player of Waters’ caliber who can both knock down perimeter shots and score on multiple levels is an important move for Oklahoma State.
Creighton went out east and landed a top-100 prospect on Saturday as four-star guard Ty-Shon Alexander pledged to the Bluejays, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com.
The 6-foot-3 Alexander had a very good summer playing with Team Charlotte as he showed he was a very good 3-point shooter to go along with a lot of team success.
Alexander represents Creighton’s first commitment in the Class of 2017 and a prospect of his caliber is a great start for the class. Regarded as the No. 86 overall prospect in the Class of 2017, Alexander is playing his junior season at Oak Hill Academy.
Michigan landed its first Class of 2017 commitment on Friday night as Wisconsin native Jordan Poole announced his decision at a press conference at his high school. A 6-foot-4 shooting guard from Rufus King High School in Milwaukee, Poole is considered the No. 104 overall prospect in the Class of 2017.
A strong shooter who is capable of playing a bit of both guard spots, Poole picked the Wolverines over his other finalists of Illinois and Marquette. Poole should be a nice fit in head coach John Beilein’s offense as he shoots it well in a variety of situations and also plays with a high IQ. Michigan has now locked up a key piece for that class early and can pursue other targets more aggressively.