Each Monday and Friday, College Basketball Talk’s Scott Phillips goes over some important news and notes in the world of college basketball recruiting. This week, Chris Clarke flips his commitment, Rutgers adds a wing to developing class and Western Kentucky picks up a steady performer.
Chris Clarke flips his commitment
This sort of thing doesn’t happen very often in basketball recruiting. On Thursday, Chris Clarke, a four-star Class of 2015 small forward, flipped his commitment from Tennessee to Virginia Tech in the wake of the NCAA investigation and concerns involving Tennessee head coach Donnie Tyndall.
Clarke is from Virginia and is opting to play closer to home, but it looks like that this sort of move was in the works for some time. The timing was just too convenient for Clarke to find a new school when the allegations just came to light against Southern Miss under the reign of Tyndall. Clarke isn’t signed to any Letter of Intent, so this is perfectly legal, but the public doesn’t often hear about other schools trying to speak to — or even actively recruit — kids who are committed.
The Virginia Beach native is the No. 59 prospect in the 2015 class, according to Rivals, and at 6-foot-6, his activity makes a huge difference on the floor and should mean a lot for the way Buzz Williams like to play ball. Clarke had already taken an official visit to Virginia Tech in late September, so he was familiar with the program, and decided that staying closer to home and playing for Buzz Williams was the better option.
Rutgers lands a wing
Rutgers and head coach Eddie Jordan needed quantity over quality when they recruited the 2014 class. But the Scarlet Knights have used the 2015 class to focus on some better prospects with more time to observe and form relationships with the class over time. Four-star guard Corey Sanders was a quality grab for Jordan and now Sanders has a running mate in 6-foot-6 three-star wing Kejuan Johnson.
Sanders and Johnson give Jordan two quality athletes for Big Ten play and both are physical enough to hang in the league. Jordan had to turn over that roster quickly and he’s done all that he can to put new players are seniors Myles Mack and Kadeem Jack this season. But next season, those two guys are gone and Sanders and Johnson will help replace those two players.
It’s going to be tough to replace two very good players, but that’s what Jordan has to do in order to rebuild this program. Rutgers still needs a lot more talent to compete for postseason bids, but this is a start.
Western Kentucky lands a solid guard
Quietly doing a nice job on the recruiting trail the last few years has been Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers continued this stretch this week with the commitment of three-star guard Marlon Hunter. The 6-foot-2 Hunter ran with the Arkansas Wings in the EYBL and showed flashes of promise while averaging 13 points, 4 rebounds and 3 steals per game on 47 percent shooting.
If Hunter can improve his perimeter shot, he can be a versatile, all-around guard for Western Kentucky, and as it is, he could crack the rotation early because he can be an impact on the defensive side of the ball.
Combined with three-star point guard Chris McNeal and this is a nice backcourt tandem for Western Kentucky in this class. The Hilltoppers have had their fair share of good guards over the years and they’re hoping that McNeal and Hunter can be the next tandem.