One day after helping Team Africa finish third in the adidas Nations, 2016 power forward Mamadi Diakite committed to Virginia.
Diakite told Jamie Oakes of 247Sports.com, who first reported the news, that there is, “It’s 80 percent chance I enroll in 2015.” Although he sounded less certain about reclassifying when talking to Evan Daniels of Scout.com: “It’s a possibility,” he said. “We don’t know yet.”
The 6-foot-9 forward from the Blue Ridge School (Virginia) is ranked No. 30 in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He is the third four-star commit in Tony Bennett’s 2016 class, joining point guard Ty Jerome and shooting guard Kyle Guy. Three-star power forward Jay Huff rounds out the class. The 2016-17 campaign is the same season Memphis transfer Austin Nichols makes his debut for the Cavaliers. He committed to Virginia on July 26.
Diakite averaged 12.0 points and 7.2 rebounds per game in the adidas Nations this past week.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Frank Jackson’s name doesn’t carry the buzz of some of his Class of 2016 counterparts, and while the stars of the Class of 2017 — namely Deandre Ayton and Michael Porter Jr. — have drawn more attention as NBPA Top 100 camp kicks off, there may not have been a more impressive performer in the camp’s first two days than Jackson.
The 6-foot-3 combo-guard entered Thursday averaging a camp-high 16.0 points and followed that up with yet another impressive performance in the morning’s games. He’s got the rep of being a big-time scorer with deep range and explosive athleticism, and that certainly won’t be changing after the way he played in front of a myriad of scouts this week. What may change, however, is the position that he is viewed as. Jackson is a scorer more than he is a distributor, but he’s quite capable of playing on the ball and is more efficient than most shoot-first lead guards. In other words, his future may be as more of a point guard than off-guard.
The big question for the Utah native and former BYU commit, who is currently ranked 31st nationally by Rivals, is whether not he will take a Mormon mission prior to his collegiate career beginning. In other words, it is yet to be determined whether or not he will be enrolling in 2016 or 2018. Jackson previously told NBCSports.com that he will be taking his mission, but he has since softened on that stance, telling reporters this week that he’s not made an official decision yet.
Whenever he does reach college, Jackson will be a highly-valued commodity. He plans on visiting Duke, Maryland and North Carolina — the reigning champs and the preseason top two teams for 2015-16 — after Top 100 camp comes to a close.
Virginia’s back court of the future is promising: Tony Bennett may have lost a commitment from Sacha Killeya-Jones, but he still has three kids in the Class of 2016 planning on attending Virginia, and it just so happens that two of them — Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome — are playing together at NBPA Top 100 camp, which is ironically enough being held on UVA’s campus.
Jerome and Guy both fit Bennett’s style perfectly. Neither are overly flashy players, but they’re tough, they have a high basketball IQ and both are skilled enough to either play on the ball or off it. In other words, they have the ideal skill set and temperament to play in Bennett’s system.
Maybe there’s a reason he’s built Virginia into a top ten program …
M.J. Walker is still a two-sport star: Walker has long been on the radar of college basketball’s elite, as the No. 16 prospect in the Class of 2017 continues to stockpile offers. Maryland and Memphis have both recently offered the 6-foot-5 shooting guard, while Kentucky has reached out as well.
Walker, who has already won a pair of state titles in hoops, is also a high major football prospect as a wide receiver, adding offers from programs like Auburn and Ole Miss. I’m sure Bruce Pearl and Andy Kennedy would welcome Walker on their roster should he pick either of those football programs, but Walker has not yet made a decision on whether he will play football, basketball or both in college.
“It’s still an option,” Walker said of being a dual-sport athlete, adding that Georgia and Michigan have recruited him to play both sports. “I have thought about it, and I know it’s going to be tough, but I think the decision will come during my senior year.”
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, checking in with some talented 2016 guards from adidas Nations while a flurry of commitments came in this week.
Dennis Smith is still early in the process
After taking adidas Nations by storm and helping his Team Lillard win the title, five-star Class of 2016 point guard Dennis Smith broke down his recruitment a bit to NBCSports.com.
Smith still lists all of his current offers as schools he is considering at the moment. “VCU, UNC Charlotte, Duke, Wake Forest, N.C. State, North Carolina, Kansas, Florida, Miami, Arizona,” Smith said of his offers.
Smith had a busy spring and summer and the North Carolina native doesn’t have any visits planned and he also said that Memphis and Michigan are showing interest in him but have yet to offer.
DeAaron Fox hearing from big-name programs
Smith’s backcourt running mate, fellow five-star 2016 guard DeAaron Fox, has plenty of scholarship offers and interest in his own right and the guard broke down his school list to NBCSports.com
“Baylor, Texas, Texas A&M, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, SMU, Texas Tech, mostly all of the Southern schools right now,” Fox said of his scholarship offers.
Although Fox has many Big 12 offers on the table, the 6-foot-3 guard is hearing from a lot of national programs that have shown recent interest.
“Louisville has been showing a lot of interest, Kansas, LSU, Oklahoma and Arizona has been showing a little bit of interest,” Fox said.
After a really good performance at adidas Nations, Fox is riding high and playing with confidence and he said he would play either guard spot in college.
Eron Gordon attempting to forge his own path
As the younger brother of two high-major guards, Class of 2016 guard and Indiana native Eron Gordon knows a little bit of what to expect out of the recruiting process.
The younger brother of New Orleans Hornets guard Eric Gordon and former Arizona State and Indiana guard Evan Gordon, Eron is just trying to figure out things on his own when it comes to his recruitment.
Indiana has offered Eron a scholarship, but the youngest Gordon downplayed the notion that he would follow both of his brothers and become a Hoosier.
“I think of Indiana as their own school. They’re a great school but, my brothers, they won’t have any impact on my decision,” Gordon told NBCSports.com. “I feel like what they did is what they did and I need to choose my own path. But I do like Indiana, they’re one of the higher ones on my list, but you know, it’s not definite down the road.”
Purdue, Nebraska and Arizona State have also offered a scholarship and Gordon is also receiving interest from a few schools that are tied to unofficial visits.
“I already visited Duke and I already visited Michigan. I’m planning to visit Kentucky sometime here in the next month or two,” Gordon said.
Kyle Guy sees his recruitment expand after productive July
Kyle Guy helped Indiana Elite to the title at the adidas Super 64 at the end of July and the Class of 2016 guard saw his recruitment expand after a good week in Las Vegas.
While getting dinner with teammates after the championship, Guy started to get a lot of phone calls.
“After we won the championship we went out to eat with the team and we were watching the game and I just got bombarded with calls,” Guy said. “It was a great experience. They’re just being teammates, ‘who’s that? who’s that?’ and just making fun of me. But they were getting calls too so it was great.”
As a guard already on the high-major radar, the 6-foot-2 high-level shooter added five new offers after the July live evaluation period.
“After I had Indiana, Butler, Purdue, Indiana State and Ole Miss I picked up Virginia, Iowa, Iowa State, Northwestern and North Carolina State,” Guy said.
Two of Guy’s Indiana Elite teammates, Class of 2015 guards Ryan Cline and Grant Weatherford, have already pledged to Purdue and although Guy is friends with the duo, he isn’t necessarily leaning in any direction at this point.
Over the course of July’s live recruiting period, we at College Basketball Talk will be posting anonymous quotes from coaches about the prospects that they are watching and recruiting. With coverage from the LeBron James Skills Academy, Reebok Breakout Classic and Adidas Unrivaled, we had people at the three biggest events of the week.
Here’s what the coaches had to say, with quotes cobbled together from a handful of conversations we had:
CG P.J. Dozier, No. 40 Class of 2015: “Dozier is a GREAT passer. Maybe the smoothest player in the class, so smooth that it’s sometimes hard to tell just how hard he is playing. How healthy is his knee (he had surgery to repair a torn ACL in September)? What position will be play and defend in college?”
PG Payton Pritchard, No. 34 Class of 2016: “Payton Pritchard is a tough, little dude, but I wonder how much his game can grow from here? Still, he hits shots and can get other guys the ball. That’s a necessary combo for a guard in any program.”
PF Horace Spencer, No. 73 Class of 2015: “Spencer’s athletic and he plays the game hard. You know he’s always going to rebound the ball, he’s going to protect the rim and he’s going to run the floor in transition. Look at those shoulders, he’s Thomas Robinson.”
SG Kyle Guy, Unranked Class of 2015: “I’m a fan of Kyle Guy. His body will improve and he has long arms and does so many things to help a team win games.”
SF Brandon Ingram, No. 25 Class of 2015: “Brandon Ingram is a stud. Scores the ball in so many different ways and really does a nice job using ball screens.”
C Kerry Blackshear, Unranked Class of 2015: “Blackshear’s got potential, but he’s got a way to go. He needs to add weight and strength to his frame. He doesn’t hold post position well and he seems off-balance too often. High hips and long legs give him a high center of gravity. Needs to grow into his body.”