Since opening up his recruitment from Arizona last month, five-star forward T.J. Leaf has been one of the hottest recruiting names in the country. The skilled forward can hit shot all the way out the perimeter, but he’s also athletic enough to finish above the rim.
The 6-foot-10 forward from El Cajon, California is a potential All-American candidate this spring. Here’s a new mixtape of him from Courtside Films.
Just days after announcing that he was de-committing from Arizona, five-star 2016 forward T.J. Leaf is focusing on eight schools. The news was announced by the Compton Magic grassroots program that Leaf plays for.
The eight schools (in no particular order according to the announcement) under consideration are Kentucky, Kansas, UCLA, Texas, California, San Diego State, Gonzaga and Indiana.
Leaf had an eventful summer on the court, beginning with some good play for the Magic on the adidas Uprising circuit. Leaf tried out for the United States U19 team but did not make the cut for a squad that would go on to win gold at the FIBA U19 World Championships under Arizona head coach Sean Miller’s tutelage. The team is selected by a committee led by Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim.
Leaf went on to represent Israel at the FIBA U18 European Championships, where he emerged as one of the top players in the tournament.
Leaf’s list includes some of the nation’s top programs, with many in positions of need when it comes to their front court rotation in 2016. Kentucky seemingly reloads every season, and each of the other teams on the list has at least one contributing senior who will be out of eligibility when the 2015-16 season concludes.
One of the top players in the Class of 2016 has decided to reopen his recruitment on the heels of a standout performance at the FIBA U18 European Championships.
6-foot-10 forward T.J. Leaf, who represented Israel at the event and hails from San Diego, has de-committed from Arizona. At the time of Leaf’s commitment in late November he picked the Wildcats over Florida, UCLA, Duke and Michigan. Given his progression in both the high school and international game, it’s safe to say that Leaf will be a highly sought-after recruit now that he’s decided to reopen his recruitment.
“Thank you to Arizona for the opportunity to play for an outstanding program but I’ve decided to reopen my recruitment,” Leaf said in a statement he posted on Twitter Thursday night. “The school and staff of Arizona have been great to me and I have nothing but respect for Coach Miller and the entire staff and wish them nothing but the best. But at this point in my life I know it’s best to explore my options and pursue other basketball opportunities.”
Leaf was Arizona’s lone commit in the class, and with three seniors in the front court this decision has major implications for Sean Miller and his staff as they look to put together their next class of freshmen. The Wildcats will lose Kaleb Tarczewski, Mark Tollefsen and Ryan Anderson at the end of the 2015-16 season, leaving Dusan Ristic, Rekwon Smith and Chance Commanche as front court players with eligibility remaining beyond the upcoming season.
It should be noted that Arizona is in the running for multiple high-level front court prospects, including De’Ron Davis, Schnider Herard, M.J. Cage and Mitch Lightfoot. Those recruitments become more important in light of Thursday’s news.