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.

VIDEO: Mixtape for North Carolina-bound Nassir Little

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Nassir Little is one of the most improved players in the high school basketball ranks, going from being a guy that was a borderline five-star prospect to being a potential No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

At 6-foot-7 with a 7-foot-1 wingspan and athleticism to burn, he has all the makings of being one of the switchable wing defenders that are en vogue in the modern era of the NBA.

Former UNC star Phil Ford has surgery for prostate cancer

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina says former point guard Phil Ford has had surgery for prostate cancer.

Team spokesman Steve Kirschner said Wednesday that Ford underwent the procedure Tuesday after he was diagnosed during his annual physical. Dr. Eric Wallen, the UNC physician who is treating Ford, says the cancer was caught early because Ford “has been proactive regarding his health.”

Ford played for Dean Smith in the 1970s and scored 2,290 points, a mark that stood as the school record until Tyler Hansbrough broke it in 2008. Ford also spent 12 seasons as an assistant to Smith after a seven-year NBA career in which he was the rookie of the year in 1979.

Bruce Pearl: ‘Good chance’ Auburn returns four players testing the waters

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Bruce Pearl told reporters on Monday that there is a “good chance” that his Auburn program will return all four of the players that are currently testing the waters of the NBA draft.

“I think there’s a good chance they’re all going to consider coming back,” Pearl said. “There’s a chance they’re all going to come back, but that’s been the case since the beginning.”

“I just feel as we get closer to the deadline and they gather more and more information, I think that chance improves. It would not surprise me, still, to see a couple of them stay in.”

Those four players are Mustapha Heron, Austin Wiley, Bryce Brown and Jared Harper. Brown was the leading scorer for the Tigers last season, while Heron was arguably their best player and Harper a steady floor general that is the piece that holds everything together. Wiley did not play after he was ruled ineligible as a result of the FBI’s investigation into college basketball. If he returns he will be eligible to play the 2018-19 season.

Heron will be the most interesting decision of the four. A former McDonald’s All-American, when he declared for the draft last month, he announced that he intended to sign with an agent. But he has told reporters in the last week that he never actually signed and is still “50-50” on whether or not he will return. He was not invited to the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago last week. Wiley was, but he did not make enough of an impression to earn himself a first round guarantee. Brown and Harper are very unlikely to be drafted, but both juniors will get feedback from NBA teams on what they might need to do to play their way into the league.

Auburn is coming off of a year where they shared the SEC regular season title with Tennessee, but they struggled down the stretch of the season after Anfernee McLemore suffered a gruesome ankle injury. As it stands, under the assumption that Heron and Wiley are gone, we currently have the Tigers ranked as a top 15 team in the country in the NBC Sports Preseason Top 25.

With Heron and Wiley back, however, Auburn will have the pieces to make a case as one of college basketball’s five best teams next season.

Forward Lance Thomas transferring from Louisville

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With Anas Mahmoud out of eligibility and Ray Spalding having made the decision to enter the 2018 NBA Draft, new Louisville head coach Chris Mack had some holes to fill in the front court ahead of his first season at the helm. There’s now another departure to account for, as it was announced Tuesday afternoon that 6-foot-8 forward Lance Thomas has decided to transfer.

Thomas, who will have three seasons of eligibility remaining at his next school, appeared in 12 games for the Cardinals last season and averaged 2.2 points and 1.3 rebounds in 4.2 minutes per game.

Losing Thomas may not appear to be a big deal based upon his production as a freshman. But, given the combination of player departures and misses on the recruiting trail this spring it can also be argued that Louisville is not in a position where it can afford any more personnel losses.

Louisville is now down to four scholarship players in the front court, wings V.J. King and Jordan Nwora and forwards Malik Williams and Steven Enoch, with Enoch eligible after sitting out last season after transferring in from UConn.

Williams made 12 starts as a freshman, averaging 3.8 points and 2.4 rebounds in 10.6 minutes per game, with King averaging 8.6 points per game and Nwora 5.7 points per game. Enoch played in 29 games at UConn during the 2016-17 season, averaging 3.4 points and 2.3 rebounds in 12.1 minutes per appearance.

Four-star wing Romeo Weems commits to DePaul

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DePaul landed its first verbal commitment in the Class of 2019 Tuesday afternoon, as four-star small forward Romeo Weems announced that he will be a Blue Demon. Weems, who attends New Haven HS in New Haven, Michigan, picked DePaul over Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Oregon and is considered by most major scouting services to be a Top 50 prospect in the 2019 graduating class.

The 6-foot-6 Weems plays his grassroots basketball for The Family on the Nike EYBL circuit, averaging 15.0 points and 7.5 rebounds per game this spring. Weems also has experience playing for USA Basketball, as he was part of the Under-16 team that won the FIBA Americas U16 title last year. Weems will also be part of the training camp from which the Under-17 team will be selected next month in preparation for this summer’s FIBA Under-17 World Championships.

DePaul managing to land a commitment from a prospect of Weems’ caliber, a versatile wing who can defend multiple positions while also being productive offensively, could be the shot in the arm that Dave Leitao’s program so desperately needs if they’re to improve their standing within the Big East.

Since making the move from Conference USA in 2005, DePaul has finished above .500 in a season just once (20-14 in 2006-07) with that also being the only time in which the Blue Demons finished above .500 in Big East play (9-7). Since Leitao, who led DePaul to its most recent NCAA tournament in 2005, returned for his second stint at the school the Blue Demons have gone 29-65.

Getting out of Allstate Arena and moving to the new Wintrust Arena ahead of last season was an important move for the DePaul program, but it’s been clear that the rebuild won’t be a “quick fix.” Bringing in a talent of Weems’ caliber should help DePaul moving forward, with the key now being to recruit well enough to ensure that the talented wing has ample help when he arrives on campus next year.

Among the players currently on the roster who will have eligibility remaining in 2019 are guards Devin Gage and Justin Roberts and wing Darious Hall, who will sit out the 2018-19 season after transferring to DePaul from Arkansas. Hall appeared in 35 games for the Razorbacks this past season, averaging 5.1 points and 3.1 rebounds in just under 15 minutes per game.