Monday afternoon the Washington basketball program announced the addition of a 6-foot-6 guard who at one point in time was poised to play against the Huskies in the Pac-12.
Harold Baruti, who committed to Utah in mid-May, has joined Lorenzo Romar’s program. Baruti’s addition gives Washington another option on the perimeter, which is a positive for a team that uses a lot of players in their uptempo system. A native of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Baruti attended Mountain Mission School in Grundy, Virginia.
Baruti de-committed from Utah just over two weeks ago, with the Salt Lake Tribune reporting at the time that his application for admission was submitted after the school’s deadline for international students.
As a result Utah loses a perimeter newcomer and Washington gains one, moving the Huskies’ 2016 recruiting class up to four. McDonald’s All-American guard Markelle Fultz leads the class, with Baruti, wing Carlos Johnson and center Sam Timmins being the other new arrivals in Seattle.
Thursday afternoon Dayton landed a second commitment in the Class of 2016, and the player joining Archie Miller’s program is the younger brother of one of the NBA’s most physically gifted young talents.
2016 wing Kostas Antetokounmpo, the younger brother of Milwaukee Bucks swingman Giannis Antetokounmpo, announced via social media that he’ll be a Flyer next season. Antetokounmpo, is originally from Greece and played his high school basketball at Dominican HS in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin. Kostas, who stands at 6-foot-11, has also been part of the Greek national basketball program and is expected to play in the FIBA U20 Division B European Championships this summer.
Kostas played his grassroots basketball for the Wisconsin Playground Elite program on the Nike EYBL circuit, and he’s ranked 89th in the Class of 2016 by Rivals.com. He’s a bit raw from a skill standpoint, but the physical tools and his development throughout his senior season made Antetokounmpo a player who received increased attention from high-major programs.
Antetokounmpo joins 6-foot-5 shooting guard Trey Landers in Dayton’s 2016 recruiting haul, which will be used to supplement a roster that already has plenty of depth, talent and experience with players such as Charles Cooke III, Scoochie Smith and Kendall Pollard all returning.
With Cat Barber moving on to the professional ranks and freshman Dennis Smith Jr. returning to the court after missing all of last season with a torn ACL, adding another player capable of handling some point guard duties would help NC State in 2016-17. Monday afternoon Mark Gottfried’s program received a commitment from a player who can help the Wolfpack on the perimeter, as combo guard Markell Johnson announced that he’ll be joining the ACC program.
Johnson, who announced the news via his Twitter account, is a 6-foot-1 guard who’s ranked 40th in the Class of 2016 by Rivals.com. Johnson announced that he would reclassify from the 2017 class to 2016 in early May, and as a result many high major programs intensified their pursuit of the Cleveland, Ohio native’s services.
Johnson played with the King James Shooting Stars grassroots program during the spring on the Nike EYBL circuit. His commitment gives NC State a second option in that role along with Smith, and as noted above Smith is comign off of a torn ACL.
“Markell Johnson is an explosive athlete with a great first step and he should step in and form a tough backcourt duo with fellow incoming freshman Dennis Smith,” noted NBC Sports recruiting analyst Scott Phillips. “Johnson can be shaky with his perimeter jumper and decision making, but he’ll be very tough to keep out of the paint and his commitment gives the Wolfpack another guard who can make plays off the dribble.”
Johnson joins Smith, forward Darius Hicks and center Omer Yutseven in NC State’s 2016 freshman class. And after there was a great deal of concern regarding the NC State roster in the immediate aftermath of the 2015-16 season, thanks to a combination of transfers and NBA Draft early entrants. But with Abdul-Malik Abu and BeeJay Anya withdrawing from the Draft and the program’s hot spring on the recruiting front, the Wolfpack have the depth and talent needed to return to the NCAA tournament after missing out last season.
With Marques Bolden having committed to Duke, there was one elite front court prospect on the board in the Class of 2016 who had yet to make his college decision. 6-foot-10 power forward Jarrett Allen, ranked 15th in the class by Rivals.com, was down to Texas and Houston as possible destinations as of late April (Kansas was also viewed as a possibility earlier this spring).
Friday morning he made his decision in low-key fashion, simply signing a grant-in-aid agreement to join Shaka Smart’s program at Texas. News of Allen’s signing was first reported by Scout.com.
By keeping Allen, who attended St. Stephen’s Episcopal HS in Austin and was a McDonald’s All-American, in town the Longhorns have wrapped up one of the top recruiting classes in the country. Allen joins a freshman class that includes guards Andrew Jones and Jacob Young, and 6-foot-11 center James Banks.
Texas also made some additions on the transfer front, with former Tulane forward Dylan Osetkowski having to sit out the 2016-17 season and former Little Rock forward Mareik Isom being eligible to play immediately.
Given the amount of production lost in the front court, Texas needed one more addition to join Banks and holdover Shaquille Cleare. And in Allen, the Longhorns add a talented prospect whose length and athleticism make him a good fit for what Texas will look to do moving forward when it comes to front court prospects.
Less than a week after landing a commitment from one of the top available forwards in the Class of 2016 in combo Justin Jackson, Maryland added another piece to that class Tuesday afternoon. 6-foot-9 forward Joshua Tomaic, who attends the Canarias Basketball Academy (CBA) on the Canary Islands, made his pledge to join Mark Turgeon’s program according to the CBA.
A native of Lanzarote, which is part of the Canary Islands, Tomaic joins Jackson, guards Anthony Cowan and Kevin Huerter and small forward Micah Thomas as the freshmen in Maryland’s 2016 recruiting haul. The Terrapins also added forward L.G. Gill, a grad student by way of Duquesne.
Tomaic possesses the ability to play away from the basket, facing up to knock down perimeter shots. He gives Maryland another player to call upon in the competition for minutes next season.
Adding options in the front court was key for Maryland this spring, due to the loss of starters Jake Layman, Robert Carter Jr. and Diamond Stone. Those departures left the Terrapins extremely thin in the front court with regards to both depth and experience, with Damonte Dodd and Michal Cekovsky (like Tomaic a CBA alum) being the most experienced returnees and Ivan Bender on board as well.
Depth in the front court won’t be an issue with Maryland’s additions, and the return of point guard Melo Trimble ensures that the Terrapins will be a factor in the Big Ten race next season.
With the loss of all-conference forward Jalen Jones, Texas A&M was in a position where they could afford to add another front court body alongside the likes of Tyler Davis and Tonny Trocha-Morelos. Thursday afternoon head coach Billy Kennedy and his staff managed to do just that, as 6-foot-9 forward Eric Martinez Vila made his pledge to the SEC program.
News of Vila’s commitment was first reported by TexAgs.com, and the FC Barcelona Lassa (that’s the club’s basketball program) product took visits to Texas A&M, Missouri and Wake Forest earlier this spring. Vila’s viewed as more of a combo forward, with the ability to step away from the basket and hit perimeter shots, giving the Aggies some added versatility in the front court.
Vila has plenty of experience playing for both FC Barcelona’s B team (however he did appear with the A-team during the 2014-15 season), and he represented Spain in the 2014 FIBA U16 EuroBasket and 2015 FIBA U18 EuroBasket events. Vila is the fifth member of Texas A&M’s 2016 class, joining guards J.J. Caldwell and J.C. Hampton, wing DeShawn Corprew and forward Robert Williams.