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Assessing The Top High Schoolers’ January Decisions

Believe it or not, we’re deep into 2020 already with January being a thing of the past these days. It’s time to take a look at the commitments some of the best players from this year’s class have made during the last month and how things stand around the nation.

Jalen Suggs - ANTHONY SOUFFLE/STAR TRIBUNE

Man, New Year’s still feels like yesterday. Far from it, though, with a month of the 2020 year already in the books. It’s been more than a handful of days since we entered the new decade and in the four weeks filling the month of January we have kept watching kids pick colleges here and there.

The truth is, though, that January has been very similar to December in its overall outcome regarding the top-tier hoopers out there choosing where they want to land next. The NCAA circuit members have been left a little bit in the cold this month (no pun intended) and as I had to do for the last entry, this one here covers the ranks all the way up to the top-100 prospects (top-85, if you’re picky) to reach four commitments in the last four-week span.

The trend keeps on the low as we went from 12 top-level commitments in November to just four in December and again four this past month. Not that we can complain a lot, though, as there are only eight players left in the top-50 (247Sports Composite) still to pick a college or whatever path they want to follow next season. Let’s take a look at the players, the universities, some trends, and more about all of our four January commitments!

Who Are The Players And Where Do They Come From?

For the first time in the four months we’ve been tracking these commitments, this marks the first one in which no pair of teammates have announced their destinations together. We have three different preps making the list and a very interesting fourth next to them, the international NBA Academy in Mexico!

The players themselves are listed next, including their national ranking, position, current high school, and star rating:

2020 HS Class January Decisions

Yr Rk Name High School Pos Hgt Wgt Stars Avg College
Yr Rk Name High School Pos Hgt Wgt Stars Avg College
2020 10 Jalen Suggs Minnehaha Academy (Minneapolis, MN) CG 6'5 200 5 9.968 Gonzaga
2020 57 Jalen Terry Beecher (Mount Morris, MI) PG 6'1 160 4 9.785 Oregon
2020 71 Bennedict Mathurin NBA Academy Latin America (Mexico, MEXI) SF 6'6 190 4 9.715 Arizona
2020 85 Terrance Williams Gonzaga (Washington, DC) PF 6'6 215 4 9.663 Michigan
2020 HS Class January Commitments

Just one 5-star player, but oh boy does he calls for high expectations. Jalen Suggs is a top-10 player in the nation and one of the most-coveted youngins out there until Gonzaga snatched him from the rest of colleges pursuing him. Huge win for the Bulldogs there, that now have three top-65 players from the 2020 class committed to the school.

As for the players themselves, we have everything from a pure point (Jalen Terry) to a combo-guard (Jalen Suggs), and a couple of different-build wings in Bennedict Mathurin and Terrance Williams.

Have Those Schools Any Track Record Of Top-Player Production?

Minnehaha (Minneapolis, MN) doesn’t have any sort of track record, nope. But that doesn’t mean they’re not taking the right steps. Although Jalen Suggs is the first player the school has put inside a top-10 rank of the nation’s best players, wait for the 2021 class to arrive. Minnehaha is nurturing current top-4 Chet Holmgren, best center in the state and the nation from his class. And Prince Aligbe is already ranked no. 56 in the 2022 class of ballers.

Although Beecher (Mount Morris, MI) can’t be considered a yearly-pumper of talent, the school has sent a couple of top-100 players to the NCAA in current-Nugget Monte Morris (2013 no. 83) and Marquise Gray (2004 no. 26). Gray never made it to the NBA but had a seven-year pro career and became Beecher’s coach in 2017.

Finally, Gonzaga (Washington, DC) has pumped a lot of talent since forever on a yearly basis. The school is not known for building gems and putting out kids at the top of the ranks (in fact, Terrance Williams is the third-best prospect they’ve had ranked since 2003), but in their facilities they’ve been able to build five 4-star players starting in 2013 and sending kids to highly-touted colleges such as Duke, Miami, or Michigan this time.

Special mention to the NBA Academy in Mexico here. We already new of Olivier-Maxence Prosper (no. 83 in 2020) going to play ball at Clemson next season, and last year they sent Oumar Ballo (no. 73) to Gonzaga, but we finally heard from Bennedict Mathurin this time. That makes it three players built on NBA facilities in the past couple of years, all of them top-85 prospects and 4-star kids.

And The Most Important Thing... Where Are They Going To Play College Ball?

Just as a refresher from last month’s article, here is the recruiting leader board from the past five years—which includes the senior HS classes from 2015 to 2019:

  • 25 Commits - Kentucky
  • 22 - Duke
  • 14 - Arizona
  • 9 - Kansas, UCLA
  • 8-to-1 - 56 Combined Colleges

Kentucky and Duke were clearly the top two universities at getting (top) talent. On average, Kentucky has gotten five top 50 players per class in each of the past five years. And Duke, well, more of the same.

So, have things been different during the past few weeks when it comes to college commitments? Here is how the last month ended looking like:

  • Gonzaga (1): Jaylin Williams (no. 10)
  • Oregon (1): Jalen Terry (no. 57)
  • Arizona (1): Bennedict Mathurin (no. 71)
  • Michigan (1): Terrance Williams (no. 85)

Given the small number of players involved in this month’s update, things have not changed a lot in terms of which colleges are ruling the recruiting process. Kentucky (99.07 average) keeps the No. 1 spot followed by Duke (98.94) and North Carolina (98.89). The addition of its third 4-star player has helped Michigan jump to the fourth spot in the national ranks for 2021 with an average of 96.00.

Oregon is way down in the ranks, slotting at the 84th place with just one 4-star recruit and no more players to claim. Arizona doubles Oregon in that they have two 4-star guys coming (ranking as the 34th-best team), while Gonzaga is the best of these other three teams ranking 8th-best so far after getting word from a 5-star player and two 4-star kids.