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Assessing The Top High Schoolers’ February Decisions

Believe it or not, we’re deep into 2020 already with two months in our rear-view mirror! 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.

High School Basketball: Hoophall West Tournament-Bishop Gorman vs Gonzaga Prep (Pictured: Mwani Wilkinson)
High School Basketball: Hoophall West Tournament-Bishop Gorman vs Gonzaga Prep (Pictured: Mwani Wilkinson)
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been two months of hoops already into 2020 and the waters have remained calm for the most part of it. If you remember, four weeks ago I was covering what came to be a relatively tame month of January with regards to commitments from HS hoopers. We had a top-10 player picking his short-term future path, but no other kid from the top-50 of 247Sports Composite doing nothing. Even with that, though, the other three players we covered were all inside the top-100.

Well, if that felt a little paltry to you, stop reading. February has been a far less exciting month for those expecting big announcements. No news about the still-to-commit likes of Greg Brown (no. 9), Joshua Christopher (no. 10), or even Joshua Primo (no. 47). Far from it.

The month—even featuring all of 29 days this year!—have only seen three players inside the top-115 commit and I have added another one ranked out of the top-150 just because of the uniqueness of his case. But yeah, nothing to be too excited about with February’s bunch, not going to lie. Let’s take a look at the players, the universities, some trends, and more about all of our four February commitments though!

Who Are The Players And Where Do They Come From?

Same as last month, we have four players coming from very different high schools, all of them located in different states from Cali to Florida, and also varying widely in reputation and history.

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

2020 HS Class February Decisions

Yr Rk Name High School Pos Hgt Wgt Stars Avg College
Yr Rk Name High School Pos Hgt Wgt Stars Avg College
2020 91 Mwani Wilkinson Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, NV) SF 6'6 195 4 962 LSU
2020 105 Jaylen Clark Etiwanda (Rancho Cucamonga, CA) SG 6'5 200 4 9.446 UCLA
2020 114 Matthew Alexander-Moncrieffe Orangeville Prep (Mono, ON) SF 6'7 195 4 9.388 Oklahoma State
2020 164 Malachi Wideman Venice (Venice, FL) SG 6'4.5 197 3 9.123 Tennessee
2020 HS Class February Commitments

It’s been a while, but again, you read that right: no five-star players in this month’s group of ballers. It makes sense, considering the best is ranked just 91st nationally and the last of this class’ five-star guys is Devin Askew, currently ranked 25th-best player in the nation. We have three true four-star players, though, and a three-star guy worth talking about, all going to renowned schools around the country.

As for the players themselves, we have little variety in where they will slot into, as two of them come as guards and the other two as forwards in which could make for a group of all-wings if we rough the details a little bit.

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

You can’t tell me you haven’t heard of Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, NV). Bishop is a powerhouse and Mwani, even with his top-100 rank position, is one of the “worst” top-tier players the high school has produced over the past few years. The Las Vegas factory has pumped out guys that might ring a bell in your head such as Shabazz Muhammad, Zach Collins, or Chase Jeter, all of them top-15 players in their respective classes going back to 2012.

While Etiwanda (Rancho Cucamonga, CA) can’t be put at the same level as other schools from California such as Mater Dei, the truth is that the Rancho Cucamonga HS has nurtured some heavy talent when it comes to hoops. The ranks might not speak too good of the kids, but Etiwanda can claim Jordan McLaughlin and Darren Collison to its name, both of them remaining in-state during their college days playing for USC and UCLA, respectively, and ranked 43th and 80th in their classes respectively. Jaylen Clark sits out of the national top-100 but will keep his talents in LA too becoming a Bruin come the 2020-21 season.

As far as Orangeville Prep (Mono, ON) goes, truth is I can’t blame you if you don’t recognize the name. It’s been only the fourth time the school has put a kid in the composite rankings, though the best player to come out of the prep school was someone you might in fact know about: current New York Knicks forward Ignas Brazdeikis, ranked 40th in the class of 2018.

Finally, Venice (Venice, FL) rounds up this month’s high schools with Malachi Wideman becoming the first basketball player they’ve put inside any composite rank ever made going back to 2003 on 247Sports database. That’s correct. Why? Well, the main reason is that Florida—and Venice, by extension—is a football state more than anything. Venico hoops are not known at all, and it is on the gridiron where they have generated the best results and nurtured the best of their talents with more than 30 players going to different D-I colleges over the years. Malachi Wideman is no different, as we’ll see next.

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
  • 10 - UCLA
  • 9 - Kansas
  • 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:

  • LSU (1): Mwani Wilkinson (no. 91)
  • UCLA (1): Jaylen Clark (no. 105)
  • Oklahoma State (1): Matthew Alexander-Moncrieffe (no. 114)
  • Tennessee (1): Malachi Wideman (no. 164)

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 (99.06 average) keeps the No. 1 spot followed by Duke (98.94) and North Carolina (98.88).

Only Michigan (4th) separates Tennessee from the top-3, as the Vols rank 5th (96.96) in the nation with as many as two five-star players to go with another four-star and one more three-star guy. Oklahoma State sits 9th (94.14) in the ranks with one five-star player, two four-star kids, and one three-star recruit in its class. LSU is now 10th (94.07) and has the same breakdown of players/stars as OSU. Further down the ranks, UCLA is only 37th (96.98) nationally with one five-star player and one four-star kid.

What is the deal with Malachi Wideman, then!?

While Tennessee is ranked 5th in the nation and Wideman added another three-star player to its current class of recruits, the truth is that Wideman is actually a four-star wide receiver in 247Sports Composite American football ranks. The kid from Florida ranks as the 116th-best prospect in the whole nation, is considered the 22nd-best player at the position and the 19th-best prospect from the state of Florida.

It is not clear yet if Wideman will split time playing football and basketball at Tennessee, but the word out there is that his focus would be on green grounds rather than wood floors in college. We might give hoops a try, but we should consider him just a name in a sheet rather than an actual asset for Tennessee hoops. Hoping he finds his true passion and excels at it!