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Assessing The Top High Schoolers’ March Decisions

The world, and North America by extension, is on absolute pause these days. COVID-19 has caused every major event to be put on hiatus and delayed, but we’ve still gotten news on the recruiting trail when it came to high schoolers decisions about where they’ll play come next season.

Cliff Omoruyi/ESPN

We were all affected the same, folks, and I can’t start this column by saying anything other than stay safe! The virus has spread and put everything on hold during the past few weeks, but we’ll make it and come back stronger. Just a matter of time!

As the pandemic took a while to get everywhere and at the end of the day announcing a college doesn’t take much more than one individual, we have been given another bunch of decisions from high schoolers during the last four weeks related to the class of 2020 hoopers this close to start their collegiate careers in just a few months. If you remember what happened last month, then you remember that I had to soften the top-100 thereshold a lot as only one of our four players back then (Mwani Wilkinson, no. 91) would have made it.

That was not the case in March, though, but rather the opposite. We have three top-100 players in this edition to go with a fourth one I had to stretch the boundaries to make room for. The Bunch From March is quite a good one including the no. 1 international prospect to come out of Toronto, Canada. 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 and... a different country! You read that right. We’re covering three hoopers from New Jersey, Georgia, and Maryland plus an extra fourth one that hails from the North: Toronto, Ontario, Canada!

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

2021 HS Class June Decisions

Yr Rk Name High School Pos Hgt Wgt Stars Avg College
Yr Rk Name High School Pos Hgt Wgt Stars Avg College
2021 34 Trey Patterson Rutgers Preparatory School (Somerset, NJ) SF 6'7 185 4 9.867 Villanova
2021 42 Daeshun Ruffin Callaway (Jackson, MS) PG 5'9 160 4 9.842 Ole Miss
2021 46 Benny Williams St Andrews Episcopal School (Potomac, MD) SF 6'8 180 4 9.826 Syracuse
2021 95 Isaiah Barnes River Forest (Oak Park, IL) SF 6'6 180 4 9.609 Michigan
2021 102 Casey Simmons Milton Academy (Milton, MA) SG 6'5 170 4 9.575 Northwestern
2021 109 Cesare Edwards Hartsville (Hartsville, SC) PF 6'10 205 4 9.510 Xavier
2021 114 Ike Cornish Legacy Charter (Baltimore, MD) SG 6'6 185 4 9.441 Maryland

Although we have no five-starters in this group of hoopers, the level has gone quite up compared to the last bunch. There are two top-50 players in it, another top-80 prospect, and the extra commitment of a top-170 kid from Baltimore. A couple of them (Primo and Gaines) man the guard positions while Omoruyi—who is an absolute monster of a man among boys—and N’Guessan are the ones bringing those very huge centimeters and kilos to the paint.

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

Roselle Catholic (Roselle, NJ) has been pumping talent to the collegiate ranks for years now. The high school has put three names in the MCDAAG game in the past going back to 2015 (Isaiah Briscoe) and his last two alumni to made the game were Naz Reid (2018) and Kahlil Whitney (2019). All in all, Roselle has 14 names in my recruiting dataset with the first no. 41 Tyler Roberson (2013) and the last one a treo of prospects from this year’s class (no. 41 Cliff Omoruyi, no. 93 CJ Wilcher, and no. 114 Niels Lane). No joke, as you see, with three top-115 kids in the sheets.

Finding Lithonia (Lithonia, GA) listed here is quite a suprise. The school has only four entries in the list going all the way back to the 2004 class when they were able to put Robert Dozier in the top-80 of his class along with no. 263 Dontell Jefferson. Other than them, Chris Colvin made the ranks with a mention in the 2006 no. 316 spot, but that’s all they’ve done since then in terms of national recognition. Eric Gaines comes to change that almost 15 years to the day Lithonia put one of their men in the spotlight.

The last time Mt. Zion Prep (Baltimore, MD) saw one of his kids listed nationally it was 2017 when eshaun Hightower was the no. 396 best player in the country and enrolled in Georgia. That was also the first time they put one of theirs in the list. Three years later, three players are about to enter the NCAA ring of fire led by no. 128 Woody Newton (Syracuse), and followed by no. 169 David N’Guessan (Virginia Tech) and no. 271 Jo Smith (uncommitted).

Finally, Josh Primo hails from Toronto, Canada, and has taken his last high school steps playing at private Royal Crown in Canadian soil. He did play for Huntington Prep and Compass Prep prior to that, though. Toronto isn’t new to the recruiting folks out there scouting everywhere, and in fact there have been tons of hit hailing from the Six. Some hits: Dillon Brooks, Jamal Murray, and Nickeil Alexander-Walker, just to name a few.

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 - 60 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:

  • Rutgers (1): Cliff Omoruyi (no. 41)
  • Alabama (1): Josh Primo (no. 47)
  • LSU (1): Eric Gaines (no. 79)
  • Virginia Tech (1): David N’Guessan (no. 169)

No changes in the top-3 as Kentucky (99.06 average) keeps the No. 1 spot followed by Duke (98.94) and North Carolina (98.88). In fact, no position in the rank was affected down to no. 6 LSU (94.48), affected by the addition of Gaines.

Only Michigan (4th) and Tennessee (5th) separate the Tigers from the top-3 in the nation. LSU has been able to recruit one five-star player, a couple of four-star ones, and another three star kid to build its class for 2021. V-Tech (19th) got itself another body and now has two four-star prospects and one three-star player in their list. Rutgers (31st) and Alabama (43rd) are both out of the top-30 recruiting classes of the nation these days, with four and two recruits each, although Bama’s couple of players are two four-star kids that make up for a solid 95.95 average that would a rank a much-higher 20th in the nation.