On the first day of a month that features three significant evaluation periods within it, scouting website Scout.com decided to update their Top 100 rankings as well as add some recruiting and performance notes on all the prospects on the elite list. It is not new news that Danny Manning and the staff have been heavily pursuing a number of players within the Top 100 as they seek to build on a 2015 class that did an excellent job at pushing this program back in the right direction. To save you the time of sifting through each and every recruit to read up on the updates for Wake Forest’s targets, I’ve compiled a list of notes on some of the 2016 prospects Deac fans have become familiar with over the last few months and how their process now looks.
Position: Power Forward
School: Wesleyan Christian Academy (NC)
Harry Giles, to nobody’s surprise, comes in at #1 on the Scout Top 100 and the scouting report is everything you’ve heard before. Phrases like "Range to the three-point line," "explosive first step," and "picturesque jumpers" are reasons why this fan base has been salivating over the Winston-Salem native since he was 14, and will continue to until the day he chooses to cease his recruitment, whether it be in the Deacons’ favor or otherwise. The site names the same 8 schools Harry cut his list down to this spring as all possible landing options, but the real race seems to be between UK, UNC, Duke, and WF, and even more specifically just Duke and WF. UNLV is still technically on the list, but the odds HG3 ends up on the Runnin’ Rebels are probably smaller than
Bzdelik [name redacted] showing up to cheer in the student section opening night next year (or winning another ACC road game, they’re probably even actually). Needless to say, Giles is one of the best prospects of the last decade, Wake is in the running for his commitment, and he won't be making a decision on his commitment anytime soon. But you already knew that right? Carry on, nothing to see here.
Scout Rank: #4
Position: Point Guard
School: Trinity Christian School (NC)
Dennis Smith said in an interview to Evan Daniels of Scout.com that Wake Forest was one of the schools prioritizing him at the moment, but then didn’t mention it as a school he was looking to schedule a visit to when he talked about campuses he wanted to see. We knew Wake would be a long shot to land Smith in the first place, but the fact that he was doing a lot of talking about Duke, NC State, and Louisville, and barely saying anything about the Deacs I think tells us everything we need to know. Unless something drastic happens, it doesn't look like we will be landing the talented NC Point Guard. You can view the interview with Evan Daniels below in the embedded tweet.
Scout Rank: #9
Position: Small Forward
School: IMG Academy
Danny Manning was one of the first coaches to offer the sensational SF out of Florida, long before he and his entire recruitment blew up this spring. As recently as January he was considered a low 4* recruit and far closer to the rank of 100 than a blue chip. Now he’s a consensus top 10 player in the nation and has the pick of the litter in terms of where he wants to play college ball. Wake made his final twelve last month along with a number of other Power 5 programs, but I think WF is on the upper part of that list rather than on the border of the next cut. He stated FSU, UK, LSU, and Wake Forest as four schools that were making him a priority, and I presume these four are locks to make his trimmed list that is scheduled at the end of July. FSU can pitch the proximity to home, and UK can pitch the NBA Lottery picks of the last 5 years, but Wake is clearly still hanging around in this recruiting battle and longevity certain is a reason for it. Getting Isaac on campus is an absolute must this fall, but for now we can simply be encouraged that Wake is hanging around with a 5* recruit that would have been an impressive get for the program even 10 years ago.
Nike Academy: 1-on-1 with Jon Isaac - SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- At Nike's Basketball Academy, five-star combo... http://t.co/0OMH4Io5JN— High School Preps (@PrepsOnScout) July 2, 2015
Scout Rank: 29
Position: Combo Guard
School: Seven Lakes (TX)
The Wake Forest staff came a little late to the party for the 4* Combo Guard and it looks like it might hurt them in the end. On June 23rd, McGusty listed Wake Forest as one of the schools recruiting him at the moment, but the school wasn’t even listed on the Scout rankings as one of his notable offers. He visited Texas last month and just recently picked up offers from Indiana and Louisville. With this uptick in competition and his high-major offers really starting to grow in quantity and quality, I really think Wake is going to find a hard time getting him to visit campus considering they only offered a few weeks ago and its not like North Carolina is an easy weekend trip to make from Texas. To be frank, I’d say Wake is on the outside looking in for McGusty right now.
Scout Rank: 36
Position: Power Forward
School: St. Anne's-Belfield School (VA)
The Power Forward from Virginia was another player Wake was interested in early before his recruitment grew dramatically this spring. He took visits in the past week to Louisville and Vanderbilt and at the moment I think he is simply enjoying the recruiting process and wanting to see all his options before he makes a decision. He’s stressed in the past that academics are a big priority for him, so that will certainly help WF and the package Danny Manning can offer him. He’s a high-motor big man with a very high ceiling, and if he chooses to come to Wake Forest and learn under Manning, he will turn into an absolute beast on the low block for four years in the ACC.
He is not the biggest, fastest or most athletic Big here @ #NBPATop100 but Javin DeLaurier-Montgomery is a guy who helps coaches win period!— Dinos Trigonis (@trigonis30) June 19, 2015
Scout Rank: 62
School: West Oaks Academy (FL)
Jenkins recently reclassified to 2016 and has been playing very well in recent AAU tournaments and camps. Wake offered Jenkins at the beginning of June and moved up to "Warm" on 247sports for his interest level, but he stated to Scout.com that Texas, Clemson, and Indiana are standing out at the moment. Clemson has three Crystal Ball predictions to its name as well and the SF is originally from South Carolina. There’s no denying that the Deacs have some ground to make up here, and if they want a decent shot at Jenkins they need to make it up hastily.
NBPA Top 100: Indiana, Clemson & Texas are sticking out to De'Riante Jenkins | Interview: http://t.co/amzuE69rIV— Evan Daniels (@EvanDaniels) June 19, 2015
Scout Rank: 77
School: Oak Hill Academy
If you’ve followed the 2016 Wake Forest recruiting process for a few months you’ve undoubtedly heard Rodney Miller’s name at some point. The Oak Hill Center named Wake Forest his leaders back in April after a successful visit to campus in March, but Miller has visited Seton Hall and Miami since as well. Seton Hall was going hard after PF Nysier Brooks this summer, but this week Brooks committed to Cincinnati meaning the Pirates’ intensity on Miller might increase. St. Johns is also heavily in the mix, but has yet to offer. I’d still put the Deacs in poll position to land Miller at this point, but it’s all about closing the deal now. Manning did it with a pair of 4*’s last fall and let’s hope lighting can strike thrice with the Oak Hill big man.
Scout Rank: 95
Position: Combo Guard
School: Huntington Prep
Jones has had knee problems in recent weeks which has dampened his impact at some showcases, but he still remains a 4* target and finds himself in the Top 100. Unfortunately, I see Wake Forest on the wrong side of the momentum in Jones’ recruitment, who visited Indiana (Now home of former HS teammate and 4* recruit Thomas Bryant) and Georgetown in the past couple of weeks and plans to cut his list down by September. The other schools Scout lists in the update are Florida, Missouri, and the consensus current favorite Maryland. It’s not looking good for Wake’s chances for CuJo, and that is probably why the staff has focused on a number of other SG targets recently as well.
Other Quick Notes:
-There were a few guys in the Top 100 that Scout.com noted Wake Forest as one of the player’s options/offers, but I haven’t really considered to be realistic targets for a few months now based on very little news about WF in their process. They were: Edrice Adebayo (12), Udoka Azubuike (30), Bruce Brown (43), and Kostas Antetokounmpo (69)
-I have removed Sacha Killeya-Jones as a target for the class of 2016. After his decommitment from Virginia last month, I pondered about the possibility of Danny Manning going after the Chapel Hill native once again, but with his soaring status and recent UK and UNC offers, it’s clear both sides have moved on.
-Eddie Ekiyor has been a name I’ve mentioned in recent posts about the 2016 class, but I am beginning to question how significant the mutual interest is. 247sports has Wake Forest as "Warm" on his interest list, but there’s been very little talk about WF as being one of his options in recent months. Scout listed Villanova, Providence, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, and Kansas State as the main schools chasing him. Ekiyor could very well still be a target, but the quietness in recent months and the fact Scout doesn’t list the Deacs as an option is interesting.
-Kwe Parker wasn’t on the list, but of course he remains a top Wake target for the class of 2016. He stated to Rivals a few weeks ago that he would like to visit either Louisville or Florida in June/July and then Wake Forest last before committing prior to senior year. Richard Washington named Wake Forest the favorites a few weeks back as well and says he has a great relationship with the coaching staff and is in frequent contact with them. I would say the Deacs are in the driver’s seat with both recruits right now, and if they end up committing this summer that means the other remaining scholarships (Either 1 or 2 depending on attrition) will inevitably go to another big man. DeLaurier, Giles, Miller, Harry Froling (AUS), Matthew Freeman (NZ) would be the main targets there. That is, of course, unless a guy like Jon Isaac or Dennis Smith calls up and asks what number they can wear starting in 2016, to which you drop the phone, blast Zombie Nation in your house for five straight days, and forgo the extra big man no questions asked.
I still think there is a high chance we land a guy that isn’t currently on our radar right now, but decides to take a visit at some point in the autumn, falls in love with the staff and school and takes us all by surprise with a commitment. Let’s not forget that at this point last year, the consensus was Bryant Crawford would be the next great Georgetown PG and John Collins was headed to Miami. Things change: Players decommit, recruits declassify, coaches get fired, etc. The truth is, we think we know a lot about how this class could shape up, but one visit, one evaluation period, or one commitment can flip everything upside down and sideways from what we originally predicted. It's all part of the fun of the process. As long as you end up on the right side of a few recruiting battles when it is all said and done, that is.
You can follow me on twitter @DeacFan3 for more frequent and daily Wake Forest recruiting news and updates.