Every summer there are a couple weekends that are absolutely pivotal in recruiting for a power five program. This is one of those weekends for Wake Forest. But for a basketball program that has suffered through five dreadfully long years of postseason absences, the word "pivotal" might not do it justice. Danny Manning and his staff are trying to put their program back on the map, and the easiest way to do that is by earning the commitments of top talent through recruiting battles over rivals and other highly respected programs. All the updates on these developments and a few other recruiting notes from the week you can find below in this week’s edition of BSD Recruit Report.
Richard Washington to Visit this Weekend, Eli Wright’s Visit Postponed
A few weeks ago we heard the news that 2016 SG targets Eli Wright and Richard Washington would be on a joint-visit to Winston-Salem the weekend of August 1, which is the first available time after the July periods that recruits are allowed to take visits. It looked like the perfect scenario, as Manning could pitch to both talented yet differently skilled guards on how they could complement one another in the backcourt for years to come if they joined the program. For better or worse, it seems as if the schedule for Eli Wright has changed, as he is now expected to take an official visit to Miami this weekend instead and visit Wake Forest at a later date. While it usually is never good news to have an official visit delayed in college basketball recruiting, I am going to refrain from assessing this as a negative until we see how the next couple of weeks play out.
Eli Wright himself reached out and contacted me Tuesday afternoon to say that he is still planning on visiting Wake Forest and is simply moving the date of his trip, which is good news for those who were panicking about if the postponement would turn permanent. There are a couple of positives for having the 4* SG visit later on in the fall, the main ones being that a) He was planning on visiting Oklahoma State after Wake Forest anyway, and sometimes being the last campus a recruit visits prior to his decision is a hidden bonus and b) He will have the coaching staff’s undivided attention when he eventually does visit rather than splitting time with another recruit that would’ve been the case for this weekend. Of course the disaster situation is that he falls in love with another school before he even gives Mother So Dear’s gorgeous campus a chance, but I highly doubt this will be the case considering how long the coaching staff has made him a priority and how much interest he seems to have in the program.
Eli Wright, a talented 2016 wing, will take an official visit to Miami this weekend, he says. Was originally scheduled to visit Wake Forest.— Evan Daniels (@EvanDaniels) July 28, 2015
Richard Washington, however, still plans on visiting this weekend and I believe there’s a very good chance he’ll be a member of the 2016 recruiting class by the time Sunday night arrives. Washington had a solid summer season with Team Loaded (VA) where he ended up with an Adidas Uprising Summer Championship title to conclude his AAU career. Team Loaded (VA) was absolutely stacked from front to back and Washington was a very effective role-player for the squad often doing a little bit of everything to help his team win. He also showed that when he gets hot, opponents better not give him an inch of space, as his deep range shooting touch that Danny Manning so evidently seeks is a trait that could help this program from Day 1. Washington is 100% on Crystal Ball for Wake Forest based on two selections and WF is the only school listed as "Warm" on his 247sports interest list. The Deacs are the clear leader for the lefty wing at the moment and, to be honest, I would be very surprised if he ended up anywhere else.
Richard Washington Sets Official Visit to Wake Forest http://t.co/IKb1OqoMkf— Demon Deacon SN (@DemonDeaconSN) July 17, 2015
Norvell Likely to Visit Wake Forest
Talented 2016 SG prospect Zach Norvell mentioned to NBCsports.com this past week that he hopes to take an official visit to Wake Forest sometime after the July live period. Norvell is fresh off posting a 53 point, 14 3-pointers performance in one of his final AAU games of the summer for Mac Irvin Fire, which gained him widespread national attention and plenty of media praise. Norvell is more of a Combo Guard who can make plays off the dribble and set up teammates while still being a threat from deep. He’s a volume shooter who is dynamic on the offensive side of the ball and his 6’5 frame probably allows him to play the 2 or the 3 at the ACC level. I’ve mentioned before that it will be tough to pry him away from Illinois given that he is a Simeon High kid and has multiple friends on the Illini already, but John Groce being on the hot seat heading into this year might play into Wake’s favor. Setting up an official visit and making sure he takes a trip campus soon should be a priority for this staff, especially with competition for Eli Wright increasing seemingly by the day.
Four-star Class of 2016 guard Zach Norvell scores 53 points, drops 14 3-pointers in Las Vegas (VIDEO) http://t.co/tTgdiO9dMF— CollegeBasketbllTalk (@CBTonNBC) July 26, 2015
Harry Giles to Transfer to Oak Hill
You’ve probably heard the news by now: Harry Giles is leaving Wesleyan Christian Academy and transferring to high school powerhouse Oak Hill for his senior basketball season. Upon first glance it doesn’t seem like the best news for Wake Forest fans considering we always thought the Brandon Childress and maybe even Kwe Parker friendships could allow us to pry Harry away from the blue bloods and right into our laps via some behind the scenes WCA recruiting. But that idea has gradually become less and less relevant as HG has repeatedly stated that he would be making his college decision based on what is best for him and not simply what his friends are telling him to do. To be honest, if what is friends were saying had a serious impact on his choice, I think he would already be a Blue Devil with his best friend Jayson Tatum actively trying to convince him to join forces in Durham over the last few weeks.
It has become clear that the two main pitches that will keep Giles home are 1) Being a hometown hero in Winston-Salem and 2) Learning from a head coach who is eerily similar to him in playing style and build and has all the personal accolades Harry dreams of having. Let’s not panic. Manning still has both those cards in his hand and can play them all summer and fall long. If we do win the Giles sweepstakes and land potentially the best prospect this program has ever seen, it is primarily because of those two pitches. The Childress/WCA connection was nice, but we were always going to need more than that, and that’s why this news is far from the end of the world as we head into the closing months of his recruitment.
Have a good weekend everybody, and as always, Go Deacs!
For more daily and frequent Wake Forest recruiting updates, follow me on Twitter @DeacFan3.