Welcome to another edition of BSD Recruit Report focusing on Wake Forest basketball and the potential prospects that will soon wear the Black and Gold. It was an exciting couple of days over the weekend as the Deacs picked up their second commit on Saturday night: 3* SG out of Virginia, Richard Washington. The BSD team has already covered the commitment extensively and I'll link those articles here and here for any readers who missed the news. I'm here to focus on who might be joining Washington and previously committed Brandon Childress in the class of 2016, as the rebuilding process continues under Coach Manning. Here are this week's news and notes on the recruiting developments in that process.
Eli Wright Labels Wake Forest as Leaders, Reschedules Visit
On Monday night, 247sports made some changes to a number of Wake Forest targets’ profiles, including a very encouraging one to priority SG target Eli Wright. The site moved WF up from ‘Warm’ to ‘Favorites’ on the talented 4*’s interest list, which is excellent news considering he rescheduled his official visit to campus for August 21st over the weekend as well. Danny Manning and his staff watched Eli Wright in almost every one of his games in the July live periods, proving their strong interest in the prospect and letting him and all Wake fans know he is a priority target for this class. Wright had one of the best months on the AAU circuit of any player in the country and earned multiple HM offers throughout the month and praise from scouts and analysts alike. He also deservedly received multiple votes from D1 coaches for the "Most Underrated Player of July" in a poll run by Scout.com this week. Being his "leader" heading into the official visit is a great place to be in a recruiting battle, and if all goes well on his trip to Winston-Salem, we may have earned the commitment of our next great SG by the end of that weekend.
Eli Wright has tentatively scheduled an official visit with Wake Forest for August 21st.— Michael Jennings (@DemanDeac) August 2, 2015
Wake Forest Moved up to "Warm" on 5* PF's 247sports Profile
Wake Forest got moved up to "Warm" interest on Bam Adebayo’s 247sports profile last weekend, though I have to admit I can’t seem to find any legitimate reason as to why. Wake hasn’t really been considered a contender for Bam in months and the possibility we sign him I think is closer to 0 than even 1% for multiple reasons. The package deal of Dennis Smith and Harry Giles to the Deacs has been discussed for a few months now on this site and many others like it. Despite Wake making both of the 5* recruits’ final lists last month, the possibility we would land both always was a long shot for a multitude of reasons; the primary one being we are likely behind in the race for Giles in the first place (to Duke) and without him, Smith will almost undoubtedly end up somewhere else. So if we are deeming Giles is necessary to land Smith, then there are two main factors that evaporate the possibility that Bam ends up in the Black and Gold: 1) Giles is also a 5* at the same position and why would Bam commit to WF only to compete for playing time with someone ranked higher than him and 2) The scholarship numbers just don’t work out. For a lot of the summer we assumed we would have 5 scholarships available for 2016 with the expectation that Dinos would move back to Europe after his Sophomore season to play professionally. Now with rumors that Dinos may stay all four years back on the table, the scholarship count falls down to 4, with two of those spots already taken by Childress and Washington. Assuming Giles’ timeline is sometime in October and multiple 4* G targets are visiting before then with committable offers, there very well may be only 1 open spot left even when HG is deciding. Of course if Smith then wants to come, you undoubtedly drop everything and find a way to bring in the 5* who has the potential to be the next Russell Westbrook, but that would acquire some unexpected attrition from an underclassmen on the team already. It simply gets too complicated and messy trying to find two extra scholarship slots for extra prospects late in the game when the 2015-16 season has already started. To simplify it all, I can’t see us landing Smith without Giles, or Adebayo without Smith, or all 3 simply as a package simply for lack of scholarships, and for all those reasons the chances Bam ends up in the Black and Gold remains very small. But the fact he may still be showing interest in Wake Forest is a good sign that Danny Manning continues to connect with 17-18 year old kids who are looking to learn from one of the most accomplished players in college basketball history.
4* Canadian PG Prospect is Added to the Board
We have a new target to the board this week and it comes in the form of a very talented Canadian PG. In an interview with Scout over the weekend, McEwen labeled Wake Forest and Utah State as his two leaders, which is interesting considering his recruitment has been very under the radar up until now. Despite him just coming onto our radar, I couldn’t be more intrigued with the 4* prospect who resembles CMM on the court as much as any other target I’ve seen since Codi joined the program. McEwen represented his homeland Canada at the Adidas Nations tournament and Draft Express labeled him as one of the top five players in the showcase for "Value Added." He put up a 25 pts, 3 rebs, and 3 ast performance going head-to-head with 5* PG Dennis Smith on Sunday. Later that day, he had 21 pts, 12 rebs, 7 stl, and 3 ast against Team Africa. Overall, he finished the tournament 3rd in scoring (21.0 ppg) and 1st in steals (3.0 spg). Simply put, it looks like McEwen is the real deal, and Wake Forest has a very good chance at landing him. When asked what he liked about Wake Forest he said "It's the ACC, Danny Manning says he can get me to the next level and they have a lot of ball screens and up and down so they get to play my game." He is set to take an official visit on September 21. The only real question is if there will still be a guard spot available for him at that time.
GARDEN GROVE, Calif. - One of the Team Canada squad's most talented players at adidas Nations, Koby McEwen,... http://t.co/kBsrB6vjAK— GameShooter Sport (@RoyalistBoss) August 3, 2015
Zach Norvell Lists Two Schools he'll Visit, Wake Forest not one of them (Yet)
Zach Norvell mentioned this week in an interview with the Chicago Tribune that he is planning on taking at least two official visits to Illinois and Oregon in the upcoming months. It was also reported on twitter he will be taking unofficial visits to Butler and Gonzaga at some point this month as well. This is just a week after he mentioned to CBT of nbcsports.com that he would like to set up official visits to Illinois, FSU, and Wake Forest sometime after the July live evaluation period. You can look at this development in two ways: 1) He is still planning on taking an official visit to WF at some point, he just didn’t mention it because he hasn’t talked to the staff about it yet. Or 2) He saw the official visits scheduled for Eli Wright and Koby McEwen already scheduled and backed away thinking he wasn’t a priority for the program. I am leaning towards the former considering it’s been public knowledge that Eli Wright would visit WF for a while now and I don’t think the Koby McEwen scheduled visit would’ve been the straw to break the camel’s back. It’s been clear that Wake Forest has been targeting multiple SG’s all summer long, and if WF was still talking to him consistently throughout the summer, then clearly he is one of the prospects Manning is very high on. Regardless, it is an interesting story to follow throughout the next couple of weeks and I still see Norvell as one of the three main recruits Manning is looking to use that final wing scholarship spot on.
Zach Norvell will visit Illinois & Oregon, then choose 3 more schools (maybe WF?). Change from recent interview. http://t.co/VWpchAnUUr— Deacon Hoops Report (@DeacHoopsReport) August 3, 2015
New Harry Giles Blog Post on USA Today
A new Harry Giles blog post has been uploaded and it repeats a lot of what has been said in the past. The features of this month's post were talking about his transfer from WCA to Oak Hill and his friend Jayson Tatum committing to Duke. One quote I thought was interesting was when talking about the Tatum decision he said "Speaking of my man Jay, I've gotta give him a shoutout for committing to Duke. I kinda knew anyway, but to see him go to the school of his dreams makes me happy for him!" How long did he know Tatum was going to commit to Duke? Many analysts thought St. Louis was very much in the picture until the final day, but Giles seems to imply that he was always going to commit to K and the Blue Devils. Is WF still very much in the picture or are we kind of being strung along until the official announcement like St. Louis was? It's an interesting thing to ask, especially considering Oak Hill has been a pipeline to to Duke over the last few years and Giles will no longer be around the Childresses 24/7 like he was before. I believe we still have a shot at Harry, but it is going to take a heck of a recruiting effort from here on out from Manning, the staff, and the players to get him. It's not everyday you get the chance to land the #1 player in the country. Let's hope that chance is as realistic as we all have been led to believe.
You can find the whole blog post here.
More news and notes from the week:
-Wake Forest moved up to "Warm" interest on 3* PF Donovan Mitchell over the weekend on 247sports. Mitchell is ranked the 224th best player in the country and 52nd best PF for the class of 2016. He does not have an offer yet, but the other schools listed as "Warm" are all big-time programs: Maryland, SMU, and UVA. I would assume Mitchell is simply a backup plan for Giles, Ekiyor, Miller, Froling, and Freeman and that he has heard recently from the staff, but will only receive an offer if things are looking bleak later on in the fall for the five targets mentioned above.
-Here's my updated 2016 Recruiting Board based on the last week of events. You'll see some new names on there and some old names now out of the picture. I think we are really focusing on 9 guys at the moment based on everything I've seen recently. Those 9 players are bolded.
Players removed from this week's list were: Curt Jones, Sacha Killeya-Jones, and Jon Isaac. Players in red above had their status changed to "Out" for this week's edition and will be removed next week. Players in blue were just added to the list. I expect rises in Wright, Norvell, and McEwen's rankings in the next couple of weeks. All should be top 100 players by the end of their senior years.
This class has all the makings of being another top 35 class in the country if all goes according to plan. Wake Forest is still in the running for a number of talented 4*'s and of course the Harry Giles dream is still alive heading into the closing weeks of the summer. The next plan of action is making sure these upcoming visits go well and the class can continue with its momentum heading into the fall. I am a fan of our additions so far and am excited about the possibility of every bolded target up there joining the class and being a part of the Deacon family. I am sure this will be another strong class on our program's quest to rising back up in the ACC. We will get there soon enough. As Codi Miller-McIntire always says, "Patience."
For more frequent and daily updates on Wake Forest recruiting news, be sure to follow me on Twitter @DeacFan3.