The Deacs picked up massive news Friday afternoon when 4* Point Guard Jamie Lewis officially announced his verbal commitment to the program. Lewis, a former NC State commit, has been one of the top PG prospects in the class of 2018 for his entire high school career, and earned offers from the likes of Kansas, Baylor, Florida, UConn along the way. He recently transferred out to Findlay Prep (NV) for his senior season, which finished 2016-17 8th in the nation and has produced players such as Avery Bradley, Tristan Thompson, and Kelly Oubre. At one of the country's premier HS programs, he'll have the opportunity to go against High Major talent in practice and on gamedays frequently before he officially arrives at Wake Forest. Simply put, Lewis will contribute early and often in the Black and Gold, and I couldn't be more excited that he has now decided to join this fantastic class.
Let's talk a little bit more about this 2018 group, where it stands, and where we go from here.
First and foremost, the class is widely regarded as one of the best in the entire nation by pretty much every scouting service. 247/Scout currently lists it at #8, Rivals at #12, and ESPN has all four commits ranked as 4* prospects. Hoard and Mucius both land in the top ten of the highest ranked Wake commits ever on 247, while Lewis and Wright could've finished up there as well if it weren't for minimal AAU appearances this summer.
It's tough to compare classes given different sizes, but in terms of quality this 2018 group feels as strong as those in the 2006-08 era. Those years featured prospects like Ish Smith (110), Jeff Teague (52), Al Farouq Aminu (10), and James Johnson (87). When you see those guys' rankings and compare it to the incoming class, it's easy to get excited about where this program is headed.
Make that 11 4* commits since 2015 for Danny Manning. Absolutely incredible work done by the entire staff on the recruiting trail https://t.co/VbCR9PGO5y— WFU Sports Stats (@DeacFan3) November 3, 2017
When it's all said and done, I think this class finishes in the 10-15 range nationally. 247sports currently gives it a rating of 62.89, which would've finished in the following places in the last 5 years: 11th, 15th, 15th, 17th, and 13th. That, of course, is assuming things play out like a typical year and our commits' rankings don't change substantially over the next few months.
I can see Mucius and Lewis being the biggest beneficiaries of a senior year bump simply due to the fact their nationally recognized high schools will give them more of a platform to impress those in the industry. Keep in mind significant movement in player rankings usually slows down after the summer AAU season. Usually only those that can be watched regularly or pick up a UK/KU/Duke type offer can expect any sort of huge lift in the final couple of months before college.
Do I see Wake Forest adding anyone else to the 2018 class? At this stage, probably not. The Deacs are already over the scholarship limit for the 2017-18 year as is, and adding another prospect would mean two spots would need to be freed up by next summer. If the perfect recruit becomes available, you can find a way to make it work, but I'd be willing to bet this class sticks at four unless Crawford makes it abundantly clear he will not return for his senior year.
Also, the only thing this class lacks at the moment is a legitimate big man, and Wake wasn't involved with any for pretty much the entire cycle. This 2018 class is incredibly weak when it comes to PF/C depth, and unless Manning has eyes on another European big for the spring (Ex: Olivier Sarr), Wake won't add one this year.
I was intrigued earlier this month at the possibility of 2019 5* PG target Jalen Lecque reclassifying into 2018 if it interested him next spring. After all, the staff has made him a top priority in recent months since he moved to the Christ School (NC) and he's mentioned in the past he'd be open to moving up a grade. With Lewis now in the fold, pitching Lecque about joining the 2018s would be more of trying to lock him up before tougher competition enters the race than out of necessity to fill the PG spot. Even still, it doesn't matter what class Jalen Lecque ultimately decides on; if he wants to come to Wake, you take him and don't ask questions.
Other than Lecque, Bryce Willis is the last name I would mention to keep an eye on. Willis is a 4* 2018 CG that recently listed Wake in his final 4 along with Villanova, Stanford, and UConn. Of those four schools, the Deacs were the first to offer back in June of 2016, though very little had been mentioned in the last 18 months to indicate there was mutual interest between the two sides.
He has set on Official Visit to Stanford and is apparently working on scheduling others in the coming weeks. While Wake may get one initially scheduled, I wouldn't be shocked if he picks the Cardinal on his OV and never makes it to campus. It's also unclear if Lewis' commitment will affect his decision in any way going forward. Regardless, Willis would be an excellent addition to the class, and it'll be interesting to see if Wake can get an Official Visit scheduled at some point during the season.
What can you expect coverage-wise for the rest of the 2018 cycle? I'll be providing updates on each of our commits' senior seasons here on BSD and on Twitter throughout the next couple of months. Overall, recruiting news should slow down until the spring once we get through the early signing period later this week (Nov 8-15). I'll have a fully updated 2019 big board ready to go by then so we can track an all-new cycle that will hopefully be as exciting as this one has. I'll also have an article fully recapping Wake's offer list, strategies, and final stats of the 2018 cycle sometime next week once our recruits officially sign their NLI.
Here's to hoping the upcoming Wake basketball season is as fun as the last couple months have been on the recruiting trail. For more Wake Forest recruiting news and updates, stay tuned right here to BSD. Go Deacs!