The time has come, fellow Deacs.
Now I know some of you might be thinking "Ned, how could you possibly dive into a full 2019 prospect list for basketball when the current class is only a 1⁄4 full? Isn't that a little early?" Why yes, yes it is. But it's the summer months, football season is still *checks watch* 41 days away, and the most recent evaluation period has got me more excited than Ryan Horn celebrating a knockdown 3. So yeah, we're doing this.
Over the last week I've done in-depth research on the HS Class of 2019 and compiled a list of every target Danny Manning has reached out to. First, it's important to remember that it's still very early in this recruiting cycle, and probably 15-20 more offers will go out over the next 12 months. Right now I have counted 26 offers total, with a couple more players on this board likely to pick one up soon. There are also inevitably recruits that aren't currently on our radar that will pop up and earn one as time progresses. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if 4 of 5 new names are added to this list by the end of the summer. #ManningMachineGunScholarshipOffers is a hashtag for a reason after all.
But enough stalling; below is the 2019 Wake Forest Basketball Big Board with positions, highlights, AAU teams, and more listed for each prospect. The filtering capability is available in this spreadsheet like it is in the 2018 board. Also some key targets where the mutual interest between the two sides seems strong are highlighted in gold. Have a look for yourself.
If you look at overall prospect distribution by state, this might be one of the most balanced classes in years. NC (5), GA (5), VA (5), NY (4), and SC (4) are all well represented, surrounded by a few states that we rarely tap into but feature on the list this year (Hi, Arizona and Kansas). Position wise it's also fairly evenly split across the board with the staff already targeting 2-3 more bigs right now than they have in the entire 2018 class to date. To nobody's surprise, athletic wings are a dominant proportion of the overall list, which seem to be Danny Manning's preference in his fast-paced, versatile offense.
A lot of the 2019 class has yet to visit campus, but I'd expect that to change in the November/Decembers months once the season officially gets going. Oftentimes AAU teammates will visit together on trips like this, and at the moment Wake Forest is recruiting a lot of those potential packages. There are 10 sets of teammates who have either been offered or are heavily in contact with the staff at the moment, which is on the higher side compared to recent years.
2019s 6'4 PG Deuce Dean of York Prep and 6'8 SF Jaelyn Withers of North Meck are both on unofficial visits to Wake Forest today pic.twitter.com/hC7BYfHYTa— Team Loaded NC (@teamloadednc) June 13, 2017
Finally, the theme of balance features on the AAU circuit as well for the 2019s, with 41% playing on Nike, 43% on Adidas, and 16% on Under Armor. Compare that to the 2018s where only ONE prospect (Nate Laszewski) featured at Adidas' premier showcase, The Gauntlet Finale, this past weekend and 0 at the UA Association. As teams switch circuits, and players do too, it will be interesting to see if that balance stays intact throughout the year.
PROSPECTS TO WATCH
Despite the recruiting cycle still having almost a year and a half of gas left, there are some names you should focus on more than others as we head towards the end of the summer. Here are three priority recruits you should take some time to familiar yourself with, as they all seem to have a decent shot at wearing the black and gold at the next level.
Wendell Moore (4* SF from North Carolina, #24 on 247Comp)
Wendell Moore might be a name that loudly rings a bell in your head based on recent updates. The 6'6 Cox Mill, NC product has been on Danny Manning's radar for what seems like forever and Wake Forest is very much in contention for his services. The furthest back I could find the staff's interest in Moore was August 2015, which to put things in perspective, was when the class of 2016 had only 2/4 of its members committed. Moore is an athletic slasher that has had a great season for Team Loaded NC on the Adidas circuit and is widely regarded as one of the best wings in the 2019 class.
247sports has him ranked 30th, Rivals at 34th, and Scout as a 5* at 25th overall. In a recent update with Rivals, he mentioned how schools from outside of NC ask if they should even bother offering given all signs point to him staying in state for college. NC State's new staff has been coming after him hard as of late, but the rooted relationships Danny Manning and Roy Williams have with the talented forward make me think UNC is the biggest threat here. All that being said, expect to hear a lot of Moore's name over the next 12 month as his recruitment plays out. His proximity to campus has already allowed him to attend multiple games at the Joel and I'd expect that to continue in the 2017-18 season and hopefully beyond in a uniform of his own.
Anthony Harris (4* PG from Virginia, #77 on 247Comp)
The 4* PG from Virginia is fresh off a Nike U17 Peach Jam Championship game appearance for Team Takeover this past weekend. The appearance in itself is impressive, but even more so is that he made it while playing up a whole level as a rising junior. On the circuit this year he averaged 6.9 PPG, shot 42% from 3, and finished top 25 in the league in steals on a very strong Team Takeover squad. Harris is a fierce competitor who gets the majority of his buckets by attacking at full speed in dribble penetration. His style is that of a "Downhill guard," much like the way John Wall played when he was coming out of high school himself.
Despite only being offered just last month, the Wake Forest linkage is strong due to the recent hire of Jamill Jones. Prior to joining the collegiate ranks, Jones was a coach for Team Takeover, the same AAU program Harris is now a part of. The new staff member seems to have taken a lead approach in the recruitment of the 2019 prospect, which was briefly explained in this interview with 247 a few weeks back. The analyst conducting the interview, Andrew Slater, had given the Deacs a Crystal Ball pick just a week earlier and I would assume its due to this developing connection. While Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia Tech are some schools to look out for, Wake is in great shape right now for yet another Top 100 guard.
Deuce Dean (4* PG from South Carolina, #100 on Rivals)
The 6'3 PG is another Team Loaded NC product that has been soaring up the rankings in recent months. Wake started reaching out to Dean last fall and has brought him on campus multiple times since then, most recently on June 13. Prior to his visit, he listed Wake as a part of his early Top 5, along with Virginia Tech, South Carolina, Florida, and K-State respectively.
While 247sports doesn't have him rated just yet, he recently was ranked #100 on the updated Rivals list and I expect him to remain a 4* from this point forward. Dean's game is smooth and features a good shot from outside as well as excellent vision from the lead guard role. South Carolina's run to the Final Four this past year made a strong impression on the York Prep prospect, and I wouldn't be surprised if VT remains in the race until the very end as well. Until then, expect Dean to be on campus for at least a couple games this season as the Deacs continue to make him feel like a priority.
EXPECTED CLASS BREAKDOWN
Given the 2016 and 2017 class sizes, and the projected total for the 2018 group to be 4 when it is all said and done, there should be only two open scholarships available for the class of 2019. However, with the NBA draft and common attrition, I would be very surprised if this class was less than 3 total. It may end up being more, but for now let's say 3 is a conservative estimate and go off that prediction. Realistically to keep the roster balanced, I expect the staff to go hard after a PG (Ex: Harris, Dean), a wing (Ex: W. Moore, J. Moore, Eli King) and a traditional PF/C (Ex: J. Williams, J. Jones).
HIGHLIGHT TAPE OF THE WEEK
Anthony Harris has the speed to run past top players on the AAU circuit and a crossover that could leave opponents' ankles in the 3rd row. Check out the tape for the top 2019 Point Guard prospect for yourself.
Well that's all I have for you guys this time around. For more frequent Wake Forest basketball recruiting updates you can always follow me on Twitter @DeacFan3. The 2nd Edition of the BSD Recruit Report Podcast will be published Sunday 7/23, so be on the lookout for Q&A requests over the next couple of days as well. Thanks so much for reading and Go Deacs!