It might be hard to believe, but we’re currently less than a month away from the Early Signing Period in this year’s recruiting cycle, and the staff has their eye on a couple of key prospects. The 2019 class got off to a great start last month in adding 4* wing Ismael Massoud; a knock-down 3 point shooter who can guard multiple positions and score in a variety of ways.
Ismael Massoud to Wake Forest— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) September 25, 2018
Being able to recruit well after down years is just as important as building off recent success, and Massoud was a great first piece for what is set to be another important class for Danny Manning. Since we last had an update on BSD, the 2019 Big Board has evolved significantly, and there are a few names you should keep an eye on over the next few weeks as we head into National Signing Day. I’ll outline the targets below and list a few quick notes about each that Deacon fans should be aware of.
Josaphat Bilau - 6’11 PF, Quality Education Academy (NC)
Offers: Georgetown, Illinois, K State, Penn State, Texas Tech
247 Composite Ranking: NR
Breakdown: Two things stand out for Wake in the recruitment of Bilau: 1) He’s a local prospect, playing just down the road at Winston-Salem’s own QEA and 2) He’s a native of France, a pipeline that Wake has tapped into in the last couple recruiting classes in Olivier Sarr and Jaylen Hoard.
He only recently moved to the States last October and is looking to make the most of his 7’2+ wing span in his first full year of HS ball this winter. His offer list shows there are at least a few High Major programs intrigued at what Bilau can offer at the next level, and Wake’s connections and proximity could end up being a big factor here.
Jahcobi Neath - 6’3 CG, Crestwood (CAN)
Offers: UCF, San Francisco, Western Kentucky
247 Composite Ranking: NR
Breakdown: Neath is an athletic Combo Guard whose ability to finish aggressively at the rim is noticeable within 5 seconds of watching his tape. He can jump out of the gym and looks to have a similar game to Codi Miller-McIntyre when initially arriving at Wake Forest. Neath unfortunately has struggled with injuries throughout his High School career, which have subsequently prevented him from having the opportunity to showcase his skills over the last 12 months. He’s finally healthy and ready for his recruitment to pick up with an OV to UCF set up and likely a few others on the way.
I talked to *North Pole Hoops’ own Elias Sbiet about Neath just last week who mentioned he likely will take a slower approach to his recruitment now that interest has begun to pick up. He reaffirmed that Neath is absolutely a High Major prospect and the offers are likely on the way. More to come on this one.
*North Pole Hoops is Canada’s Premier Basketball Website and covers recruiting, Canadian National Team News, and updates around the country. Highly recommend it to any and all recruiting fans as they do phenomenal work covering the sport up there.
Tyrese Samuel - 6’8 F, Orangeville Prep (CAN)
Offers: UConn, Pitt, Seton Hall, Georgetown
247 Composite Ranking: 113 (4 stars)
Breakdown: If you feel like you’ve seen Tyrese Samuel’s name in these types of recruiting updates for years now, it’s because you have. Samuel has been on Wake’s radar since the spring of 2017, all while keeping things fairly close to the chest in terms of which way he’s leaning. He’s the only name on this list that has actually taken an Official Visit to Wake Forest, coming to Winston-Salem in mid-September, and the Deacs remain the only school he has OV’d to.
6-foot-8 Canadian F Tyrese Samuel Will take an official to Wake Forest on 9/8, he tells me.— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) August 31, 2018
Northwestern, St.John’s, Ole Miss UConn and Buffalo also involved. pic.twitter.com/O05f5oSIt0
I’ve asked around on this and have yet to hear of a definitive leader at this point in his process, which is surprising given the reclassification and how long some of the schools that are recruiting him have been in contact. Pitt just came in with an offer on Tuesday and I wouldn’t be surprised if a few more teams get in the mix. Samuel’s versatility as a 3/4 is incredibly enticing and appears to be the exact type of prospect Manning has been looking for over the last few recruiting cycles. Simply put, he’d be an excellent addition to the 2019 class, and it’ll be interesting to see if Wake can end up closing the deal on one of their longest recruitments of the last 5 years.
Jason Jitoboh - 6’10 C, Hamilton Heights (TN)
Offers: Florida, Illinois, Louisville, Tennessee, Georgia
247 Composite Ranking: 218 (3 stars)
Breakdown: Jason Jitoboh is one of the most talented bigs left in this class, and Wake Forest has been making a late push for the 4* C in recent weeks. The Deacs initially offered back in April around the Nike EYBL Dallas showcase in which Jitoboh finished All 2nd Team and averaged 15 PPG, 8 RPG, and 3 BPG against some of the best in the 2019 class.
He then proceeded to pick up offers from Illinois, Louisville, and more before being sidelined for the better part of 2018 with an injury. Now entering his Senior season wide open in his recruiting process, there’s a legitimate opportunity here for Wake to land a 4* level talent who dropped in the rankings mostly due to injuries similar to Jamie Lewis last cycle.
My initial perception is Wake would have a far easier time landing Jitoboh in the Early Signing Period simply based on the competition that might arise throughout his Senior season. With that being said, trying to get Jitoboh on campus for an Official Visit in the next 2-3 weeks should be a top priority moving forward.
Damion Baugh - 6’3 CG, Tennessee Prep (TN)
Offers: Auburn, Georgetown, TCU, Georgia Tech
247 Composite Ranking: 135 (4 stars)
Breakdown: Baugh is a 4* Combo Guard that has High Major offers from over a dozen programs, including Wake Forest. Danny Manning travelled to Memphis over the weekend to have an In-Home visit with Baugh, who shot up in the Rivals 150 rankings after a strong summer for Team Thad on the UAA circuit. His playmaking ability and basketball IQ are what initially caught scouts’ eyes in early showcases, though his elite athleticism was on display in select moments as well as you can see from the clip below.
Georgetown and TCU have already gotten Official Visits and Georgia Tech and Wake appear to be in a good spot to receive OVs of their own. Eric Bossi of Rivals mentioned earlier this week that Baugh’s recruitment appears to be wide open and that there doesn’t seem to be a timetable on a decision for the highly sought after lead guard. This is a recruitment all Deacon fans should keep an eye on in the coming weeks, though given where it currently stands, I wouldn’t be surprised if it ultimately rolls into the spring as well.
Brice Williams - 6’7 SF, Hopewell (NC)
Offers: St Bonaventure, Charlotte, Bucknell
247 Composite Ranking: NR
Breakdown: Williams is a 6’7 wing that is another local prospect the staff has their eye on. He played on the Adidas Silver Circuit (2nd Tier) this past summer for Team Loaded 704, picking up a few D1 offers and interest from High Major programs. All signs point to Williams being a spring signing wherever he goes, as his recruitment is still in the early stages and he’s yet to take any Official Visits at the moment. If he has a strong senior season, expect interest to pick up and Wake to be potentially competing with a few other HM programs looking to fill up late 2019 slots.
Ody Oguama - 6’9 PF, Woodstock Academy (CT)
Offers: UMass, Winthrop, FIU
247 Composite Ranking: NR
Breakdown: Ody Oguama is an athletic big man who recently reclassified to 2019 while transferring up to Woodstock Academy (CT). He is a brand new name to our Big Board here, having just recently received an offer from the staff in mid-October. News broke just last night that Oguama would be taking an Official Visit to Wake this weekend and it’s clear the Deacs are trying to capitalize on being an early entrant to his recruitment.
Over the last few years there have been a number of instances where Wake has offered an “under the radar” prospect and a plethora of other suitors follow with scholarships immediately after. There’s plenty of upside here, and if everything goes well this weekend, the Deacs could be in a really good spot to add another versatile Forward to its program. I also like to close most articles with a fun highlight, and Oguama helped me fulfill that need perfectly...
Ody Oguama (@odyoguama), a 6’9” Big from @WAPrepHoop, will take his 1st official visit to Florida International on Sept 13-14...High energy rim-runner & shot-blocker combines the motor of a Ferrari w/ the frame of a military tank.— Mike Yagmin (@MikeYagmin) October 4, 2018
REFRESHING TO WATCH THE YOUNG MAN WORK-&-RISE! pic.twitter.com/P4wxpsCXQo
At the end of the day, Wake Forest’s 2019 class should be at least 3 members deep, with a PF/C and Combo Guard being the main roles to fill to close out the group. The staff appears to be focusing on athletic, high upside bigs that they can develop internally, as well as athletic guards that can beat their man off the dribble and finish at the rim. The Oguama Official Visit this weekend is a notable development, and it’ll be interesting to see if another OV for one of the prospects above gets scheduled prior to the November Signing Period. For all the latest on Wake Forest Basketball recruiting, stay tuned to Blogger So Dear. Go Deacs!