Hoops Recruiting Update
By: Drew DeArmond
What a run thus far in Year Two under Nate Oats & University of Alabama Men’s Basketball: 26 wins. First SEC Regular Season title since 2002. First SEC Tournament Title since 1991. First Sweet 16 since the Elite 8 run in 2004 & more to come.
Sweet 16 Match-up vs UCLA
When: tonight at 6:15 pm on TBS
Where: Hinkle Fieldhouse Butler University
MVP: Jaden Shackelford
It’s an exciting time and the future is very bright as well. The recruiting class is currently ranked 17th in the 24/7 composite & could move into the top 5 if another piece or two is added. Here are the three early signees:
Prospect: JD Davison
Position: Point Guard
Rating: Consensus top 10 National Prospect as ranked by 24/7 Sports, Rivals and ESPN. Rated Five Stars in addition to the top point guard in the 2021 class and finished a strong senior season with a third straight 2A Final Four birth & MVP Performance in the Alabama/Mississippi All-Star game with 35 points, 12 rebounds & 8 assists. The 6-3 Uber athletic guard has also been named the MaxPreps Alabama Player of the Year after averaging 32.4 points, 10.9 rebounds along with 4.7 assists. Davison was also announced for the 2021 American Family Insurance High School Slam Dunk and 3-Point Championship roster recently. The 10th annual event features 24 high schoolers and will air April 4 on CBS at 12:30 p.m. CT from Franklin Central High in Indianapolis.
Prospect: Jusaun Holt
Position: Small Forward/Wing
Rating: Consensus 4-star prospect by ESPN, Rivals and 247Sports. Holt was recently named the Class A Georgia High School Player of the Year by the GHSA.
The following was written by Hoopseen’s Brianna Patton after St. Francis, led by Holt, defeated Greenforest 65-63 in early March to reach the Class A Private School Final Four: “Jusaun Holt is Special. This was the first time I have seen Holt play since the HoopsGiving event in November and man was I impressed. The Alabama signee made a ton of huge plays for the Knights that led to their win, finishing with 29 points and 13 rebounds. At 6-foot-6, he has tremendous size that enables him to score in a plethora of ways. He is crafty off the dribble, can shoot it from deep range, and has a lot of bounce. The thing I like most about his game is the way he defends and crashes the boards. You do not see many "scorers" play both ways with a high motor. That activity level he plays with is going to help a lot as he transitions to the next level.”
Prospect: Langston Wilson
Position: Power Forward
Rating: Consensus 4-star prospect as rated by Rivals and 24/7 Sports, who has Wilson tabbed as one of the top TWO Juco prospects in the United States and #1 Power Forward in Junior College Basketball at Georgia Highlands College.
Wilson, whose senior season is still underway, has a very unique story as previously profiled on TI. Wilson was diagnosed with Marfane Syndrome, which is an inherited disorder that affects connective tissue-the fibers that support and anchor your organs and other structures in your body. It most commonly affects the heart, eyes, blood vessels and skeleton. His father, Ron, a former center at Villanova, was stricken with Marfane after the conclusion of his basketball career. Consequently, Langston, also diagnosed around age 12, was unable to compete in organized basketball during his high school career at Prendergast Catholic High School in Philadelphia. Upon being cleared shortly after graduation, Wilson was discovered and signed by Georgia Highlands located in Rome, Georgia, where he averaged 10.1 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game in garnering GCAA All-Freshman and Honorable Mention All-Region honors.
The 6-9 215 pound power forward led his
team to a 24-8 overall mark and a 13-3 conference finish in the Georgia Collegiate Athletics Association before reaching the conference title game.
Prospects to Watch in the Coming Weeks:
After talking to connected hoops sources in the last few days the two most likely additions to the Crimson Tide roster are:
Charles Bediako, 6-11 220 IMG Academy, who is a consensus 5-star top 30 player in the country. Before transferring state-side for his senior season Bediako prepped at Andrews Osborne Academy in Ontario, Canada, playing beside current Tide freshman big man Keon Ambrose-Hylton. He has been considered an Alabama lean for several months now and has cut his list to five schools: Bama, Michigan, Ohio State, Duke & Texas. With Shaka Smart leaving for Marquette, the Longhorns are likely out. Very likely the top two right now are the Crimson Tide & Wolverines, who could meet in the elite 8 on Tuesday. I would still give Nate Oats & staff an edge as of today, especially with how the season has unfolded in addition to having fellow Canadians Ambrose-Hylton & Josh Primo. This would vault the 2021 class into the top 5 nationally if/when Bediako signs in April.
Dave Briski, who coached Bediako at International Sports Academy at Andrews Osborne, on the big man’s upside and skill set:
“Charles is the ideal 5 in the modern-day game because of his length and athleticism and his continually improving ability to stretch the floor,” Briski said.
“His speed is what sets him apart from other guys at his position. Once he consistently uses it in transition and in two-man actions on the perimeter, he will be in a class of his own.”
Nimari Burnett, who entered the transfer portal in early January leaving Texas Tech, is a former five star guard & McDonald’s All-American. The 6-4 190-pound combo guard was a top 25 prospect in the 2020 class out of Prolific Prep & chose the Red Raiders over Alabama, Oregon, Michigan & others. Since entering the portal, the Illinois native has been linked to several schools, including the home state Illini, the previously mentioned Crimson Tide & Ducks, plus USC, Vanderbilt, Auburn, & recently added LSU. Right now the consensus top three according to sources are Alabama, LSU & Illinois. The debate seems to be whether the top two are the Crimson Tide and LSU or Illinois but the common denominator is Alabama, who seems to be the favorite right now.
Alabama is losing four key seniors following this season in John Petty, Herbert Jones, Alex Reese & Jordan Bruner. Should Burnett commit/sign in early April along with Bediako, the Alabama roster would be one over scholarship-wise at 14 heading into next season with what would be a five-man group. This would mean attrition is likely either via turning pro (unlikely at this time but things can change) or someone entering the transfer portal, which is the most likely outcome.
What about Penn State Transfer Myreon Jones?
The 6-3 180 guard out of Huffman High School in Birmingham played for the Vikings & head coach Steve Ward before transferring to Lincoln Academy in Suwanee, Ga, for his senior season. He then signed with Penn State & has been a 3-year starter, named honorable mention All-Big Ten the last two years. During his junior season this year Jones averaged 15.3 points per game shooting nearly 40% from 3-point land. Since entering the portal in mid-March, the Birmingham native, who would have two years of eligibility remaining, has been in contact with Alabama & Auburn in addition to Ole Miss, Arkansas, TCU, and UCF among others. Unless something changes the word is Jones will not wind up at Alabama at this time according to a well-connected hoops recruiting source.