The McDonald’s All-American Game, featuring the top prep stars of the future, took place on Wednesday with the East squad getting the win over the West 115-100. Several big name recruits (Matthew Hurt, Precious Achiuwa and Jaden McDaniels) have yet to make their college decision. Perhaps the biggest question mark surrounds Cole Anthony, the #2 recruit in the nation and top-ranked point guard, who is down to 6 schools – North Carolina, Miami, Notre Dame, Wake Forest, Oregon and Georgetown.
Anthony, the son of former NBA guard and current analyst Greg Anthony, is going to be a pivotal asset for any of the remaining schools. Cole’s game is mature, polished and versatile. He does not get sped up very often, nor is he forced into many mistakes. Great touch at the rim and deep range, Anthony is the kind of floor general that instantly makes everyone on the floor better.
Shedding light on his recruitment, during an in-game interview, Anthony listed his schools while seemingly eliminating Miami. Detailing what he was looking for most in a school, surrounding talent and the chance to reach the Final Four as a freshman were top priorities. The likely Day 1 starter at any school, let’s dive into what talent Anthony can expect to have next season.
1. Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons we’re missing a true playmaker on offense last year and could desperately use a player of Anthony’s caliber. Danny Manning’s team had serviceable wing players in Chaundee Brown (11.9 PPG), Brandon Childress (14.7 PPG) and Jaylen Hoard (13.1 PPG), but no bonafide game changer. Hoard is the best pro prospect on the roster, but I would be surprised to see him leave this year. There is a general lack of talent on this roster that would justify Anthony’s commit. The only reason to sign here, aside from Wake’s history of producing talented pro guards (i.e., CP3 and Muggsy Bogues), is the commitment of Anthony’s AAU teammate Ismael Massoud. — Probability 2%
2. Notre Dame: Believe it or not, but the Fighting Irish had a worse season than Wake Forest. A season-ending injury to sharpshooter and captain Rex Pflueger dealt a huge blow to the team early in the year. Unable to have numerous players step up and fill the void, Notre Dame leaned heavily on big man John Mooney (14.1 PPG, 11.2 RPG). Fortunately there is only expected to be 1 loss in the offseason, as Plueger is likely to receive a medical redshirt. Anthony would be surrounded by numerous three-point shooters in South Bend and a talented post player in Mooney. However, I think he can find a better home. — Probability 3%
3. Georgetown: The Hoyas have one of the most talented backcourts in the Big East, after the freshman duo of James Akinjo (13.4 PPG, 5.2 APG) and Mac McClung (13.1 PPG) burst onto the scene. Former NBA great Patrick Ewing coached his alma mater to a solid season and 3rd place conference finish. Ewing’s team is losing a lot of experienced frontcourt depth next year and is reloading with talented and long bigs. NC State transfer Omer Yurtseven (13.5 PPG, 6.7 RPG) will also be available after sitting out a year. The main question for Anthony at Georgetown is the perception of playing time with Akinjo and McClung already dominating the majority of backcourt time. Anthony would be the de facto starter, but does his presence cause the transfer of either guard and hinder the immediate talent he mentioned in his interview? Neither Akinjo nor McClung need the ball in their hands every play to make a difference. It could work. — Probability 20%
4. North Carolina – The Tar Heels we’re bounced in the Sweet 16 after being named one of the top 4 seeds in college basketball. Freshman point guard Coby White was the main reason Carolina had so much success. White displayed a full skill set as the freshman floor general showed incredible poise, blazing speed and a lethal outside shot on his way to multiple 30-point games. The young playmaker has done well enough in his lone college season that he is a virtual lock to be a top-5 player in this year’s NBA draft. Roy Williams is losing valuable senior players Luke Maye (14.9 PPG, 10.6 RPG), Kenny Williams (8.5 PPG) and Cameron Johnson (16.9 PPG). The Heels have little trouble bringing in star recruits, such as 5-star center Armando Bacot. However, Anthony’s decision to lace his sneakers in Chapel Hill will come down to Coby White’s immediate NBA aspirations and fellow recruit Matthew Hurt. Hurt is the prototypical stretch 4 in the modern game. The Minnesota native has the most college offers and would make a very valuable asset for Anthony on the court. If Coby White chooses to stay, he would likely play off the ball as the 2-guard in more of a scoring role and in my opinion would not hinder Anthony’s chance at playing time. — Probability 35%
5. Oregon: The Ducks were also bounced in the Sweet 16 after giving Virginia all they could handle. Dana Altman’s squad won 10 games in a row prior to that loss and was far from a lock to get into the tournament had they not gotten hot. It was an impressive season in Eugene, despite the loss of likely NBA lottery pick Bol Bol to an early season ending injury. The Ducks looked lost without him until the middle of conference play. The late season successes will carry over to next year, as there will be little to no attrition of this year’s roster. Altman has already inked an impressive recruiting class led by 5-star power forward CJ Walker. The Ducks are also in the mix for 5-Star scoring machine Cassius Stanley. Adding the duo of Anthony and Stanley to backcourt-mate Payton Pritchard would give Oregon one of the most dynamic groups in the nation. Interior defender Kenny Wooten would only be a junior and gives the Ducks a balanced roster. The talent and chance at a Final Four Trip would be undeniable. — Probability 40%