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Hoops Recruiting Inside Scoop

With the July evaluation periods over, the nation's top recruits will now turn their attention to the recruiting process. Who is leaning where? Where do they stand in their recruitments? Scout's basketball recruiting team takes a look.

Trae Young recently announced a list of six schools -- Texas TechKansasOklahomaKentuckyWashington and Oklahoma State.

But in reality his recruitment appears much more narrowed down than that. The top tier of his recruitment appears to consist of Kentucky and Oklahoma, with Kansas just behind those two. Handicapping the top two, at least at this stage, would be difficult. Perhaps the decision comes down to staying close to home and playing in front of friends and family versus playing for John Calipari and the powerhouse that is Kentucky. 

Young, a five-star point guard that had a sensational performance at the Nike Peach Jam during July, has taken visits to every school on his current list except for Washington. He's expected to take official visits in the fall.

Scout's No. 2 overall prospect -- Mohamed Bamba -- emerged as a high major prospect when we highlighted him at the Bullis Holiday Classic in mid-December of 2014. 

Since then the 6-foot-11 versatile post prospect has taken off. College coaches have lined up to recruit him and his list of scholarship offers is a long one. DukeKentucky and Harvard are the schools that seem to get the most buzz with him. But the truth is, Bamba's recruitment is as open as it's ever been. Those three schools certainly are in the mix, but so are many others.

From the outside looking in, Bamba doesn't appear to be in any kind of hurry and his deal has a ways to go.

There are two top 10 prospects already off the board in the 2017 class. The next one, although not necessarily soon, could very well be Wendell Carter, Scout's No. 3 prospect.

Although Carter hasn't set a timetable for making a college choice, his recruitment seems more clear cut than others. Although Carter likely won't admit it, he appears to have a top two of Duke and Harvard. Georgia and Georgia Tech are also trying, but it remains to be seen if staying close to home is a legitimate option. 

Carter has already set up an official visit date with Harvard the weekend of September 17th. At this point, he hasn't set up an official visit to Duke, but the safe bet is he'll do one in the fall.

2017 wing Jermaine Samuels had a strong July playing with Expressions Elite. Now that the summer is over, Samuels, a 6-foot-6 highly touted wing, is likely going to dig into his recruiting process quickly. 

The serious players appear to be VillanovaIndianaKansas and GeorgetownDuke also is involved to some degree and evaluated him during the evaluation periods. With that said, the Wildcats and Hoosiers are getting some serious buzz with the four-star wing. 

Although Samuels, hasn't set up any college visits, he's in the process of securing some dates and then will jump right into the process.

Five-star guard Gary Trent narrowed his list of schools to five on Tuesday.

Trent, who recently opted to transfer out of Minnesota to Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep, informed Scout he's down to ArizonaDukeKentuckyMichigan State and UCLA.

Trent told Scout that he's yet to set up any college visits.

"Not yet," he said. "Plan on doing that over the next couple weeks."

This is a huge week for Paul Scruggs. The four-star combo guard from Indianapolis has started his visit tour, and the first two stops on that visit tour are to his favorites. On Monday evening Scruggs made the short drive to Bloomington to meet with Indiana boss Tom Crean.

By all indications the visit to IU went well. It went for about five hours, and Crean had the chance to give his pitch to Scruggs, his parents, and his AAU coach Mike Peterson. It was a convincing pitch, and Scruggs continues to think very highly of the Hoosiers.

On Friday Scruggs will make a visit to Xavier a school that has been rumored to be out front in this recruitment for the past month. Xavier is getting an official visit that is expected to last the weekend.

Scruggs also has other visits set up to Connecticut, Michigan State, and Illinois. If Scruggs gets through this weekend uncommitted that means this recruitment has been busted open and everybody has a chance. So keep a close eye on things here over the next week, if neither IU nor Xavier can secure his commitment by the middle of next week, then all bets are off with Paul Scruggs.

One of the most productive and college ready players in the class of 2017 is Jordan Goodwin. The Illinois native has always held the Illinois Fighting Illini in a high regard, but now keep a very close eye on St. Louis.

Since getting the job Travis Ford has made a tremendous push to get Goodwin, and while this is far from a consensus, you can find people close to the kid who feel that the Billikens may actually be the most likely destination. Also it is worth noting that St. Louis just hired former St. Louis Eagles coach Corey Tate as an assistant coach, so that could help as well.

 Creighton, Butler, Northwestern, and to an extent Missouri still remain somewhat on the list, and could get visits, but it is very possible that this turns into an Illinois v SLU battle for one of the most productive players in the class.

During the spring it appeared four-star center Nate Watson was headed to Maryland. The Terrapins did a good job of recruiting Watson, it is close to home, and they have a need at the center position, however recently things have gotten pretty interesting here.

Watson recently cut his list to seven, but with North Carolina not offering, it looks the like focus could really be on three places. Providence, Miami, and Maryland appear to be the frontrunners for Watson at the moment, though NC State has worked in a visit, and the Wolfpack could make up ground quickly.

Now if North Carolina steps up with an offer on a potential August 22 visit, then they Tar Heels might be tough, as that seems to be a school that Watson is very intrigued with.

Still keep a close eye on Miami, Maryland, and Providence here. Those three schools have done a ton of work with Watson, and seem to be in the lead group heading into what should be an interesting set of official visits.

At one point it seemed that Jordan Tucker ending up at Syracuse was simply a mere formality. However that now has definitely changed. The Orange haven’t turned up the heat on Tucker like some expected, and that has allowed a new leader to emerge.

Currently all the buzz in the Tucker recruitment is centered around Indiana. The Hoosiers did a tremendous job of tracking Tucker during the month of July, and he has shown a ton of interest in the Big Ten school, even making it out there for an unofficial visit in the past.

At the moment Tucker plans to go through the recruiting and visit process, and schools such as Arizona, Maryland, USC, or Villanova could get a serious look, but at this point every program after him seems to be chasing the Hoosiers.

One of the quietest players off the court in the 2017 class is Jericho Sims. The Minneapolis area standout lets his play do all the talking, and during July he was tremendous. Sims added several offers during July, and continued to see his stock soar.

On the recruiting trail it is tough to pin down everything, as different people have different answers, but the three schools you hear the most are Minnesota, Texas, and Nebraska. Of that trio the Longhorns are making a very strong charge. Sims seems very interested in Texas, and the coaching staff in Austin has done a great job with him.

He has already made a few trips down to Nebraska, and that staff tracked him during July closely. Minnesota is where his dad played, and being close to home helps. Also schools such as Xavier and Oregon could get looks, but they appear slightly on the outside looking in at the moment.

Keep a close eye on the Longhorns here, as they appear to be trending with the fast rising four-star prospect.

Four-star versatile wing Nojel Eastern is one of the smartest and most efficient players in the class. While Eastern doesn’t publicly name top schools, or even a list, behind the scenes several programs seem to be doing well.

While he has been linked closely to Michigan State for a while, the Spartans aren’t recruiting Eastern as a point guard, and that has irked some close to home.

Because of that schools such as Purdue, Ohio State, and Michigan have been able to sneak in with Eastern and make a very positive impression. Especially in that would be the Boilermakers and the Buckeyes. Eastern has been to both schools, and both Eastern and his mother are impressed with what they have seen.

In-state options like DePaul and Illinois definitely still remain for the Evanston native, and if Michigan State puts on the hard sell they will be right there in the mix, but right now the Buckeyes and Boilermakers appear to be the top two as we head into the fall.

For several months, the perceived favorites for 2017 San Diego center Brandon McCoy have been Arizona and Michigan State. While USC, UCLA and Cal have remained in the mix, it's been perceived to be a Wildcats-Spartans battle at the top.

However, in recent weeks it appears Michigan State has been replaced by USC as one of the top two contenders to ultimately land McCoy's commitment.

The Trojans landing a true point guard in Derryck Thornton Jr., a friend of McCoy's, likely helps, while his mother recently moving from the Midwest to San Diego probably doesn't hurt any of the West Coast schools in the mix either.

Another player that USC is doing a good job with is Billy Preston. While Preston recently transferred from API in Dallas to Oak Hill Academy, he's originally from Southern California.

The five-star power forward is down to USC, Kansas, Maryland and Arizona but there's no doubt that the Trojans are the school at the forefront of this recruitment.

Given USC's lead, it wouldn't be a surprise if this recruitment ended sooner than later.

Four-star power forward Ira Lee has been pursued by a good percentage of the West Coast in recent months, but two schools are leading at this point.

As of now, Arizona and Cal are the two programs to beat, with the Wildcats probably leading at this point exiting the summer.

While Lee is focused on his recruitment, it's also expected that he won't return to Prolific Prep and instead will spend his last year of high school elsewhere.

Another player with a long list of options is four-star wing Chuck O'Bannon Jr.. He hasn't cut his list down, but the main players here are N.C. State, Oregon, Texas and USC.

Despite the O'Bannon family's success at UCLA, that isn't believed to play a big role in this decision as of today.

Look for O'Bannon to take official visits before making a decision.

For well over a year, Cody Riley hasn't been shy about the fact that UCLA is the leader in his recruitment. UConn, Kansas, Oklahoma and USC have also been in the mix, but Riley has long publicly named the Bruins as his leader.

UCLA still very well may be the favorite and he's said as much publicly in the last couple of weeks. However, the USC coaching staff trailed Riley in Las Vegas during the third Evaluation Period and word is that the Trojans have made up at least some ground.

Whether USC continues to gain traction from here remains to be seen and UCLA is still the team to beat, but at the least, the Trojans have to be considered a contender at this point.

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