The American Athletic conference got off to a very slow start on the recruiting trail for 2016: just four players had pledged to AAC schools at the end of May (and just one prior to May). But the pace accelerated in late June and July, with seven players committing to AAC teams, including two in the Scout top 100. Here’s a closer look at each team’s class and remaining targets. The teams are ordered by number of commits.
Tulsa: three commitsScholarships available for 2016: seven
Class recap: Tulsa leads the AAC with three commits. With a whopping seven spots open for next year, Tulsa has sent out a ton of offers and will sign a large class. All three of the current commits are guards, which isn’t a surprise because of Frank Haith’s four guard offense. Germanton (Tenn.) PG Darrell Brown Jr. (5-foot-10, 160) started off the class when he committed in May. The Golden Hurricane stayed in that region when Little Rock (Ark.) Pulaski Academy wing Lawson Korita (above) committed in late June. The third member is Garden City (Kan.) CC wing Jabar Ray, who committed in late July. The class saw attrition in April, when Oklahoma City Southeast point guard Dashawn McDowell decommitted. The 6-foot-6 McDowell had committed in July 2014.
Commit spotlight: Lawson Korita. The 6-foot-4, 180-pound wing chose Tulsa over Wichita State, Creighton, Mississippi State, Lehigh, Central Arkansas, Drake, Wofford and had interest from Arkansas, Memphis, Ole Miss. A lights-out shooter, Korita shot 47 percent on threes on the EYBL circuit for the Arkansas Wings. He projects as a pure wing scorer.
Other 2016 offers/targets: Tulsa has a lot of flexibility with four spots still left. Getting some size in the froutcourt would be ideal. Some possibilities are New Orleans McDonogh 35 combo forward Brison Gresham, Houston St. Thomas Episcopal power forward Jeremy Peck, Dothan (Ala.) power forward Kevin Morris, Victory Rock Prep (Fla.) center Gorjok Gak. Some backcourt players with offers are Las Vegas Findlay Prep point guard Skylar Mays, Reserve (La.) Riverside Academy wing Malik Crowfield, and Fayettville (Ark.) shooting guard Payton Willis. The Golden Hurricane are pursuing several JUCO players as well: Northern Oklahoma College small forward Jarrid Rhodes, Connors State College (Okla.) power forward Arlando Cook, Motlow State CC (Tenn.) combo guard Jaylon Barford, City College of San Francisco power forward Jalen Canty, Indian Hills CC wing Jerrelle DeBerry and Schoolcraft College (Mich.) wing Ja’Christian Biles.
Cincinnati: two commitsScholarships available for 2016: five
Class recap: After signing a very good 2015 class, Cincinnati started 2016 in a lull. Then Mick Cronin was cleared to return to his everyday duties and June 30 and July 1 happened. The Bearcats secured a pledge from Burlington (N.J.) Life Center Academy power forward Nysier Brooks (6-foot-9, 220) on June 30. The three-star big man (above) chose Cincinnati over St. John’s, Seton Hall and South Carolina, among others. Less than 24 hours later, they pulled in one of their best commits of the last few years in Wilmington (Ohio) wing Jarron Cumberland, the No. 92 overall player in the Scout top 100. About an hour after Cumberland, North Carolina State transfer Kyle Washington announced he would transfer to Cincinnati. A 6-foot-9 center, Washington was the No. 91 player in 2013 and will have two years of eligibility starting in 2016.
Commit spotlight: Jarron Cumberland. The 6-foot-5, 215-pounder is a terrific get and a perfect fit for Cincinnati. He chose Cincinnati over Butler, Purdue, Xavier, West Virginia and Florida State. Michigan was the offer he was looking for, but he never got it. Cumberland is an excellent three-point shooter but also an aggressive scorer who is a bully (in a good way) on both ends. He’s not super explosive and just OK off the dribble, but this is a perfect match for player and team. Other 2016 offers/targets: With three spots left, Cincinnati still has a handful of targets, including Bartow (Fla.) center Tony Bradley, George Wythe (Va.) point guard Maliek White, Raleigh (N.C.) Carlisle point guard Quentin Jackson, National Christian Academy (Md.) small forward Christian Matthews and New Orleans McDonogh 35 combo forward Brison Gresham. Cronin has always liked the JUCO route, and has offered Hutchinson CC (Kan.) wing Bashir Ahmed and Motlow State CC (Tenn.) combo guard Jaylon Barford.
Connecticut: two commitsScholarships for 2016: five
Class recap: The Huskies are off to another good start. They secured a late May commitment from three-star Woodstock Academy (Conn.) power forward Mamadou Diarra. The 6-foot-8, 225-pounder chose Connecticut over VCU, Dayton, Minnesota, St. John’s, La Salle, Temple, Boston College and Providence, among others. Kevin Ollie landed the conference’s highest-rated commit: Lithonia (Ga.) Miller Grove PG Alterique Gilbert (above), the No. 40 overall player in 2016.
Commit spotlight: Alterique Gilbert. The four-star point guard chose the Huskies over Syracuse, Louisville, Texas and Illinois in July. He’s only 6-foot and 170 pounds, but Gilbert is an athletic and aggressive scorer with a great three-point shot. He’s not quite advance defensively, but his explosiveness on the offensive end will make him an immediate contributor. At Connecticut, he’ll be poised to succeed Sterling Gibbs.
Other 2016 offers/targets: Kevin Ollie’s squad has a lot more space after signing only two players in 2015. Manchester (N.H.) Wilbraham and Monson power forward Wenyen Gabriel is a huge target, perhaps the number one priority for Ollie and Co. He was one of the biggest breakout players of the AAU season and will be a tough land. Apollo (Ky.) shooting guard Eli Wright, Friends Central (Pa.) power wing DeAndre Hunter, Bartow (Fla.) C Tony Bradley and Trenton (N.J.) Central wing Myles Powell are other possible targets. Powell included Connecticut in his top eight.
South Florida: two commitsScholarships for 2016: five
Class recap: The Bulls landed an underrated piece on May 1 when three-star Tallahassee (Fla.) The Rock School combo forward Troy Baxter (above) committed. USF landed another on July 13 in Orlando (Fla.) West Oaks Academy point guard Andres Feliz. Originally a 2017 prospect, Feliz will reclassify to 2016. South Florida was his only offer, but he had strong interest from Louisville, Missouri and Miami. He led the FIBA U19 World Championship in scoring with 18.9 points per game.
Commit spotlight: Troy Baxter. A former four-star, Baxter is the 22nd-ranked power forward in 2016. He picked the Bulls over Arkansas, Alabama, Connecticut, Arizona State, Tennessee, Kansas State, Temple and Texas Tech. An elite athlete, the 6-foot-9, 190-pound Baxter’s biggest contribution as a freshman will probably be his defense, but he’s become a much better offensive player this AAU season. He has great length and can guard the three and any type of four-man.
Other 2016 offers/targets: South Florida hasn’t extended as many offers as other teams. A few players with offers are West Orange (N.J.) point guard Asante Gist, Damien (Calif.) La Verne wing Malik Fitts, High Point (N.C.) Wesleyan Christian Academy wing Jalen Johnson and Marietta (Ga.) Covenant Christian power forward Martins Igbanu.
East Carolina: one commitScholarships for 2016: four
Class recap: ECU had a solid 2015 class and kicked off its 2016 class with the June 9 commitment of Beacon (N.Y.) John F. Kennedy wing Elijah Hughes (above). The 6-foot-5, 205-pound wing had high-major interest and mid-major offers from Iona, Fairfield, Siena, Albany and Hofstra. Hughes has plenty of size and should play multiple backcourt positions (maybe even the four at times) for the Pirates.
Other 2016 offers/targets: Point guards and big men should be the focus from here for East Carolina. Gastonia (N.C.) Ashbrook power forward Isaiah Whaley (highlights below), Millwood (Va.) power forward J.J. Matthews, Sparta (N.J.) Pope John XXIII wing James Scott, Lynchburg (Va.) Virginia Episcopal PG Justice Kithcart, Richmond (Va.) St. Christopher wing Nick Sherod and Weseylan Christian (N.C.) small forward Jalen Johnson are some options.
Tulane: one commitScholarships available for 2016: two
Class recap: The only member of Tulane’s 2016 class is Reno (Nev.) International Prep power forward Maxwell Starwood. Starwood had signed to play with Tulane in 2015, but opted for prep school and reclassified to 2016. He’s still committed to Tulane and that doesn’t appear to be changing. He originally picked the Green Wave in November 2014 over offers from Louisiana-Lafayette and New Orleans. Starwood is 6-foot-8 and 220 pounds.
Other 2016 offers/targets: Tulane had a bit of a scholarship crunch, so it doesn’t have too many offers out. Woodstock (Ga.) Walker School combo forward Robert Baker Jr. (above), The New Hampshire School center Jimbo Lull, Reedley (Calif.) Immanuel point guard Colin Slater and Las Vegas Findlay Prep PG Skylar Mays are a few guys with offers. A huge target is New Orleans McDonogh 35 point guard DeJon Jarreau. The No. 49 overall player in 2016 kept the Green Wave in his top 11 and his older brother, Jernard, just transferred to Tulane from Washington. Ed Conroy faces stiff competition for the younger Jarreau’s services. But he’s pulled off improbable recruiting wins in the past year.
Memphis: zero commitsScholarships available for 2016: five
2016 offers/targets: Arlington (Tenn.) Bolton point guard Jaylen Fisher (above) may be the biggest target. He’s ranked 78th in the Scout top 100. The frontcourt is a big area of need with Austin Nichols gone and Shaq Goodwin in his final year. Bartow (Fla.) center Tony Bradley, Connors State College (Okla.) power forward Arlando Cook and Trinity Valley CC (Texas) power forward Melvin Swift College are all frontcourt options. College of Southern Idaho wing Armond Davis and Milwaukee (Wisc.) Dominican wing Kostas Antetokounmpo (of course it’s Giannis’ brother) are a couple other guys with offers.
SMU: zero commitsScholarships available for 2016: as many as five but as little as three. The final number will depend on two things: 1) If 2015 commit Simeon Carter can qualify and sign, and 2) NCAA sanctions.
2016 offers/targets: SMU had Douglass (Tenn.) four-star shooting guard LaGerald Vick committed, but he decommitted, reclassified to 2015 and signed with Kansas. Four of the Mustangs’ biggest targets are Lancaster (Texas) center Nate Morris (top of story), Southwest Christian Academy (Ark.) power forward Eric Curry (above), Humble (Texas) Atascocita point guard Carsen Edwards (highlights below) and Lena (La.) Northwood center Mike Layssard Jr. Other names to watch are Plano (Texas) Prestonwood Christian C Schnider Herard (No. 44 in Scout top 100), Vermont Academy (Vt.) SG Bruce Brown (No. 43 in Scout top 100), Rowlett (Texas) power forward Oliver Powell and Irving (Texas) MacArthur PG Andrew Jones.
Central Florida: zero commitsScholarships available for 2016: four
2016 offers/targets: The Knights will probably sign a pretty balanced class again. Point guard seems to be a priority, with Oldsmar Christian’s (Fla.) Eric Hester (above), Miami Mater Academy’s Dylan Frye, Raleigh (N.C.) Carlisle’s Quentin Jackson and St. John’s (D.C.) Jeff Dowtin all offered at the position. Bowie (Md.) Elev8 Sports Institute wing A.J. Wilson (highlights below), Endsworth (Tenn.) shooting guard Jordan Bone and Charlotte (N.C.) Providence Day combo forward Grant Williams are a few more with UCF offers.
Houston: zero commitsScholarships available for 2016: five
2016 offers/targets: Houston has space to bring in another big class. The Cougars added much-needed size in 2015, but could use some shooters and more depth in the frontcourt in this class. Austin (Texas) McNeil wing Armoni Brooks (above) has Houston in his top three with Boise State and UTEP and would be a nice fit. More wing players with offers are Reserve (La.) East Saint John’s Troy Green, Reserve (La.) Riverside Academy’s wing Malik Crowfield, Hutchinson CC’s Bashir Ahmed, Dacula’s (Ga.) Kevon Tucker and Klein Forest’s (Texas) DeAndre Williams. JUCO big men Arlando Cook and Valentine Sangoyomi are a couple other offers.
Temple: zero commitsScholarships available for 2016: six
2016 offers/targets: Temple has had a lot of its earlier offers commit elsewhere, so it has offered a lot of players in July. Big target and four-star point guard Tony Carr committee to Penn State, and his teammate and fellow Owls target Lamar Stevens could follow. A point guard is a huge priority, as is getting a couple more big men. They will probably take a wing as well. Stevens, Montrose Christian (Md.) point guard Alani Moore (highlights below), Rochester (N.Y.) Bishop Kearney wing Quinton Rose (above), Saint Anthony (N.J.) combo guard Jagan Mosely, St. Anthony (N.J.) power forward Taurean Thompson, 22 feet Academy (S.C.) center Sedee Keita and Spring Valley (S.C.) forward Jordan Bruner are the biggest priorities for Temple. Bruner has Temple in his top 5 with Yale, Georgia, Tennessee and Clemson. Danish forward/center Marinus Mouboe, Notre Dame Prep (Mass.) power forward Chris Baldwin, George Wythe (Va.) point guard Maliek White, Millwood (Va.) power forward J J Matthews, Raleigh (N.C.) Carlisle point guard Quentin Jackson all have been offered in the last six weeks.