Scout's Monthly Inside Recruiting Scoop

May 6 -- The Inside Recruiting Scoop breaks down the latest in college basketball recruiting, including updating information on the top available 2016 kids like Markell Johnson, Marques Bolden, and Jarrett Allen, as well as information on some of the most heavily recruited 2017 prospects in the country -- those that UCLA is involved with...

Allen still weighing his options

Jarrett Allen, a 6-foot-10 center, is one of the three five-star prospects still available in the 2016 recruiting class.

Allen, Scout’s No. 15 overall recruit, is down to Houston, Kansas and Texas. All three schools had in-home visits with the elite recruit two weeks ago. Kentucky and Notre Dame were previously involved.

A native of Austin (Tex.), the school of thought is that the Longhorns may very well be the leader, but Houston and Kansas are certainly formidable contenders and it’s evident that Allen has struggled to come up with his choice.

Texas recently promoted Jai Lucas, who does have ties to Allen, to an assistant coach. Whether that ends up being a major factor in the decision-making remains to be seen, but it certainly can’t hurt the Longhorns.

Allen hasn’t set a timetable on making his college choice, but the first weekend of May approaching, a decision is expected within the next two or three weeks.

More Good News for Virginia Tech?

The decision of Markell Johnson to move from the 2017 class to the 2016 class wasn’t a surprise to most with knowledge of the recruitment. In fact most of the coaches recruiting Johnson always had an eye on him coming in for the 2016-17 season. With that said it is important to note that some academic loose ends do need to be tied up in order for Johnson to make the desired move to 2016.

Working under the assumption that everything does get taken care academically right now the smart money is on the Virginia Tech Hokies. Virginia Tech has done a very good job of developing a relationship with Markell and his mother, and right now it seems that the Hokies are the team to beat.

In the chase group behind Virginia Tech appears to be West Virginia and Xavier. Those two schools recently offered and both have put in a lot of work in this recruitment. Also both of those staffs have deep ties to the state of Ohio, so they are able to make up ground.

You continue to hear some chatter surrounding Ohio State and Louisville, but the reality is it is unlikely that Johnson ends up at either spot.

Expect a few more visits from Johnson, and then probably a decision near the end of the summer. Even though he re-classified he isn’t going to make it in time for the first session of summer school at most places, so odds are there is still some time left in this recruitment, but as of now Virginia Tech has put themselves in the best position.

When will Marques Bolden decide?

Arguably the most asked question in college basketball recruiting right now centers on five-star 6-foot-11 center Marques Bolden and where he plans to attend school.

Bolden is down to Duke and Kentucky. But deciding between the two has proved difficult for the elite level talent that ranks as the No. 8 overall prospect in the loaded 2016 class.

Bolden, who won a 6A state title at DeSoto (Tex.) High, visited both schools back in the fall. Both schools have made trips to Texas to meet with Bolden since his and their seasons ended.

At this point, there isn’t a leader and Bolden still may not have his mind made up. When he does he’ll tell the world, but attempting to guess a destination for Bolden is tough. In fact, flipping a coin may prove just as accurate at this stage.

One standing out with Ayton?

The nation's top 2017 prospect - 7-foot, 235-pound center DeAndre Ayton out of Phoenix Hillcrest Academy - has long been rumored to bypass college for a professional deal, likely overseas, and that possibility remains very much in play.

Ayton started his career at San Diego Balboa Prep and questions about whether or not his early classes will be counted by the NCAA have been questioned by many college coaches.

However, there are schools that are working to get Ayton committed and, ultimately, eligible for college basketball. The school of thought is that the earlier Ayton commits to a college, the longer a staff will have to work with him and find a way to get his transcripts ultimately cleared by the NCAA.

The school which has done the most work to date is Kansas, which is probably the team to beat at this point. Others, such as Arizona and UCLA, remain involved to various degrees, but the Jayhawks have a head start.

Will Tilmon Stay Home?

Since the early stages of his recruitment Illinois has been the school in the best position for five-star center Jeremiah Tilmon. Now at La Porte (Ind.) La Lumiere, Tilmon still identifies himself with his home state of Illinois.

At one point it looked like Tilmon might have been moving closer to a commitment near the end of the high school season, but that never materialized. Instead he has opted to wait things out, and every day that goes by North Carolina and Louisville seem to be able to chip into the lead that the Illini still have.

Currently the smart money remains on Tilmon choosing the Illini, but schools continue to push forward in this recruitment, and Roy Williams has especially built a strong bond with the defensive minded center.

Do not expect Tilmon to play the rest of this summer due to a shoulder injury, so it is possible he might be able to make some visits when most are busy with AAU events. A quick decision is currently not expected, but for now everyone seems to be chasing the Illini for this key recruit.

Malik Williams Continues to Move Ahead

On Thursday night yet another big offer came through for four-star Malik Williams, the latest one from Louisville. The Indiana native doesn’t play on a shoe sponsored AAU team, but that hasn’t slowed down his recruitment in the least. Head coaches have been tracking Williams all spring long.

At the moment most of the buzz surrounding Williams has centered on Michigan State. The Spartans had a productive in-home visit with Williams, and Tom Izzo has done a terrific job of making it clear to Williams how he would fit in, and also being close to his home in Ft. Wayne is considered a major plus.

Right behind Michigan State appears to be Purdue, Indiana, and Iowa. Probably no coach has put in more work than Fran McCaffery of Iowa, and that has the Hawkeyes right in the mix. Indiana and Purdue both are close to home and have spent a lot of time on Williams which he likes, and the ability to make easy unofficial visits there gives them the chance to make up ground in a hurry.

One thing that will be interesting to watch is will Williams decide in August. He has talked about either committing or simply naming finalists on August 26. If he does commit on that date it will be tough for any school to make up too much ground, but if he only narrows his list that brings a lot more possibilities into the picture.

Long Wait Ahead For McCoy

Ayton's AAU teammate with Cal Supreme, 7-foot, 235-pound San Diego Cathedral Catholic center Brandon McCoy, is still open and it wouldn't be a surprise if his recruitment expanded before it narrows down.

McCoy has made a big jump forward in his development as a rising senior, as he's added some improved offensive skill to a resume that already included being one of the elite defenders in the 2017 class.

The schools doing the best job with the elite prospect heading into the summer are Arizona and Michigan State with others, such as Cal and UCLA, still involved.

Smith Headed West?

One of the major spring risers in the Midwest has been Justin Smith. Playing with the Mac Irvin Fire, Smith has shown major improvement to his game, and a lot more comfort with his perimeter game in the last few months.

That added comfort has led to new scholarship offers for Smith. One of the most recent could also be his eventual school destination. That would be the Stanford Cardinal. Smith is a tremendous student who loves the idea of being both a student and a basketball player at Stanford. Also his parents are fond of that as well.

Speaking of his parents, Illinois is their alma mater, and the Illini are remaining significantly in the mix here. Illinois is likely to spend a lot of time tracking Smith during the month of July, and already they have the services of his AAU teammate, DaMonte Williams.

It could come down to a simple matter of distance. If he is comfortable with the distance from home, odds are he will be a Cardinal, if not then Illinois might be the team in the best position to land Smith.

USC looks to cash in Big

USC is the team to beat for a current and former five-star prospect. Dallas API power forward Billy Preston, Scout's 12th ranked 2017 prospect, is down to USC, KansasArizona and Maryland. Nothing is final at this point, but the most likely scenario as of now is the SoCal native heading back home and attending USC.

USC is also in the driver's seat for Duke transfer Derryck Thornton, Jr., who is also considering  Washington, Kansas and Miami. Thornton has already visited the Trojans and tripped to Kansas this week. He'll see Washington on May 8 and Miami on May 15.

Five-star Omer Yurtseven takes visits

Outside of Marques Bolden and Jarrett Allen, Omer Yurtseven is the best potential college prospect available.

Yurtseven, a 6-foot-10 post player out of Turkey, is a strong and sturdy center that is equipped to score from the low post or by facing up for mid-range jumps. His hands are superb, as his is touch. The bottom line is Yurtseven would be an impact player from day one for any program in the country. He’s the equivalent of a top 10 recruit.

So the next question is who are the suitors? A host of schools have reached out. But at this stage the schools most involved are Utah, North Carolina State, Syracuse and Oklahoma State.

At this point, Yurtseven has taken visits to Utah, Syracuse and is currently at NC State, according to sources. 

Yurtseven, who plays for Fenerbahçe, finishes his season in mid-May. Once his season is complete, he’ll likely look to make a choice. But at this point there doesn’t appear to be a timetable. 

What's up with Wilkes

While he is most decidedly not difficult to get a hold of from a media perspective of a quote, five-star forward Kris Wilkes is one of the toughest players in the class to get a read on. Opinions, even from those extremely close to him, are all over the board on Wilkes and what he may be thinking.

The one constant you get from people talking to Wilkes is that a decision will not come quickly. In fact many people think this lasts into the fall, or potentially even the winter.

Right now there is no real school list, and Wilkes as well as his father seem open to everybody, but the schools bandied about the most appear to be Indiana, Xavier, Purdue, Illinois, and UCLA.

Michigan State, Notre Dame, and Ohio State appear to be turning up the heat some, and Maryland keeps trying to get into the mix seriously, but the thought is if he leaves the Midwest he is more likely to go West to UCLA than he would be East to Maryland.

Still keep a close eye on the two in-state options as well as Xavier. The Musketeers were his first high-major offer, he has been to Indiana the most, and Purdue has a combination of academics and location that really appeal to Wilkes and his family.

This one could still go in a multitude of different directions, but those are the schools that appear to have positioned themselves the best for the five-star forward. 

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