As predicted by many, Shabazz Muhammad, the second ranked player in the class of 2012, committed to UCLA over Kentucky and Duke last Wednesday night.
In light of Muhammad decision to become a Bruin, the Blue Devil coaching staff is reportedly pursuing 6-foot-8 wing Rodney Hood, who intends to transfer from Mississippi State due to the retirement of head coach Rick Stansbury. In his freshman season, Hood averaged 10.3 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. The Meridian, Mississippi native reportedly grew up a Duke fan and was the fifth-ranked small forward in the class of 2011 coming out of high school. Hood—who originally committed to Mississippi State over Florida State, Georgetown and Louisville—is a versatile wing with terrific size, length and athleticism for his position. Florida State is also thought to be a strong player to land Hood as he reopens his recruitment.
Although Hood will have to sit out for the 2012-13 season, the Duke coaching staff’s interest in him makes sense considering today’s announcement that freshman wing Michael Gbinije will transfer.
Duke is still awaiting college decisions from 2012 targets Tony Parker and Amile Jefferson. Parker is expected to choose UCLA over Duke, Kansas, Georgia and Ohio State when he announces his college decision Friday at Miller Grove High School, according to many national prognosticators. Georgia is also rumored to be emerging as a strong contender for Parker, while it is looking less and less likely that Parker will come to Durham given Mason Plumlee’s decision to return to Duke.
Jefferson has not announced when he will make his decision public. The Philadelphia native is considering Duke, N.C. State, Kentucky and Villanova. An announcement is expected to happen any time. Gbinije’s possible departure would seemingly give the Blue Devils a better chance to land Jefferson.
After Mason Plumlee announced his decision to return for his senior year, Connecticut transfer Alex Oriakhi cut Duke from his list and shortly after that committed to Missouri over Kentucky and North Carolina, among others.
Online rumors are surfacing that Andrew Wiggins, the top-ranked player in the class of 2014, may reclassify to the class of 2013. The Canada native is an elite athlete at 6-foot-7 and impressed NBA scouts with his 20-point outburst for the World team while playing against the top seniors in the U.S. at the Nike Hoop Summit. The decision to reclassify makes sense on a number of fronts. Wiggins already possesses NBA athleticism and frame. After going to high school in Canada his freshman year, Wiggins benefited immensely by playing a national schedule at Hunting Prep high school in West Virginia this past season. Lastly, he is already being highly praised by NBA scouts. Thus, reclassifying would allow Wiggins to enter the NBA draft a year earlier and cash in on his talents.
Wiggins’ recruitment seems to be a two-horse race between Kentucky and Florida State, however, Duke, North Carolina and West Virginia, among others, have all shown interest.
If Wiggins reclassifies to 2013 it would bode well for Kentucky head coach John Calipari and Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton. Wiggins has visited Kentucky more than any other school this past year, while both of Wiggins’ parents attended Florida State. His father, Mitchell Wiggins, was a standout basketball player for the Seminoles and then played in the NBA for several years. While his mother, Marita Payne-Wiggins, was a sprinter, who competed in the 1984 and 1988 Olympics. Both Kentucky and Florida State have been heavily pursuing Wiggins longer and harder than any other schools.
Wiggins has as much upside as anyone in high school basketball and a potential reclassification to 2013 would be interesting for the class rankings over the course of the next year given that Jabari Parker and Julius Randle currently hold the top two spots.
Session one of the Nike EYBL kicks off this weekend in Minneapolis, Minn. The Blue Devil coaching staff will be on hand to watch 2013 and 2014 prospects during the NCAA certified evaluation period from April 20-22.