In April, Villanova men’s basketball coach Jay Wright worried that a coronavirus pandemic would jeopardize his chances of recruiting players from next year’s high school class.
Because the coaches couldn’t personally monitor the players or allow them to visit their campuses that month, Wright wasn’t sure how he and his staff would be able to properly evaluate the athletes.
“If it affects us and hurts a little, then what?” Wright said in April. “It sucks. There are many more important things going on in our world right now. “
Three months later, his fears seem almost extraordinary.
According to recruitment website 247Sports.com, after two recent verbal commitments, Wright and his staff have now committed to four growing seniors and thus ranked 2021. Employment class no. 1. They include players who may start in the future: points guard Angelo Brizzi of Virginia, shooting guard Jordan Longino of Pennsylvania, little striker Trey Patterson of New Jersey, and big man Nnanna Njoku of Delaware. Under Wright, Villanova has won two of the last four NCAA championships and these players want to be part of a growing tradition.
“We don’t have AAUs this year, we usually travel and focus on games,” Patterson of Rutgers Preparatory School said in a telephone interview on Tuesday. “But because of me and my family’s pandemic, we have had more time to talk to schools and evaluate programs, so I think it speeded up the process.”
In the usual summer, Patterson and many other high school prospects will play Nike Peach Jam at North Augusta (SC) or other events across the country this month in an effort to impress coaches and attract scholarship offers.
Now that the tournaments have been largely canceled due to the virus and the NCAA setting a death penalty for at least August, Patterson made an oral commitment on June 18th. And intends to sign a letter of intent in the fall.
Several other schools also benefit. Baylor, Butler, Ohio, Southern California, Louisville, Michigan and the state of Florida each Wednesday committed to 2021.
“What really pushed the whole recruitment process is a pandemic because the kids aren’t sure if they will ever be able to visit these schools, so they had these virtual visits,” said Tom Konchalski, a longtime professional. recruitment expert, said in a telephone conversation. “Obviously, it doesn’t feel so much about the team, the campus, the coach, the players and the whole school culture, as if they were visiting when the school was actually running. But it’s better than nothing. “
Jeff Ngandu, a big Canadian man from the Democratic Republic of Congo, promised in May to set Seton Hall for the 2020-21 season, never attending a school in New Jersey. Saquan Singleton made a similar commitment in 2020. April New Mexico from Hutchinson (Canadian) Community College. Both kept in touch with their future coaching staff through video conferencing and phone calls.
“Unfortunately, I couldn’t see this visit, but I just felt love and connection,” Singleton said.
Jordan Riley, a senior guard at Brentwood High School in Long Ailene, dedicated himself to Georgetown on Friday, following Father Monty’s only hour-long visit to the university this month. They couldn’t see any students or meet the basketball team because the campus was closed. They didn’t even let in Georgetown coach Patrick Ewing, and his staff know they were in the camp.
However, the visit – along with Ewing’s recruitment message daily – was enough for a 6-foot, 185- and 185-pound guard to pledge Hoy over Kansas, Florida, Connecticut and St. John. He had visited St. John and UConn, but could not visit other campuses.
“I saw the campus, I saw what I liked, and I’m just ready to go there,” said Riley of Georgetown.
Monty Riley said he wanted to speed up the process because he was caught with calls he wouldn’t normally have received outside of a pandemic year.
“It was just too many phone calls,” Monty Riley said. “One day I received 30 phone calls. And I work. I forced him to shorten his list and keep him going. “
Growing seniors and incoming freshmen are not the only ones behaving during a pandemic.
Last month, more than two years ago, more than two years ago, while playing in the state of Michigan, he promised 2022 class leader from Michigan Emoni Bates.
That could change if Bates reclassifies to the 2021 class. And if by 2022 The rule of NBA unilateralism will be collectively resolved, Bates, who was compared to young Kevin Durant, could just get into the NBA project in 2022 and skip college altogether. He could also drop out of college and make money by joining a G-League vocational training program for elite prospects.
So far, however, his decision has been made.
“The pandemic had no effect on our Michigan state’s decision-making time,” Emoni’s father, Elgin Bates, said in a text message. “We just decided to let us know what we’ve been thinking since seventh grade right now. There was no point in waiting or wasting time recruiting. “
The state of Michigan landed its second pledge in the junior class this week as center Enoch Boakye verbally pledged to coach Tom Izzo’s team.
Some college coaches and other players in the game believe that if players change their minds before officially signing, these early commitments may have another negative impression. They’re bored with more transfers – an interesting prospect given that there are already more than 1,000 players on the NCAA transfer portal.
Patterson believes the early commitment will help Villanova and his future teammates in the long run, give them more time to get to know each other and understand what they will expect from each other.
“It’s good that we’ve almost finished our class and have the opportunity to make contact with each other over the next year before we come and make even more contact with the coaches,” he said. “So everyone is almost on the same page.”