We’ve made it!
Texas’ wild ride that was the 2017 recruiting cycle is finished and the Longhorns landed its best recruiting class in years with five players who are all 5- or 4-star recruits. It was coach Shaka Smart’s third recruiting class at Texas and the coach has answered all questions about his ability to recruit high-level talent after succeeding at VCU with lesser-known recruits.
Three McDonald’s All-Americans and a bus-full of 4-star recruits have entered the program since Smart’s arrival.
But the 2018 class may be a different challenge for Smart and his staff. For starters, Texas needs to win on the court aft an 11-22 season. Second, Smart isn’t coaching the U18 USA Basketball squad this summer, which helped him build relationships with the two best recruits he landed in 2017, Mohamed Bamba and Matt Coleman.
At the same time, Texas could be even stronger on the recruiting trail over the next year as Smart will likely have his first NBA first-round draft pick at Texas with Jarrett Allen in June. He’ll also have plenty of eyeballs on his program with Bamba, Andrew Jones and more in the fold that will help expose the program even more (if that was possible).
So who are some of the names to know for next year’s recruiting cycle? We’ll throw some out there as Texas continues to offer scholarships to 2018 recruits.
Starters: Texas doesn’t have any committed players yet for the Class of 2018.
As far as scholarships are concerned, Texas currently has one open scholarship available and could choose to keep it open. As it stands now, Texas won’t have any seniors on next season’s team, though Dylan Osetkowski will be a red-shirt junior after sitting out a season due to transfer rules. Bamba, however, is considered a possible top-5 draft pick next year, and Jones waited until two days before the NCAA entrant deadline to decide whether to stay in the draft or not, so scholarships will likely be available.
Plus anything can happen when it comes to program attrition, so there will be scholarship openings at Texas next season.
Here are three 2018 players to watch:
Quentin Grimes, The Woodlands College Park, point guard
Currently the No. 1 player in the state of Texas and No. 16 nationally, Grimes has a reported offer from Texas and had a visit with Smart in April.
Vitals: 6-foot-4-inches, 175 pounds
What he’s said about Texas: He told 247 Sports in May that “… coach Smart came in and emphasized in his presentation what they could do for me and his vision. He saw me play in high school and saw me fitting in well. He thought I would work well in a transition type of offense.”
Who else is recruiting him: Most of the college basketball powers seem to be pursuing Grimes. Texas joins rivals Texas A&M along with Baylor and Oklahoma in recruiting him, but also powerhouses like Kansas, Kentucky, Arizona and Duke. Currently, 247 Sports predicts, with 100 percent of Crystal Ball predictions, that Kansas will be the landing spot.
Keldon Johnson, Hunting Prep, shooting guard
Currently the No. 1 shooting guard in the nation on 247 Sports’ ranking and No. 23 recruit overall, Texas has reportedly offered Johnson, whose brother plays at Georgetown.
Vitals: 6-foot-4-inches, 200 pounds
What he’s said about Texas: He recently told Rivals that: “… Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest are the schools closer to home that I hear from and then Texas, Oregon a little bit and Kansas and Louisville are the other schools staying in contact.”
Who else is recruiting: Those schools and more are on his case, and good news for Texas: all four recruiting predictions on 247 Sports’ Crystal Ball has Johnson picking the Longhorns. However, Kentucky, North Carolina and Kansas have all yet to offer a scholarship to Johnson. Once they do, it could possibly change the outlook.
Simisola Shittu, Vermont Academy, power forward
The No. 7-rated player in the nation according to 247 rankings and No. 3-rated power forward, Shittu was reportedly offered a scholarship more than a year ago by Texas. He’s received a lot of attention since Texas was one of the first programs to offer the Canadian big man.
Vitals: 6-foot-8-inches, 210 pounds
What he’s said about Texas: Well, he hasn’t said much about Texas since they offered him in May of 2016.
Who else is recruiting him: So far, there are no Crystal Ball predictions on Shittu. He has received offers from Connecticut, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt and Michigan among other programs.
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