With Scottie Lewis deciding to drop five schools from his list, including Villanova, he has officially announced that he won’t be joining his longtime friend, Bryan Antoine, at 800 E Lancaster. He’ll be playing in Lexington or Gainesville next year, most likely competing for an SEC title wherever he ends up.
With Lewis in the rear view mirror, the list of top prospects for Villanova basketball dwindles down six. Three in particular are already being recruiting by Antoine. “I would say Isaiah Stewart, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Matthew Hurt, those are the kids that come to mind right now,” Antoine said Tuesday during an open gym at the Ranney School (N.J.). “Yeah, I’ve been talking to them,” (via Adam Zagoria @ ZagsBlog). This is good news for Jay Wright and the coaching staff who would love to land one of these big names before this recruiting cycle ends.
In order of priority, here are updates on the big names that Villanova basketball is still connected to:
- Isaiah Stewart (6’9” PF): Stewart is down to six schools - Washington, Syracuse, Indiana, Duke, Michigan State, and of course, Villanova. Even as Stewart takes his first official visit to Washington between September 21st-23rd, Duke and Michigan State are widely predicted to be the favorites to land him. Villanova last saw Isaiah on a visit to his school, La Lumiere School in Indiana, on September 10th along with every other school on his list sans Washington. The only anecdotal evidence in Villanova’s favor was a cryptic Instagram story in which he alluded to going to the same school as Bryan Antoine. Hopefully that wasn’t a joke, and Isaiah is seriously considering becoming Villanova’s next star.
- Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (6’8” PF): Robinson-Earl actually is the only one on this list who has taken his official visit to Villanova and rightfully could be placed at the top of the list. His list includes Notre Dame, Villanova, UNC, Kansas, and Arizona. He has also already visited Notre Dame and will see UNC this upcoming weekend with Kansas and Arizona coming shortly after. Just this week, Mike Brey from Notre Dame, Sean Miller from Arizona, and an unnamed Villanova assistant (probably George Halcovage) all were at IMG Academy in Florida to see him. His teammate at IMG, Armando Bacot, is already committed to UNC and openly stated that he’ll try to recruit him to play in Chapel Hill. This situation seems to be heating up and could come to a conclusion by mid-October. Kansas is considered the odds on favorite here.
- Matthew Hurt (6’9” PF): Hurt has been taking in home visits out of Rochester, MN as of late, and that’s where we first connected with him. On September 11th, Jay Wright flew to Rochester, Minnesota and offered Hurt in his home. This one is a crowded recruitment with Kansas, Kentucky, Indiana, Duke, North Carolina, Minnesota and Memphis all in the running. The experts predict him to land at Kansas with Robinson-Earl, but Richard Pitino is doing a hell of a job of pushing him to stay home in Minnesota. Villanova basketball will need to do a lot more here to sway him to play in the Northeast.
- Josh Green (6’6” F): Green is another IMG kid that could end up at Villanova next season, but it doesn’t seem likely. Green is among Bacot’s recruits to UNC along with Robinson-Earl, plus Green’s AAU teammate for West Coast Elite, Nico Mannion, just committed to Arizona. Kansas, UNLV, and USC are other potential landing spots for Green, but the favorites as of today look like Arizona and UNC. They are the only two schools to which he has scheduled visits thus far. When Villanova visited IMG on September 19th, the Wildcats did get some face time with Green as well, so hopefully we schedule an official visit soon or else you can kiss any chance of a commitment goodbye.
- Cole Anthony (6’3” PG): The next basketball star at Oak Hill in a line as long as a Trader Joe’s in NYC, Anthony is behind his peers in the process with a long list of suitors that has yet to be cut down. He has taken an official visit to Notre Dame and unofficials to Miami, UNC, Wake Forest and UCLA. Notably, Miami is only an hour from where his father, former NBA point guard, Greg Anthony lives in Delray Beach. This past weekend, Miami went four deep to visit him at Oak Hill, with Jim Larranaga joined by three assistants, in an attempt to woo him to play in the Sunshine State. Roy Williams tried to get there too, but because of inclement weather, the UNC coach had to reroute to New York to visit Anthony’s mother instead. The only official visit set up right now is to UNC between September 28th-30th. His list includes Kansas, Duke, Kentucky, UNC, Louisville, Oregon, Wake Forest, Georgetown, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Miami, and Villanova. Stay tuned as the waters arena bit muddied here. Nobody really has a good reading on this one, but we are definitely on the outside looking in due to the uncertainty of Jahvon Quinerly’s future as our starting point guard.
- Isaiah Wong (6’2” SG): Wong seemed like a great target early on in the process after the commitment of his AAU teammate, Eric Dixon, but then we locked up Bryan Antoine to play SG. Wong recently traveled up to UConn and met Andre Drummond. He’s also reportedly enamored with Miami, and now that there’s a logjam at his position in 2019, I don’t expect to see him coming to Villanova any longer.
Ultimately, with only one open scholarship, it’s possible that Jay Wright decides Villanova is best leaving an open slot for 2020. Wright May also be holding it in case someone falls through the cracks like Saddiq Bey in 2018. I’m sure if one of these six really wanted the spot, they could have it. Right now, it seems as if all six are pointed in different directions. Even though experts believe these recruits won’t end up at Villanova, it does not mean we should give up hope. Remember, Bryan Antoine was considered a lock to Duke up until he made his announcement to come to Villanova, so it wouldn’t shock me if the consensus was wrong again on another one of these top guys.