July is the busiest month in college basketball recruiting, and Pat Chambers has no shortage of activity for this crucial period. A top target has cut down his list and included Penn State in it, once again pitting the Lions against the bigger names for the coveted target.
Prospects will use the next few weeks to showcase their talents, and coaches will take the opportunity to visit as many of the events happening as they can. By the end of this month, many recruits would have whittled down their lists (or outright committed to a school), which gives the rest of us a clearer picture of where each school stands with their respective targets.
There are three evaluation periods in the month of July, each jam packed (pardon the pun) with AAU events to go along. Coaches from all over the country will be, well, all over the country scouting talent at the different AAU competitions taking place over the time period. The first of such periods was this past week, from July 12th to the 16th. Here’s how the remaining dates break down.
- July 19-23: 2nd evaluation period
- July 26-30: 3rd evaluation period
Any dates in the month that don’t fall under these ranges are dead periods. The fun began this week with the Peach Jam, arguably the biggest event of the weekend.
All that said, here are a few words on some key targets Chambers will likely be paying close attention to in the next few weeks. I’ll add the current outlook as they go, reevaluating each time there are news.
First Things First
Surprisingly enough, Chambers isn’t done recruiting 2017 players, and recently saw Penn State mentioned in a top five list from a 2017 recruit.
Rafus was committed to TCU until June, when he abruptly reopened his recruitment. If you haven’t heard the name before, it’s because Penn State wasn’t really recruiting him until his decommitment from TCU. The 6’9” prospect does have the ability to shoot the three, which would be a useful asset for the Lions were they to land this commitment. Not much has been reported outside of the top five, so stay tuned for any news regarding his commitment.
First Live Period Update
Arguably Penn State’s top target at the moment, Cohill just recently cut his list down to 10 schools. Penn State, of course, made the cut in that top 10:
Thankful for all the schools who have recruited me but this is my top 10! I want to thank God but hard work truly pays off pic.twitter.com/qXJiTzWetz— Dwayne Cohill (@therealdwayne35) July 7, 2017
The composite four star, top-100 recruit has spoken glowingly about the Nittany Lions in the past. In a recent interview with Nate Bauer at BWI, he discussed the role he’d see himself playing at Penn State were he to commit, believing he’d be the piece the Lions seem to be missing in making the transition:
It's like they're just missing one thing. Tony is a great player and I feel like me and Tony could definitely do something really well,” said Cohill. “I feel like if I came in, we could definitely work well with each other. We played with each other a couple of times in open gyms and everything, so I know how his game is, he knows my game a little bit. I feel like we definitely could change it around and start winning and get to where we want the program to be.
Cohill competed in the Adidas Gauntlet Finale event where his AAU team, the Ohio Basketball Club, went 3-2. Cohill himself had a a pretty good weekend, and averaged 16.8 points a game through five games.
Chambers was, of course, out seeing the top target play during the event. It’s still a ways away before Cohill makes his final decision, and competing with the hometown team (as well as UNLV) will prove to be difficult. However, Penn State seems to be well positioned to stay on Cohill’s list until the very end.
Jake Forrester is another four-star recruit that has seen his offer list blow up over the past few months. Forrester now has 23 offers, including the likes of Indiana, Arizona State, Miami, Minnesota, Kansas State, Vanderbilt, and Virginia Tech. Forrester, who played alongside Mohamed Bamba and Cameron Reddish at Westtown, confirmed through a third party that he may cut his list down later this month. That confirmation was preceded by a tweet seemingly showing a trimmed down list that excluded Penn State, which Forrester quickly clarified was not accurate.
Forrester participated in the Peach Jam with his AAU team, the PSA Cardinals. Through five games, Forrester averaged 9 points a game, and produced this sweet highlight:
Early in his recruitment, Penn State seemed to be in good position with the power forward, but the lack of any meaningful news in recent months coupled with the Lions’ suddenly crowded front court makes me feel uneasy about Penn State’s chances right now.
Wynston Tabbs is another player the has seen his stock rise significantly over the past few months. Since April of this year, Tabbs has received offers from Rutgers, Virginia Tech, VCU, Cincinnati, St. John’s, among others.
Tabbs, who played alongside current commit Myles Dread on Team Takeover, said in an interview with Corey Evans that he’ll look to cut his list down a few months after the AAU season ends.
Here’s what he had to say about Penn State at the time:
They are on me a lot; I like that. Coach (Pat) Chambers is a cool guy. He told me where I would fit in if Tone Carr was still there. I would still play the same role that I am playing with Team Takeover.
Tabbs played with Team Melo in the Peach Jam, alongside fellow Penn State target Noah Locke. He had an up and down weekend in terms of points scored, but the good days were enough to lift his average to 12.2 points per game on the weekend. He also had some highlights of his own:
Chambers was also in the house to watch Tabbs play.
Penn st, Rutgers, Unlv, WVU, Pitt, VCU, S Florida, Syracuse, St Joes, Cincinnati in for Melo 2018 @sb_wynston— TeamMeloBasketball (@Dwayne_Wise) July 14, 2017
Sean Good was at Penn State’s Elite Camp a few weeks ago and showed ability on both ends of the floor. Good is not as high a profile prospect as the other guys above, but he still has the skillset to be a useful piece for the Nittany Lions were he to commit. His current offer list isn’t something to write home about, but he has received interest from Notre Dame, VCU, Butler, and Virginia, to go along with his Davidson, Columbia, and Penn offers, among others.
Good played in the Peach Jam with Team Final, alongside Cameron Reddish. In their lone [play-in] game against Nike Team Florida, Good had six rebounds and two points.
Good hasn’t set a firm timeline for a decision, but I feel very confident that Penn State stands a good chance with the Center prospect.
Drew Frieberg is another under-the-radar prospect that is looking good for Penn State, being the local kid and all. As with Good, Friberg’s only high major offer right now is Penn State’s, with Delaware having been the most recent reported offer for the Forward.
Unless Friberg has a tremendous summer, I don’t see him getting much more attention than he currently is, so, unless he’s looking for ample playing time, it’s likely to be Penn State or bust.
Myles Dread has seen his stock rise considerably since the last time we spoke about the guard around these parts. For instance, just a few months ago, his composite rating was around a .8730, a very solid three-star. As of today, his composite rating has shot up to .9118. At .9200, Dread would officially be a composite four-star recruit. That’s how much progress the current commit has made so far.
Dread played with Team Takeover in the Peach Jam this past weekend, and the guard was instrumental in completing a miraculous comeback to beat Bradley Beal Elite and advance to the finals:
He once again showed his range against Oakland Soldiers, and nearly helped complete another miraculous comeback to win the whole thing:
By the way, here’s a bonus tweet on from that first shot from another recruit:
@mylesd12_ what they talm bout dis what we do family ⚪️— Dwayne Cohill (@therealdwayne35) July 16, 2017
Let’s not get too carried away here, but DWYANE STOP PLAYING WITH MY EMOTIONS LIKE THAT!
Others of Note
Penn State has shown interest in Rasir Bolton, Kenneth Nwuba, Marcus Littles, Noah Locke, Eric Ayala, and Tre Wood. There hasn’t been much in the way of news for any of these guys, however. In the case of Noah Locke, the last available piece of information mentioning the Nittany Lions doesn’t actually paint a favorable picture. Keep in mind, many of these players were at the events Chambers himself attended this weekend, so the staff would have had an opportunity to see each of these players in action regardless. If any news come out of these, or any other players, we’ll be sure to report.
Along with watching current targets, Chambers handed out a few offers to some more 2018 players.
Jared Rhoden, a class of 2018 wing playing for the NY Lightning, just picked up an offer from Penn State.— Pat Lawless (@PatLawless_) July 15, 2017
The staff was also busy with some 2019 prospects, but we’ll talk about those some more in a later post. The next two days we are back to silence, and the action picks back up on the 19th. That’s it for today. Stay tuned for more news after the second and third live periods.