The 2014 class has been a great group for the Boilermakers since day one. P.J. Thompson, Dakota Mathias, Vince Edwards, Jacquil Taylor, and Isaac Haas projected as a complete starting 5, even if they’ve never all played at the same time in reality. Everyone but JT is gone after this year, plus the one left over scholarship from this year, so the 2018 class is likely to end up being another PG, SG, SF, PF, C class. With the commitment of Trevion Williams earlier this year, either the 4 or the 5 spot is filled, now who might fill the other 4?
Eric Hunter, 6’3” SG-Hunter is a close to a need as you get in recruiting. He is from Indy, one of the best basketball cities in the world and a place we need to have a presence in. He is already a proven winner after winning the 1A state championship last year. Hunter also fills a need for the Boilers. With Dakota Mathias graduating, Purdue would obviously like to replace him with another multifaceted guard. Hunter can create, find the open man, shoot, and play defense. Finally, I am willing to bet he is a smart kid. Tindley Prep bills itself an accelerated high school with one of their mottos being “College or Die,” so it is safe to assume he is used high-rigor academics.
Emmanuel Dowuona, 6’11” C -Originally from Ghana, Dowuona is an incredible athlete and motivated student of the game. His shot-blocking ability and defense are what set him apart from other recruits, but he has only been playing basketball for a few years so his offense is still coming along. Purdue is in good shape here as he has already officially visited West Lafayette. However, Dowuona doesn’t have a twitter and there have not been many updates on his recruiting during July other than a couple of new offers. I don’t know when Dowuona wants to commit, but he would be a great compliment to PF/C commit Trevion Williams.
Keyshawn Embery, 6’3” CG-Embery blow up in July and now has a ton of high-major offers, but back in June the guard from Oklahoma did release a top five and Purdue was on it. I’m not sure if the coaching staff sees him as more of a 1 or a 2, but in reality he is probably somewhere in between. This is important because the question is whether Purdue would take both he and Hunter or whether they would want only one of them and a true point.
Colin Castleton, 6’10” PF-Castleton is the most recent player Purdue has offered. Castleton is a pretty good outside shooter for his size and plays solid defense. He was an unranked prospect according to most services, but after a great July he now has offers from Illinois, Xavier, and FSU. We are the latest to offer the kid from Daytona Beach.
Jaxson Hayes, 6’10” PF-Jaxson Hayes is another recent offer and quick-rising prospect. He is from Cincinnati and if you’re an NFL fan you might know of his father, Jonathan Hayes. Jonathan is the TE coach for the Bengals and a former NFL tight end, so Hayes is no doubt close to Tyler Eifert, whose dad played at Purdue and whose brother Grady is a current walk-on for Matt Painter. Will the family connections help here? We won’t know for awhile, but Hayes certainly has the pedigree to be a basketball star.
Justin Ahrens, 6’5” SF-Ahrens was committed to Ohio State, but decommitted after Thad Matta left. Ahrens has been a top 150 player for awhile and is really the only small forward offer we have out right now that I think could sign. He is a great shooter and guy that could fill a Ryan Cline role, with perhaps a higher ceiling.
Robert Phinisee, 5’11” PG-I have no clue what is going on with Phinisee. He has been talked about as being an IU or OSU lean, but both have offered a lot of other point guards lately. I think Purdue wants a pure point to replace PJ Thompson’s steady head, but they seemed to push harder for other players as well. Phinisee is a good player and a good kid, but I am not sure who he is interested in or who is still interested in him.
Jared Butler, 6’2” PG-Butler is another pure point and similar to Princeton commit Jaelin Llewellyn, who Purdue was very high on. Problem with Butler is I believe he is leaning towards other options right now based on this recent interview.
Duane Washington Jr., 6’3” CG-Washington is AAU teammates with current commit Trevion Williams. He doesn’t have an offer yet, but Purdue has been watching him as they are watching Williams and according to this tweet and a couple of different articles the Boilers are at least somewhat interested in his services. The question with Washington is the same with Embery, does Purdue want a combo guard and a shooting guard or do they want a pure point?
These first three guys, especially Francis and Brooks, are potential All-American recruits. If we can land one of them the 2019 will be great, if we can get two it may be the best class ever at Purdue. If 2018 is the class that could equal this year’s excellent senior class, then 2019 is where we could get a Biggie-caliber guy to boost them to the next level.
Jeremiah Francis, 6’3” PG-Simply put, Francis may be the best PG in the 2019 class. Purdue was one of his first offers and he and his dad, an OSU alum, reportedly really like Painter. Unfortunately, last night UNC offered him, and his former high school teammate Sterling Manley is already a freshman for Roy Williams this year. That means this will be a crazy uphill battle. There is some solace in the fact that he tweeted some pro-Purdue stuff to fellow Ohioans Ahrens and Hayes when they got their offers a week ago, but UNC will be nigh impossible to overcome.
Keion Brooks, 6’8” SF-Brooks is a 5-star out of Fort Wayne who most people won’t give us much of a chance to sign....much like Swanigan. Now Brooks doesn’t have any obvious family ties to Purdue, but we do appear to be right in the mix for Brooks as it stands right now.
Trayce Jackson-Davis, 6’9” PF-Trayce, from Center Grove in Indy, is only a top 100 4-star right now, but I think he will climb the rankings as we get closer to next summer. He already has a great skill set in the post and is very athletic. IU is also on him hard, so we’ll see which coaching staff makes the best impression.
Isaiah Thompson, 6’0” PG-PJ’s little brother, except he’s taller and can fill it up. I don’t know if his intangibles and basketball IQ are as good as PJ, but if they are even close you can bet he will be a good college player. Purdue hasn’t offered yet, but now that UNC is on Francis, expect them to look even harder at Isaiah than they already have been.
There are some other 2019 players that have offers and interest right now including Drew Timme out of Texas.
- Guys Purdue has offered that I am 99% positive we are not getting: Romeo Langford, Talen Horton-Tucker, Immanuel Bates, and Bryan Penn-Johnson.
- Aaron Henry is AAU teammates and friends with Eric Hunter, he has blown up with offers this summer, but Purdue hasn’t been one of them and an offer does not seem imminent either.
- The Jaelin Llewellyn commitment to Princeton caught everyone by surprise and was extremely disappointing because he seemed to be a Purdue lean prior to the commitment. However, it is hard to fault a kid for going to the Ivy League.
- Steve Lutz traveled to eastern Europe for the FIBA U18 European Championship this week in order to recruit and evaluate some across the pond talent. Not sure which players, if any, Purdue will get involved with based on this trip.
- Preparation and playing in the World University Games in Taipei might slow down Purdue in recruiting this month, just a thought.