The fall recruiting period has been in full swing for a while now, and college coaches are continuing to make visits to the Buckeye State to evaluate current recruiting targets or to try and identify new ones. Players from the classes of 2015, 2016 and 2017 have been receiving these visits in the last couple of weeks, while one the top shooting guards in the class of 2015 also decided to end his recruitment on Wednesday night. Here is the latest news and other rumblings from around Ohio……
- Alan Vest – ’15 Dayton Chaminade Julienne SG: Vest committed to Wright State on Wednesday night, choosing to stay in his hometown of Dayton to play college basketball for the Raiders under head coach Billy Donlon. While Vest represents the latest commitment for Wright State as the Raiders continue to put a higher emphasis on keeping top in-state talent in their state at the upper-tier Horizon League program, Vest is a prospect who didn’t need too much swaying to make a commitment. The younger brother of former Raider wing Matt Vest, who was a senior under Donlon last year, the younger Vest had a serious family connection to the Wright State program. In the end, that connection was enough to keep Vest, a 6’3 shooting guard who really burst onto the scene in his junior year at Dayton CJ and then in the July AAU season with Shining Stars, at home. Vest will bring a diverse skill-set that includes a good feel for finding teammates with passes on drives and long-range shooting to Wright State when he enrolls next year. Vest is the second Ohio prospect to join Wright State’s 2015 class, joining Youngstown Ursline guard Mark Hughes.
- Carlton Bragg – ’15 Cleveland VASJ PF: Bragg continues to draw national media attention in the recruiting world over the last couple of days, as his family has played host to some of the superstars of college coaching for in-home visits with his five finalists in Bragg’s home in Cleveland. In the past few days Bragg has hosted both Kansas head coach Bill Self and Kentucky head coach John Calipari to allow them to give their best recruiting pitch, with Illinois head coach John Groce scheduled to come in soon. Those three schools are considered the likely frontrunners for Bragg, who also lists Arizona and UCLA on his final list of five schools.
- Xavier Simpson – ’16 Lima Senior PG: Ohio State, Northwestern, Purdue, Xavier, Butler and Michigan State are among the schools that have visited the Lima Senior point guard already this fall, and the period is far from over. After a standout AAU season with King James, following a State Championship run at Lima Central Catholic, Simpson has established himself as one of the elite point guards in the Midwest, and high-major coaches have certainly heard the news. It will be interesting to follow Lima Senior this coming year, as new head coach Quincey Simpson has a plethora of talented guards to surround his son with, including Western Carolina commit Elijah Pughsley.
- Micah Potter – ’16 Mentor PF/C: After being labeled by this site as the breakout player in Ohio’s 2016 class during the July AAU period, the 6’9 post from the Cleveland area has seen his recruitment skyrocket. Most recently, Mentor high school has played host to schools like West Virginia, Xavier, Butler and Davidson, with Potter scheduled to unofficially visit the Mountaineers and head coach Bob Huggins later this month. College coaches always put an emphasize on skilled and tough big guys, and while Potter isn’t a high-flying post, he brings a tremendous amount of positives to the floor and still is showing signs that he will continue to improve.
- James Manns – ’16 Columbus Walnut Ridge SF: It’s been a busy fall for Manns as the 6’6 (or taller) combo forward from Columbus made the transfer across town from Marion-Franklin to Walnut Ridge. Now, the junior has earned his first Division I scholarship offer, as Stony Brook pulled the trigger earlier this week on the skilled and athletic forward. Manns has received significant interest at the Division I level from MAC and low-major teams, but this represents the first offer, a list that could grow quickly if Manns can perform well in a Walnut Ridge uniform.
- Don’t forget about Ohio’s 2017 class or current sophomores just because the 2016 class is so deep and talented. Several 2017 prospects have received new recruiting interest this September including the state’s top prospect, Columbus Westerville South center Kaleb Wesson, the top guard, Cleveland East Tech combo guard Markell Johnson and a promising forward in Warren Harding’s Derek Culver. First, Wesson has hosted Ohio State and Dayton, plus a few others at his school; while Johnson has received significant new interest from West Virginia, the top Big XII team in terms of recruiting Ohio prospects. Finally, Culver has really drawn the interest of coaches, as schools like Purdue, Xavier, Illinois, West Virginia and Dayton have all expressed interest already.
- Players from all over Ohio, particularly the Central Ohio area, should make sure and get registered early for the annual Hidden Gems Fall Showcase, an exposure event that should draw over 40 college coaches to Columbus. More information can be found by going to this link: LINK