If there is one thing that is guaranteed in college basketball recruiting, it is that there will always be a handful of players that nobody can get a complete grasp on in terms of what they are thinking during the time that they are being recruited. Some of them, such as Zion Williamson, decide to “shock the world” and pick a team that was thought to have a somewhat low chance landing said player. There are other times, such as when players grow up as fans of a specific team a la Joel Berry II (if you haven’t read his Players’ Tribune piece you need to open another window and do that right now), when things might be a bit more predictable if you have the right information. Finally, you have the ones in the middle — the ones that although they follow a specific team closely, they will make things interesting anyway even after receiving an offer from that particular team. Ladies and gentlemen, Wendell Moore says hello.
On Friday afternoon, 2019 five-star recruit Wendell Moore announced his top five schools via twitter:
UNC, Duke, NC State, Wake Forest, and South Carolina all made the final cut despite Duke offering Moore back in October. Just to catch everyone up to speed with how this recruitment has gone, however, let’s recap the events that have transpired up to this point.
Wendell Moore has been on Roy Williams’ radar for a few years now, and was offered a scholarship back in February of 2016. UNC was considered to be in the lead in recruiting Moore, and even had Rechon “Leaky” Black return to North Carolina to team up with Moore for the 2017-18 season to repeat as class 3A state champions. The season didn’t go without disruption to Leaky’s plan to entice Moore, however, as Duke swooped in with a scholarship offer of their own. Moore was expected to end his recruitment in November, but in light of the offer from Duke, told UNC that he was re-opening his recruitment. Fast forward to now, and it is a situation where Duke is favored to land the 6’5 small forward, according to the 247 Crystal Ball.
So what can we possibly take away from a recruiting situation where Duke has the edge according to experts? There are a few things that we should keep in mind based on recent recruiting situations:
1.) Kevin Knox wasn’t really favored at all to go to Kentucky, and surprised everyone when he announced his decision.
2.) If you need a more recent example: Zion Williamson was considered a strong favorite to play for Clemson, and even has parents who are Clemson alumni. Needless to say, he will not be playing for Clemson this fall.
3.) Nassir Little was considered a favorite to land at Arizona. In fact, analysts all but guaranteed he was going to commit. However, after committing to UNC Little stated that he has always wanted to play for UNC and that the FBI investigation had nothing to do with his commitment. If you choose to believe Little (I do), then it goes to show that analysts are very liable to make mistakes.
All of this may sound like I am talking myself into believing that Wendell Moore will not go to Duke, but the fact of the matter is this: if Moore was 100% certain that he was committing to Duke, he would’ve done it already. Moore plans to take official visits starting in September, and so we will maybe get a better idea as to what to expect after that. This definitely will be one of the most intriguing recruitments in recent history for the state of North Carolina, and if you ask me, I wouldn’t count a single school on his top five out of the running. Buckle up, we’re about to be in for a ride.