Some top recruits who had committed to Louisville, Auburn, Arizona, Southern California and Oklahoma State are already showing second thoughts after the FBI’s investigation into fraud and corruption in college basketball.
On Wednesday, Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.) 6-10 forward E.J. Montgomery, Auburn’s only commit in the 2018 class, was backing away from that choice, said Wheeler coach Larry Thompson. That is significant because Montgomery has extensive Auburn ties. His sister Brandy played for Auburn’s women’s basketball team.
“He just de-committed today,” Thompson said. “Before he makes it public, he’s going to make an official announcement today. He was thinking about it before all of this came out because of lack of communication with the staff and he was concerned about the lack of overall development of the players there.”
Other recruits are falling like dominoes, particularly at Louisville, where basketball coach Rick Pitino was placed on unpaid administrative leave while the Cardinals search for his replacement. Pitino’s attorney, Steve Pence, told the Louisville Courier-Journal that Pitino has been “effectively fired.”
On Wednesday, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) shooting guard Anfernee Simons and Webster Groves, Mo., point guard Courtney Ramey de-committed from the Cardinals. Simons’ announcement came via a Twitter post while Ramey’s father, Terrell, told Scout.com that “We are going to reopen it. We aren’t excited about it, but it’s something we have to do.”
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Romeo Langford, though not a Louisville commit, was the top player in the 2018 class being recruited by the Cardinals. His high school, New Albany, Ind., is just outside Louisville and it was one of the seven schools he lists as college possibilities.
Langford’s father, Tim, told the Courier-Journal on Wednesday that his son is no longer considering Louisville.
Arizona commit Jahvon Quinerly, a senior point guard from Hudson Catholic (Jersey City, N.J.) may never play for the Wildcats because of his possible connection to the scandal, the Arizona Republic reported.
The FBI’s criminal complaint said that Arizona assistant coach Book Richardson took a total of $20,000 in bribes and gave most of that to a “top point guard” who committed “around three days” before Aug. 11. Quinerly announced on ESPNU on Aug. 8 that he would play for Arizona.