If college coaches were mildly concerned about Penny Hardaway’s impact on college basketball recruiting, this weekend’s announcement from the top two players in USA Today Sports’ Chosen 25 for 2020 has to have them, at the very least, unsettled.
San Joaquin Memorial (Fresno, Calif.) combo guard Jalen Green and Little Elm (Texas) point guard R.J. Hampton, the No. 1 and No. 2 players in the country, respectively, announced that they were planning to take their first official visit to Memphis on Sept. 13-15.
Hampton and Green became friends while winning two gold medals with USA Basketball for the last two summers.
Green also played for new Memphis assistant coach Sam Mitchell on Team EBO (Calif.) this spring on the adidas Gauntlet. The Tigers hired Mitchell in June.
Hampton said he wanted to visit Memphis first because the Tigers have made him a priority.
“They’re coming really, really hard at me,” Hampton said. “Coach Penny, obviously, had great success at the same position as me so that’s big for me. Then with Jalen, ever since my first mini-camp at USA Basketball, we’ve been close. Our families are close and everything. It just made sense to go together.”
That said, Hampton said that fans shouldn’t read too much into their joint visit.
“There’s no package deal,” Hampton said. “It’s not something we think about or something that we talked about. If it worked out that we ended up at the same school then that’s great, but we’re both focused on doing what’s best for us individually.”
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY