Chosen 25 combo guard Boogie Ellis’ commitment to Memphis signals a strong future for the Tigers basketball program under Penny Hardaway. Now with the No. 4 class in the country, Memphis recruiting has progressed exponentially since its No. 98 rank in the 2016 class.
But Ellis choosing Memphis after decommitting from Duke could have some effect on the decision of ALL-USA First Team guard R.J. Hampton.
Evan Daniels of 247Sports tweeted that Hampton will no longer consider Memphis. That makes sense; the Tigers now have three guard commits ranked as four-star by the recruiting outlet.
The other three teams still in the running are Kansas, Kentucky and Texas Tech.
Let’s take a quick look at where Hampton would fit into the rosters of each team.
Kansas rarely ranks in the top five of recruiting classes — the last time was 2013, when Andrew Wiggins, Wayne Seldon and Joel Embiid highlighted the No. 2 group — but they almost always get at least one five-star.
This class could be the first since 2012 the Jayhawks don’t get one – unless a late commit like Hampton comes aboard.
“They were the first Blue Blood program to offer me and Coach Self and Coach Jerrance have really been there from the beginning,” Hampton wrote in his USA TODAY blog last month.
“They keep preaching that if I come there I can be their go-to guy that can get them back to the Final Four and win a national title.”
The 2019 class has some solid pieces with four-star forwards
Tristan Enaruna and Christian Braun, and Issac McBride was the ALL-USA Arkansas Player of the Year as a three-star recruit.
But Hampton would immediately jump to the top of that group. He could conceivably take the starting spot of Quentin Grimes, a freshman who declared for the NBA Draft on Wednesday, and team up with potential future NBA players at Kansas like Udoka Azubuike.
If Hampton is looking to play with a group of possible one-and-done guys, Kentucky may be the answer.
Running down the list, the Wildcats have signatures from Chosen 25 players Tyrese Maxey (No. 9), Kahlil Whitney (13) and Keion Brooks (19). They also have a commitment from four-star forwards Dontaie Allen (who averaged more than 40 points per game) and Johnny Juzang.
That’s the No. 1 class in the country — and, as all but Maxey are forwards, they don’t have a true point guard as part of it.
Plus, Maxey has reportedly been recruiting Hampton harder than anyone else.
With that said, Kentucky is deep as is. The return of SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year Ashton Hagans in particular could make it tough to divvy up playing time at the guard position.
“(Calipari) always says that whoever can shoot the best, dribble the best, rebound the best, those are gonna be the guys that are gonna be on the floor,” Hampton wrote in his blog. “I’m confident in my game and I know that if I went to Kentucky that I’d make an impact.”
Texas Tech’s run to the championship game undoubtedly elevated them to the forefront of many recruits considering their future.
Yet the basketball program has never recruited a consensus five-star athlete, according to Everything Lubbock. Recruiting site Rivals pushed Jahmius Ramsey from a four-star to five in May, but he had been committed since November.
Five stars is five stars, though, and the Raiders have one in Ramsey. Could they double up with two in one class?
“I really like the way Coach Beard uses his guards and the freedom that he gives them,” Hampton wrote in the blog. “I also like how he demands that his players play defense. I feel like that would be a good fit.”
The Raiders started three guards last year and two of them declared for the NBA. If Hampton came aboard, he would likely take the spot of one in the starting lineup.
Texas Tech has a solid recruiting class overall, ranked No. 16 by 247Sports with seven recruits, including Ramsey and four-star small forward Terrence Shannon.
Will Hampton stay home in Texas or choose one of the blue bloods? Or, might he even go with Memphis or Duke, the latter of which had been in his top four before Texas Tech?