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Basketball Recruiting is Hitting the Home Stretch for 2016

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Rawle Alkins

In a decision that shocked exactly zero people, five-star shooting guard and Pack target Rawle Alkins announced his commitment to Arizona. State faded away in this recruitment as it dragged on and wasn’t even a factor by the end of it. Alkins listed State and UNC in his top five on decision day pretty much for the sake of having more logos on his twitter graphic.

State and UNC were supposed to become front-runners in this recruitment when the New York native made his way down to Word of God, but Alkins did not enjoy his time with the Holy Rams. He missed games, sometimes to take visits to far away schools such as St. Johns, and eventually stopped playing games with Word of God. I can’t help but feel like Alkins’ move to North Carolina was way overblown as a factor in his recruitment

Alkins would have been a real nice coup for the Pack, but don’t mistake this for something that it isn’t. State didn’t need him. Obviously when a five-star player is in your backyard you pursue him with the appropriate vigor, but the SG/SF spots were of far less concern than the other positions for the 2016 recruiting cycle. Alkins would have been the seventh player on the roster at those two positions, which are plenty stocked with talent.

Cheickna Dembele

Dembele, a 6’10" native of Mali who plays for Scotland Performance Institute in Pennsylvania, reportedly took an unofficial visit to St. Josephs back in late February. It was his first visit, but the bulk of his recruitment won’t come until the end of SPI’s season in April. He’s still pretty wide open and it will likely remain that way until he begins to set some visits.

Coaching relationships will likely be the main factor in the recruitment of the SPI star center as described by head coach Jareem Dowling in this interview with Scout. Dembele also apparently hates cold weather. Seriously, this could be a real factor.

"It’s definitely about relationships," Dowling said. "Pretty much that’s all it’s about for him. All he cares about is being around good people, being around a good staff and good teammates.

"That’s what he keeps saying, ‘Coach, I want to be with good people. I can’t think basketball. I want to be with good people.’ He’s an outstanding kid. He’s a really, really good human being."

I finally found a real video of Dembele, although it's very brief.

Bruno Fernando

Not much to report with the Montverde big man on the NC State side of things. Fernando recently took in a game at Alabama and the Tide are probably a team to pay attention to here, as is the same group that the Pack were up against when they first offered. I get the feeling the Pack needs to gain some ground if they want to have a shot here.

Markell Johnson

State joined Virginia Tech, Ohio State, Louisville, and Cleveland State in the recently released top five for Markell Johnson. Johnson is a 4-star point guard that checks in at 6’0" 170 and is one of the Pack’s point guard targets for 2017. However, The East Tech High School star could become a much more immediate matter, because he is eligible to and has expressed interest in reclassifying to 2016. It was reported that he already had, but Johnson himself debunked this but stated that he was considering the move.

Johnson has said he wants to start right away wherever he goes so a move to 2016 probably doesn’t bode well for the Pack. The 2017 starting point guard spot is open as of now though, so you have to think Johnson electing to stay in his current class gives State their best chance.

The guard’s decision will likely come sooner rather than later and Virginia Tech and Ohio State are likely at the top. His only official visit has been to the Hokies.

The graduate transfer market will soon begin and NC State is going to be all up in it. Frontcourt players will be the priority, ideally ones with a legitimate offensive game.