With the 2016 basketball recruiting cycle in turn four, the Pack are ramping up their pursuit of tall people as well as continuing to battle for five-star Rawle Alkins.
Arizona has made a huge push for the five-star shooting guard. Alkins has visited Tucson twice recently, once unofficially and once officially, and had great things to say about his time there. These weren’t the usual "I like the coaches and facilities and the tradition is great" lip service every recruit says after a visit either. According the New York native’s blog, seeing how the Arizona team reacted to a loss (they lost to Oregon 83-75) was the highlight of his first visit.
Coach Miller was saying that he hopes this doesn’t affect their recruitment of me, but I told him I love the fact that one loss is like the world ended! I love that because I’m a winner. And winning is the only option. Honestly, seeing their reaction to losing was a high point of the visit for me.
Alkins made a return trip there and the Cats have established themselves as one of the leading teams for his services. They have taken a substantial lead in 247sports’ Crystal Ball feature, which you can probably put some stock into in this particular case.
Alkins also visited UNLV before his first Arizona visit and continues to list UNLV as a team he is actively considering.
As far as things go for the Pack, Alkins was supposed to attend the Duke-University of North Carolina Chapel-Hill game, but elected to work out instead, which might be good news. He did attend the Pack’s victory over Clemson on Saturday. Alkins has two officials remaining following his second visit to Arizona. There’s a decent chance a NC school will not be receiving one because of proximity and the amount of times he’s already been to State and University of North Carolina Chapel-Hill.
The Taurean Thompson experiment appears to have come to the end. The top-100 forward is reportedly down to Syracuse, Georgetown, Seton Hall, and Providence. Kansas extended a late offer as well but did not make the cut. He’s been regarded as a Syracuse lean for a while and State never really seemed to make up any ground after they offered.
State’s pursuit of the 6’10" big man from Mali has kicked into gear. Mark Gottfried went to watch him in person, which means that things have gotten serious. His offer is most definitely legit and the Pack are most definitely in hot pursuit of the athletic and skilled center.
Dembele’s recruitment is on the edge of exploding though, as he recently received an offer from Providence and will almost certainly receive one from Syracuse soon. Other schools will certainly follow and hopefully none of them are named Kentucky, Duke, or Kansas. This player is very good and you should very much want him. He went 14-14 from the line in his last game for SPI according to an interview with Coach Jareem Dowling.
Fernando is the newest offer in 2016, but the Pack might have to make up some ground in a hurry. Fernando stands at 6’10" and weighs in a 225, and plays in Florida for basketball superpower Montverde Academy (That’s where future 17-time NBA MVP and Nobel Prize winner Ben Simmons played).
His other offers include Alabama, Auburn, LSU, SMU, UCF, Florida State, and Marquette. He also drew interest from Duke, but the Blue Devils have not extended an offer. Fernando’s recruitment has been a quiet one from an NC State perspective but he did list the Pack as one of the schools recruiting him the hardest recently. He also said that a decision will likely be coming soon, which is why the Pack will have to make up some ground and do it pretty quickly.
Fernando is regarded as a strong rebounder and shot blocker with a developing but still somewhat raw offensive game. Below is a quick highlight video and here’s a full highlight package that is definitely worth checking out. I'm no expert scout, but one thing that impressed me was Fernando's footwork in the post.