Just because the majority of the national coverage regarding 2014 college basketball recruiting has been devoted to stars like Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones and Emmanuel Mudiay, that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of other potential stars that haven’t received as much attention.
Read on to see five particular individuals who deserve more coverage than they have received. Star rankings, recruit information and schools of interest are courtesy of Scout.com.
Much of the early attention for Indiana recruiting regarding the class of 2014 has centered around the miss on superstar-in-the-making Trey Lyles. Yes, Lyles is a major loss, but Tom Crean landed an underrated prospect in Robert Johnson.
Johnson is a tremendous three-point shooter who will pour in points from long range as a freshman for the Hoosiers. He also doesn’t have a conscience when it comes to letting fire, which is something that can’t be said about all incoming young players.
Johnson has the ball-handling ability to play point guard when needed, although an explosive first step isn’t quite there yet.
Perhaps the best thing about Johnson’s commitment for Indiana fans is the fact that he is the first one. He could start up some momentum for Crean and Co. because the Hoosiers are considered contenders for a number of highly regarded prospects.
Keita Bates-Diop is a 5-star prospect from Illinois, but he hasn’t received 5-star attention because he has been committed to Ohio State for so long.
At this point, recruiting coverage is focused on uncommitted players because there is much more drama there. The top players in the country being pursued by the top programs is where the storylines are, meaning players like Bates-Diop that pledge so early don’t get as much attention.
However, the future Buckeye is a prototypical stretch forward who can score from the inside and outside, has serviceable ball-handling skills and is lengthy and athletic enough to play the excellent defense that is always expected in Columbus. Furthermore, Bates-Diop has the burst to get out in transition, which will pair nicely with fellow Ohio State commit D’Angelo Russell.
With Maryland heading to the Big Ten in the near future, it will benefit Mark Turgeon to stock up on physical prospects across the position board because no league thrives on contact and blue-collar defense as much as the Big Ten does.
The Terrapins landed 4-star point guard Romelo Trimble, and he will provide just the type of strength advantage that Maryland is looking for. He has a very powerful upper body that will allow him to get to the rim and finish through expectant contact.
Trimble can also hit the three, work off the pick-and-roll and play solid defense. He hasn’t received much press yet despite his commitment, but he will get the attention he deserves if he thrives in the Big Ten.
Illinois has fallen back to the ranks of the ordinary in recent years, but the Illini will be back among the Big Ten’s elite quickly if John Groce can recruit more players like Quentin Snider.
Snider is a very quick and athletic point guard who will get out in transition for Illinois. Furthermore, he will utilize his speed on the defensive end and put constant pressure on opposing ball-handlers.
In addition to his explosiveness, Snider has a formidable jump shot and can hit from mid-range and behind the three-point line. He can also find his open teammates if defenders crash on his penetration or shot and should help lead the Illini to future NCAA tournaments.
Shaqquan Aaron hasn’t received a ton of attention because the Louisville Cardinals are major players in the recruitments of plenty of 5-star studs that haven’t committed yet. That being said, Rick Pitino landed a potential playmaker in Aaron who could have a much bigger impact for the defending champions than expected.
Aaron is the lengthy and athletic stretch forward that is gradually taking over the collegiate game. He has solid court vision and a high basketball IQ, which will be much appreciated by his teammates when paired with his formidable passing skills.
He isn’t the best three-point shooter, but he is gradually improving in this area. Furthermore, his defense will have to improve, but it almost certainly will under Pitino’s guidance.
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