College Basketball Recruiting 2017: Where Will Uncommitted 5-Stars Land?

Scott Phillips@@phillipshoopsFeatured ColumnistApril 10, 2017

College Basketball Recruiting 2017: Where Will Uncommitted 5-Stars Land?

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    Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

    The class of 2017 still has plenty of talented players who remain uncommitted, but there is a group of seven players who rate as 5-star prospects on

    This small and select group of 5-stars can come in and make an impact at the college level right away, as many of these guys could potentially be one-and-done prospects. 

    Although there aren't many point guards left among the 5-star prospects, there are a lot of wings and big men. Most of these players should be counted on for heavy minutes at the college level next season, and a commitment from one of these players could change things entering next season.

    Here's a look at the seven uncommitted 5-star prospects and where they might end up for next season.

7. M.J. Walker, Shooting Guard

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    Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

    Player profile: A former elite football prospect who decided to focus full time on basketball, the 6'4" M.J. Walker has been tough to stop on the hardwood over the past few months. A tough and rugged wing who isn't afraid to attack the basket and finish through contact, the Georgia native is a high-level athlete who is continuing to improve his overall skill level. Since he's been fully committed to basketball, Walker has shown why many consider him to be one of the best guards in the country as he continues to steadily improve his perimeter jumper and ball-handling abilities.

    Schools involved: Recruiting has been a slow process for Walker. He has taken an official visit to Florida State and unofficial visits to local ACC school Georgia Tech. At the McDonald's All-American game in late March, Walker told reporters that more official visits are in the works as he's also considering Kansas, Maryland, Ohio State, UCLA, UNLV and Virginia Tech.

    Final prediction: Florida State. Things haven't moved very quickly when it comes to Walker and his recruiting, but FSU has been a main fixture for him since last year. Since Walker has only taken an official visit to see the Seminoles, and Florida State needs to replace talented guards like Dwayne Bacon and Xavier Rathan-Mayes, then Walker can come in and compete for minutes and shots right away. 

6. Brian Bowen, Small Forward

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    Gregory Payan/Associated Press

    Player profileWith an ability to swing between multiple perimeter spots, the 6'7" Brian Bowen is one of the more versatile offensive players in the class of 2017. Since he can handle the ball and pass a bit, the Michigan native can be relied on as a secondary ball-handler, and he's also capable of scoring. Bowen has also played on a lot of high-profile teams during his high school career, as he just helped La Lumiere win the Dick's Nationals in New York in early April.

    Schools involved: The high school season is a little bit more complicated for Bowen since he plays a national schedule with La Lumiere, but he is focused on a few schools this spring. Arizona and Michigan State have received the most attention from Bowen recently, while he also took an unofficial visit to see DePaul this spring. Bowen has taken official visits to see the Wildcats in the fall, to go along with other official trips to Creighton, N.C. State and Texas.

    Final prediction: Arizona. It won't be easy for head coach Sean Miller to replace so many talented perimeter options like Allonzo Trier, Kadeem Allen and Kobi Simmons, but Bowen is the type of versatile wing who can be a huge impact for the Wildcats next season. Bowen isn't the type of player who will dominate right away, but he'll have plenty of help around him with players like DeAndre Ayton joining him in Arizona's loaded recruiting class.

5. Jeremiah Tilmon, Center

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    Gregory Payan/Associated Press

    Player profileThe 6'10" Jeremiah Tilmon has the potential to be a strong rebounder and shot-blocker at the college level. The native of East St. Louis, Illinois, has a good feel around the basket. Although he isn't as skilled offensively as some of the other big men in the class of 2017, Tilmon has the potential to be a solid offensive player thanks to his hands and touch.

    Schools involved: After previously being committed to Illinois and signing a letter of intent during the fall, Tilmon asked out of his commitment last Wednesday to explore all of his options. Tilmon was previously considering Kansas and North Carolina when he committed to Illinois. Missouri has also hired head coach Cuonzo Martin, an East St. Louis native, this spring while bringing in another 5-star in wing Michael Porter Jr. Saint Louis and head coach Travis Ford will also likely try to make a second pitch to Tilmon if he's available.

    Final predictionMissouri. The Tigers are coming in late with regard to recruiting Tilmon, but they've been able to quickly become a destination for elite recruits thanks to Porter Jr.'s commitment. With Cuonzo Martin's new team needing impact players in the post, Tilmon could be the kind of pledge who can come in and play right away. Opting for the Tigers means that Tilmon can still be relatively close to home while he gets to play a significant role right away.

4. Brandon McCoy, Center

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    Player profile: A strong shot-blocker and rebounder, Brandon McCoy has great natural size and timing for a 7'0" center. Since colleges are always looking for players who can protect the rim, McCoy has drawn a lot of attention from elite programs since his offensive game is also expanding. McCoy doesn't have a go-to move in the post yet, but he's improved his face-up game and is becoming increasingly comfortable at getting post touches on offense.

    Schools involved: Things have been intriguing for McCoy on the recruiting front since he's originally from Chicago but moved to San Diego in middle school. McCoy has taken official visits to Arizona, Michigan State, Oregon and UNLV during the fall, while local San Diego State tries to also stay in the mix. 

    Final prediction: Oregon. Although McCoy has many options to choose from, the situation in Eugene could give the big man the best chance to play right away while still being on a competitive team that expects to make the NCAA tournament. While Arizona has DeAndre Ayton and Michigan State has Nick Ward and Jaren Jackson, the Ducks are losing Chris Boucher, so there could be more minutes for McCoy to earn right away.

3. Kevin Knox, Small Forward

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    Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

    Player profile: A high-flying wing who can make an impact on both ends of the floor, the 6'8" Kevin Knox is a potentially elite athlete at the college level. With an ability to score at all three levels while still being able to rebound and defend the perimeter, Knox has the kind of talent to play multiple spots on the floor right away. Since he can play on the wing or a bit as a small-ball 4, Knox has rare multipositional value that a lot of these other 5-star prospects don't have.

    Schools involved: Knox was down to four schools as he was still considering Duke, Florida State, Kentucky and North Carolina until a recent development added Missouri to the mix. During the high school season, Knox took official visits to his previous final four, while he just visited Missouri with friend and Tigers commit Michael Porter Jr. last weekend. 

    Final prediction: Duke. Mike Krzyzewski has a history of putting tall wings in the NBA, and Knox is a natural fit to come in and play a small-ball 4 or as a bigger 3. The Blue Devils are losing Jayson Tatum to the NBA draft, so Knox can come in and earn immediate minutes while playing a role that has helped put so many guys before him in the lottery. 

2. Trevon Duval, Point Guard

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    Gregory Payan/Associated Press

    Player profile: The nation's top point guard prospect, the 6'3" Trevon Duval is an electric athlete who is capable of taking over a game on both ends of the floor. On offense, Duval plays in constant attack mode as he's always trying to get in the paint to make a play for himself or others. Because of his outstanding length and lateral quickness, Duval is also able to overwhelm smaller guards on the defensive end with hawking ball pressure. 

    Schools involved: Official visits didn't begin until the calendar struck 2017 for Duval, as he's been to the campuses of Arizona, Baylor, Duke and Kansas over the last few months. Seton Hall is also trying to stay in the mix for the native of Delaware. Duval has been very quiet about recruiting during the entire process.

    Final prediction: Duke. The Blue Devils have needed a starting point guard since Derryck Thornton Jr. transferred out of the program last spring, and Duval is an ideal candidate to start right away. With a lot of talent already on the wings and in the interior, Duval could arrive in Durham with plenty of weapons already at his disposal. 

1. Mohamed Bamba, Center

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    Gregory Payan/Associated Press

    Player profile: One of the most intriguing big men to come from the high school ranks over the last decade, the 6'11" Mohamed Bamba is armed with a freakish 7'9" wingspan that enables him to do things others couldn't dream of. Bamba's ridiculous length allows him to be an impact defender near the basket and on the perimeter, while he's also improving his feel for the game on the offensive end. 

    Schools involved: Bamba is focusing on four schools this spring. He's taken official visits to Duke, Kentucky, Michigan and Texas. While Duke and Kentucky represent the typical one-and-done arms race of the last few years, the Longhorns and Wolverines give Bamba interesting options away from the typical NBA stopgaps. 

    Final prediction: Texas. Bamba has shown a great deal of curiosity in learning about analytics and the business side of sports, suggesting there will be more to his decision than just how much talent surrounds him on the court. It's not a foregone conclusion that he ends up with Duke or Kentucky. Texas' Shaka Smart was able to coach Bamba with the USA Basketball U18 team this summer, and that relationship could be enough to help the land the New York native in Austin for next season. 

    All recruiting rankings and star information courtesy of


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