The fallout from the FBI’s extensive investigation into widespread corruption in college basketball is just beginning, but players, coaches, and programs are already being impacted. No area of the sport will face more scrutiny than the already bizarre world of recruiting.
Recruits started dropping from the schools mentioned in the federal indictment hours after it was released. This is a running tracker of which players and programs are directly affected by the scandal. All of the rankings below come from ESPN.
Recruits who have already decommitted
Shareef O’Neal decommits from Arizona
At this time I'm am opening up my recruitment due to the current events with the UofA Bball team.I would like to thank all the coaches for recruiting me. At the time my family and I think it's in my best interest to look at other options to assure my play in the NCAA next year.— Shareef O’Neal (@SSJreef) February 24, 2018
Ranking: No. 29 in 2018, per ESPN
The son of Shaquille O'Neal has blossomed into his own unique player. Whichever team he commits to next will get a high-flying power forward prospect that’s bound to show up on Sportscenter’s top plays.
Brandon Williams decommits from Arizona
Arizona now has no recruits coming in for next season with Brandon Williams’ decision to decommit. Williams, ranked as the No. 40 player in his class by ESPN, 6’1 knockdown shooter out of California. He’ll have plenty of other appealing options.
Jahvon Quinerly decommits from Arizona, picks Villanova
Ranking: No. 23 in 2018, per ESPN
Quinerly originally committed to Arizona in August before the FBI investigation reportedly tied him to corruption allegations from Wildcats assistant Book Richardson. Quinerly would hire a lawyer and reopen his recruitment, while Richardson was arrested and eventually fired.
How do we know it's Quinerly? The document reported that Richardson took a total of $20,000 in bribes and gave most of it to a "top point guard" who committed “around three days” before Aug. 11. Quinerly, a five-star point guard, announced on ESPNU on Aug. 8 that he would play for to Arizona.
Quinerly chose Villanova in February. If he’s eligible, the Wildcats will have a dynamic five-star point guard to take over for Jalen Brunson.
Taeshon Cherry decommits from USC
Ranking: No. 22 in class of 2018, per ESPN
Cherry joins J’Raan Brooks as the second big-time recruit to decommit from the Trojans following the FBI investigation. Cherry projects as a 6’8 combo wing with plus athleticism who likes to work inside-out. Arizona, Texas A&M, Florida State and Gonzaga were also involved in his recruitment before he chose USC. He will become one of the most coveted players in his class.
Anfernee Simons decommits from Louisville
Ranking: No. 8 in the class of 2018, per ESPN
Simons’ family announced he would reopen his recruitment one day after the scandal broke:
Anfernee Simons' mom: "In light of all that has transpired Anfernee will be de-committing. This is a very sad day for my family."— Jeff Greer (@jeffgreer_cj) September 27, 2017
Simons was Louisville’s first pledge in the class of 2018, committing to the school in November as a four-star guard out of Orlando. Back then, Simons found himself ranked in the 40s by most major recruiting services. That changed this summer when he blossomed into a bonafide five-star prospect on the Under Armour circuit for Team Breakdown. Now he’s being projected as a potential top-five pick in the 2019 NBA draft.
The 6’3 combo guard is noted for his quickness, length, and three-level scoring ability. He can also play above the rim:
Pitino’s Cardinals were often led by a hyper-athletic combo guard, from Russ Smith to Terry Rozier to Donovan Mitchell. It was easy to see Simons as the next player in that lineage. So much for that.
Simons also had offers from Florida, LSU, Memphis, Oklahoma State, and Texas A&M before committing to Louisville.
Courtney Ramey decommits from Louisville
Ranking: No. 49 in the class of 2018, per ESPN
Ramey committed to the Cards in February as a four-star prospect out of the St. Louis area. The 6’3 lead guard is noted for his end-to-end speed and ability to finish at the hoop.
Noted for his high motor and willingness to defend on the Adidas Gauntlet circuit, Ramey would have been an ideal fit in Pitino’s full-court pressure defense. Like Simons, he announced he was reopening his recruitment just one day after the scandal broke. Look for two schools that were heavy on him before — Florida and Oklahoma State — to get involved again.
E.J. Montgomery decommits from Auburn
Ranking: No. 31 in the class of 2018, per ESPN
Montgomery has been ranked near the top of his class since he entered high school while playing for the Adidas Celtics — Dwight Howard and Josh Smith’s old AAU team — on the Adidas Gauntlet circuit. He’s an athletic 6’10 lefty forward loaded with long-term potential. He has a variety of ways to score inside the arc and he’s proved himself to be a good passer, too.
When he committed to Auburn in September, it was more evidence that Bruce Pearl was infusing the basketball program with elite talent. Auburn put together back-to-back top-25 recruiting classes in Pearl’s first two years, and Montgomery was a great building block for the 2018 class. Now he’s reopening his recruitment in the wake of the scandal.
Montgomery was considering Baylor, Miami, UCLA, and North Carolina State before he picked Auburn.
4-star guard David Johnson decommits from Louisville
Ranking: No. 33 in the class of 2019, per Scout
Johnson committed to Louisville in September as a local kid who attends high school only 20 minutes from the Cardinals’ campus. Now that he’s reopening his recruitment, Louisville currently has zero committed recruits for the future.
J’Raan Brooks decommits from USC
Ranking: No. 79 in the class of 2018, per ESPN
Brooks is a 6’8 power forward noted for his length and burgeoning skill level. He was the Trojans’ only front court commit in the class — and it’s possible they get him back. USC still has verbals from four-star wings
Taeshon Cherry and Kevin Porter.
Recruits no longer considering a school
Romeo Langford, No. 5 player in 2018, cuts Louisville
Ranking: No. 5 in the class of 2018, per ESPN
Romeo Langford drops Louisville from consideration https://t.co/oEx5yTGrI0— Mike Rutherford (@CardChronicle) September 28, 2017
Langford is a precocious scorer out of Indiana who has developed into a consensus top-five player in the class. He’s racked up points at a record pace during his high school career thanks to his knockdown jump shot and ability to finish at the rim.
Louisville was in tight with him before this scandal, enough so that I predicted the Cards would land him earlier this month. He’s the No. 1 priority for Archie Miller at Indiana, but you can expect North Carolina, Kansas, and Kentucky to make a strong push, too.
No. 1 overall recruit R.J. Barrett cuts Arizona
Ranking: No. 1 player in 2018, per ESPN
No. 1 prospect R.J. Barrett no longer considering Arizona amid FBI investigation, per @DuckTerritory— Ryan Kelapire (@RKelapire) September 28, 2017
Barrett is a superstar in the making. He seems like a strong Duke lean now.
Update: Barrett commits to Duke
Bol Bol eliminates USC and Arizona from consideration
Ranking: No. 4 player in 2018, per ESPN
Bol Bol: "Some of the schools were under investigation. I just didn't really want to be a part of that."— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) October 7, 2017
Bol is now down to Kentucky and Oregon after choosing to distance himself from Arizona and USC. The 7’3 shooter is one of the most unique players in the country.
Update: Bol commits to Oregon
Nassir Little reopens recruitment that never had a commitment
Ranking: No. 14 player in 2018, per ESPN
The strangest recruiting story to come out of this investigation so far belongs to Nassir Little, a five-star wing from Jacksonville. Here’s what you need to know:
- Little played for 1 Family on the Adidas Gauntlet circuit. The director of that program, Brad Augustine, was arrested in the FBI probe.
- Little tweeted that he was “reopening” his recruitment in the wake of the scandal and then deleted it. One problem: He never actually committed anywhere in the first place.
- DraftExpress reported that Little to Arizona was essentially a done deal.
Two NCAA coaches involved in the recruitment of Nassir Little told me they had backed off this week as it became clear he was Arizona-bound.— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) September 26, 2017
The director of Nassir Little's AAU team is currently in jail, and there's a decent chance Little is among those named in FBI/DOJ complaint.— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) September 26, 2017
This recruitment was thought to be Miami vs. Arizona — two schools directly tied to the federal investigation. At this point, it’s likely the NCAA puts Little’s eligibility case through heavy scrutiny.
In better news, he was also projected as a top-10 pick in the 2019 NBA draft by ESPN this week.
Jalen Carey cuts Miami from his list of finalists
Ranking: No. 34 player in 2018, per ESPN
The 6’3 guard from New Jersey thrives attacking the basket. With Miami out of the picture, he’s down to UConn and Syracuse.
Update: Carey has committed to Syracuse