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August 30, 2014
Visit season off and running
The first weekend of the college football season is also a big one for college basketball. Each year, the first weekend of football serves as the unofficial beginning to visit season for basketball prospects. This Labor Day weekend isn't a huge one for visits, but Antonio Blakeney is one of many five-star prospects making the rounds.
The No. 13 player in the class of 2015, 6-foot-3 shooting guard Antonio Blakeney of Orlando (Fla.) Oak Ridge is this weekend's highest ranked official visitor. The high scoring guard will spend his first official visit at Louisville. So far, Blakeney has confirmed that he will visit LSU on the weekend of September 19th but visits to Missouri and Kentucky are also expected.
Out on the West Coast, USC is playing host to two highly ranked targets as No. 22 Dwayne Bacon and No. 26 Jawun Evans check out the land of Troy. A 6-foot-6 wing from Florida who is spending his senior season at Mouth of Wilson (Va.) Oak Hill, Bacon has been quietly pursued by the Trojans but they have put themselves in good position. One of the top point guards in the country, Evans has other visits planned to Illinois, Oklahoma State and Texas.
Speaking of Illinois, John Groce and the Illini have another highly rated point guard target on campus this weekend. Five-star Jalen Brunson is spending his first of five scheduled visits (Michigan State, Purdue, Temple and Villanova get the others) in Champaign. The No. 15 player in the class of 2015, Brunson has been heavily targeted by the Illini and the staff would love to land either he or Evans who visits next weekend.
One of the biggest games in the country this weekend is the Georgia and Clemson. Mark Fox and his staff are doing the best to take advantage of it with a monster weekend for visitors. The only official visitor expected on campus at Georgia is committed guard Will Jackson, but he'll be joined by a huge group of unofficial visitors. Four-star senior wings Malik Beasley and Tevin Mack will be joined by three-star senior big man Derek Ogbeide. Visiting unofficially from the class of 2016 are four-stars Braxton Blackwell, D'Marcus Simonds, Josh Langford and Tyree Crump. Also expected from 2016 are current three-star prospects Brandon Robinson and Chris Lewis who will both debut in the 2016 Rivals150 when it is released on Wednesday.
Out in Corvallis, Oregon State is hosting four Rivals150 seniors on their official visits. Four-star shooting guard Stephen Thompson (whose father is an asst. at OSU), four-star combo forward Tres Tinkle (whose father Wayne is the head coach), three-star point guard Derrick Bruce and three-star post player Drew Eubanks are all in town. Eubanks actually committed earlier this week and given the relationships Thompson and Tinkle have with the coaching staff the Beavers have to be looking good with each of them. A lean and tough point guard, Bruce emerged during the summer and the Beavers have been considered one of the teams in best position to land him as he heads into his visits. Should Tinkle and his staff lock up all four targets, it would be the best recruiting class at Oregon State in quite some time.
Kansas State is hosting a very important local target this weekend. Kansan Dean Wade had a huge summer moving himself into the Rivals150 and this weekend he visits the Wildcats. The 6-foot-8 four man from St. John (Kan.) is tough, can play facing the hoop and has been on campus before. Wade is also considering the likes of Wichita State, Creighton, Iowa, Oklahoma, and Vanderbilt. Also visiting the Little Apple this weekend is three-star Texas big man Dante Hales-Williams.
Just down the road at Wichita State, the Shockers are hosting a four-star prospect of their own. 6-foot-4 combo guard Landry Shamet who ranks No. 87 in the class of 2015 is spending his first official visit checking out campus. Shamet has other planned visits with Kansas State, Colorado and Illinois.
The No. 31 player in the class of 2015, Chance Comanche takes his first official visit this weekend. A 6-foot-10 power forward who likes to face the hoop and shoot, he is a high upside guy who can hurt defenses in multiple ways. He kicks off his visit process by making his way to Arizona State.
Nobody in American had a better week on the recruiting trail than Bruce Pearl and Auburn. Pearl and his staff are hoping to continue their roll this weekend and they have a pair of four-star prospects on campus. 6-foot-5 wing Jacob Evans from Louisiana is in town and so is combo guard Nu Williams. Having missed the last year because of a knee injury, Williams is a very intriguing prospect. Previous to tearing up his knee he was an explosive and attacking combo guard who ranked in the nation's top 60. It wouldn't be a surprise to see him pop for the Tigers before the weekend ends or shortly after.
Two other four-star prospects on the road this weekend are Haanif Cheatham and Esa Ahmad. No. 68 Cheatham is at Marquette while No. 69 Ahmad is at Maryland. Cheatham is planning to make his college choice in the next week or so and Marquette is considered the team to beat so they could lock things up with a strong weekend. Ahmad is on his first visit and is also considering Wisconsin, Ohio State, West Virginia and Oregon.
Three-star Kevin Puryear is the first member of Missouri's 2015 recruiting class. The 6-foot-7 forward is taking his official visit this weekend. From nearby Blue Springs, Puryear is likely to be on campus all fall helping the Tigers in their recruiting efforts.
Other members of the Rivals150 expected on campuses this weekend include No. 32 D.J. Hogg who takes in Baylor, No. 52 Eric Davis who is at Texas, No. 78 Bryant Crawford who is at SMU, No. 86 Glynn Watson who is at Nebraska, No. 97 Rex Pflueger who is at San Diego State, No. 105 Juwan Morgan who is at Vanderbilt and No. 130 Alex Illikainen who is at Iowa. The Commodores are also hosting big man D'Jery Baptiste this weekend.
Eric Bossi is the national basketball recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. You can click here to follow him on Twitter.