D.J. Carton breaks down his recruitment as it reaches its latter stages and details his relationship with Iowa and Iowa State Des Moines Register
If I were to go back and count how many times Hawkeye fans have asked about certain basketball prospects over the past few months, Bettendorf point guard D.J. Carton would top the list.
But Des Moines North point guard Tyreke Locure would not be at all far behind.
In fact, in this week's last call for recruiting mailbag content, I basically said "no more Carton" questions because we'd already gotten plenty of those.
Within about five minutes, it was suddenly boom, boom, boom — Locure question, Locure question, Locure question.
It makes sense why Iowa fans care about this guy: Locure is a back-to-back All Iowa Elite Team selection. He's our No. 3-ranked 2019 in-state prospect behind Carton and future Hawkeye Patrick McCaffery. He piled up 333 assists and 163 steals the past two seasons, all while averaging 26.9 points per game.
At 5-foot-11, he is undersized. But Locure is a straight-up bulldog. He's a legitimate mid-major point guard prospect with high-major potential.
And Iowa, whose need for a 2019 point guard is well-documented, has held interest in Locure for a long time. His AAU program director tells me Sherman Dillard keeps in regular contact, and Dillard and Fran McCaffery watched Locure play in Dallas two weekends ago.
Other schools that watched Locure the past couple weekends: Kansas State, Georgia Tech, Minnesota, South Florida, Wright State, Green Bay, South Alabama, North Texas, Montana State, Nebraska-Omaha, South Dakota and Southeast Missouri State.
He holds an offer from North Dakota and it's yet to be determined whether Drake's new staff will re-offer Locure his Bulldogs scholarship.
OK — there's your background. Now, let's get to the questions.
I believe they would offer Locure, but only if their recruitment of other point guard targets goes a certain way.
In other words: If it misses on Carton and Minneapolis product Tyrell Terry, then yes, I think there's a good chance Iowa offers Locure. From what I understand, Locure has been a potential third option at that position for a while now.
Or, if Iowa does extend an offer to Locure before Carton and Terry make a public commitment, that would be a clue McCaffery and his staff believe they're out of Carton and Terry's recruitments.
If Locure truly does want to hold out for a potential Iowa offer, he must be comfortable playing a waiting game — one without any guaranteed outcome.
Even if an Iowa offer never materializes, though, the waiting game could prove fruitful for Locure. The 2019 point guard class is not very deep, and Locure is one of those fringe high-major guys that could see several offers once this class' top point guards go off the board.
"He is willing to just wait and be patient," Beyond Ball's John Lamb, Locure's AAU program director, said in a text this week.
Good qualities to have for a prospect in his situation.
Yes, I believe Locure would accept an Iowa offer instantly.
I've heard some people suggest Iowa should offer Locure sooner than later to prevent another school from scooping him up and leaving the Hawkeyes potentially without options A, B or C.
They realistically can't right now, though — not with Carton and Terry still on the table. Nothing would prohibit Iowa from taking two points guards in this class. But, of course, you'd understand if Carton and Terry would look elsewhere if Iowa already had a point guard recruit for this class.
So, yes, there's a chance some high-major — like a Kansas State or a Georgia Tech — could lose on its top point guard prospects, see Locure as the best "fringe" guy and decide to extend an offer late this spring or summer before Locure's recruitment potentially gets more crowded next fall. And there's a chance Locure accepts.
But, at least at the moment, not offering Locure is a risk Iowa is willing to take.
Some of you might have gleaned this from reading my work, but you'll definitely know this if you've ever met me in person: I'm not a fan of speculating on a kid's decision.
But I'll cave on this one, because so many people are interested in Carton and so many have asked me this same question — including our own Randy Peterson last night on Cyclone Insider.
From talking to Carton, I 100 percent believe he doesn't have a legitimate lean yet. He does seem have a strong group of five contenders — Iowa, Iowa State, Michigan, Ohio State and Indiana — with Wisconsin and Marquette still in the picture, too. But he's been clear with me that he's still working through the process and won't come to any realization until he takes his visits this summer.
That being said, if I had to guess which school he'd pick? Indiana. The Hoosiers have a lot of momentum on the recruiting trail at the moment.
It's sounding like Trayce Jackson-Davis is a heavy Indiana lean. E.J. Liddell's recruitment is about to take off, and I'm not sure Iowa will be too much of a factor down the stretch.
Right now, I'd say Iowa's best shot at landing a big man in the 2019 class is Minnesota product Zeke Nnaji, teammates with Patrick McCaffery and Terry on D1 Minnesota.
I identified Nnaji as a small forward in our initial Iowa big board, but he could definitely be considered a stretch four. Iowa offered him this past October and he visited Iowa City in late October for the Minnesota football game and the basketball opener versus William Jewell College.
Nnaji is enjoying quite the offseason with D1 Minnesota, and he recently tacked on offers from Baylor, Xavier, Memphis, Oklahoma and Ohio State. He's a three-star guy who could reach four stars later this summer if he continues to perform at a high level.
Iowa is in the mix here; Nnaji's AAU coach told me the Hawkeyes were in to watch him both evaluation weekends in April. With Jackson-Davis trending toward Indiana, Nnaji could start becoming a bigger priority for the Hawkeyes.
Matthew Bain covers college football and basketball recruiting for the Des Moines Register. He also helps out with Iowa and Iowa State football and basketball coverage for HawkCentral and Cyclone Insider. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.