D.J. Carton breaks down his recruitment as it reaches its latter stages and details his relationship with Iowa and Iowa State The Des Moines Register
Welcome, once again, to the weekly Hawkeye recruiting mailbag. We'd had a bit of a break from the D.J. Carton-heavy mailbags the past few weeks. But with how he performed at the U18 National Team Trials, he's quite the topic of conversation. Some other good hoops recruiting topics in here, too.
Also included: A fun question from an Iowa State fan that I think any college football aficionado can enjoy.
Let's get to it.
Has D.J. Carton scheduled a visit to Iowa City yet? — @racecarpassenger
As of Tuesday, no, D.J. Carton had not scheduled a visit to Iowa City yet. I'm hearing that from Carton's high school coach and a source with direct knowledge of Iowa's recruiting schedule.
His coach told me they were basically putting everything on hold until they found out if Carton made the final cut for the U18 National Team or not. (He did not make the final cut, which was announced late Tuesday afternoon.) His coach said they also haven't heard from any new schools recently.
With his summer schedule more clear, I'd expect Carton and his camp to start ironing out visit dates. At the National Team Trials, he told Rivals that he wants to visit all the schools in his top six (Iowa, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio State, Marquette and Xavier) and that he's got June visits to Michigan and Indiana in the works.
He also said something else to Rivals: "I don’t (have a commitment date set), honestly. I don’t know who my favorite is or who is leading right now."
For the past few weeks, rumors had spread that the Carton sweepstakes was only a three-horse race between Michigan, Indiana and Ohio State, and that no other school had a legitimate shot. I've always maintained those were just rumors — that all six schools still had a chance. And from what Carton told Rivals, it sounds like that's true.
Now — are Michigan, Ohio State and Indiana considered the odds-on favorites? Right now, yes. The latest I'm hearing is that Chris Holtmann and the Buckeyes are building a lot of momentum lately.
But the notion that Carton, a kid who's meticulous and deliberate with everything he does, would slice his top six in half before taking any visits just doesn't add up.
Who knows how that top six could change this summer, too. With the way the five-star point guard performed at the National Team Trials, he could be hearing from blue-bloods before long.
How much could John Beilein interviewing for the Pistons job change the playing field for hoops recruiting? — @racecarpassenger
If you haven't seen it by now, John Beilein sent out a tweet that all but confirms he's staying with Michigan:
Of course, one could argue the fact that he even interviewed could still have an effect. It makes sense if that's the case: A coach is recruiting you to his school for four years ... while he's reportedly thinking about leaving.
However, in John Beilein's case, I don't think anything will really change.
He still boasts a well-earned reputation as one of basketball's best coaching minds, and his name holds lots of weight in recruiting circles.
His Wolverines teams have still advanced to two title games, two Final Fours, three Elite Eights and four Sweet 16s since 2013.
And, along with Northwestern, Michigan is still the Stanford of the Midwest. That's a lot to like.
Beilein also still has his staff intact. Those guys are just as important to Michigan's recruiting success as Beilein.
Now, @racecarpassenger, you might have been thinking specifically of Carton when you asked this question. Relationships are paramount to Carton, and he has very strong ones with Beilein and assistant coach Luke Yaklich, who's the point man for the Bettendorf point guard's recruitment.
If Beilein would leave, that'd certainly be an obstacle for Michigan in the Carton sweepstakes — especially if Yaklich left, too.
But it's looking like he's staying put. Like I said, Beilein has earned the right to throw his name in the NBA arena without ruining his recruiting image.
Could you do a mini update on 2019 Iowa basketball recruiting? You have covered PG already, curious about where they stand with other positions. — @Dial54
I understand — lots and lots and lots of point guard talk. That's because it's Iowa's biggest 2019 need by a large margin. Quickly: As I reported on May 15, the new name to watch in Iowa's point guard search is Noah Hutchins, a three-star prospect out of Andrew Francis' home state of New York. Meanwhile, I'm told Iowa has faded somewhat from Des Moines North product Tyreke Locure's recruiting picture — while Ed Conroy and Minnesota have assumed a larger presence.
Also, I'm told that, as of Tuesday, Iowa did not have any visits — official or unofficial — currently on the schedule.
OK, onto the other positions:
SG: The Hawkeyes aren't going very hard after shooting guards in this class. They really like Rocket Watts, who made the U18 National Team, and have a relationship with him. But I would throw him more into the combo guard/point guard pool for Iowa's recruiting purposes.
A major wild card here is Reed Fenton, a 6-foot-5 sharpshooter from Latrobe, Pennsylvania. While the Hawkeyes have watched him this offseason, he's not very high on their board. That could, of course, change as the offseason progresses.
PF: The big target here is five-star Trayce Jackson-Davis of Greenwood, Indiana. The Hoosiers have been considered the favorite, but Jackson-Davis told Rivals at the National Team Trials that his recruitment is wide open, with schools like Iowa, UCLA, Michigan State and Ohio State still in the mix. Francis has been working hard on Jackson-Davis for a long time.
Here's what he told Rivals about Iowa: "They just sell their family base and I really like that. They already got one commit and he is really good in Patrick (McCaffery). They tell me that I could do some big things there and by us going there, we could bring even more talent with us, which is a really big thing."
Iowa also likes Minnesota four-star Zeke Nnaji and got in early with him, although his recruitment has blown up this spring. Mr. Illinois Basketball E.J. Liddell is also on Iowa's board, but he's trending toward Illinois, Missouri or Ohio State.
SF: Fort Wayne five-star Keion Brooks is the major target here. Considered by 247Sports as a top-10 recruit, Brooks will be quite the difficult get for the Hawkeyes. The family's strong relationship with Francis and Iowa will help, but Kentucky is closing hard on the lanky small forward who can do just about everything.
2019 five-star forward Keion Brooks plans to visit Kentucky and Louisville Jon Hale/Courier Journal
Wichita four-star Malik Hall feels more realistic. Iowa is in good standing with him, alongside Oregon, Purdue, Missouri and Kansas. He's another guy Francis has developed a longstanding relationship with.
Here's what Hall told Rivals about Iowa last week: "It has a great family feel out there, for sure. Everyone there is super close and makes it feel like home all the time. I talk to Pat (McCaffery) sometimes about it and he tells me that he wants me in the black and gold, but also his dad (Fran McCaffery) and coach (Andrew) Francis, they just show love and the fans, too. It is just great."
The wild card here is Columbus four-star Jordan Mitchell, who's keeping quiet about his recruitment. Last I heard, there was still mutual interest between Iowa and Mitchell. The hometown Buckeyes aren't going full-throttle after him, allowing the Hawkeyes to wedge themselves in here. Sherman Dillard is on this recruitment.
Jirehl Brock is visiting Minnesota this weekend. Should Hawk fans be concerned? — @Shattuck011
Not in the slightest. Brock's official visit to Minnesota has been on the schedule for a long time, as is his official visit to Iowa on June 22.
Officials are a very standard part of a high-profile prospect's decision-making process. He already took an official to Northwestern on May 18. He'll take his visit to Minnesota on June 8, then to Iowa State on June 18 and close things with his visit to Iowa City. He'll decide after that.
Brock is really fun to talk to — quite smart in the way he approaches recruitment and how he plans to go about making his decision. He's made it clear to me that he's not rushing anything.
We talked for a while in late May, covering every facet of his relationship with Iowa (and Iowa State). Take a look at the conversation, if you're so inclined. It might ease some of your stress about Brock visiting the Gophers.
Mount Rushmore of fictional College football players? — @TedFlintKansas
Heck yes, Ted. I love this question. I'm going to put a recruiting spin on this though. These are the five guys I'd recruit if I were a coach.
In no specific order ...
Vince Howard, QB, "Friday Night Lights" (TV) — Michael B. Jordan's character could do anything and everything on the football field. This kid's got five stars written all over him.
Billy Bob, OG/DT, "Varsity Blues" — Once you get Bob in a proper weight-training program, look out. Feels like a two-star, under-the-radar pick-up that would win me games. I'm going to have him play some defensive tackle, too.
Tim Riggins, FB/LB, "Friday Night Lights" (TV) — If you're on a football field, you do not want to play opposite of Riggins. But I need him out there doing more than fullback. Hello, middle linebacker.
Stefen Djordjevic, CB, "All the Right Moves" — I need another defender. Djordjevic is going to give me consistent reps every Saturday. It also helps that he later became a Navy pilot and a world-class spy constantly accomplishing impossible missions.
Forrest Gump, return man, "Forrest Gump" — This is assuming Gump chooses to become a graduate transfer. Arguably the most dominant return man in the history of forever, Tom Hanks' legendary character is an instant game-changer.
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_.