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July should help clear up Villanova’s 2017 recruiting plans

Jay Wright Baker Dunleavy

On Wednesday at 5pm, the July ‘Live’ period officially gets underway. At that point, we’ll be in the NCAA’s Evaluation period until July 10th at 5pm. That will repeat from July 13-17 and July 20-24. AAU will be back in session, and coaches can once again hit the road to evaluate and prioritize their targets.

Coming off of a National Championship, Villanova’s profile has never been stronger. They’ve once again entered that rarified air where blue-chip prospects are knocking on their door, instead of vice versa. It’s a great position to be in, but we know that Jay Wright and his staff will be very selective.

So what are and/or should be the priorities? Here’s who the ‘Cats are chasing as we head into the stretch run of summer recruiting:

Will ‘Nova grab a point guard?

With Chris Lykes off the board to Miami, 5-star Trevon Duval and 4-star Quade Green are the two remaining lead guards that Villanova has offered. While Green is good friends and teammate with Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree, it seems unlikely to keep him at home with both Kentucky and Duke in hot pursuit.

In Duval’s case, he’s made it no secret that he’s planning to wait it out and sign late next spring. Villanova has been on him for a long time and some consider the Wildcats a real threat to land him in the end. That could depend on whether Jalen Brunson is sticking around or not, as playing time is likely to be a big factor for the Delaware native.

5-star Collin Sexton - the EYBL’s leading scorer and recent FIBA U17 MVP - heard from ‘Nova recently. He’s a name to watch this month, though he won’t be at the Nike Peach Jam this weekend (his team didn’t qualify).

It wouldn’t be a surprise to see ‘Nova take a pass here and wait until 2018. They’re already in great shape with 4-star guards Jahvon Quinerly (one of the first offers in the class) and Elijah Weaver (who called ‘Nova his dream offer).

Who can replace Hart and Jenkins?

With both wings set to graduate, the need for a big guard who can score and defend is the top priority.

Plan A has and will continue to be 5-star guard Lonnie Walker. His versatility to play on or off the ball sets him apart from other targets (and could make the need for a PG moot). Walker has been considered a ‘Nova lean for well over a year, and nothing he’s said in recent months suggests ‘Nova is fading with him even as his recruitment has blown up.

The rest of the board features a ton of offers, but it’s an elite group and thus tough to surmise how much of a stronghold ‘Nova has in each recruitment. Jordan Tucker has talked about a visit that thus far hasn’t materialized and D.J. Harvey seems likely to wait his recruitment out for the foreseeable future.

Kevin Knox and Brian Bowen are both elite players that fit the bill of what ‘Nova wants on the wing, but you probably wouldn’t bet on taking Bowen away from Sparty, and if Florida State (Knox is a legacy) can’t beat Duke and Carolina, it’s hard to imagine ‘Nova doing so for Knox.

Things have been quiet with Jermaine Samuels for quite some time and while Justin Smith has a connection to ‘Nova in Brunson, there hasn’t been much talk connecting the parties. It will be interesting to see how much ‘Nova watches the pair this week.

That leaves Brandon Randolph. He’s the ideal size and provides the type of lights-out shooting that Wright loves. He’s taken an unofficial visit and is planning to trim down his list after the Peach Jam. You would expect ‘Nova to make the cut there and stay in the thick of his recruitment.

Is more help needed in the frontcourt?

The early commitment of Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree has given the ‘Cats a Top 100 anchor in the frontcourt, and it’s easy to view him as an upgrade to Darryl Reynolds once he graduates next spring. As DCR develops his offensive game he could fill multiple roles in a program that values versaility.

DCR’s verbal makes chasing Mohamed Bamba a luxury, but does it make a player like Hameir Wright surplus to requirements given their similarities in skillset? With the health of Tim Delaney still up in the air this could be a spot to grab some insurance.

With the Nike Peach Jam on deck this week, we’ll get a fresh look at who the staff is prioritizing. With several prospects talking about cutting lists and even commitments towards the end of the summer, recruiting activity should pick up imminently.