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Villanova Basketball Recruiting: What’s the plan in 2018?

Is ‘Nova done in 2017? They feel done in 2017.

NCAA Basketball: Villanova at Butler Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

With the verbal commitment of Collin Gillespie to Villanova (he’ll sign in the spring), your Villanova Wildcats now have three verbal commitments in the class of 2017. Add in Omari Spellman and (possibly) Phil Booth that could be five new-ish faces on the court next year for Jay Wright. Pretty crazy!

That factoid makes it feel like the ‘Cats are going to move on to 2018 recruiting - though technically they are still in the running for Jordan Tucker who plans to announce in the coming weeks.

So let’s take a look at what we’re looking at for 2018. This isn’t the regular Big Board, but rather a rundown of what’s happened/happening.

roster outlook
Villanova Basketball Roster Outlook

Backcourt

Two big decisions loom here. The first is what Phil Booth decides to do. If he returns this season, he’ll be out of eligibility after next season making a combo-guard a necessity. Even if he doesn’t play this year there’s not guarantee that (1) he gets a medical redshirt and (2) he wants to stay here for 5 years.

The other is Jalen Brunson. He’s a threat to leave early if his draft stock looks good, and if he’s not around it presents a glaring hole in the lead guard spot for the ‘Cats. The addition of Collin Gillespie helps a lot here, and if all else stays the same Villanova has just 2 scholarships available. Would they use them both on guards?

I’d guess we’re in a first-come, first-serve situation with the following players: Elijah Weaver (Villanova is still his dream school!), Prentiss Hubb, Jahvon Quinerly (visited for the Seton Hall game) and Devon Dotson. And I think I’d handicap the likelihood of an eventual commitment in that order as well.

Weaver and Hubb can play both on and off the ball, and we know Jay likes that versatility. But having a pure PG like Brunson has paid dividends. With some big-time PG targets in 2019 already holding offers I could see them waiting.

(Speaking of which, Andrew Nembhard may re-class to 2018, so add him to the above list with Jalen Carey, who the ‘Cats scouted over the weekend.)

On the wing, the obvious priority is Cam Reddish. He is is still talking highly of Villanova, is constantly at games, and says that Villanova is pitching him on being the program’s first one-and-done. I wouldn’t put money on it happening, but at least the staff is aggressively recruiting him in that fashion.

Brandon Slater, Nate Laszewski and Cormac Ryan all hold offers as well. Two more names to keep an eye on - 4-star Luther Muhammad (Quinerly’s HS + AAU teammate who says ‘Nova is in contact) and 5-star Louis King. King just announced a switch Nike-backed Team Final, a Villanova pipeline if there ever was one.

Frontcourt

Still hard to believe, but the frontcourt is in great shape. Even if Omari Spellman proves to be a one-and-done, the ‘Cats still have Dylan Painter and Dhamir Cosby-Rountree behind him. There are bigger priorities in the backcourt, so it will be interesting to see how hard the staff pursues their options here.

Hameir Wright obviously reclassed with ‘Nova one of the frontrunners and could be an option. So could 5-star PF Jalen Smith. Smith joined Quinerly at the Seton Hall game last night for a visit and this looks like it’s a ‘Cats-Terps battle.

But again a frontcourt prospect isn’t the priority for me unless Spellman is out the door after one season.