Summer is almost over, syllabus week is well underway at Villanova.
Kyle Neptune got an early victory shortly after officially stepping in as head coach, getting the incoming freshmen class of Mark Armstrong, Cam Whitmore and Brendan Hausen to double down and reaffirm their commitments to the ‘Cats.
With that squared away, and a few other housekeeping stuff in between, Neptune was now able to hit the recruiting trail.
So far, the ‘Cats haven’t gotten any commitments for the class of 2023. They came close for five-star 2023 forward Justin Edwards (Philadelphia, Pa./Imhotep Charter) and four-star 2023 guard DeShawn Harris-Smith (Chantilly, Va./Paul VI Catholic), two prospects that had Villanova in their final lists but ultimately chose to commit elsewhere.
Most recently, four-star 2023 forward Amani Hansberry (Washington, D.C./Mount Saint Joseph) cut ‘Nova from consideration, then eventually opted for Illinois.
While there is still plenty of time, and Villanova isn’t the only Big East school without a 2023 commit, here are some targets to keep an eye on and names to know.
Class of 2023
Rating: 4-star (247 sports: 18 | ESPN: 44)
Hometown: Marlton, N.J.
High School: South Kent School
AAU: We R1
Offer date: July 2
Status: Final 11 (Kansas, Louisville, Miami, Michigan, Maryland, Notre Dame, Texas, UCLA, VCU, Villanova, Virginia)
Other offers: Originally had more than two-dozen offers, but is now down to 11 schools
The skinny: Jackson has been one of the summer’s biggest stock risers, piling on a ton of offers during the live recruiting periods, before choosing to focus on his final 11 schools. He stood out on the UAA, with Delaware-based We R1, and took MVP honors at the Under Armour Future 60 camp. He previously played at the Academy of the New Church (Pa.) and was first-team all-league, but will be transferring to the South Kent School for this upcoming season. He’s best known for his scoring and shot-creating and athleticism. His shooting has improved immensely over the last few years, and he can now comfortably score at all three levels. He’s also been working on defense to get ready for the next level.
He recently spoke to ZAGSBLOG about ‘Nova: “I have an opportunity to get in there and get a lot of minutes as a freshman. They stress development a lot because Kyle Neptune was assistant coach when Jay Wright was there so they work a lot with their players during the summer developing them. And just the brotherhood that they have with their alumni. I went to their alumni game and they had a plethora of alumni come back and show support to the current team. So just being secure after my time at Villanova, I’ll always be welcome back and taken care of through the alumni system.”
Rating: 4-star (247 sports: 55 | ESPN: 38)
Hometown: Spring Branch, Texas
High School: Compass Prep
AAU: JL3 Elite
Offer date: May 31
Other offers: Alabama, Arizona State, Arkansas, Colorado, Creighton, Houston, Kansas State, LSU, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oral Roberts, SMU, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Texas-Rio Grande Valley, UTSA, Wake Forest, Western Kentucky
The skinny: Like Jackson, High was another big stock riser, generating more than half of his offers since April. He underwent a big growth spurt, shooting up from 6-foot-2 to 6-foot-8, but there are some reports out there that he may even be an inch or two taller than that. He’s got a solid frame that he can fill out, with good length. High previously played the wing, but has since transitioned to being more of a stretch-four. He averaged 21.0 points, 12.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.6 blocks per game at Smithson Valley as a junior. He will be transferring to Compass Prep in Arizona for his senior season.
Rating: 5-star (247 sports: 2 | ESPN: 1)
Hometown: Camden, N.J.
High School: Camden
AAU: NJ Scholars
Offer date: May 19, 2021
Other offers: Kentucky, Louisville, Memphis, Syracuse, Temple
The skinny: This isn’t exactly a Kyle Neptune target, but he is still on the board and was offered by Jay Wright back in May 2021, so it’s worth still keeping an eye on him. However, at this point, Wagner is a long shot. The general consensus and overall speculation is that Wagner will decide between Kentucky and Louisville. Wagner hasn’t officially ruled out any school from consideration or named his finalists, though, so he’s all ears for other schools. Even Auburn has been making a push, and as one of the highly-coveted players in his recruiting class, there are others who will try to make a last-second move as well. He was considered the consensus No. 1-ranked prospect, but took a recent hit in 247 sports’ eyes, falling to No. 2, but rankings are a bit of sematics at that point. Wagner had a gold medal summer with the FIBA U-17 basketball team. Don’t put super high hopes on him coming to the Main Line, but anything can happen, right?
Class of 2024
Rating: 5-star (247 sports: 15 | ESPN: 18)
Hometown: Harlem, N.Y.
High School: Archbishop Stepinac
AAU: PSA Cardinals
Offer date: Aug. 4
Other offers: Auburn, Bryant, UConn, Georgetown, Georgia, Fordham, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kansas State, Kentucky, LIU, LSU, Maryland, Miami, Michigan, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pitt, Providence, Rider, St. Bonaventure, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Siena, TCU, Virginia Tech, UCLA
The skinny: It was a big summer for Fland, who was one of the youngest members on Team USA’s U-17 FIBA championship team. Fland thrived in his role off the bench and showcased he was more than just a scorer, putting together an impeccable assist-to-turnover ratio (tournament-high 8.3 AST:TO) and ranked in the top 10 for overall steals. He helped Team USA seal its dominant run with a gold medal, winning it on his birthday. As a sophomore at Stepinac, Fland averaged 14.4 points and 5.0 rebounds this past season. Since his time with the FIBA gold medal team, he shot further up the national recruiting scene, with the likes of Villanova, UNC and Kentucky offering him after returning home from Spain.
Rating: 4-star (247 sports: 86 | ESPN: NR)
Hometown: Warrenton, Va.
High School: Paul VI Catholic
AAU: Team Takeover
Offer date: Aug. 2
Other offers: Bethune-Cookman, Bowie State, UConn, George Mason, Georgetown, Howard, Kansas State, Marquette, Maryland, Murray State, North Texas, Pitt, Radford, Seton Hall, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wichita State
The skinny: Obviously, ‘Nova loves recruiting the DMV, so lots of ties here. Abraham resides in the same town that Angelo Brizzi and attended the same high school, but he will now be transferring to Paul VI Catholic, which is where Brandon Slater went to, and plays for the AAU program that has been the home of many Villanova recruiting targets. The most recent ‘Cats to suit up for Team Takeover? Slater and Justin Moore, who were teammates together. Abraham averaged 14.3 points and 4.2 rebounds as a sophomore. His recruitment started to pick up over the summer, as he started to gain numerous high-major offers. Abraham was also a first-team all-state selection. There’s a lot to like about his game, from his physical build as a guard/wing, to his athleticism, motor and shooting ability.
2024 wing Isaiah Abraham served a vital role in @TTOBasketball 17's Peach Jam run and turned heads in the process.— Max Feldman (@MaxFeldman6) August 4, 2022
Rangy and explosive 6-7 athlete with mature off-ball instincts, fluid movement skills and a strong motor. Recent offers from Villanova and UConn among others. pic.twitter.com/uZ4ALniXee
Rating: 4-star (247 sports: 80 | ESPN: NR)
Hometown: Charlotte, N.C.
High School: Myers Park
AAU: Team Curry
Offer date: July 26
Other offers: Appalachian State, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Georgetown, Georgia, Georgia Tech, High Point, UMass, Michigan, N.C. State, Ole Miss, Penn State, Providence, Stanford, USF, Virginia Tech, Xavier
The skinny: It’s been quite the last few months for Mohammed, who racked up a vast majority of his Division I offers throughout this stretch. He enjoyed a solid sophomore season, averaging 17.2 points, 6.2 rebounds and 4.8 assists. He elevated his game even higher in the playoffs, where he averaged 25.7 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.8 assists. Mohammed has only continued that upswing on the AAU circuit and has captured the eye of plenty of scouts. He’s the son of former NBA player Nazr Mohammed, so he’s got the game in his genes.
Rating: Not ranked
Hometown: Warminster, Pa.
High School: Archbishop Wood
AAU: Team Final
Offer date: July 26
Other offers: Albany, Bryant, Fairfield, Jacksonville, Mississippi State, Mount St. Mary’s, Pitt, Radford, Robert Morris, Rutgers, Saint Joseph’s, Temple, VCU, UCLA
The skinny: Bethea is a local player that hails from the same high school that produced Collin Gillespie. He’s not ranked by recruiting services, so ‘Nova is in the hunt early and well before many high majors catch word of his 6-foot-4 shooter. Bethea thrived in the sixth man role as a sophomore and quickly garnered a reputation for being one of the top three-point shooters in the area. If he continues his upward trajectory, he should fit right in with ‘Nova.
Rating: Not ranked
Hometown: Washington, D.C.
High School: Sidwell Friends
AAU: Team Takeover
Offer date: July 27
Other offers: Bryant, Fordham, Georgetown, George Mason, George Washington, Georgia Tech, Harvard, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Ole Miss, Penn, Penn State, USF, VCU, Virginia, Virginia Tech
The skinny: Williams hasn’t looked back since picking up his first-ever Division I offer in March, racking more up than a dozen offers before the start of his junior year. Williams is from the same high school that produced Josh Hart, and he’s another prospect that Neptune and Co. are in very early on. He’s not ranked by 247 sports or ESPN, but that will likely be changing after his junior season. Williams came through in the clutch, delivering the game-winning buzzer-beater to lift Sidwell Friends to a DCSAA title. He had a game-high 20 points and 12 rebounds in the championship game.