With a three way tie atop the Big Ten standings, the on court jostling for march supremacy is in full swing. Behind the scenes, though, the recruiting chess match continues as battle lines are further drawn.
Though quiet in terms of commitments, the Big Ten dished out some offers this past week. Rutgers, Nebraska and Maryland look to acquire the services of three upwardly trending prospects.
Rutgers Aims to Improve Future Post Play
While Rutgers hosted Minnesota in a losing effort on Saturday, they were also hosting front court Sophomore Qudus Wahab on an unofficial visit. Prior to the game, the Scarlet Knights added the Virginia Academy product to its list of 2019 scholarship offers. Wahab already had offers from Clemson, Virginia Tech and Colgate.
Heralding from Nigeria, the power forward/center is sponsored by the EL Foundation. Former NFL wide receiver Antwaan Randle-El created the foundation to foster the growth of underprivileged youth. Alongside Wahab, the EL Foundation has also supported three-star Vanderbilt commit Ejike Obinna. Their battles in practice have gone a long way toward Wahab’s improvement.
"Ejeke helps me stay serious and focused on the game. He really pushes me to get better. He goes 100% all of the time, so it forces me to do the same," Wahab told Future150 at the Pangos All-East Camp this past November. The sophomore turned heads with the growth he exhibited.
Qudus Wahab grades at four-stars and cracks the top 50 of the 2019 class per 247Sports. Though still very early, Wahab fits Steve Pikell’s low post vision of length and athletic rim protection. One thing is for sure, the competition for Wahab’s services will only stiffen. At 6’11”, the young big already demonstrates a quick first step and excellent footwork. His recruitment creates an interesting development for a team hungry to exit the Big Ten basement.
Nebraska Sets its Sights on a Rising Four-Star Point Guard
With offers from Big Ten suitors Illinois, Northwestern and Indiana already in hand, 4-star 2017 PG Mark Smith has plenty to choose from. On Saturday, Nebraska made that list a little longer.
The 6’4” Edwardsville High School floor general’s stock is currently red hot. Along with his Big Ten offers, Smith has received offer sheets from programs Texas, Utah, Cal, Butler, Boston College and Missouri among others.
A two-sport star, Smith’s commitment and eventual retraction from Missouri to play baseball likely contributed to his late blossoming.
Smith’s skill set is as diverse as a point guard can be. He can hit from long range, attack the rim, make smart passes, and possesses excellent ball handling skills. If Smith decides to sign with a Big Ten program he should make an immediate impact.
Check out BT Powerhouse’s full profile on Smith here.
Maryland Looks to Make a Euro Splash
Arriving to the United States from Georgia this past summer, 2017 PF Sandro Mamukelashvili has quickly drawn a resounding buzz. After a pit stop in Italy, Mamukelashvili headed to Montverde Academy in Florida to further elevate his game. With his strong showing at the Nike Skills Academy, the suitors began lining up. Already with offers from Gonzaga and Louisville among others, the three-star recruit certainly has options. He added one more on Monday as Maryland threw their hat in the ring.
At 6’11”, the 17-year-old possesses a wide array of skills. His sneaky ball handling ability allows him to slice to the rim, and he finishes with ferocity. Conversely, he employs a soft touch when positioned close to the basket. To further confound defenders, his range is deep and stroke is fluid from three. Mamukelashvili impressively showcased his proficiency even from the extended euro line while in Italy.
Maryland certainly has competition, but landing a recruit with Mamukelashvili’s skill set would provide a tremendous boast to their front court.