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8/4 Morning Power Bar: Big Ten Zeros in on 4-Star Guard Noah Locke

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Three teams make Locke’s final 8, two 2019 prospects head to the state of Michigan, and Rutgers picks up a commitment.

NCAA Basketball: Virginia Tech at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Every week, the BTPowerhouse Weekend Power Bar will detail what’s going on across the league on the recruiting trail.

With the AAU circuits coming to a close, the attention now shifts towards moving the needle and nailing down 2018 and 2019 prospects. After a prolific period of recruiting for the Big Ten this summer, the conference is showing no signs of slowing down.

Let’s take a look at this week’s recruiting headlines.

-Three Big Ten Schools Make Noah Locke’s Final 8.

Rising 4-star guard Noah Locke announced his final 8 on Wednesday, and the Big Ten has clearly kept his interest. Maryland, Ohio State, and Michigan made the cut, joining Florida, Providence, Virginia, Kansas, and Xavier.

Locke has seen a steady increase in exposure this summer, thanks in large part to an impressive run with Team Melo on the Nike EYBL circuit. Through 16 games of play, the guard averaged 18.2 points, 3.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.6 steals.

The 6-foot-2 guard has made a name for himself scoring the basketball. He displays an effortlessness putting up points at all three levels, like most top prospects, but it’s his elite jump shot that proves particularly venomous for defenders. The senior shot over 49% on nearly 7 shots a game from three this summer.

Based out of Owings Mills, Maryland, Locke has felt the influence of the Terrapins during the recruiting process. Just 40 miles away, the University of Maryland allure is palpable.

“Hometown school,” Locke told PrepHoops. “They’re one of my later offers too, but they were recruiting me for a while. Coach Bino [Ranson] stays in contact with me every day. Every kid from this area wants an offer from Maryland. With it being my hometown school, it’d be great to be apart of.”

For John Beilein and the Michigan Wolverines, it didn’t take long to sort out their feelings for the top 100 prospect. Locke left Ann Arbor following an unofficial visit on June 18th and notched an offer on the 20th. Locke came away impressed, as Beilein played tour guide through the campus in Ann Arbor.

“Man I really like Michigan,” Locke also told Prep Hoops. “When I went to visit, Coach Beilein took my family and I on the entire visit himself and showed us everything. It was great there. The atmosphere was great. We’re walking out on the streets and people were just excited to see him and us walking around. The facilities were great. I fit their playing style, too. We actually run a lot of there sets here at McDonogh.”

Though the Buckeyes find themselves inside Locke’s cut list, they may be on the outside looking in. The last of the final 8 schools to offer, Ohio State is currently playing catchup. But thanks to Chris Hotmann and his staff’s recruiting efforts at Butler, a common theme in Columbus this summer, they remain in play for the guard’s services.

“They were recruiting me hard, but once my recruitment started to pick up they thought with them being at Butler, they wouldn’t be in the running,” Locke went on to tell PrepHoops. “Once they went to Ohio State they immediately hopped back on. It’s been great. I have a long relationship with them. I have to go visit there soon and learn more about the school.”

Locke has yet to show any signs of a quick commitment. So far, though, the Big Ten should feel comfortable with their deep representation.

-Two Big Time Prospects Set to Visit Michigan and Michigan State.

For 5-star 2019 guard Tyrese Maxey, the ride doesn’t stop. After wrapping up AAU play with RM5 Elite in Las Vegas this past weekend, the top 20 recruit now turns his attention to visits. The next stop is the state of Michigan, where he will tour the Wolverine and Spartan campuses next week.

Maxey is an elite package of speed and quickness, blurring to the basket on slashes. On the Nike EYBL circuit this summer, the junior averaged 15.5 points, 3.1 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 1.5 steals.

In addition to interest from Michigan and Michigan State, the Garland, Texas prospect has an offer sheet comprised of a slew of high major programs. Included in the list are UCLA, Oregon, Oklahoma, and Baylor, among others.

Joining Maxey in a Michigan tour will be Quinn Slazinski, also a highly regarded recruit in the 2019. At 3-stars, he doesn’t possess quite the cachet of Maxey, but still finds himself in the top 200 for the class.

Unlike Maxey, Slazinski has deep roots in Michigan. Before living in Chicago, Los Angeles, Texas, and West Virginia, the 6-foot-6 forward called northern Michigan home until the 6th grade.

“I grew up wearing Spartan shirts and stuff like that,” Slazinski told Land of 10. “I always watched them growing up before any colleges contacted me.”

It will be a busy week for John Beilein and Tom Izzo as they look to jumpstart their 2019 classes.

-Rutgers Lands 3-Star 2018 Guard Mac McClung.

The Scarlet Knights scored a victory on Thursday, as 3-star guard Mac McClung announced his commitment to the program. The 43rd ranked point guard in the 2018 class, per 247Sports, chose Rutgers over a long list of programs, headlined by Georgetown. After turning heads on the AAU circuit, McClung’s stock saw a significant jump.

While McClung may be a developmental piece for the team’s future, he certainly has the athletic frame to build on. He has spent the summer dazzling spectators with highlight dunks and above the rim play, including a recent highlight that made Sportscenter’s top 10.

McClung’s commitment should hold over the Scarlet Knight fan base while they await the decision of fellow 2018 recruit Montez Mathis. After initially planning his announcement for today, Mathis retracted, stating he needed more time to discuss the decision with his family. In addition to Rutgers, the 4-star guard is considering Uconn and Virginia Tech.

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Check back next week for more Big Ten recruiting headlines.