The late signing period officially began last week after being initially delayed because of the coronavirus, and so while rosters are still being finalized for next season, they are gradually becoming clearer.
No program in the Atlantic 10 has a recruiting class that is among the top 25 rated nationally by ESPN or the top 50 per 247. However, the formulas that go into rating those classes only take into consideration prospects coming from the high school ranks, and not transfers.
Evaluating modern day recruiting classes in their totality includes, at minimum, assessing all the newcomers to a program and should probably also consider who each program is losing, not just to graduation but to transfer as well.
While the latter may be an undertaking best served for later in the summer, here’s a look at where the league’s incoming classes currently stand.
Highest rated High School Class in the A-10
They have four incoming freshmen who should all be able to step right in and compete for time in Mike Rhoades’ typically deep rotation.
Ace Baldwin (6′-0″, St. Francis-MD) is a southpaw point guard known for his tenacity and leadership skills. Jamir Watkins (6′-7″, Trenton Catholic-NJ) is an athletic combo-forward and Josh Banks (6′-5″, Olympic-NC) is a versatile wing who put up almost 17 points per game in the EYBL last year.
— Greatness (@young_21banks) April 1, 2020
Mikeal Brown-Jones (6′-7″, IMG Academy) is a Philadelphia native who helped IMG to a Geico Nationals championship in 2019 before joining their prep team this year. He’s not an alpha offensively, but he’s a multi-positional athlete and elite defender with a uniquely mature understanding of how to impact winning.
Woodstock reuniting in Amherst for Bergeron, McCall
Former Woodstock Academy head coach Tony Bergeron joined Matt McCall’s staff last year along with three of his players, most notably Tre Mitchell who predictably went on to be arguably the A-10’s best freshmen.
There’s more of the same coming this year as Cairo McCrory (6′-5″, Woodstock-CT), Ronnie DeGray (6′-7″, Woodstock-CT), and Dyondre Dominguez (6′-8″, Woodstock-CT) are all following suit.
Felicidades a Dyondre Dominguez que se comprometió con UMass, Universidad de las leyendas boricuas Edgar Padilla y Carmelo Travieso!
— PURBASKET (@purbasket1) February 29, 2020
Also reuniting with his former coach is Wichita State transfer Noah Fernandes, who is poised to be the Minutemen’s starting point guard for the next three years. Javohn Garcia (6′-2″, Brewster-NH) is another key addition in the backcourt and may even end up being the most impactful of the incoming freshmen.
American grad transfer Mark Gasperini provides Mitchell with a serviceable back-up while also allowing McCall the flexibility to go with a big rotation if necessary.
Rhody won’t rebuild; they’ll reload
With six new players coming to Kingston next year, David Cox and his staff have assembled the league’s deepest class.
Wholesale additions have come out of necessity as Tyrese Martin, Jacob Toppin, Mekhi Long, and Dana Tate have left this season, but the Rams have arguably added more than they’ve lost on the transfer front with the Mitchell twins, Makhi and Makhel arriving from Maryland, and Malik Martin transferring in from Charlotte, giving them three immediate impact players (pending eligibility).
The incoming freshmen trio of Ishmael Leggett (6′-2″, St. John’s-DC), Tres Berry (6′-3″, Scotland Campus-PA), and Elijah Wood (6′-5″, Berkmar-GA) will solidify the team’s perimeter rotation and depth.
Wood may be the most high-risk high-reward as he has undeniable talent but has bounced around during his high school years. Leggett is an ultra-tough combo-guard, with all type of leadership tools while Berry is versatile with elite measurables and untapped potential.
A-10’s biggest class included 7 newcomers
They did their early work in the high school ranks and scored late in the transfer market.
Grad transfer Matt Moyer (6′-8″, Vanderbilt/Syracuse) will give them an immediately eligible and ultra-versatile forward. LSU transfer James Bishop (6′-3″) adds to an already loaded sophomore class with a straight bucket-getter as the southpaw returns home to the DMV area.
Ricky Lindo (6′-8″, Maryland), another local talent, and Hunter Dean (6′-10″, Southern Miss) are two more transfers that solidify that front line along with incoming freshman Noel Brown (6′-11″, Flint Hill-VA).
Lincoln Ball (6′-4″, Williamsport-MD) is a skilled and smart wing who hasn’t gotten a lot of hype but should be a very reliable and productive player for GW while fellow incoming freshman Tyler Brelsford (6′-3″, Mount St. Joseph-MD) is a skilled big guard with a high long-term ceiling.
Mid-year additions key for St. Joe’s
Saint Joseph’s landed two prominent recruits at the mid-year point when both Xavier transfer Dahmir Bishop and Swedish important Anton Jansson (6′-10″, Golden State Prep-CA) enrolled early.
Bishop is a former top 100 prospect in the country who will have three-and-a-half years of eligibility. In short, he’s a guy first year head coach Billy Lange can build off of and the fact that he’s a local Philadelphia product is only an added bonus.
Another local product, incoming freshman Jordan Hall (6′-7″, Neumann-Goretti) is a versatile forward who is an elite passer and capable shooter.
International product leads McKillop’s 3-man class
Samuel Mennenga (6′-8″, New Zealand) had high-major offers on the table when he committed to Davidson. Previously starring at both Basketball Without Borders and the FIBA u19 World Cup, he has a reputation for being both skilled and tough and joined the team at mid-year.
The Wildcats also solidified their future backcourt with the additions of Grant Huffman (6′-3″, St. Edward’s-OH) and Emory Lanier (6′-2″, Woodward Academy-GA). Huffman also had high-major recruitment and is known for his athleticism and energy first and foremost. Lanier is a big lead-guard and coach’s son (his father Rob Lanier is the head coach at Georgia State).
Two for now; one for later for the Flyers
Anthony Grant and his staff have a pair of incoming freshmen who should be capable of competing for immediate minutes in R.J. Blakney (6′-4″, Loomis Chaffee-CT) and Lukas Frazier (6′-3″, Lake Catholic-OH).
Blakney is a long and athletic wing who has vastly improved his skill-set this year while Frazier is a big southpaw with the tools to blossom into a lead guard. The Flyers also hold a commitment from Koby Brea (6′-6″, Monsignor Scanlon) a young senior who may be a red-shirt candidate next year but has a high-ceiling as a late-bloomer with an advanced perimeter skill-set and good positional size.
Dukes land four late to build deep class
Keith Dambrot and his staff solidified their future backcourt early with NLI’s from Tyson Acuff (6′-4″, Cass Tech-MI), a big physical point guard, and Jett Roesing (6′-3″, First Love Christian-PA), a three-point specialist.
They continued to build the class throughout the winter as well. Chad Baker (6′-7″, Spire Institute-OH) gives them a high upside big playmaking southpaw who is ultra-versatile while Toby Okani (6′-7″, Cushing Academy-MA) is a highly athletic hybrid-forward. Mike Bekelja (6′-0″, Andrew Osborne-OH), will join his older brother Sincere Carry in the backcourt rotation while Andre Harris (6′-8″, Hillcrest Prep-AZ) provides more of a true front court player.
Kolek leads solid three-man class for Mason
Tyler Kolek (6′-3″, St. George’s-RI) should give Dave Paulsen an immediate impact freshmen guard next year who is a big time shot-maker and evolving playmaker.
While Kolek can offer time at either guard spot, he will be joined by Ronald Polite (6′-1″, Oxon Hill-MD), a late-bloomer and more traditional pure point guard. Malik Henry (6′-8″, Longview-TX), a mobile and athletic big man with a high-motor, was a top target for the staff up front.
Spiders may have A10’s best freshman point guard next year
Chris Mooney won the recruiting sweepstakes for Isaiah Wilson (5′-11″, First Love Christian-PA) and in so doing landed his point guard of the future.
Wilson may be undersized but he’s full of heart and has proven himself at the very highest levels of competition. He’ll get a chance to learn under Jacob Gilyard and Blake Francis as a freshman before taking the reins as a sophomore.
A late signature from Andre Weir (6′-10″, Chaminade-Madonna-FL) shored up the frontline while local guard Jacob Southall (6′-3″, Georgetown Prep-VA) is also expected to join the team next year.
Howard continuing to rebuild through local ranks
With talented young prospects Sherif Kenney, Ayinde Hikim, Christian Ray, and Brandon Stone all expected to take steps forward next year as sophomores, Ashley Howard and his staff have continued to rebuild their program from the ground up while concentrating on their local Mid-Atlantic region.
Anwar Gill (6′-4″, Montverde Academy CBD-FL) is a long, lefty wing who looks poised to be the most impactful of the freshmen. Jhamir Brickus (5′-11″, Coatesville-PA) is a volume scoring guard coming off a record-breaking career while Tegra Izay (6′-10″, Archbishop Carroll-DC) may require some initial patience but is a big man with a high long-term ceiling.
Recruitment for 23-win team
When you win 23 games with a team that only graduates two seniors, the priority in roster construction has a lot more to do with re-recruiting the returning players on your roster than on new ones.
Travis Ford and his staff have done that and will be top contenders in the league again next year as a result. Markhi Strickland (6′-5″, Victory Rock-FL) and Andre Lorentsson (6′-8″, RIG-Sweden) add to the team’s collective skill and shot-making in the middle of the line-up.
Uncertainty clouds Fordham’s class
Jeff Neubauer landed a commitment and subsequent NLI from Julian Dozier (5′-8″, Putnam Science-CT) this fall.
His efforts since, especially in recent weeks, have been complicated by the uncertainty of his job status and lack of public support from the university’s new administration.
Bonnies looking to develop long-term stock
With only three upperclassmen on a roster that won 19 games this year, St. Bonaventure had minimal minutes left to offer next year and were consequently looking for a long-term stock that they could develop. Quinton Metcalf (6′-8″, Mercersburg-PA) has the combination of size, athleticism, and potential skill that makes him a good fit for that.