We released the first big board 11 days ago, and while there are a couple of the same names most of the names on this list are new. BYU has reached out to dozens of players as they look to add to next season’s roster.
The first dominoes to fall for BYU are the decisions of seniors Alex Barcello and Matt Haarms (all signs point to Brandon Averette being done). They will not count against the 13-scholarship limit since they are returning seniors, but their decisions will influence who else BYU goes after and what guys will consider BYU. As it stands now BYU has two available scholarships, which could go up to three if 2019 signee Nate Hansen is not retained once he returns home from his mission.
BYU’s main targets right now are guards. Even if Barcello returns BYU will still pursue at least one, if not two, guards. If Haarms returns I could see BYU focusing their efforts on solely guards/wings. If Haarms is gone, I think BYU will get one big and at least one guard.
Below is the list I’ve gathered after talking with sources close to BYU’s recruiting efforts, players, and people connected with the players.
Mike Saunders Jr.; Point Guard, Cincinnati
If you’re reading this article then you are familiar with Saunders Jr. BYU has been in consistent contact with him for weeks and is one of the favorites to land him. Saunders will announce his decision on April 15. I was told earlier this week by someone close to the recruitment that BYU and UNLV were the final two schools. Wichita State has entered the picture since then and they could be a contender to get Saunders.
At this point Saunders knows who BYU is. He’s had three Zoom meetings with coaches, he attended nearby Wasatch Academy, and he has multiple Wasatch teammates that are or will be at BYU. My sense that his decision to wait until April 15 may mean that he’s waiting for bigger offers to come. Cincinnati announced Friday that they will not be retaining their head coach, so he could also see who is going there.
Saunders told me the following on Wednesday when I asked about his recruitment:
“I’m still open to whoever — I’m not going to necessarily narrow schools down. Whenever I just feel comfortable I’ll just announce, but BYU is definitely in the mix of schools. They have shown the most interest so far and I appreciate that a lot.”
BYU is in a good spot to land Saunders but I am a bit skeptical since he’s waited this long to make an announcement. I think BYU should be considered the favorite but I will not be surprised if he goes elsewhere.
Jordan Goldwire; Guard, Duke
The senior guard was a member of the ACC’s all-defensive team this past year. Goldwire average 2.3 steals this season and 4 assists on only 1.4 turnovers. Goldwire is a great passer and defender but was inconsistent as a scorer. He averaged 5.8 points and shot 38% from the field and 33% from deep. BYU coaches have already met virtually with Goldwire, but his decision will hinge on if Barcello returns. If Barcello returns then Goldwire won’t choose BYU. If Barcello does not come back then Goldwire would strongly consider BYU.
Erik Stevenson; Guard, Washington
Stevenson played two seasons at Wichita State before transferring and playing for the Huskies last season. He averaged 11.1 points as a sophomore and 9.3 points this past season at Washington. The 6-foot-3 guard mainly plays at the two and brings shot-creating ability. He’s had three games with over 25 points in his career but lacks consistency. This season he shot 36% from the field, 30% from three and 79% from the foul line.
One source close to Erik’s recruitment said that his final three is BYU, South Carolina and Butler. My guess would be that he chooses South Carolina, but BYU has a shot to get Stevenson. My take is that his efficiency would improve in Mark Pope’s system and he would fill a need as a guard that can create his own shot.
Alfonso Plummer; Guard, Utah
The senior guard was one of Utah’s best players, averaging 13.6 points on 44% shooting from the field and 38% from three. Plummer is a small two guard at 6-foot-1 but he can really score. BYU is in touch with Plummer and is one of the schools in the mix.
Jemarl Baker Jr.; Guard, Arizona
The junior guard played his first year at Kentucky before transferring to Arizona and playing the last two years there. Baker played in only 12 games this season but averaged 12 points on 40% shooting from the floor. Baker has good size at 6-foot-5, which would help fill a void for BYU. Baker hasn’t publicly released a list of finalists, but BYU is one of the schools in contact and in the mix.
Other to Watch
Tanner Groves; Power Forward, Eastern Washington
BYU has talked with the Big Sky player of the year, but there a lot of schools in the mix. Groves released a list of 19 schools that had shown interest and BYU was on the list.
With all the schools in the mix I would put BYU’s odds pretty low.
Adonis Arms; Guard, Winthrop
The junior guard averaged 10.5 points this past season. At this point BYU seems to be more in the mix with the other players listed above.
AJ Lawson; Guard, McNeese State
The senior guard played under former BYU assistant Heath Schroyer. BYU has reached out to Lawson but he isn’t a main target for the staff.