Keeping up with the Wildcats by recapping the busiest month in the recruiting season
The month of July is widely regarded as the busiest month for college basketball coaches in the off-season in terms of recruiting. In Kyle Neptune’s first summer at the helm, he wasted no time picking out the talent he had an eye for.
During Neptune’s first stint with the Wildcats, he was the main recruiter for a majority of players on the roster. After Jay Wright’s departure and Neptune’s arrival, only one player entered the transfer portal (Bryan Antoine, who, arguably, was going to enter the portal regardless) and nobody decommitted. It seems that Neptune is picking up right where he left off on the recruiting trail by developing a sense of trust, comfort and assurance. Let’s highlight some of the players he has offered a scholarship to over the last month.
The first player Villanova offered over the last month was Elmarko Jackson hailing from Richland, New Jersey. Although Jackson is from New Jersey, he plays his high school basketball at the renowned South Kent School in Connecticut. Jackson is a 6’3, 185 pound combo guard who has exceptional size and strength already. His is a prototypical Villanova guard and I can see why Neptune offered him as early as he did. Villanova was not the only one to offer him early however, take a look at all the offers he has already:
Thanks to all of the schools that have been recruiting me. I plan to cut my list in the next few weeks & take my official visits & announce my commitment in the Fall. pic.twitter.com/O5PUrCH8U8
— Elmarko (@ElmarkoJ) July 26, 2022
Elmarko is already a four-star prospect in the class of 2023 and I would not be surprised to see that change to a five-star rating before the high school season kicks off next year. Jackson is incredibly smart and a versatile defender capable of covering multiple positions. He looks college ready right now and he would be at the top of my priority list for any college lucky enough to make the cut on his preferred list of schools.
And now the recent Class of 2024 offers…
Next up, we have Jalil Bethea from Archbishop Wood High School in Warrington, PA. Does anybody know the last time Villanova got an under-ranked guard from Archbishop Wood? Oh that’s right, it was just COLLIN GILLESPIE. Gillespie has already given his seal of approval for the offer replying to a tweet online regarding Bethea calling him an ‘absolute sniper’. When you get called a sniper from THE sniper himself, you know you are well on your way.
Bethea participated in the Nike EYBL E16 Peach Jam where he competed for Team Final alongside some of the best high school recruits in the country. He was named a Peach Jam Standout by national level scout Grady Majors, and his stock has been on a meteoric rise ever since. Most national outlets still have Bethea unranked, but that is bound to change soon. As a late bloomer, Bethea already holds offers from schools such as UCLA, VCU, Temple and of course, Villanova.
Jalil Bethea is exactly what Collin Gillespie called him, a sniper. He is money from the outside with a killer instinct. In the PIAA 6A Playoffs, Bethea had a Philadelphia Catholic League playoff record 37 points on 11-12 shooting from deep. The summer of Jalil Bethea continued with a 33 point outing in the Peach Jam on only 13 shots (7-10 from 3). Neptune offering Bethea this early will hopefully play out in Villanova’s favor because this kid is going to be special.
Son of former Kentucky Wildcat, Nazr Mohammed, Nasir ‘Sir’ Mohammed is a four-star shooting guard from Charlotte, North Carolina. Sir already holds at least fourteen offers, from schools such as Kentucky, Tennessee, Stanford, Penn State, Xavier and more. Stop me if you have heard this before, but the Villanova recruit has outstanding size, length, and IQ, especially for his age.
Mohammed played from Team Curry on the AAU circuit this summer and was a standout amongst his peers. He plays his high school basketball at Myers Park in Charlotte where he really showcases his already well rounded game.
— Nick Jones (@CoachJonesMPB) November 24, 2021
I could type about this kid’s skill set for hours, but I’d figure I would show you instead. Above, is my favorite clip of all the highlights compiled from Mohammed. It is about a minute long clip of just pure dominance. He looks like a man amongst boys getting whatever he wants, wherever he wants. He is scrappy, smart and would make for a perfect addition to this recruiting class.
Mohammed is already on the record saying that he grew up a Kentucky fan and that his whole family went there including his dad who was a Wildcat legend. I mean, who could blame him honestly. But the recruiting process is unique to each and every prospect and if I know one thing about Mohammed it is that he is going to continue to do his thing, develop and get better. The cards will fall where they may but they will be a byproduct of his imminent success. Villanova would be a perfect fit for Mohammed in my opinion based off of his work ethic and their culture, and as we know anything could happen.
Last but certainly not least, we have Caleb Williams from Sidwell Friends School in Bethesda, Maryland. The same school that produced Villanova legends Josh Hart and Saddiq Bey.
Sorry Villanova football fans, this is not Caleb Williams the quarterback of USC, however luckily for Villanova basketball fans this is Caleb Williams a 6’7 lefty sharpshooter guard/forward mix who is incredibly effective on both sides of the ball. Williams may honestly be one of my favorite prospects from the class of 2024. Like every other recruit Williams is smart, efficient and tenacious on defense, but what I believe what really separates him from the rest are his intangibles. Williams seems almost allergic to pressure.
FINAL: Sidwell 46 Wilson 45
Caleb Williams for the win and the title!! Incredible! pic.twitter.com/BO6FuD6CFH
— Michael Errigo (@M_Errigo) March 7, 2022
Take this clip for example, this is not just some open gym runs with your buddies, this is for the DCSAA Class AA State Title. They won the game by one point. The wherewithal to know where he is on the floor, time his jump perfectly, use his size to create space and finish on the biggest stage is simply incredible.
Aside from his mamba mentality, Williams footwork and passing are other key areas of his game. He is an outstanding mover without the ball and can set his teammates up to succeed in any circumstance. Williams is just a winner.
All four of these recruits are winners for that matter. If Kyle Neptune can land any one of these four it will be a successful recruiting class, but the more the merrier. Another positive I take away from this recruiting class is that not all of these guys are ranked (yet). Neptune knows what he is looking for in a player and is finding all the players that check all the boxes that he constructed. I know it is early, and nothing is even remotely close to set in stone yet, but I am liking what I am seeing from Neptune and this coaching staff so far and I hope they can keep the pressure on these core four moving forward.