As college football teams duke it out on the gridiron this weekend, college basketball fans will be paying more attention to which elite hoops prospects are hanging around on the sidelines.
From detailed video presentations to name chants from fans in the stands to lucrative NIL deals, coaches and fans will pull out all stops trying to lure some of the best high school basketball players in the country.
Here are a handful of the hoops VIPs that will roam on different campuses this weekend.
Jalil Bethea’s visit to Kansas
Fresh off an official visit to Villanova, Bethea has spent the last few days, no doubt, walking around on the red carpet in Lawrence. Bill Self will go all in for one of the most dynamic guards in the country after the 6-foot-4 scoring guard dominated the competition in the Nike EYBL this summer. Bethea led Team Final to the Nike EYBL regular season title, averaging 18.9 points a game during all four sessions and shooting over 42 percent from the 3-point line and 49.8 percent from the field. There’s no doubt that Self had some ground to make up this weekend with Miami, Syracuse and Villanova as the perceived front-runners as it stands.
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Liam McNeeley’s and Derik Queen’s visit to Kansas
Self was already entertaining one of the most dynamic guards in the country in Bethea, so he was likely already on his A game when one of the most versatile players, McNeeley, and arguably the most dominant big, Queen, in the country got to campus on Friday. The duo already team up at Montverde (Fla.) Academy, arguably the top high school team in the country this season. This visit is major for Self on a lot of different levels; both prospects will take a trip to Indiana the following week, so he’ll need to make a lasting impression before Mike Woodson gets his shot. Also, Self will host their other Montverde teammate who just happens to be the top player in the class, Cooper Flagg, at some point in the near future, which could help the Jayhawks’ chances on both fronts.
Austin Swartz’s visit to Georgia
Swartz was one of the best shot makers in the Nike EYBL all summer, draining 37 percent from the 3-point line during the regular season, a weapon Mike White is hoping to add to his 2024 haul. Swartz checked into Athens on Friday and has only been on one other official visit (Clemson). It certainly helps that he’s built a bond with Bulldogs assistant coach Akeem Miskdeen, but the Bulldogs still have to contend with Indiana, Connecticut, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Florida State Miami and Clemson.
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Chase McCarty’s visit to Houston
McCarty backed up his reputation as one of the best marksmen in the country taking home the 3-point champion hardware at the Under Armour Elite 24 recently. That’s the type of firepower Kelvin Sampson could use at the Fertitta Center. The 6-foot-5 wing is coming off an official visit to Tennessee and has already taken officials to Ole Miss, Georgia Tech, Oklahoma and Kansas.
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