The number of uncommitted D.C.-area seniors is dwindling as high school basketball season nears, and three more Division I prospects are expected to make their decisions this week. Rock Creek Christian forward Jermaine Harris is announcing his college decision at 2 p.m. on Friday, St. John’s point guard Tre Wood also plans to announce Friday, and Episcopal forward Zach Pfaffenberger will announce his decision on Saturday.
This will all come after an eventful start to the basketball recruiting week, as two area seniors made verbal commitments Monday. St. John’s center Richard Njoku verbally committed to Navy, St. John’s Coach Pat Behan told The Post. Southern guard Curtis Holland III then verbally committed to High Point, which he announced in a tweet Monday night.
Below is what you need to know ahead of the upcoming decisions for Harris, Wood and Pfaffenberger.
Jermaine Harris, forward, Rock Creek Christian
Since announcing his final eight schools in July, Harris has not publicly cut any other programs out of his recruitment.
But the 6-foot-8 forward has indicated some top options with where he has taken official visits. Harris visited West Virginia in mid-September, Rhode Island a bit later in the month and Xavier this past weekend. Harris originally scheduled official visits to Kansas and Miami in the coming weeks, but he will now make his decision before seeing those schools. Along with West Virginia, Rhode Island and Xavier, a person with knowledge of Harris’ recruitment said that South Carolina is also in the running.
The final eight Harris announced in July was Kansas, Maryland, Xavier, Miami, West Virginia, South Carolina, Rhode Island and Southern Utah. He is the area’s best 2018 big man and has the ability to score from the perimeter and inside the paint.
Tre Wood, point guard, St. John’s
Wood has not publicized the schools he is ultimately choosing from, but the 6-foot guard took official visits to the University of Massachusetts, George Mason and Towson. Wood first visited UMass, then George Mason and finally Towson two weekends ago. Official visits are usually a solid indication of the schools a player is considering.
If Wood verbally commits to George Mason, he would be the second D.C.-area senior to pledge to the Patriots’ 2018 class. George Mason landed the verbal commitment of Loudoun Valley guard Jordan Miller, a 6-foot-4 lefty scorer, at the start of September. Wood and Miller would give the Patriots a very solid backcourt into the future, with Wood’s ability to space the floor from the point guard spot opening up driving lanes for Miller, who likes to go to the rim. Wood is also a very solid slasher and his ability to get inside the paint creates a lot of scoring opportunities for teammates.
But Wood, who played his AAU ball for Team Takeover, seems to have a few schools still in the running.
“With Tre, I think you get a lead guard who is going to be able to step into a program with incredible experience at the high school and AAU level,” St. John’s Coach Pat Behan said on Monday. “You get a kid who can run an offense, is a really good on-ball defender and can create for his teammates, too.”
Zach Pfaffenberger, forward, Episcopal
Pfaffenberger’s decision is down to three schools: Mount St. Mary’s, Binghamton and Sacred Heart.
The 6-foot-8 forward said Monday that these three programs have been in on him since the beginning of his recruitment. They have also stayed in constant contact in recent months, he said, and now have a chance to add a high-energy, versatile big man to their 2018 class. Pfaffenberger has shed 35 pounds since his freshman season and expanded his offensive game to the perimeter before his junior year. Now he considers himself a viable threat from midrange and beyond the arc, and said he can put the ball on the floor from those spots.
“I had to change up my game so I could work inside and outside,” Pfaffenberger said. “I think that makes me a good fit at the next level, a bigger guy who can stretch the floor and do a lot of things.”
If Pfaffenberger chooses Mount St. Mary’s, he would be the third local senior to verbally commit to the Emmitsburg, Maryland school. The Mountaineers have already received pledges from Bullis point guard Vado Morse and O’Connell shooting guard Matt Becht.
Other recruiting notes
» With Njoku and Holland coming off the board Monday and O’Connell point guard Xavier Johnson verbally committing to Nebraska last week, here is an updated list of D.C.-area seniors who have pledged to Division I schools (in alphabetical order): O’Connell guard Matt Becht (Mount St. Mary’s), Georgetown Prep point guard Jared Bynum (Saint Joseph’s), Gonzaga guard Myles Dread (Penn State), Southern guard Curtis Holland III (High Point), Gonzaga point guard Prentiss Hubb (Notre Dame), O’Connell point guard Xavier Johnson (Nebraska), Paul VI guard Miles Latimer (Stony Brook), Loudoun Valley guard Jordan Miller (George Mason), South County forward Quention Millora-Brown (Rice), Bullis point guard Vado Morse (Mount St. Mary’s), St. John’s center Richard Njoku (Navy), Georgetown Prep forward Ike Nweke (Columbia), Georgetown Prep wing Mezie Offurum (George Washington), Paul VI guard Brandon Slater (Villanova), St. Mary’s Ryken guard Wynston Tabbs (Boston College), Riverdale Baptist point guard Donovann Toatley (Tennessee-Chattanooga)
» And here are the top local seniors who have yet to make a college decision (in alphabetical order, with players who are planning to announce this week in bold): Matthew Balanc (guard, Springbrook), Saddiq Bey (forward, Sidwell Friends), Kiyon Boyd (guard, Massanutten Military Academy), Zyan Collins (guard, Freedom-South Riding), Jaden Faulkner (point guard, Eleanor Roosevelt), Deson Flood (wing, Good Counsel), Jermaine Harris (forward, Rock Creek Christian), Ayinde Hikim (point guard, Wilson), Christian Jones (guard, Annapolis), Darren Lucas-White (guard, Fairmont Heights), Daniel Oladapo (wing, Bladensburg), L.J. Owens (point guard, Severn School), Zach Pfaffenberger (forward, Episcopal), Tre Wood (point guard, St. John’s)
» DeMatha junior guard Justin Moore picked up offers from Villanova, Maryland and Penn State in the past week, he and DeMatha Coach Mike Jones announced on Twitter. Moore, who missed most of his sophomore season and all of this past AAU circuit after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament last January, now has offers from the Wildcats, Terrapins, Notre Dame, Louisville, Xavier, Wake Forest, Penn State, Old Dominion and Towson. Moore is 6-foot-3 and plays AAU basketball for Team Takeover.
» Severn School senior guard L.J. Owens took an official visit to William & Mary this past weekend, D.C. Blue Devils Coach Ricardo Rush told The Post on Sunday. Owens took an official visit to Saint Joseph’s the weekend before that, and is planning official visits to Delaware and Quinnipiac, according to Rush (Owens played for Rush on the Blue Devils’ 17U team this past spring and summer). Rush also said that Boston University is making a late push into Owens’ recruitment. BU — which was not in the final seven schools that Owens released in early September — offered the 6-foot-3 guard in mid-September, and Rush said Owens is now considering taking an official visit there.
» Springbrook senior guard Matt Balanc will take an official visit to Florida Gulf Coast this weekend, Mid-Atlantic Select director James Lee told The Post on Sunday. Balanc, a 6-foot-3 guard, is choosing among Florida Gulf Coast, Rhode Island and Quinnipiac, a final three he announced in September. He was not being heavily recruited until this summer, when strong showings in the three July evaluation periods (while playing for Mid-Atlantic Select) earned him 10 scholarship offers.
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