We’re already through and past the fall signing period for the basketball recruiting Class of 2021. However, Marquette men’s basketball isn’t done recruiting in that group, and we may be close to figuring more of that puzzle out. On December 5th, North Carolina big man Jonas Aidoo declared on Twitter that he’ll be making his college choice public on Thursday, December 10th. It turns out that’s also his birthday, which is fun.
Committing on my Birthday 12/10 !— Jonas Aidoo (@J0nasAid00) December 5, 2020
247 Sports marks the 6’11”, 215 pound Aidoo as the #108 prospect in the Class of 2021 in their Composite system. Internally, they’re a little bit more impressed with Aidoo than everyone else, it seems, as 247’s own rankings have him at #83. Either way, he’s a four star prospect and one of the four best prospects in the state of North Carolina. He’s also the only one in the top 10 that isn’t committed and the only one in the top six that isn’t committed to an ACC school.
Marquette offered Aidoo a scholarship back in early August of this year. Of course, that seems like a quick turnaround if Aidoo were to commit to the Golden Eagles, but we all know that recruiting relationships usually date much further back than the initial scholarship offer. Aidoo trimmed his list to a top 10 in late October — including Marquette in the list, of course — and this gives us a nice opportunity to talk about how much an impact that he’s made in the past four months. When MU made the offer, Aidoo wasn’t rated or ranked at all by 247 Sports, not in the Composite nor in their internal set up. When he made his top 10 list on Halloween, Aidoo was #120 in the Composite. I failed to note his internal ranking at the time, but you get the picture as to how quickly Aidoo jumped up in everyone’s eyes. Now he’s #108, and 247 actually thinks he deserves to be higher than that.
If you’re wondering how a guy can go from off in the wilderness in the rating/ranking department to knocking on the door of the top 100 in less than four months, I think I have an explanation for you from back when the scholarship offer was made:
It looks like Aidoo will be at Liberty Heights for the first time this fall. Max Preps has him at Voyager Academy in Durham, NC, last year. They show the team going 22-7 with a 14-2 record in conference play, but they only have six games worth of stats for Aidoo. That’s a bummer. He averaged 11.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 3.0 blocks in those games, so that’s pretty good. It’s also worth noting that Max Preps says that Aidoo was a senior at Voyager last school year, so this coming year at Liberty Heights is apparently a post-grad/college prep year for him. That probably helps explain why he isn’t rated or ranked in the Class of 2021 at this point, as there’s a certain amount of reclassification going on there. Of course, that raises a question of why Aidoo wasn’t being recruited as a 2020 prospect relative to his status as “under the radar” as opposed to “project.”
So there you go.
Aidoo has not made a further cutdown than his top 10, so it seems that he’s choosing from a list that includes Georgia, Houston, Kansas, Miami, North Carolina State, Providence, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Wake Forest along with the Golden Eagles. However, we do have a teeeeeensy bit of evidence to suggest that you can take this perhaps more seriously than a 1 in 10 shot against Kansas and North Carolina.
Please remember to take the following with a gigantic sized grain of salt, especially in the wake of the sudden flippity flop that happened with DaRon Holmes.
Four 247 Sports employees have picked Marquette as Aidoo’s destination, and those are the only four picks. I usually don’t like putting any weight behind Crystal Ball picks, and I really hate putting weight behind picks that are made before a guy declares when he’ll be making an announcement, and all four were made before December 5th. However, there is a certain amount of “oh, so you all put your heads together and talked about this, huh?” when Travis Branham, Eric Bossi, Jerry Meyer, and Dushawn London all make the same pick within a week of each other.
Over at Rivals, two recruiting analysts have tabbed Marquette as the pick for Aidoo, with no other picks on the board. In addition to that, Rob Cassidy published a “Ranking The Contenders” on Aidoo about a week ago, and he had the Golden Eagles at the top of the chart:
The perceived front-runner, though maybe not by a wide margin, Marquette offered Aidoo back in August, around the time the talented big bust onto the scene as a major national name in the 2021 class. Since then, Steve Wojciechowski and staff have prioritized the four-star prospect and the bond in place seems to be a strong one as the top-100 center moves toward a commitment. The Golden Eagles have two guards in the fold for 2021, but their biggest need is a big man, which remains unaddressed. Aidoo will fill that void perfectly. Marquette is by no means a lock to land his pledge, but — at least for now — the smart money is squarely on Wojciechowski’s program.
Kansas is in the two-hole, and “A Program That Hasn’t Offered” is #3. Given that Aidoo said he’s announcing a few days after Cassidy’s article went up, I’m going to wager that this is between MU and the Jayhawks at worst.
Can I interest you in a five minute highlight reel from late September of this year?
Let’s turn to the scholarship chart, shall we?
This is the debut of a brand new scholarship chart following my discovery that Tommy Gardiner does not have a walk-on notation next to his name in the Marquette game notes. This does raise a question about MU’s scholarship situation, of course. Giving Gardiner the orange for his junior season means MU definitely has one unassigned scholarship for the 2020-21 school year....... but also Marquette is taking care of Ike Eke’s tuition. I removed Eke from the scholarship chart when his playing career was declared over for medical reasons, but it’s possible that Marquette is counting him as a scholarship for official bookkeeping reasons.
If that’s the case, then it stands to reason that Eke could be on next year’s roster still, since he’s a redshirt junior. But he could also be done after this year, since it is his fourth year of college. It would also appear that Gardiner will remain on scholarship going forward given that he’s still on scholarship now. These are unconfirmed things, though, so I’m leaving the three open scholarship spots alongside Kameron Jones and Stevie Mitchell for the Class of 2021. If Gardiner and Eke are both occupying scholarships officially for 2021-22, that leaves just one spot open and available right now.
With two guards already signed, the obvious move is a big man, especially with the impending departure of Theo John after this season. Aidoo definitely fits the bill. If he’s prepared to come in and play big time defense immediately, there will be minutes available for him in a hurry to fill in the vacuum left behind by the end of John’s eligibility.