Back on August 5th, Class of 2022 prospect A.J. Casey released a cutdown list of eight schools for his recruitment. Those eight, in alphabetical order: DePaul, Florida, Gonzaga, Illinois, Memphis, Michigan, Ohio State, and of course, because we’re mentioning it here, yes, YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles.
Casey is listed as a 6’8”, 180 pound forward by 247 Sports. Hailing from Chicago, he attends Whitney Young High School. He is currently ranked #33 in the country by the 247 Sports Composite system, which makes him a four-star prospect. He is the #6 power forward recruit in the country and the top prospect in the entire state of Illinois, easily beating out Xavier commit Kam Craft at #81 in the national rankings.
Marquette offered Casey a scholarship back in late June after he took an unofficial visit to Milwaukee to see the campus. Interestingly, Casey has dipped a bit in the recruiting rankings since then, as he was #21 in the country when the offer was made. There’s not a lot of functional difference between #21 and #33, and he only slipped one spot in the power forward rankings along the way. Honestly: If you want to jump up and down about Shaka Smart wasting his time with guys who have fallen out of the top 25 in the rankings and are only top 40 guys now, you should probably go take a long walk outside in the fresh air.
While it’s neat to be involved with a top 40 prospect and right alongside the top contenders, I suspect that Marquette may not have a very strong chance here. If I may, a tweet from Max Feldman, who works for/with the Meanstreets basketball club:
As of recent, AJ Casey is being recruited the hardest by Memphis, Florida, Gonzaga, Illinois, Ohio State & DePaul— Max Feldman (@MaxFeldman6) August 3, 2021
High upside 6-8 pogo stick athlete who battled through injury to bring two-way winning production at Peach Jam
⠀@MeanstreetsEYB @WYoungBoysBball pic.twitter.com/zSg60Rh02P
You will notice two things about that tweet:
- It came two days before Casey announced his list.
- Marquette isn’t mentioned.
Neither is Michigan if we’re keeping track of things, but we have to note that the six teams listed are the other six that aren’t Marquette or Michigan in Casey’s list. Now, this could just be a case of Feldman listing six and stopping at six. It could be a case of Casey being very interested in Marquette and Feldman just running behind the situation not being aware of what’s in Casey’s head. There’s a lot of possibilities! But the most obvious one is “MU might be running in seventh or eighth place here,” so try not to get too far over your skis on this one until we hear more.
For whatever it’s worth in this situation, here’s what Casey had to say about Marquette when he talked to 247 Sports in mid-July:
“I talk to DeAndre Haynes. He is one of the assistant coaches there. I talk to Shaka Smart as well. It was pretty cool going down there. I toured the campus. I think it is cool how they play at the Milwaukee Bucks arena and have their own locker room. The visit was really good.”
Casey has had an interesting prep career already. Whitney Young is his third high school after starting at Simeon and making a move to Tinley Park for his sophomore campaign. After starting out small as a freshman — I mean, it’s Simeon, you kind of have to unless you’re a worldbeater as a 14 year old — Casey averaged 22 points, 10.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 3.1 blocks for Tinley Park as a sophomore. This past season, he was a First Team All-Illinois performer while giving the Dolphins 18 points, eight rebounds, and four assists per game.
Just to mix it up from the last time we talked about Casey, here’s three minutes of highlights from early May of this year.
Scholarship chart time!
Yes, Marquette is projected to have a number of tall lanky gentlemen on the roster in the fall of 2022 when Casey would be heading to college. He is also a fringe one-and-done candidate, and therefore none of that matters. If Casey is interested in playing college hoops 1) in the Big East and 2) just a short drive from his hometown, then Shaka Smart should absolutely pull the trigger on adding him to the team. Everything else can figure itself out after that. After all, MU still has four projected scholarship spots available for the Class of 2022. Get the top 40 guy into one of your four open spots, and then worry about how he fits in later, that’s what I always say.