If attention paid during the spring and summer recruiting periods was any indication, what happened on Thursday afternoon was a foregone conclusion. Al Amadou, a top 100 forward in the Class of 2023, joined 247 Sports on their YouTube channel to announce his commitment to YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles and head coach Shaka Smart. He picked MU out of a final five that included St. John’s, Miami, Georgia Tech, and San Diego.
Amadou is currently listed by 247 as a 6’9”, 185 pound power forward. Hailing from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, he attends Springside Chestnut Hill Academy in Philadelphia. The 247 Composite system rates Amadou as a four-star prospect and ranks him at #104 in the country in the Class of 2023. That makes him the 23rd best power forward in the class and the second best prospect in Pennsylvania, trailing behind only Justin Edwards, a Kentucky commitment who is ranked #3 in the country. Internally, 247 is much higher at moment on Amadou, ranking him nearly 20 spots higher than the Composite at #87 in the country. That’s still four-star prospect territory, so it’s not like that really represents that much of a difference, especially not with five-star territory cutting off at #21.
The explanation on the difference between the two is quite simple: Not everyone likes Amadou’s potential as much as 247 Sports does at the moment. Rivals doesn’t have a rating or ranking for him at all, he’s not in the ESPN top 100 although they do have him as a four-star prospect, and On 3’s internal system rates him as a three-star guy ranked #138 in the country.
In any case, this is all a big jump up for Amadou. When Marquette made their scholarship offer to him back last August, he wasn’t rated or ranked at all by 247 Sports. He first appeared in the top 100 of the 247 internal rankings back in November, and has slowly inched his way into the top 90. Effectively, this means that Amadou has gone from getting offers from local squads like Drexel and La Salle to being projected as a fringe Power Six contributor on Day 1 of his collegiate career. Not too bad.
“My main thing for having this top five was to have really good relationships with each coaching staff,” he said. “Just knowing that the people around me, trusting them, and having my mom trust them. I’m a relationship type of guy and loyalty runs deep for me.”
Remember: Relationships are a core value for Shaka Smart at Marquette, to the point where it appears on promo material the team posts on social media. Based on info from our article when Smart made the scholarship offer, it looks like Marquette has been the longest involved team with Amadou, so that probably plays a big part in knowing the staff and the people that will be around him in Milwaukee. Unspoken in Amadou’s comments here are his emotions over losing his father and his father’s younger brother two weeks apart in the spring of 2019. I highly recommend that you go read this feature from City Of Basketball Love on Amadou’s development between then and now, both as a basketball player and as a person.
Here’s what Amadou told 247 Sports in late July about his recruitment by Marquette:
“They’ve been at every game and coach Smart made it an effort to really recruit me. It’s crazy because coach Smart is a great coach and they would call my phone every day and keep in touch with me. Our relationship runs deep.”
That first sentence is what I alluded to at the top of the page. It seemed that every time I turned around, there was a new mention of Smart and sometimes an assistant as well at Amadou’s games on the club circuit in the spring and in the summer. You can see the value of Smart’s commitment to both Amadou as well as growing the relationship with Amadou in his comments there.
Here’s a quick scouting report on Amadou that 247 Sports published in mid-July.
Amadou is a long-term stock who combines good size, mobility, and developing skill. He needs to get much stronger and more consistent with both his motor and overall productivity, but he has a chance to be an inside-out scoring threat and versatile frontcourt defender in time.
And now, the new scholarship chart!
As you can see from the chart, adding Amadou to the 2023-24 roster closes out the known available scholarships for Marquette with Zaide Lowery already committed. While that would be good enough to give Marquette a top 20 recruiting class at the moment according to the 247 Sports Class Calculator, there’s a real chance that the Golden Eagles are not done recruiting for a year from now. There’s just been way too much buzz around various 2023 prospects, most notably Tre Norman, to declare MU officially done now, and on top of that, there are some question marks hanging in the air. Is Emarion Ellis going to be able to recover from his stress fracture and play for Marquette again? Is Oso Ighodaro going to take advantage of enrolling with a big pile of AP credits and graduate early and leave? Does Olivier-Maxence Prosper turn into a big time pro prospect over the next seven months? Are there going to be transfers in the new era of immediate eligibility? While I’m not trying to push anyone out the door, it certainly feels like something else is on the way, so we’ll have to wait and see how it all shakes out.