Cincinnati – Wes Miller and his Cincinnati staff have put themselves in the midst of a high-stakes, heavyweight recruitment battle for 2023 five-star point guard Isaiah Collier, and beerkatsCoaches have the power of their own talent assessment to give thanks for it.
Collier – a 6-foot-4, 200-pound prospect from Wheeler High School outside Atlanta – shot to claim 1st place in the 247 Sports Rankings 2023 Just a few weeks ago. He is No. 4 in the country according to the 247Sports Composite ranking, and is also considered the best guard in the 2023 class. With the last enlistment contact period opening on September 9 and Collier still not committed, there has been a lot of interest in the direction and status of his enlistment, and Beerkats in the midst of it. Cincinnati is the finalist for Collier, along with Michigan And the USCbecause of the way Miller and his staff have prioritized primary custodianship for months.
“Wes has done a great job building a relationship with him. Wes is a key goalkeeper, and one of his most important traits is that Zee can be coached by a man who has played his position,” Wheeler coach Larry Thompson said. “The kid is too young to understand the history of basketball in Cincinnati. This isn’t a negative, but it didn’t mean anything to him until he started learning some history. But what does mean something to him is the relationship he has established with these employees.”
Collier took Official visit to Cincinnati in February, when he was evaluated in the 1920s by 247Sports. He was still a five-star prospect, and his trip to Clifton still generated quite a stir among the UCSD fan base, but from a national perspective, he wasn’t well-liked in the same noble and desired respect reserved for the top-rated position. That’s credit for evaluating Miller’s talent and something Collier has valued since the beginning of his relationship with the Berkats head coach.
“For me, Cincinnati, their eye for talent was first,” said Darnell “Chip” Shepherd, a Collier coach and assistant coach at Wheeler. “There were a lot of other employees who were looking at the other guards in Zee’s row, but the Cincinnati crew realized very early on that he was the best ranger in the country, and they weren’t quite calm about it. Absolutely. To us, that really stood out.”
On the court, it’s been a strange and disjointed summer for Collier despite his steady rise in the recruiting rankings. After leading Wheeler to the 2022 State Quarterfinals and coming into his third straight Georgia State Championships, Collier was diagnosed with a meniscus injury at an NBA Under-18 workout in late May.
“This was something he had been dealing with for a while, in the latter part of our high school season,” Shepherd said. “He’s a big, strong kid and a hell of a competitor, so he probably got more hurt than he let in because he was trying to lead us to the state championship.”
This forced him to miss most of the popular summer tournaments that came under heavy scrutiny, playing for Atlanta-based The Skill Factory at EYBL. He was approved to resume work in August in time for Steph Curry Camp and Under Armor Elite 24, earning MVP honors in both events despite the short air conditioning runway. This, combined with his performance in the early popular sessions and the entirety of his public work, was enough to continue to raise his profile in the enlistment.
“He’s gotten a lot better at shooting basketball. He makes better decisions. His overall game, poise and pace has improved, and he’s been really good,” Thompson said. “He’s really at an elite level now. Some of the things he can do, a lot of his peers haven’t been blessed with that ability yet, and that’s quite natural for him. I’m not saying it’s easy, but it has a great feel.”
As Collier’s stock continued to rise, Miller remained dedicated to the five-star point guard as Cincinnati’s top target in 2023. The length and consistency of the relationship with Cincinnati, particularly with Miller and his assistants Andre Morgan and Chad Dollar, resonated with Collier and his family, who hosted the Bearcats coaches at Home visit on September 11th.
“The staff was great. “Not smug but it’s enough that you can’t forget her knowing Zee is a priority for them,” Shepherd said. “They’ve kept recruiting around Cincinnati, not passively recruiting. Coach Miller has done an amazing job talking about himself, the future of the program and where he is now, without fear of saying they would improve and he believes Isaiah is a prime candidate to speed up this process.”
A similar approach has served Cincinnati well with Collier’s teammate, Arrinten Page, 6-9 position, 220 pounds and a four-star prospect who ranked 52nd overall in the 2023 class. According to its score, 247 Sports Composite.
“They made it a priority,” Thompson said. “It seems to me that that’s exactly what[the Cincinnati coaches]do. Building relationships, I don’t think anyone has done a better job with any of these kids about what’s important to them as individuals.”
Page – who recently named Cincinnati as one of the four finalists along with the University of Southern California, Indiana And Miami – It was viewed by a number of programs early on as a package deal with Collier, which is understandable given how integrative his game was with Collier and how he benefited from playing with the elite guard. But Beerkats took a different path.
“What was different about Cincy’s approach was that they had a specific plan outside of the other schools that were hiring Zay and AP at the same time. Cincinnati quickly identified his skill set,” Shepherd said. development process for him. Once it became clear that AP would form its own path, other schools realized they needed to do the same and treat him as an individual.”
Miller and his aides made a home visit with Paige on September 9, and Paige is expected on the Cincinnati campus for an official visit this weekend. (Edgerrin “Jizzle” James Jr., the 2023 four-star point guard from Florida is also planning an official visit this weekend.) A trip to USC after his second stop in Clifton.
“He’ll be going up to Cincinnati at the end of this month and going out to USC after that,” Shepherd said. “Maybe you can look for his announcement coming out in early October.”
On the other hand, Collier is not planning any further visits, has no set timetable to announce his decision and – at least for the time being – he has no intention of releasing one. There were suggestions earlier in the summer that USC was the favourite, but those close to Collier insist that it was all outside noise and gossip and that none of it was coming from within Collier’s camp.
“I’m with the baby almost every day, and I couldn’t tell you. Because I don’t know,” Thompson said.
USC is absolutely the contender, but so are Michigan and Cincinnati University of California It’s still in the mix, too. Both Thompson and Shepherd emphasized that the selection would come down to what Collier felt would be best suited to him and the program he would be joining and would be made on his terms and schedule.
“He doesn’t choose a school because of a name or a tradition or the city it’s in. That’s not what it’s about. When he makes his decision, he makes the decision based on who has the pieces to help him and the team achieve success,” Thompson said. He participates, and he knows it, so he wants to make that decision based on who’s on the list. It is a very mature decision that he will make in terms of not caring about himself, but the entirety of the program and the team.”
This is good news for Miller and Cincinnati, who are still in the midst of competition for the prospect of being the Bearcats’ top-ranked recruit in the 247Sports era and potentially a player changing the program as they prepare to move into the Big 12.
“The coaching staff did a great job hiring Isaiah and AP for that matter, and they did a good job blocking the noise,” Shepherd said. “I can’t say where Isaiah will or won’t go, but if he didn’t choose Cincinnati, it wouldn’t be because they didn’t recruit him the right way.”
(Photo from above courtesy of Ariel Holloway/scottookit)