RECRUITING TARGET: KOBIE EUBANKS
Well, this is certainly interesting.
A month into the academic year and less than three weeks removed from the season's first practice, Scout's Evan Daniels has reported that Georgetown is visiting Kobie Eubanks, a four-star wing who has recently reopened his recruitment and would be eligible to play in December.
Eubanks originally committed to Baylor's 2014 recruiting class before losing his scholarship due to grade manipulation on his transcript from Florida's Plantation American Heritage School. After transferring to Our Savior New American School (Long Island) for his senior year, he filed a lawsuit against Plantation American for its role in the transcript snafu. He reclassified to 2015, enrolled at Elev8 Sports Institute for a postgrad year, reopened his recruitment and committed to play at Alabama.
But the fun doesn't stop there! In August, Alabama coach Avery Johnson announced that Eubanks could not be cleared by the NCAA nor admitted to the university — reportedly due to insufficient SAT/ACT scores — and would once again reopen his recruitment. Sometime between then and now, Eubanks retook either or both tests and pumped up his scores enough to be NCAA-eligible for the spring semester.
Lots to digest here. I'm going to get into the on-court scouting report for a minute, and then we'll talk about Georgetown's outlook.
BY THE NUMBERS
He's listed at 6-foot-5 and around 200 pounds by all outlets. Rankings vary, but he's consistently rated in the Top 100 (247 Sports' composite ranking places him at No. 96) and in the Top 20 at his position (shooting guard or small forward, depending on who you ask). He averaged 18.5 points per game as a senior at Our Savior, hitting a three-pointer in 24 of 27 games.
I mean, what more endorsement do you people need?
But really, the dude is an aggressive scorer with the size to play two-guard in the NBA and a beautiful shooting stroke. He claims to have a 6-foot-10 wingspan, and I'm inclined to believe that's fairly close to the truth. Scout.com expresses some concerns about his ballhandling and decision-making but calls him "a legitimate high-major prospect" nonetheless, emphasizing his willingness to get physical on the block and drive through contact.
Should he commit to Georgetown, Eubanks would almost certainly play a meaningful role off the bench as soon as he became eligible. For all the excitement around Kaleb Johnson and Paul White's perimeter skills, the Hoyas still roster a grand total of three (four if you count Johnson) scholarship guards. It doesn't sound like Eubanks would solve the ballhandling problem off the bat, but he'd bring a legitimate long-range threat to a team filled with B+ shooters on the wings.
Georgetown hasn't had a consistently playable sharpshooting swingman since Hollis Thompson. To land a guy who fits the lanky, athletic JTIII profile while actually nailing threes with regularity would be huge.
Here's his senior year highlight reel. Bonus: His Twitter account has a bunch of videos of him doing cool dunks with a friend.
I've got a lot of thoughts here, so this may or may not turn into a coherent argument. But here goes:
The academic stuff is concerning. I really hate pulling this card, but there's no ignoring the fact that Georgetown has a tougher academic environment than most big basketball schools, and Eubanks needed a lot of help and extra time to get eligible in the first place. When the Alabama head coach says he "wasn't able to get him admitted," that's not giving me a ton of confidence in his potential future at Georgetown, especially given our difficulties keeping players eligible in recent years. Yes, I get the arguments for not worrying about this — SATs don't always predict classroom success, it's not like we should recruit only bookworms, he'll have access to tutors, etc. That's all true! But to pretend this isn't a concern would be intellectually dishonest.
From a talent perspective, he looks to be a gem, especially for this late in the process. I'm a little confused about the lack of more high-level programs in the mix, but I'll chalk that up to an effective early recruiting job by Baylor and a lack of scholarship availability by the time he decommitted. In any case, he's a stud with a skillset we could use.
At the end of the day, there are clear cynical and delusional ways to approach this — both of which are actually pretty reasonable, in my opinion.
If you hop on the delusion train, JTIII is simply looking into a talent who is rarely available this late in the game. All the grades/standardized test drama that may have scared us away earlier is resolved, and we're by far the most prestigious program with a spot for him. The staff is doing their due diligence by giving him a meeting. If they believe he can succeed at Georgetown, he'll get an offer, potentially giving us the backcourt depth for deep tournament run.
If you're more cynical, JTIII is currently so desperate for another guard that he's making an October visit to a guy who attended three high schools, decommitted twice due to academic ineligibility, isn't drawing interest from any other program stronger than Baylor and wouldn't be eligible until December. It also might not bode terribly well for the recruitment of 2016 prospects Seventh Woods and Bruce Brown, marking another year of whiffs on blue-chip guards.
Personally, I'd rather not put down a verdict on Eubanks without knowing the kid. It's certainly possible he would thrive at Georgetown! But I do think it's fair for the fanbase to be more wary of a guy like this than we were, say, three years and two major academic suspensions ago. I only hope that JTIII is comfortable enough with the current roster that he can make an honest evaluation of Eubanks' chances here. If that's not the case — if things are so dire that he feels forced to take a gamble on a talent regardless of fit and academic concerns — we may be in for a long year.