The NCAA’s early signing period opened Wednesday and for the first time in recent memory Green Bay does not have any commitments lined up.
With three scholarships open for the 2018 recruiting class, the Phoenix have been shut out on the recruiting trail so far but have remained aggressive in their pursuit of prospects.
Green Bay has extended scholarship offers to at least four prospects who have yet to commit – Carlos Curtis, JC Butler, Markeese Hastings, and Antonio Williams.
Curtis, a 6’3” guard from Milwaukee, is the top unsigned player in Wisconsin’s 2018 class and will announce his college decision on November 17th according to Mark Miller of the Wisconsin Basketball Yearbook. He has taken multiple visits to Green Bay and has been one of the coaching staff’s top priorities over the past year. However, the fact that he took an official visit to the UWGB campus and left without committing just a few weeks ago is an ominous sign that he is likely heading elsewhere.
JC Butler has scholarship offers from Green Bay and Milwaukee and has received interest from high major programs such as UNLV and UConn, according to WisSports. The 6’5” guard from Racine is the also one of the top remaining uncommitted prospects in the state and is expected to have a big senior season at The Prairie School after winning conference player of the year last year as a junior. He is likely to play out his senior season to see what other offers he can attract before signing. The Phoenix were the first to offer Butler a scholarship last October.
The competition is fierce for Markeese Hastings as he holds scholarship offers from 13 different Division I schools including half of the Horizon League (Green Bay, Oakland, Detroit Mercy, UIC, and Cleveland State) as well as several MAC schools (Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan, Miami (OH), and Buffalo), Loyola, Wyoming, Elon, and Coppin State.
The 6’7” forward averaged 14.6 points, 11.1 rebounds, 2.8 blocks, and 2.1 assists per game last season at Godwin Heights High School just outside of Grand Rapids, Michigan.
“He impacts plays around the rim, offense and defensively, so he has a lot of deflections on defense,” his high school coach Tyler Whittemore told Mlive.com. “He moves his feet quite well, and offensively, he just continues to be more dynamic. He can dribble and shoot and score from all over. He has the ability to take big guys off the dribble and get offensive rims and put backs.”
Hastings is a long shot for Green Bay at this point, but crazier things have happened.
JUCO shooting guard Antonio Williams received a scholarship offer from Green Bay this past September. The 6’1” sophomore at Indian Hills Community College averaged 9.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 2.1 assists last season and is off to a hot start to the season this year scoring 17.0 points and grabbing 5.5 rebounds per game. His only other scholarship offer at the moment is from Northern Arizona though he is likely to attract more Division I attention as he plays out his sophomore season. He would have two seasons of eligibility remaining next season. JUCO prospects usually do not sign during the early signing period.
The Phoenix are keeping an eye on several other 2018 prospects including intriguing 6’9” forward Barlow Alleruzzo. The Chicago native attended Green Bay’s elite camp over the summer and currently holds scholarship offers from UIC and Chicago State and has been gaining interest from other mid-major programs across the Midwest.
The signing period ends November 15th and there’s a decent chance Green Bay could be shutout, which would be disappointing. However, with plenty of high school prospects playing out their senior season there is still time to find class of 2018 recruits this winter. Linc Darner is also no stranger to adding prep school players, JUCO players, or Division I transfers.
On paper, his 2017 recruiting class looks to be a home run. It is not yet time to panic about the 2018 class, no matter what happens during the early signing period.