Richard Pitino is far from done with his 2018 recruiting class -- and how could he be with the Gophers reportedly in the mix for a top-10 player?
Pitino already signed three players for next season. But five-star IMG Academy (Fla.) guard Anfernee Simons is considering an official visit to Minnesota, he told 247Sports.com recruiting expert Evan Daniels on Monday.
Simons, the seventh best player and No. 1 combo guard in the 2018 class by 247Sports.com, recently visited North Carolina State. He told Daniels that he isn’t sure when he would visit the Gophers.
“I’m planning on it,” he said in the article, “but we haven’t talked about a date yet."
Daniels called Simons a high-level scorer and good athlete. He also told the Star Tribune that it's "definitely a possibility" that the IMG star could visit Minnesota.
The 6-foot-4, 170-pound Florida native played his final year of high school at Edgewater last spring, but decided to go the prep school route this season. Simons committed to Pitino’s father at Louisville in 2016, but he decided not to sign with the Cardinals after Rick Pitino was dismissed amid the FBI probe recruiting scandal in September.
Simons would be a year removed from his high school graduating class this summer, so he’s also considering entering the 2018 NBA Draft in June. He told Daniels that he would make that decision in late spring. Simons has taken two official visits to North Carolina State and Tennessee. He’s considering a visit with Minnesota, but also mentioned Florida, Southern Methodist and Dayton on his list, per 247Sports.com.
The Gophers are also recruiting another former Louisville commit Courtney Ramey, a 6-3 five-star point guard from St. Louis Webster Groves High School (Mo.). Ramey hasn’t reportedly mentioned a potential visit with the Gophers, but his father told 247sports.com that Minnesota was new school interested along with Oklahoma, South Carolina and Maryland. Ramey’s visited Texas and Oklahoma State. He cancelled a visit to Villanova last week, but reportedly still has a UCLA trip scheduled this weekend.
Another interesting recruiting nugget with the Gophers was a scholarship offer to 6-10 senior forward Giorgi Bezhanishvili from The Patrick School in New Jersey. Bezhanishvili doesn’t have any other high-major offers, but he is playing for the same school that produced Gophers freshman guard Jamir Harris.
What does Pitino have in mind to finish off his 2018 class? The Gophers appear set on adding more ball handling in the late signing period with the last scholarship (could there be another available with a player leaving the program?). But decision-making time for Simons and Ramey isn’t anytime soon.
Locals Daniel Oturu, Gabe Kalscheur and Jarvis Omersa are already signed, so that’s helping Gophers fans have something to look forward to during a disappointing 2017-18 season. Another top prospect possibly visiting no doubt provides even more optimism about the future.