I was prowling Twitter the other day to find out who was doing what to whom in terms of the Xavier recruiting process when I came across this little gem:
Prohm was watching Simpson in the Peach Jam a few weeks ago. One time Xavier lock now looking at ISU+B1G schools https://t.co/fu0jkLMIVs— Carmon Wilson (@Cdub_99) July 15, 2015
I let that germinate in my mind for a bit. I had never considered Xavier Simpson a lock to come to X, and history seems to be vindicating me. What does this mean for Xavier though? There are two basic ways to look at it, and they both benefit from the context of the Musketeers' other recruiting efforts.
That particular context, of course, is Xavier's being in on five-star point guard Kobi Simmons. Simmons, along with Simpson and Campbellsville, KY's Quentin Goodin, is one of three point guards in the 2016 class that the Musketeers are targeting hard, despite the presence of Edmond Sumner and Larry Austin, Jr. on the roster. Simmons is the most highly-regarded of the three and generally considered a top-ten player in the class. He recently trimmed his list of schools to six and has an official visit scheduled at X later this summer.
The positive view of this is that Simpson is hearing rumblings that he needs to set a backup plan. If he wants to go to Xavier but Simmons lands at X, that would drastically cut into the chances that Simpson would be able to find a place in the rotation. If Simpson considers that a realistic possibility, he's going to want to have another top school lined up.
The negative view is that Xavier's flirtations with other point guards are going to cost them the inside lane on what appears to be a very, very good recruit. Simpson has been garnering a lot of notice for his play this summer; it's entirely possible that he wants to go somewhere where he knows he's the guy in the 2016 class. Seeing X line up Simmons may have given him itchy feet. Don't forget that Simpson was set to announce a month ago before backing off of that and biding his time.
A spanner in the whole process is UK's presence in the Simmons recruiting. Xavier is rarely recruiting heads-up against the Wildcats, so I don't follow their process that closely, but the general feeling is that Calipari more or less lands the players that he wants. While Simmons told ESPN that Xavier would be a "great fit for me," and that his "good connection" with Muskie freshman Kaiser Gates will come into play, he also said that he and Calipari talk pretty much every day. Make of that what you will.
The long and short of it is that college hoops in July mostly comes down to speculation. Coaches watch players and speculate how a 16-year-old might perform at 20. Players look at rosters and rankings and speculate what their best route to a free education and maybe an adulthood of paying the bills by hooping is. Scouts and media members try to interpret the speculation, and we as fans are another step removed, trying to read tea leaves in order to stay abreast of how things might look when the games actually start to matter.
It's enough to drive a guy nuts.