On Thursday, 5-star small forward Naas Cunningham announced his final five schools that he was considering. To the surprise of many, the No. 5 ranked recruit in the class of 2024 included Rutgers. The other schools include Kansas, UCLA, Duke, and Memphis.
The 6-foot-7 junior is from West Orange, New Jersey. He previously played at Gill St. Bernard’s last season as a sophomore. Cunningham averaged 13.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.1 steals and 1 block per game. He is currently playing for Overtime Elite in Atlanta. It is a professional basketball league for 16-20 year olds as a developmental step alternative to college. Because he is playing as a scholarship player and not being paid a salary, he has maintained his college eligibility.
In 16 games playing in Overtime Elite, he is averaging 14.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.9 steals per contest.
2024 5 ⭐️ Naasir Cunningham (@NaasCunningham) released his top five schools yesterday
Duke, Rutgers, UCLA, Kansas, and Memphis made the cut
Lengthy G/W with tons of tools on the offensive end pic.twitter.com/UhtJtC1yhF
— Alex Karamanos (@TheCircuitAlex) February 11, 2023
Cunningham has reportedly taken unofficial visits to Rutgers, UCLA, and Duke with Memphis on deck next week. No word on a visit to Kansas as of yet.
He is a super athletic wing who can score in all three phases and flourishes in transition. Cunningham has length, can shoot off the catch, is a confident long range shooter, and is explosive at the rim. He’ll need to bulk up with only weighing 180 pounds. It will better serve him at the high major level and beyond, making him harder to defend when attacking the rim. While not known as a great defender, he has all the skills to develop into one. His ceiling is extremely high.
Over the summer, Cunningham was ranked the No. 1 recruit in the 247 Composite rankings but is currently listed at No. 5. He is sandwiched between Rutgers’ top priority in No. 4 Dylan Harper and recent commit No, 6 Ace Bailey.
Harper’s stock continues to rise as he is having a tremendous junior campaign at Don Bosco Prep. The recruiting battle appears to be between Duke, Indiana and Rutgers. Some analysts consider him a Duke lean, but I believe Rutgers to be right in the mix. Steve Pikiell has attended several of his games this season as have several players. Pikiell’s proven history with developing his brother Ron Jr. is obviously a big chip to have.
Bailey committed last month and is the highest ranked recruit in program history. His ceiling as a player is incredibly high.
It was also reported on Thursday that 4-star guard Kur Teng is taking an official visit to Rutgers later this month. Teng is ranked No. 37 in the 2024 class and also being heavily recruited by Michigan State and Providence.
In addition, 4-star guard Dellquan Warren committed to Rutgers last month. He is ranked No. 101 in the class of 2024 and is already a top flight on ball defender.
Rutgers is working towards the highest ranked recruiting class in modern program history. I wouldn’t worry or try to figure out how many spots are available for the 2024-2025 season. It appears there would be four spots available but it is a fluid situation. It’s still a long time away and the current climate in college basketball has shown things can change quickly. Trust Pikiell and the coaching staff to know exactly what they’re doing.
If Cunningham joined Bailey, Rutgers would have a top ten class at a minimum. If both Cunningham and Harper choose RU, they could end up with the No. 1 class in 2024.
With 4-star and top 40 wing Gavin Griffiths arriving next fall along with Baye Ndongo and Bailey’s high school teammate Jamichael Davis, following up with an elite 2024 class would elevate the program to new heights. There is a long way to go in the recruiting cycle, but Rutgers is in an almost unimaginable position to land a program changing class.
You can watch highlights of Naas Cunningham here.
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