The Texas Tech basketball program has made the cut to 12 teams still in the running for 2021 guard Jaden Hardy, a top-10 recruit in his class.
Though most of the attention of Texas Tech basketball fans has been on how Chris Beard and his staff will complete the 2020-21 roster, it isn’t too early to start considering what will happen in the 2021 recruiting class. One huge name to watch is Jaden Hardy.
Friday, the 6-foot-4 guard from Henderson, Nevada released his top 12 schools and Texas Tech made the cut. Also on that list are Arizona, Oregon, Arizona State, Kentucky, Georgia, Michigan, Memphis, UCLA, Kansas, Georgetown, and Illinois.
Hardy is currently listed as the No. 6 player in the nation and the top combo guard in the class of 2021 in 247Sports’ composite rankings. The 247Sports crystal ball prediction gives the edge to Kentucky right now but that will likely change given a recent development.
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Hardy’s older brother Amauri is a highly coveted grad transfer guard who recently committed to Oregon after playing his first three years at UNLV. For what it’s worth, the elder Hardy also held an offer from the Red Raiders.
While that connection might give Oregon a leg up in recruiting, it isn’t going to seal the deal given that Amauri will wrap up his career this season. Being as Jaden Hardy doesn’t seem likely to reclassify to the 2020 class (at least according to this SB Nation article), his time at the college level doesn’t seem destined to overlap with his brother’s.
Josh Gershon has the following scouting report on Hardy’s 247Sports profile page: “Very good size for combo guard with long arms and plus athleticism. Impressive projectable frame with plenty of room to gain strength. Extremely versatile playmaker who can create for teammates or himself. Relatively efficient scorer from all three levels. Impressive ball skills and vision. Has size, length and lateral quickness to guard both one and two. Has been on consistent upward trajectory since arriving in high school. Can still improve jumper and scoring package. Will need to improve assist/turnover ratio to hit upside as a primary ball-handler. Easy elite prospect at this stage who currently projects as first round pick with lottery upside if he continues on same path.”
It’s easy to see how Hardy could fit into Tech’s plans. His game is very similar to that of 2020 signee Nimari Burnett, the program’s first-ever McDonald’s All-American who is a 6-foot-3 combo guard and who will have to play plenty of minutes as Tech’s main ball handler next season. Most expect Burnett to be a one-and-done player for Tech meaning that Hardy could slide right into that role in 2021-22.
What strikes many Tech fans each time that another of the nation’s top high school recruits has Beard and the Red Raiders in his top schools is how far the program has come on the recruiting trail in the last four years. In Beard’s first class, 2016, Tech signed only two JUCO players, Niem Stephenson and Shaddell Millinghaus, neither of whom was thought of as being anywhere close to an elite prospect. Now, Tech routinely competes with the likes of Kentucky, Kansas, and Arizona for some of the best talent available.
Currently, the 2020 Texas Tech signing class now sits at No. 12 in the nation and second in the Big 12. And if Beard can land players of Jaden Hardy’s caliber, the 2021 class might be even better.