Recently, the Texas Tech basketball program’s pursuit of the nation’s No. 1 prospect, Jonathan Kuminga, has picked up serious momentum.
Texas Tech basketball fans have become greedy. Already with the nation’s No. 9 recruiting class (tops in the Big 12), many Red Raiders are not satisfied.
That’s because the possibility of landing Jonathan Kuminga, the top high school player in the country regardless of classification, is a possibility. And in recent weeks, that possibility seems to be growing more realistic. In fact, there seems to be some serious smoke to what Tech fans hope is the fire that will fuel a 2020-21 title run.
To be clear, many things have to fall into place for this dream scenario to become reality. First, Kuminga has to reclassify to the class of 2020.
Recently, Adam Zagoria of The New York Times Sports Tweeted that Kuminga was working towards graduating high school early. And on a recent podcast, Kuminga said that he is considering that option.
“For me, right now, I would say 50/50,” Kuminga said on the High School Happenings podcast “With everything is going on right now, I don’t want to put myself in the type of situation where I don’t know what I’m doing. So I’ve just got to be patient with it, sit down with my family and plan on everything.”
While that is the first domino that has to fall, the second would be that he has to actually decide to come to Lubbock. Of course, we know that the presence of his half brother, Joel Ntambwe, on the Red Raider roster is what helped open the door for Chris Beard’s program.
But the competition has been fierce as one might assume. Still, it is believed that Tech is one of the finalists in this recruiting battle along with Duke, Auburn, and LSU. Also, the NBA G League is another route that he might explore.
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While Auburn and LSU had both already been awarded a crystal ball prediction by 247Sports, the most recent prediction was entered for the Red Raiders. Theses predictions represent opinions of individual recruiting analysts and the fact that Chris Fisher of 247Sports’ Kentucky site Cats Pause has entered his pick for Tech in the last week is worth noting.
Attempting to try to help Tech’s efforts to land this game-changing talent is another star recruit, Nimari Burnett. The 2020 McDonald’s All-American and highest-ranked signee in Texas Tech basketball history is openly putting the full-court dress on Kuminga in hopes of forming a super team in Lubbock.
According to an article by Zagoria & Jacob Polacheck at ZagsBlob.com Burnett has been trying to convince Kuminga to reclassify and become a Red Raider this summer.
“I’ve definitely been talking to him and seeing if he can reclass up and stuff like that,” Burnett said last month. “I’m definitely trying to stay in contact with [Kuminga], knowing that I love to play with good players,” Burnett added. “It has shown over the few years I’ve been on the team. Definitely, if we get him it would be really good for Texas Tech and really good for us as a team to make an even better, longer run in March Madness.”
How much influence Burnett can exert is unknown but we do know that elite basketball players at every level of the game love to play with other superstar players and already having a top-10 class in the nation, one that is headlined by an All-American, will only serve to boost Tech’s chances.
Should Kuminga make our basketball dreams come true and join Burnett on the South Plains, it would bring on a fervor among Red Raider basketball fans the likes of which no recruit in the history of Texas Tech athletics has ever ignited. That’s because he has the look of a future NBA superstar.
Brian Snow of 247Sports has the following scouting report: “Already at 6-foot-8 with extremely long arms, he is beginning to put his skill game together. Length, athleticism, and versatility are his strengths. Has shown the ability to get into the lane and rebounds well. Is capable of guarding multiple positions, and also blocking shots. Needs to continue to get better with his outside shot, and if that comes he should be nearly impossible to guard. His upside is through the roof, and he is just now beginning to figure out how good he can become. He should hear his name called early in the NBA draft when decides to make that move.”
Regardless of whether Kuminga comes to Tech for the 2020-21 season, the Red Raiders are going to field the most loaded roster in program history from an individual talent perspective. But the addition of the nation’s best player would potentially set Beard and his team up for a top-5 preseason ranking and make them a favorite to return to the Final Four. Thus, everyone that bleeds scarlet and black will be closely watching every move that Jonathan Kuminga makes in regard to his future.