Texas Tech basketball: Red Raiders in top 5 for No. 1 recruit in the nation Jonathan Kuminga

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 18: Jonathan Kuminga #14 of Team Jimma dunks during the SLAM Summer Classic 2019 at Dyckman Park on August 18, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 18: Jonathan Kuminga #14 of Team Jimma dunks during the SLAM Summer Classic 2019 at Dyckman Park on August 18, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

As expected, the Texas Tech basketball program is in the top five schools for Jonathan Kuminga, the most coveted recruit in the nation.

Friday, the wildest dream of Texas Tech basketball fans came one small step closer to coming to fruition.  That’s because the Red Raiders made the cut for the top five of Jonathan Kuminga.

The top high school player in the nation regardless of classification is technically a junior but there is a belief around recruiting circles that he may reclassify to the class of 2020 meaning he would be on campus next season.  And make no mistake, it would be a one-year stint.

The 6-foot-8 forward is rated by 247Sports.com as a 5-star talent who has an overall grade of 1.000.  In other words, that site believes he is about as perfect as any high school recruit could be.

To put that distinction into perspective, consider that Kevin Durant was scored a 0.9996 in 2006, Zion Williams received a score of 0.9986 in 2018, and Anthony Davis had a score of 0.9999 in 2011.   Other current NBA superstars to go to college in the last two decades that were not rated as high as Kuminga include Kyree Irving, and Karl-Anthony Towns just to name a couple.

In fact, Ryan Mainville of Viva the Matadors Tweets that only five players since 2003, when 247Sports began rating players, have earned a 1.0000 score.  That list includes LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Greg Oden, Andrew Wiggins, and RJ Barrett.

Now, the race for this all-time prospect is down to four programs, Tech, Duke, Kentucky, and Auburn.  In addition, Kuminga lists the NBA G League as one of the five options he’s considering.

Interestingly, the 247Sports crystal ball predictions have Tech as the favorite at this point.  That’s a scenario Red Raider fans have been dreaming about since Kuminga’s older half-brother, Joel Ntambwe committed to transfer to Chris Beard’s program last offseason.

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If Beard can pull this off, it would mark the fourth time that he has landed the highest-rated recruit in program history.  In 2018, he inked Khavon Moore, the No. 52 player in the nation.  A year later, he bettered that by bringing about Jahmi’us Ramsey, the No. 32 player in the class of 2019.  The 2020 class is currently headlined by Nimari Burnett, also the No. 32 player in his class and the program’s first McDonald’s All-American.

But none come close to Kuminga’s level.  He has the look of a possible top-5 NBA Draft pick.

"Brian Snow of 247Sports writes: “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.”"

Of course, a huge piece of the puzzle is whether or not Kuminga will graduate high school early.  If he does that and also brings his talents to the South Plains, it will give the Big 12 the top two high school recruits in the 2020 class as Oklahoma State has already signed Cade Cunningham, the No. 1 player in the current class at this point.  Rated a 0.9999, the 6-foot-6 wing is also a fantastic prospect and the main reason the Cowboys have the second-ranked class in the conference.

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But even without Kuminga, Tech has the top class in the Big 12.  Rated No. 9 nationally at this time, it could become the top class in the nation if it can add one of the most highly-regarded recruits to ever come out of the high school ranks.