R.J. Hampton set to announce May 28 (UPDATED) | Zagsblog
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Wednesday / November 13.
  • R.J. Hampton set to announce May 28 (UPDATED)

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    By ADAM ZAGORIA

    R.J. Hampton is down to three schools and will announce his college choice May 28 on ESPN’s ‘Get Up.’

    After officially announcing he would reclass to 2019 from 2020, the 6-foot-5, 170-pound Hampton from Little Elm, Texas is now down to Memphis, Kansas and Texas Tech. Duke and Kentucky have both been eliminated.

    Rod Hampton, the player’s father, told ZAGSBLOG this week they would have better idea about where his recruitment stands after the NCAA Early Entry Withdrawal Deadline on May 29.

    “We will know a lot more after next week,” he said Thursday. “Need to see who stays in NBA.”

    Kansas has two guards testing the NBA Draft waters in Quentin Grimes and Devon Dotson, while Memphis transfer Rayjon Tucker’s status is up in the air and he may remain in the NBA Draft.

    “The teams that we have left, I could see my son playing at either one,” Rod Hampton said this week on the Jason and John radio show in Memphis.

    As for Kansas, Rod Hampton said he likes that they have veterans on the roster.

    “They got Big Dok [Udoka Azubuike] at the five, hopefully Silvio [de Sousa] gets cleared at the four,” he said before de Sousa was cleared to play in 2019-20. “If Devon comes back, him and R.J. in the backcourt. And Quentin Grimes may come back, you never know. So they just got some experience, man. That’s the most intriguing thing about them.”

    Hampton said he could still see R.J. playing at Kansas even if Dotson and Grimes both return to campus.

    “That’s a three-headed monster,” he said. “Grimes didn’t have the best year that he wanted to last year but he can play. I saw some glimpses of him at the Combine with the old Quentin Grimes I knew from high school, but this isn’t high school. So that would be a legitimate three-headed monster.”

    Asked if it would take Kansas out of the mix, he said, “No, it wouldn’t take them out of play, no.”

    Memphis has the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class highlighted by projected lottery picks James Wiseman and Precious Achiuwa. Even though Memphis signed guards Lester Quinones and Boogie Ellis, and returns Tyler Harris, Rod says there’s still room for R.J.

    “I think he’s the piece that they’re missing,” Rod Hampton said. “Put him in there, he makes everybody better and he doesn’t have to do as much. R.J. has a scoring gift, but he really loves to share the ball.

    “I envision him if all those guys are there getting 15, 8 and 8 and the No. 1 or 2 pick in the Draft…. I would put him as the best point guard in high school basketball right now.” Hampton is currently projected as the No. 6 pick in 2020, per ESPN.com.

    Asked if Memphis was too crowded with its incoming class, he said, “It’s really crowded, that’s understood. It falls back on Penny and the coaching staff. It’s gotta be a total buy-in from every guy on that team. Total. You cannot have one disgruntled player in that locker room, or it’s not going to work. James Wiseman said, if we leave our egos at the door, it’s going to be something special. But that’s easier said than done.

    “I know James like the back of my hand, James wants to win. God has smiled on him, made him 7-feet tall, made him a prospect like no other. He’s going to be fine at the end, so he has no problem. But you can’t tell me that with seven or eight new guys coming in, that somebody in their camp is saying, ‘Dog, you gotta do your thing. You gotta put up numbers.’ It’s gotta be a total buy-in. If it doesn’t, this thing could go South, too.”

    Texas Tech is coming off making the NCAA title game under National Coach of the Year Chris Beard.

    “They hot right now,” Rod Hampton said. “Beard’s a good coach, I like his style. But so is Penny [Hardaway], and so is Bill Self. Memphis and [Kansas] I would say are the guys, but I can’t count Texas Tech out, my son really likes them….At the end of the day, we’re going to make a collective decision about where you’re going.”

    As for Kentucky, they are out after stacking up guards and wings for next season.

    “Kentucky’s fine, Kentucky’s going to be a top-5 school,” Rod Hampton said. “They pretty much got their backcourt and they’d be a dark horse but Coach Cal [John Calipari] and Coach [Tony] Barbee have been more than gracious. I talked to [R.J.] the other day and he said, ‘This is going to be my final three.'”

    Rod Hampton said the family had also discussed playing overseas.

    “Is it something we looked into?” he said. “Yeah, we looked into it, you have to.”

    The family plans to move wherever R.J. lands.

    “We’d move to Memphis, we’d move to Kansas, we’d move to Lubbock,” he said. “And if we had to move overseas, we’d go there, too.”

    On top of recruiting, Hampton will also compete in the USA Basketball U19 trials set for June 15-18 in Colorado Springs, Colo.

    Photo: USA Basketball

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.