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Men's Basketball

Almost Hoos

Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

The ones that got away. it’s always a popular subject of conversation for fans. In the time I’ve followed closely enough to feel comfortable discussing details, these are the ten I believe were closest to being Wahoos. With that said, this is still only my view of events from the outside looking in. All rankings are from the 247Sports composite.

10) Musa Jallow Ohio State

Ranked #149 in the class of 2017 out of Bloomington North (IN)

Details: Originally in the class of 2018, Musa’s close relationship with former assistant Ron Sanchez had the Hoos positioned as the early favorite. He wasn’t so much a recruiting miss as the result of a called audible.. DeAndre Hunter’s redshirt changed the equation, making an athletic wing less of a priority, especially knowing Musa planned to reclassify. They kept monitoring in hopes that his offensive skill set would improve, before eventually backing off entirely in the final summer.

Since then: Jallow’s defense made him a valuable role player in his first two seasons at Ohio State, averaging 15 minutes per game. He’s currently sidelined while recovering from ankle surgery.

Fallout:: We might not have Braxton Key today if Musa were here. He would have at very least further complicated Bennett’s decision to pursue the Alabama transfer.

9) Johnny Juzang Kentucky

Ranked #33 in the class of 2019 out of Harvard Westlake (CA)

Details: Unless you’ve very new to this, you probably know the story. He officially visited last Fall as a member of the 2020 class. UVA didn’t really spend much energy, realizing their chances were slim, but they kept tabs and even helped him reclassify just in case the right scenario presented itself. When Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome turned pro, that perfect storm opportunity was created. For a short time, all signs pointed to it getting done. Then John Calipari came calling with an offer to join his 2019 class. Johnny preferred the brighter lights of Big Blue Nation.

Since then: Juzang is in a fight for playing time in the early going at Kentucky. He’s averaging 13 minutes and less than 2 points per game so far

Fallout: Tomas Woldetensae committed just days before Juzang announced his decision. In all likelihood, they wouldn’t have pursued Tomas if it was believed Juzang was coming. There certainly wouldn’t be room for those two and Jabri Abdur-Rahim in 2020.

8) Devonte Graham Kansas

Ranked #40 in the class of 2014 out of Brewster Academy (NH)

Details: Originally signed with Appalachian State, Graham went through a long messy battle before his release was granted at the end of his senior year. He quickly named a short list of finalists and scheduled visits. Bennett wanted him so badly that he skipped a live evaluation period in order to host. That weekend would result in the infamous Foxfield incident. Graham later mentioned that he felt uncomfortable with the atmosphere at the horse races which he attended with team members.

Since then: Graham had a terrific four year career at Kansas, named first team All-American as a senior. He’s now in his second season with the Charlotte Hornets after being selected 34th overall in the 2018 draft.

Fallout: Virginia wound up taking another point guard that Spring, Tennessee transfer Darius Thompson.

7) Jared Butler Baylor

Ranked #97 in the class of 2018 out of Riverside (LA)

Details: Butler was relatively unknown until his final summer of AAU. Bennett discovered him that July and latched on hard. Soon after, the deadly Unite the Right rally took place in Charlottesville. Maybe if that didn’t occur, UVA would have gotten the quick commit they wanted. He still visited for the home football opener. Things looked promising for a while. if it were entirely up to Jared, I think he would have chosen Virginia. But as his recruitment continued to drag on into October, it became apparent that UVA wouldn’t win his family’s approval.

Since then: He first signed with Alabama before a late flip to Baylor. A starter the majority of his freshman year, he looks like a breakout star in year two.

Fallout: Once Bennett gave up on Butler, he flew straight to Los Angeles for a lightly recruited undersized point guard named Kihei Clark.

6) Svi Mykhailiuk Kansas

Ranked #239 in the class of 2014 out of Ukraine

Details: Wahoo fans whispered in the Spring of ’14 about a Ukranian sensation quietly being recruited. Coach Sanchez had made a couple relationship building trips. They worked to get him qualified. Svi had even been corresponding with Joe Harris. However, it proved an impossible secret to keep that a prospect many considered a future lottery pick was looking at college options. Kansas jumped in, instantly becoming the favorite. He did visit UVA that May, but it was already a lost cause by then. There were unsubstantiated rumors of payment involved, given added credence in light of what we now know from the FBI investigations.

Since then: Svi didn’t quite live up to the massive hype, but had a solid career at Kansas. He was drafted 47th overall in 2018, and is now with the Detroit Pistons.

Fallout: I believe the coaches realized well in advance of his visits that Svi’s verdict wouldn’t go our way. A few weeks prior, they landed a familiar target on the rebound in former Marquette signee Marial Shayok

The top five will be in part two, coming soon.

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