With just over two weeks left before the spring signing period, recruiting has really started to heat up for those programs with scholarships to fill. Iowa would just happen to be one of those programs wanting to do just that, considering they just lost four of their players before they were expected to leave.
So what's happening on the scene? A lot. Some of it we know about, much of it we don't. Here's some of the latest information.
If this name sounds familiar to those of you who follow Iowa Hawkeye Basketball recruiting, it's because the Iowa staff heavily recruited Cully after he decommitted from DePaul his junior year. At that time Iowa was one of the Top 3 for Payne's services, but ultimately he chose Alabama. Things changed, however, when Mark Gottfried stepped down from his coaching duties for the Crimson Tide. Bama went on to hire VCU's Anthony Grant and just recently Payne was allowed out of his LOI. That throws him back on the market. Washington State was another player in Payne's recruitment, however Tony Bennett has left that school for Virginia. It would seem that Iowa is in good shape with him. Payne will be in town tomorrow for visit, where a commitment isn't totally out of the question at this part of the game.
I am, by no means, trying to pimp Hawkeyenation.com, but if you aren't a paying member of the site, this would be the month to jump on board. Rob Howe has been doing a great job getting in touch with the recruits, and he has a gem of a interview with Cully Payne.
Rob Howe's Interview w/ Cully Payne (3/31): AUDIO - TRANSCRIPT
More info on Payne from ESPN - Definitely a recruit that fits what Iowa is looking for.
Cully injured his back this winter, so hopefully that isn't a chronic injury.
Don't be surprised if the coaching staff had this in play for some time, Payne's AAU coach has been quoted saying that Cully had made his decision a while ago.
Still being told that Mac is the #1 priority for Iowa, and I don't blame them. They were recruiting him before they lost the services of Kelly, Peterson, and Davis. Now it's even more important for the staff to reel in a talented point guard. And while Payne might be able to fill that role, Iowa's backcourt is pretty limited with only Anthony Tucker and Devan Bawinkel returning. Someone with the speed and skills that Armstead possesses is exactly who the Hawks need in their lineup.
There are several guards to keep an eye on during the next few weeks leading up to the signing period. Their decisions could effect what Armstead decides to do. Rico Pickett and Melvin Goins are two JUCOs that both Tennessee and Kentucky are involved in (these schools are also looking at Armstead). Today, Goins committed to Tennessee, so that should effectively eliminate Bruce Pearl from landing Armstead. Kentucky is in the middle of a coaching change, so that, too, will help out Iowa. Julysses Nobles is another name to remember. Arkansas is looking at him for PG. If he commits, I don't see room for Armstead especially with Courtney Fortson on the team already. He is reportedly supposed to pick his school tonight, hopefully it will be Arkansas. Then it will likely be down to Iowa vs. Providence and a few other Big East and SEC schools for Armstead's services.