A recruitment featuring several twists and turns is set to end with a commitment this weekend.
Long-time Buckeye target Kobi Simmons will announce his college decision on ESPN at 6 p.m., Saturday. His commitment will take place after his St. Francis (Alpharetta, Georgia) squad plays in the Hoophall Classic, an event hosted by the basketball hall of fame in Springfield, Massachusetts.
The five-star point guard will choose Arizona, Kentucky or Ohio State. Below, the notebook breaks down the chances each school can land Simmons.
UPDATE (9:35 p.m.)
The Buckeyes are no longer recruiting Kobi Simmons, leaving Arizona as the clear favorite. First reported by CBS Sports' Jon Rothstein.
These Wildcats may seem like a late, surprise entrant in Simmons' recruitment – they've been lurking for a while, however.
Arizona originally offered Simmons in January of 2015 and head coach Sean Miller met with him several times since. It's worth noting he has not been on an official or unofficial visit to Tucson – or, if he has, he did not disclose it publicly.
That does not mean Simmons is any less likely to choose the Wildcats. He explicitly mentioned the school in a tweet, Monday:
Arizona Has Been Recruiting Me , And Still Recruiting Me. They Are Not Out ! #Beardown— Shoogs (@JordanKobi) January 12, 2016
His stepfather, Demond Stephens, mentioned the Wildcats as a contender for Simmons' services back in November. At that point, Simmons' top three included UNLV – the Rebels recently fired head coach Dave Rice, understandably altering Simmons' recruitment.
"When [Arizona] has a spot for you, you have to put them right there with anyone and that’s what we’re doing," Stephens told PointGuardU.com. "Coach Miller runs a good program down there and when you get good kids playing the way they do, together, it obviously says a lot about the things they’re doing right there."
Currently, Miller has up to four spots to fill in his 2016 class. Big man Lauri Markkanen is Arizona's lone commitment and Simmons appears to be the only uncommitted point guard on their radar.
Junior Kadeem Allen is excelling at the point right now, but he is also capable of playing off ball. Four-star recruit Parker Jackson-Cartwright did not immediately take the reins from T.J. McConnell, as intended. Simmons could also see time at the two guard if he chooses the Wildcats, depending on potential first-round pick Allonzo Trier's status.
At one point considered the favorite, Kentucky appears to be the least likely destination for Simmons.
If he chose to wait until the spring to make a commitment – not just to simply sign a letter of intent – then UK may have been a more viable option. Guards Jamal Murray, Tyler Ulis and Isaiah Briscoe are still on the roster. As is tradition, they may all go pro.
Even if they do declare for the NBA Draft, highly-rated guards De'Aaron Fox and Malik Monk will be part of John Calipari's 2016 recruiting class. Regardless of the Wildcats' roster outlook, there will be a logjam at either guard spot. Simmons doesn't look like a great fit in Lexington from Calipari's or his own perspective.
We've written ad nauseam about Kobi Simmons here at Eleven Warriors. It's understandable why – smaller upcoming classes for OSU means more highly focused recruiting. Plus, Thad Matta extensively scouted Simmons before offering him in the summer of 2014.
The long process will come to an end, Saturday. A scholarship for him only recently opened up, however, thanks to Austin Grandstaff's transfer. The Buckeyes can fit Simmons on their 2016 roster but will he be comfortable in Columbus?
After his September visit to campus – accompanied by D'Angelo Russell – Stephens felt his step son could thrive in the family-oriented atmosphere at Ohio State.
"I’ve been coaching and mentoring children for 18 years," Stephens said, via Cleveland.com, "and I always tell Kobi, one thing that is more valuable than where somebody goes and how successful they are is do they call you back for their marriage, their college graduation? After they’ve gone on, do they still even talk to you?"
From a basketball standpoint, as well as he's playing lately, it doesn't appear JaQuan Lyle is going anywhere. Neither is A.J. Harris. Simmons can play off ball and would compete against sophomore Mickey Mitchell – who I expect to initiate more of the offense soon, as well as juniors Jae'Sean Tate, Kam Williams, Keita-Bates-Diop and senior Marc Loving.
The Buckeyes are deep on the perimeter, but Simmons can certainly crack that rotation. His ability to create his own shot would be an ideal addition for this group.
Recent predictions by national recruiting analysts favor Arizona. If he does pick Ohio State, it will be based on the relationship built in over two years of recruiting him.