Recruits want to be like the pros, looking at forming 'superteams'

Recruits trying to create superteams (5:21)

Seth Greenberg and Jeff Goodman join OTL to examine how top recruits are planning super teams at big college basketball programs. (5:21)

PHILADELPHIA -- Package deals are generally something at which to roll your eyes. They’re talked about all the time in recruiting, but they rarely come to fruition when it’s decision time.

For every Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor, there’s Malik Newman and Diamond Stone. For Wendell Carter and Gary Trent Jr. (and those two wouldn’t have played together anywhere besides Duke), there’s Michael Porter Jr. and Trae Young.

Obviously, much of the infatuation with package deals comes from the NBA’s recent trend toward “superteams,” with multiple stars landing on the same team in hopes of winning a title. Considering most of the elite high school players are around each other 10 months a year, it makes sense the topic would come up.

The five-star prospects in 2018 and 2019 have legitimate possibilities for package deals, though -- with AAU teammates Nazreon Reid (No. 7) and Jahvon Quinerly (No. 15), and Scottie Lewis (No. 12 in 2019) and Bryan Antoine (No. 13 in 2019), openly discussing it.

All four were present at the Under Armour All-American Camp last week, and didn’t shy away from the option.

First up are Reid and Quinerly, who play together with Sports U and both hail from New Jersey.

“I love the way he plays. He loves the way I play,” Reid said of Quinerly. “He’s like my brother. Of course we talk about a lot together. I see a lot of potential in him; he sees a lot of potential in me. We both have a feel for each other, so why not?”

“We definitely speak about it every so often,” Quinerly said. “We’re seeing campuses together. It’s something that could happen.”

The two players are expected to take official visits together to Kansas and UCLA in the fall.

“We’re used to winning,” Quinerly said. “We come from a winning program. We’re like best friends off the court. Just being able to play together at the next level, that would mean a lot.”

Reid, a 6-foot-10 power forward, has already taken an official visit to LSU, where his girlfriend is an incoming freshman on the women’s basketball team. In addition to Kansas and UCLA, Reid also wants to visit Arizona and Kentucky.

Quinerly, a 6-foot-1 point guard, recently took an official visit to Arizona. The Wildcats already have a 2018 point guard committed in Brandon Williams, but Sean Miller wants two ball handlers in his recruiting class.

“That was a great visit,” Quinerly said. “I got to explore the whole campus, get the whole feel for it. Brandon plays on and off the ball, just like me. We’d both have the ball in our hands most of the time.”

Quinerly is also considering Villanova, Stanford and Virginia, in addition to the three shared schools with Reid.

Five-star juniors Lewis and Antoine have been attached at the hip for several years now. Their head-to-head battle at the Under Armour camp was the first time the two played a competitive game against each other since seventh grade, according to Antoine. The play on Team Rio together, and also attend the Ranney School (New Jersey) together.

Recently, the two were at their friend’s house -- and the topic of a package deal came up.

“Very serious conversation,” Antoine said. “Honestly, it was like 11 o’clock at night … We were in that room for a good two hours, talking about the options and stuff like that. The benefits of me and him going to the same school, what would happen. It was a very in-depth, serious conversation about it.”

What’s the holdup then?

“He’s interested in different things than I am,” Lewis said. “I think that’s more of the problem than the basketball program.”

Lewis has been the more highly touted player of the two, and has offers from nearly every school in the country besides Duke, Kentucky and UCLA. John Calipari, Roy Williams, Bill Self, Rick Pitino and many others watched him last weekend. St. John’s is heavily involved, as is Florida.

“We went to a team camp down there,” Lewis said of the Gators. “I built a relationship with all those guys. Ever since I’ve been to that team camp, I’ve felt that was a good place. Definitely the weather, Gator basketball, Gator sports in general. It’s the kind of atmosphere i’d love to be a part of.”

Antoine has several of the same schools on his list, with Arizona, Villanova and Louisville really making a strong push lately. Big news also came down Saturday night, when Duke offered Antoine.

The package deal talk doesn’t end there for 2018 and 2019. Perhaps the biggest potential pairing up are five-stars Zion Williamson (No. 2) and Immanuel Quickley (No. 14). Neither player was in Philadelphia last week, but it’s been one of the biggest storylines of July thus far.

“That’s the real deal,” Williamson told reporters earlier this month. “I want to play with Immanuel Quickley when I go to college. If he goes to Kentucky, then I’m going to look at Kentucky really hard.”

Quickley then tweeted:

Will any of these package deals come to fruition? Of the three mentioned, Williamson and Quickley is the most likely. Quickley is Kentucky’s top point guard target, and Williamson seems serious about playing with him at the next level. Reid (LSU) and Quinerly (Arizona) each took June visits that led to plenty of buzz before the summer, so their fall visits together could be key. Meanwhile, Lewis and Antoine are still a long way away, although Antoine’s Duke offer adds a new dimension into his recruitment.

One thing is certain, though: the idea of package deals isn’t slowing down anytime soon.