Brian Rothmuller/Icon SportswireLuther Muhammad should have a chance to be an impact player in the Buckeyes' backcourt right away in 2018.
Ohio State’s big week on the recruiting trail landed an exclamation point on Friday night when the Buckeyes scored a commitment from ESPN 100 guard Luther Muhammad. Here's a look at what he'll bring to Columbus:
Mark Zerof-USA TODAY SportsJohn Calipari coached Immanuel Quickley in the U19 World Championships last summer so the two got to know each other.
Kentucky head coach John Calipari has landed his first commitment from the 2018 class with ESPN 100 point guard Immanuel Quickley's pledge on Friday. He chose the Wildcats over Kansas and Miami. Here's a look at what he'll bring to Lexington.

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AP Photo/Gregory Payan, FileZion Williamson remains Kentucky's top target at forward.
Players in the bottom half of the ESPN 100 are flying off the board every day, but things are going a little slower toward the top of the rankings. That could begin to change in the coming weeks, though, as five-star prospects are starting to really dive into their official visit schedules. By the end of this weekend, the No. 1 prospect in 2018 will have completed four of his five official visits, and five of the other 12 uncommitted five-star prospects are also hitting the road this weekend. Don’t expect any commitments just yet, though.

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Oregon's Louis King AP Photo/Gregory PayanOregon now has two ESPN top 100 players committed and the Ducks are not done.
Five-star prospect Louis King, ranked No. 21 overall in the ESPN 100, committed to Oregon on Thursday, choosing the Ducks over N.C. State, Kansas, Purdue and Seton Hall. Here's a look at what he'll bring to Eugene.

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Purdue landed an important commitment on Tuesday night from ESPN 100 big man Emmanuel Dowuona, solidifying the immediate-impact center they had been targeting. Here's a look at what the Ghana native will bring to West Lafayette.

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As summer officially turns into fall, people who follow recruiting closely can begin to read tea leaves and figure out where certain players are leaning for a commitment. Sometimes, it's easy -- like when five-star point guard Immanuel Quickley publicly declared that Kentucky was his favorite. It's usually not that obvious, but sometimes there are clear trends like Nazreon Reid leaning toward LSU, where he committed last week. Toward the top of the ESPN 100 rankings, though, several recruitments are shaping up as clear two- or three-team battles that could last past the early signing period. Here are the most interesting:

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ESPN 100 forward Jaedon LeDee ended his recruitment on Tuesday, choosing Ohio State over Texas A&M, LSU and UCLA. LeDee sits at No. 59 overall in the 2018 class. Here's a look at what he'll bring to Columbus.

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ESPN 100 forward Isaiah Mucius committed to Wake Forest on Sunday night at the tail end of his official visit before announcing his decision on Monday night. Here's a look at what he'll bring to Winston-Salem.

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Kelvin Sampson and his University of Houston basketball program had been in the news in recent weeks for spearheading a massive charity effort, among coaches at all levels, in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. On Sunday night though, Houston made national headlines for another reason, landing a verbal commitment from ESPN 100 product Nate Hinton. Here's a look at what he'll bring to the Cougars.

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Four-star shooting guard Antwann Jones committed to Oklahoma State on Sunday following his visit to Stillwater this weekend. Here's a look at what he'll bring to the Cowboys:

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ESPN 100 big man Immanuel Bates made a verbal commitment to North Carolina State on Friday, giving new head coach Kevin Keatts his first pledge in the 2018 class. Here's a look at what he'll bring to Raleigh, North Carolina.

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Chris Young/The Canadian Press via APDuke might have a slight lead right now in the recruitment of R.J. Barrett.
The Hot Board is back! Official visits kicked off a couple weeks ago, and they’re now in full swing. Decisions will begin to come quickly over the next month or so. Most of the powerhouse recruiting programs will have huge weekends for their respective Midnight Madness festivities in October. That doesn’t mean there aren’t key trips going on this weekend. In fact, Duke and Kentucky hosting top targets.

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If you want a pair of Lonzo Ball's high-priced shoes, you might want to skip a meal or two to save money, Ellen DeGeneres joked when the Los Angeles Lakers star and his father, LaVar Ball, were on her show Thursday.

LaVar, who says, "You're not a Big Baller," if you can't afford his son's $495 ZO2s, said people need determination and discipline to come up with the cash to purchase a pair of ZO2s.

"You gotta go work for that shoe," LaVar told DeGeneres.

"Or not eat that day," she replied.

Then, LaVar said people can "collect bottles for a year or two to get the shoe."

DeGeneres laughed.

She also ran through LaVar's extravagant statements about beating Michael Jordan in one-on-one and claiming his eldest son is better than Steph Curry. DeGeneres ended the show by giving Lonzo a giant painting that shows her dunking over the NBA rookie.

College coaches weren’t exactly sitting around all of August, but they were just about as sedentary as can be on the recruiting trail. Following the July live period, Aug. 1 through Sept. 8 was a quiet period on the recruiting calendar, as prospects were able to take visits to campuses but coaches weren’t able to visit or watch prospects. That changed Sept. 9, when the recruiting period began. It will last until March 28, with Nov. 6-9 and Dec. 24-26 the lone exceptions. The recruiting period means the start of in-home visits and high school trips for college coaches. Seeing prospects in the first few days of the period doesn’t necessarily mean anything, but one can glean some information from where head coaches are going and which prospects are being seen right away by certain staffs. If a program goes the first few weeks without making an effort to see a certain prospect, it’s safe to say he isn't a priority -- or even on the board. It’s only several days old, but there are some storylines emerging from the beginning of the recruiting period.
R.J. BarrettJon Lopez/NikeAfter visiting Kentucky earlier this month, R.J. Barrett, the top-ranked prospect in the 2018 recruiting class, is expected to make trips to Duke, Arizona, Oregon and Michigan in the coming weeks.
No visits for No. 1 prospect R.J. Barrett One might expect the No. 1 prospect in the country to have coaches knocking down his door at all hours of the day, but that’s not the case with Barrett. The Canada native, who plays at Montverde Academy (Florida), is in the middle of an official visit stretch, having gone to Kentucky earlier this month and, starting this weekend, visiting Duke, Arizona, Oregon and Michigan in a three-week span. But in-home or campus visits? None, according to his AAU coach. “No reason,” Dwayne Washington said. “Just focusing on the year ahead. And timing -- very packed schedule.” No. 2 prospect Zion Williamson welcoming coaches It’s not the same for Williamson, who has several coaches coming through this week. Kansas was expected to see him Tuesday night, with North Carolina, UCLA and Kentucky all scheduled for Wednesday. South Carolina is expected on Thursday. Williamson scheduled official visits to UCLA and Duke in October. Where is John Calipari? Kentucky’s head coach annually front-loads his visit schedule, seeing several top targets in the opening few days of the recruiting period. He started his week with a trip to see five-star guard Quentin Grimes (No. 13) on Sunday and Keldon Johnson (No. 7) on Monday. He then headed to New England to see Simi Shittu (No. 6) at Vermont Academy (Vermont) on Tuesday morning. Calipari will also see Williamson on Wednesday and is reportedly expected to go to California for Bol Bol this weekend. On Tuesday, Kentucky assistant Joel Justus met with five-star point guard Immanuel Quickley (No. 12), who takes his official visit to Lexington this weekend. The Wildcats are widely considered the favorites for Quickley. Vanderbilt not letting up for five-star point guard -- or other elite targets Darius Garland (No. 11) has been the top target for Bryce Drew and Vanderbilt for most of the 2018 class, and despite Duke, Indiana, Kansas, UCLA and Kentucky also being on his final list, the Commodores aren’t going down without a fight. They had an in-home visit with Garland on the first day of the recruiting period, the latest in their quest to keep the Nashville, Tennessee, resident at home. Vanderbilt also went to see Romeo Langford (No. 5), and Drew was among the head coaches at the Vermont Academy workout for Shittu. Head coaches turn out for Keldon Johnson Johnson (No. 7) has been among the top names on Texas' and Maryland’s recruiting boards for several months, and NC State and Kentucky have made the five-star small forward a priority over the past month. All four schools made their presence felt at Oak Hill Academy (Virginia) on Monday, with Calipari, Texas' Shaka Smart, Maryland's Mark Turgeon and NC State's Kevin Keatts all making the trip. Johnson has already visited Texas and NC State officially, and he is expected to visit Kentucky and Maryland in the next couple of weeks.

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LaVar Ball does have a soft side, it seems.

On Monday, Ball lured his longtime handyman to a local car dealer in California, where he surprised him and his family with a 2017 Toyota Tundra.

Ball said he's known the man for nearly 15 years. The man had trouble going back and forth to his job due to transmission problems with his vehicle. But that is his former job now.

Ball said he also gave the man a new job as a property manager for Big Baller Brand.

"It's just something I did for him," Ball told ESPN.com. "He's been working a long time trying to make ends meet. That car ain't gonna get him from place to place. Now he has a car that can get him from Point A to Point B."

In the video, the man begins to tear up when he and his family see the truck.

"They all hopped into the front seat," Ball said. "I was like, 'There's a back seat too!'"

Michael Henry, the salesman at the CarMax dealership where Ball purchased the vehicle, attached the video to a post about the moment.

"Lavar Ball gets a lot of negative press for the brash and sometimes downright crazy things he says and does," Henry wrote. "I had the pleasure of selling him a truck that he bought for his long time handyman Felipe [whose] truck went out of commission days before. He and his family were asked to come to Carmax to come see his wife Tina. To their surprise, a 2017 Toyota Tundra was waiting for them and the moment was priceless. You will definitely see Lavar Ball in a different light after watching this video.”

The Big Baller Brand creator and father of hoops stars Lonzo Ball, a rookie with the Los Angeles Lakers, LiAngelo Ball, a freshman at UCLA, and LaMelo Ball, a high school phenom, has endured a controversial year that has included accusations of sexism following comments he made toward Fox Sports 1's Kristine Leahy and his successful petition to have an "out of shape" female official removed from one of his games during a July grassroots tournament.

Ball said he didn't buy the truck for attention or to convince his haters he has a generous side. He said he was just helping out "family."

"It's just who I am," said Ball, who launched a family reality show, "Ball in the Family," on Facebook Watch last month. "He didn't know I was going to do it for him."

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