Has Miami and veteran head coach Jim Larranaga come into Chicago and pulled off a recruiting steal?
Time will tell but Young’s high-profile AJ Casey committed to the Hurricanes on Friday.
Miami was one of the last programs to jump in on the multi-dimensional 6-8 forward, offering just over a month ago. But Larranaga and his staff made up ground quickly and had Casey for an official visit in late September.
“They just recruited me hard,” Casey said. “When I was on my visit and I was able to see how things are there, that’s when I really became interested. Things went so well from the coaching staff to the campus to the school itself. I truly enjoyed myself.”
It was believed that Casey’s decision came down to Miami and DePaul, where Casey took an official visit earlier this month.
“The Atlantic Coast Conference is one of the best conferences in the country,” Casey said. “Playing in the ACC and playing for coach Larranaga, who is one of the winningest coaches of all time, speaks volumes.”
Casey may no longer be the top-ranked prospect in the state as he was the first three years of his career, and the national ranking has dropped a bit, but this is a significant recruit for an out-of-the-region basketball program like Miami. Casey has been the biggest name in the Class of 2022 in Illinois since he arrived on the scene as a freshman.
“I am definitely excited to play my senior year,” Casey said. “I would call it my revenge tour. I want to get back at it and show people all that I can do as a player and lead this team.”
He will now be a foundation piece for a rebuilding Miami program that has struggled of late with three straight losing seasons and a 16-41 record in the ACC during that time.
Casey’s commitment was the second of the day for Larranaga. Three-star forward Danilo Jovanovich, who attends Milwaukee Witnall, gave the Hurricanes an oral commitment a few hours before Casey.
With size, length and athleticism, Casey still remains an intriguing prospect with upside and who figures to be one of the Player of the Year frontrunners in the Chicago area and the state this coming season. He will anchor what will be one of the state’s top high school teams this winter, bringing a vast amount of versatility as he can run the floor, handle the ball and step out and be a threat with his perimeter face-up jumper.
Casey began his high school career at Simeon as a freshman before putting up monster numbers at Tinley Park as a sophomore when he averaged 22 points, 10.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.3 steals a game. He then transferred to Young for his junior year, leading the Dolphins to a 15-1 record last season.
Casey is a four-star recruit who is ranked nationally as high as No. 55 by Rivals and No. 57 by ESPN.