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‘Croot Loops: How the West is Won?

A couple of MAC West schools have picked up some big time commits on the recruiting trail.

NCAA Basketball: Ball State at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

With the MAC football season nearly upon us, let us take a look at how the MAC is doing on the men’s basketball recruiting trail, shall we?

There are only two schools with commitments for the 2019 season as the Toledo Rockets and the Ball State Cardinals made some hay in the summer on the recruiting trail. It is not unusual for their not to be a lot of action in terms of basketball recruiting due to teams not having a lot of rosters spots open and coaches wanting to slow-play the recruiting process to make sure the player they are recruiting is a good fit for the program. With that in mind, let’s see what the future of the MAC West could possibly be at this point in time.

Toledo picked up a big-time three-star forward on July 2 as Aaron Etherington of Hamilton Southeastern High School (Fishers, IN) committed to the Rockets. Judging from his AAU highlights that you can see below, his length makes him a tremendous asset on the defensive end and is fairly athletic. At UT, he’ll need to develop as a shooter and a ball-handler but he has a high ceiling in the MAC.

Meanwhile, Ball State landed a pair of three-stars in late June in guard Luke Bumbalough from New Castle High School (New Castle, IN) and guard Lucas Kroft from North Side High School (Fort Wayne, IN). While recruiting a six-foot guard is a bold strategy, he’s a proven athlete on the football field as he made 107 receptions for 1,810 yards and 27 touchdowns and added 150 yards and two scores on the ground in his junior season. On the court, he shows that he has some burst to get past defenders and can finish at the hoop. At BSU, he’ll have to add weight to absorb college-level contact and needs to be a proficient shooter.

Kroft, on the other hand, has a lot of tools that make him a dangerous player at the next level. He has the athleticism to blow past defenders and finish strong at the rim, while also having good range from beyond the arc. He will have to develop his intermediate game as well as add weight in order to be a strong player inside the paint and be a tenacious defender at Ball State, but the potential to be an All-MAC caliber player is there.