Tucker playing his way into shape; IU, 'Cuse, UConn, Villanova in mix
Ideally, four-star wing Jordan Tucker would have hit the grassroots circuit rested and 100 percent healthy. However, the No. 41 ranked player in the class of 2017 hurt his shoulder late in his junior season at White Plains (N.Y.) Stepinac and he's playing his way back into shape with the New York Rens in Nike's EYBL.
Though he may not quite be 100 percent, Tucker has been plenty effective. A big and strong 6-foot-7 wing, he's showed deft touch from behind the three-point line to go along with much improved ball-handling and a willingness to attack the rim while averaging 12.3 points and 4.1 rebounds per game for the 5-2 Rens.
Tucker plans to take an unofficial visit to Syracuse this weekend and the Orange have offered along with Oklahoma State, Arizona, Indiana, Maryalnd, Connecticut, Villanova and USC, while Louisville and North Carolina have jumped into the mix.
IN HIS OWN WORDS
Tucker spoke with Rivals.com about playing through injury, the development in his game, how the recent titles at Villanova and UConn have caught his eye and why he will likely wait until the spring to decide.
"It's hard to get back (healthy). We had so many games in our season and then the EYBL was right around the corner, so stuff like an injury sucks. I don't want to sit out. I tried to do little stuff to stay in rhythm but it's not easy."
"I think last year I was more of a jump shooter. Now I think I can do a lot more in terms of attacking the basket and other things. I think my coaches trust me to be a primary ball-handler now and I can handle the ball a lot better than last year. It's just confidence."
"It helps a lot the success that UConn and Villanova had. I'm close to those schools and I've developed a relationship with Kevin Ollie and with Coach (Jay) Wright. They are right there and they've both been recruiting me since I was a freshman. They do a lot with their talent.
"By the end of the summer I'm trying to cut it down to at least eight or 10 schools. It's hard because I'm a wing and the 2016 class is one of the best classes in a while. I don't know is going to go and who is going to stay. I definitely need to wait and see on that."
Physically, Tucker already looks like a kid who has spent a few years in a college weight room. He's got tremendous strength and size and it looks he is learning to use that size to his advantage while diversifying his game. His jump shot will always be an important part of his game, but him looking to attack the rim more often is a nice development.
After visiting Indiana unofficially earlier this week, Tucker will check out Syracuse this weekend. He also mentioned Maryland as a program that he would like to visit in the near future -- perhaps as soon as next weekend -- but there doesn't appear to be any leader or decision coming anytime soon.