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Basketball Recruiting Update: Nate Pierre-Louis sets official visit

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Vanderbilt's coaching staff has been working the recruiting trail hard the last couple of weeks during the July evaluation period.

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

One of the more salient facts about the Vanderbilt Commodores' new basketball coaching staff is that it's heavy on connections in the Midwest.  Head coach Bryce Drew is, of course, from Indiana and played and coached at Valparaiso.  Assistant coach Roger Powell Jr. is from Illinois, played for the Illini, and was Drew's top assistant at Valpo.  Assistant coach Jake Diebler is from Ohio, played for Drew at Valpo, and was on the staff at Ohio State before getting hired at Vanderbilt.  Assistant coach Casey Shaw is also from Ohio and played college ball at Toledo.

So it's really no surprise that Vanderbilt is targeting prospects from that part of the Midwest, which makes sense for a lot of reasons aside from the coaching staff's connections: Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio aren't that far from Nashville, those states produce a lot of talent, and selling them on coming to Vanderbilt shouldn't be that difficult.  That describes 2018 target Tim Finke, who's from Illinois (and is a travel teammate of Brentwood Academy's Darius Garland, another 2018 target), and the Commodores are now targeting a couple more prospects from Indiana:

Nunge took an unofficial visit to Vanderbilt earlier in the summer.  It's not clear if he has an offer yet (more on that in a moment), but he has size and a good shooting stroke.  Iowa is thought to be the main competition for Nunge.

Musa Jallow is a 6'5" SF from Bloomington (IN) South who's rated as a three-star recruit.  Like fellow target Tim Finke, he does have an offer from his hometown school.

Meanwhile, another 2017 big man did pick up an offer from Vanderbilt:

Enoh, like Nunge, took an unofficial visit to Vanderbilt last month and the recent offer indicates that Bryce Drew is looking to add him.  There is a numbers game here, though, with four scholarships available and in addition to Enoh and Nunge, Vanderbilt is also targeting 7-footer Victor Uyaelumno.  With Saben Lee already committed and Nate Pierre-Louis also being a priority, Drew will probably only be taking two big men in the class so there may not be room for both Enoh and Nunge -- though there could be if Uyaelumno goes elsewhere.

Speaking of Nate Pierre-Louis, he's set an official visit for September 1.

The initial thought when Saben Lee committed was that Vanderbilt probably would not take two point guards in the class of 2017 and thus Pierre-Louis was no longer a priority for the staff, but it turns out that's not the case.  A relevant fact: SMU was thought to be the main competition here, but it remains to be seen if Pierre-Louis is still interested now that Larry Brown is no longer coaching there.

It appears at the moment that Vanderbilt has four targets for three spots in the 2017 recruiting class, and that Pierre-Louis is a definite take for the staff (and if not him, the staff will probably look to bring in another guard), so the three frontcourt targets are essentially competing for two spots.

Meanwhile, the Class of 2018 is shaping up to be very guard-heavy.  That makes sense with Matthew Fisher-Davis, Riley LaChance, and Jeff Roberson all departing after that season.  Darius Garland and Tim Finke were two targets we already knew about, Musa Jallow is another, and Vanderbilt has offered a couple more:

It doesn't sound like Drew is going to focus much on the frontcourt in the 2018 class.  Previously, Kevin Stallings had been recruiting Connor Vanover, a 7'3" center out of Arkansas, but there hasn't been much news on him lately and it seems Drew doesn't view the frontcourt as a priority in that class.