Eight of the Top-10 prospects from the region’s 2022 Class have already committed to their future college programs. They will all either be headed to high major conferences or -in Reed Bailey’s case with Davidson- a program within the A-10 that boasts four NCAA Tournament appearances over the last eight seasons.
Over the next week, we’ll get updated looks into the recruitment of New England’s Top Available 2022 Prospects…
Claude garnered a ton of high major attention after torching the 2021 Nike EYBL circuit this summer with Expressions. Averaging 15.3 Pts/4.5 Ast/3.3 Reb while shooting 59.6% from the field against the nation’s top grassroots competition will do that for a prospect.
The New Haven-native started his prep career at St. Thomas More, where he never skipped a step in the developmental process. He diligently worked his way up from a starter on STM’s varsity squad to become the top option on Jere Quinn’s prep team over the course of three seasons.
Looking to challenge himself in a new environment, he decided to transfer to Putnam Science Academy for his final prep season and aims to become the latest Top-100 prospect in the Mustangs stable. Claude also knows what he’s looking for in his future college program.
“The coaches have to be invested in player development,” said Claude, when asked about the most important selling points in the recruiting process. “Somewhere that is known for putting developmental plans in place for their players, helping them max out their potential and eventually getting them to The League.”
Individual goals are important to Claude but he also wants his name to be synonymous with winning. There’s one non-negotiable when it comes to his future coaches too.
“Trust. That’s probably the biggest thing for me. If I trust my coaches and they trust me, everything else will fall into place. They’ll feel free to challenge me and coach me hard. I’ll know that they always have my best interest in mind and that they’re putting me in a position to succeed.”
High major coaches have flowed into PSA’s open gyms all fall, giving Claude deeper looks into their programs as well as a few brand new options. Rutgers, Xavier, Minnesota, Marquette, Georgia and others have sent multiple members of their staff to Putnam, while Wake Forest became the most recent program to offer him a few weeks ago.
“Rutgers and Xavier have been in consistent contact with me ever since they offered this summer. I’m really comfortable with both coaching staffs and appreciate the fact that they’re already helping me become the best player I can possibly be. Coach Pikiell (Rutgers) and Coach Steele (Xavier) always keep it real with me and have proven that they can get their guys ready for the next level.”
Make no mistake though, Claude’s recruitment is still wide open and he’s in no rush to make a decision. With new programs showing interest each week, it’s easy to understand his position. Louisville and South Carolina are a few programs who have been in close contact with him lately.
“The whole recruiting process has been good to me. The plan is to go through this process the right way, find the right fit and make the right decision. I want to end up at a program with a coaching staff whose goals are lined up with mine. If I do that, it will be a win-win for everybody.”
With a strong support system and a good head on his shoulders, Claude realizes that some coaches will simply tell him what he wants to hear instead of what he needs to hear. But that’s exactly why he’s willing to take his time, build that trust and find the right fit.
“At the end of the day, I want to play this game at the highest level. I want to play in the NBA. That’s been my goal for a while now and it motivates me to improve every single day. I have a lot of work to do but it’s something that I envision and it’s something that I want to turn into reality.”
Every time I check in on Desmond Claude’s development, his game improves, his frame grows stronger and it becomes easier for me to see his vision.