Matthew Cleveland to announce on July 21; FSU the frontrunner for 5-star 2021 Wing

It’s the homestretch for Matthew Cleveland and his recruitment. Last month, the 5-star 2021 shooting guard narrowed his list of schools down to five programs, including Florida State and NC State. Michigan, Stanford and Kansas rounded out that updated list.

Cleveland is now set to announce his college choice on Tuesday, July 21.

Cleveland is a special athlete and one of the best slashers in all of prep basketball. 247 Sports slots the 6-foot-6, 190-pound Cleveland, who plays for Alpharetta (GA) Pace Academy, as the No. 2 shooting guard in the 2021 recruiting class. (Pace Academy is the same school that produced former Duke one-and-done star Wendell Carter Jr.)

After a monster summer playing for the Atlanta Celtics, Cleveland’s stock has soared. Recruiting experts at both Rivals and 247 Sports have Florida State as the favorite to land Cleveland.

Leonard Hamilton is off to a strong start in 2021; Florida State already has a commitment from 4-star wing Bryce McGowens, a top-35 prospect out of South Carolina. Back in February, McGowens picked FSU over Clemson.

With Hamilton and Stan Jones — and the rest of an excellent coaching staff — Florida State loves to dial up the defensive pressure with rangy wings. During the 2019-20 season, Florida State really amped up the pressure, switching 1-5 defensively.

In recent years, FSU has morphed into a special NBA pipeline, too. Going back to just 2016, FSU has shipped plenty of players off to the NBA: Malik Beasley, Jonathan Isaac, Dwayne Bacon, Terance Mann and Mfiondu Kabengele. (Isaac is destined to win at least on Defensive Player of the Year award at some point in his career.)

For 2020, Devin Vassell — another stud wing from Georgia — Patrick Williams and Trent Forrest all project as draft picks. Vassell and Williams are both near guarantees to land in the draft lottery, too. (In fact, those two could both easily end up as top 10 picks.) This has to appeal to Cleveland and McGowens: an excellent basketball fit, both culturally and stylistically, and a proven record of future pro success.

NC State, however, has plenty to offer as well. Kevin Keatts and the Wolfpack have a strong 2021 recruiting class in the works: 4-star forward Earnest Ross and 4-star guard Terquavion Smith.


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