Georgia basketball: Who is Jonathan Kuminga, the elite forward visiting Athens

Georgia basketball head coach Tom Crean had Jonathan Kuminga, the No. 1 player in the 2021 class, on campus Wednesday (Mar. 4) on an unofficial visit.

There’s no doubt, Georgia basketball recruiting has greatly improved since Tom Crean became head coach last season. Elite prospects were not on the minds of Georgia basketball fans just three years ago. Since signing Anthony Edwards, the recruiting game has changed in Athens.

Wednesday (Mar. 4), the No. 1 overall prospect in the nation Jonathan Kuminga took an unofficial to visit the University of Georgia. Kuminga isn’t just the No. 1 overall prospect, he has a perfect 1.000 score from the 247Sports Composite.

Besides the rankings and the ratings, what kind of player is he? Does Georgia actually stand a shot of signing him? More importantly, who is Jonathan Kuminga?

Player and school profile

Kuminga hails from the Congo, but he currently attends the Patrick School in Hillside, N.J. The Patrick School is a private non-profit school that seeks to provide the best opportunities for students of all socioeconomic backgrounds. One of those opportunities is athletics, especially basketball.

Kuminga and teammate Adama Sanogo are the first major prospects to come from the current Patrick School, but dozens of elite basketball players graduated from the former St. Patrick High School. The biggest name to come from St. Patrick is undoubtedly Kyrie Irving. DeAndre’ Bembry, Samuel Dalembert and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist are other players who came from St. Patrick.

The Patrick School basketball program is as much of a training institute as it is a basketball team, which means players leave the school prepared for the next level both physically and fundamentally. It’s a big reason why Kuminga transferred to the Patrick School before this school year.

On the court

Kuminga is currently billed at 6-8 and 205 lbs. and according to what his Nike Elite Youth coach told ZAGSBLOG, Kuminga gained 15 lbs. in lean muscle before the season began. With his lean frame, long arms and especially with his impressive vertical leap, he plays like he’s much bigger than 6-8.

He uses his size very well. Kuminga does not shy away from contact, he welcomes it. He’s the kind of player who puts opponents into foul trouble every game. When Kuminga has the ball, his primary goal is to get to the rim and he achieves that goal with a wide arsenal of moves. He doesn’t need the ball to get to the rim either because he can get himself open down low. At the rim, opponents just have to hope they can out-jump him because he’s not missing a high-percentage shot otherwise.

If for whatever reason Kuminga can’t get to the rim, he also has a great pull-up midrange jumper and his arms are long enough for a finger roll away from the goal. Plus, he’s a pretty good passer, again, using his long arms to get the ball places most players can’t.

His mental game is every bit as good as his physicality game. He is patient around the arc, he doesn’t take ill-advised three-pointers and he’s not running into a crowd he has no chance against. Kuminga sees the floor well to pick spots to drive, pull-up or pass. He plays a very mature brand of basketball for a high school junior. And he’s improving his three-point game, as if he wasn’t already a difficult player to defend.

Potential Bulldog?

Kuminga can pick whatever school he wants, he’s that good. There’s not a school in the nation that wouldn’t want him. He has scholarships from every elite or want-to-be elite program in the nation. According to Kuminga himself, Georgia is one of the schools recruiting him the hardest. Auburn, Duke, Florida State, Kentucky, Maryland and Texas Tech were the other schools really going after him.

Recruiting Kuminga is more of an uphill battle than recruiting Anthony Edwards ever was. At least Edwards was an in-state prospect. Crean could sell proximity to home among other things to him. Crean has to recruit Kuminga differently. He has to sell a developing program that is becoming an NBA factory. The easiest thing Crean has to sell is himself. His reputation as an NBA player producing coach is well known. Kuminga to Georgia is a long shot, but this is a new era of Georgia basketball recruiting.