Bronny James recruiting updates: Tracking where LeBron James’ son will choose to play next season

Rising recruit Bronny James, the eldest son of LeBron James, continues to rise up the rankings after a strong summer on the AAU circuit that saw him showcase a more complete and assertive version of himself on the court. The latest 247Sports rankings in the 2023 cycle have him just outside the top 40 nationally in his class, which is clearly in four-star territory, and that rise in recent weeks has coincided with considerable buzz surrounding him and his next steps. Will he attend college? Is turning pro out of high school in play? And is he really worth all the hype that’s surrounded him in the last few years?

All those questions and more are answered in detail below. In talking with insiders in the recruiting industry, there are questions that remain about him — including whether he’ll go to college, and what impact he’d make if he chose that path. There is no question, though, that his recruitment has captured the college hoops world’s interest as the steady crescendo towards an eventual decision builds.

Here is the latest on LeBron James Jr. — who goes by “Bronny” — as we turn a corner in his recruitment process.

Will he go to college?

This is the question at the center of the Bronny James discourse right now. Just weeks ago there was a wide expectation within the industry that turning pro out of high school — either to go to the G League Ignite, the NBL in Australia or perhaps with Overtime Elite — was the most likely option. Staff at schools rumored as possible landing spots were not giving indications that he was a viable target. That has changed in recent weeks. More and more smoke erupting out of corners of the college hoops universe suggest college may legitimately be not only on the table but a realistic path forward for him.

“The recruiting is a bit of a mystery,” 247Sports’ Adam Finkelstein, the site’s director of scouting, told me recently. “Almost every other player in the country is very public about their recruitment — they’re posting their offers and visits on social media — but Bronny doesn’t do that, and he also doesn’t give interviews. So everything is speculation . What I do know is that some of the schools that are publicly perceived as options for him, have told me they’ve had no direct contact.”

Who has offered Bronny?

Six years ago, Duke and Kentucky reportedly had extended standing offers to Bronny. But it’s not clear if either school has maintained contact with him, much less if those offers still stand. So to date only Memphis and USC are the two power school programs to extend an offer, according to that On3Sports. North Carolina Central and North Carolina A&T are the only other schools publicly known to have extended an offer, although there are plenty who have been linked to him as possible suitors.

Schools with reported interest

Despite only four known scholarship offers, many schools — mostly Nike-sponsored, because of the connection he has to the brand as his father’s long-time partner and sponsor — have been linked to Bronny James. The most prominent of those reported suitors is Oregonwhich was recently named a leader in his recruitment by one recruiting service, and Ohio Statewhich is in the state his father was born and raised.

However, firm news is hard to nail down with Bronny. After that report, LeBron himself weighed in on the Oregon topic, pouring cold water on the report that suggested the Ducks’ position as a frontrunner.

USC has also reportedly shown interest in James, meanwhile Michigan — coached by Juwan Howard, who was in Miami with the Heat while LeBron was there — has persistently popped up as a potential darkhorse.

Pro options

A lot has changed in recent weeks to suggest there is momentum building for Bronny to attend college, and earlier this month, ESPN’s Paul Biancardi reported that him going to college is more likely than him going other pro routes, like the G League Ignite. That seems to be the growing belief industry-wide. But both the NBL and the G League Ignite remain viable options for all talented prospects looking to take alternative routes to the NBA, including Bronny. Both leagues have produced lottery picks in recent years (Jalen Green with the G League Ignite, LaMelo Ball and Josh Giddey with the NBL), which could make both landing spots more enticing.

Projection at the next level

Despite a strong run this summer on the EYBL circuit, James is just outside the top-40 national rankings and clearly outside the five-star projections that would put him in the category of a likely one-and-done. He has the talent and IQ one would expect from someone with his pedigree, but he is not viewed in the industry as a can’t-miss future NBA pick.

“Who knows what the future will hold for him, but I’m certainly not watching him and thinking that he projects as a lottery pick,” 247Sports recruiting expert Eric Bossi told me. “Heck, the Class of 2023 is not a particularly great class and there really aren’t that many guys — regardless of ranking — that we are looking at and thinking ‘Hey, that guy is gonna play in the NBA for 15 years.’ So, I’m looking at him as a kid who has a chance to be a pretty good college player, and then let’s see what happens from there.”

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