Bronny James is entering his senior year of high school, having had a great summer and European tour with his high school band, Sierra Canyon, last month. LeBron James’ oldest son has kept his recruitment under wraps throughout his senior year, but a few schools are starting to emerge as viable options and official visits are scheduled for the fall.
His first visit came over the weekend as Bronny, LeBron and agent Rich Paul traveled to Columbus, Ohio and were spotted on the sidelines before the Ohio State-Notre Dame football game. The Ohio State student section started chanting “We want Brony” after spotting them.
Where else will Bronny possibly visit this fall and where will he end up playing next season? Yahoo Sports takes a look at the teams known to be interested in James, how he would fit into the program and other high school recruits who could join him.
If there is an established favored program, Ohio State is it. Brony was born in Columbus, Ohio, LeBron was born and raised in Akron, Ohio and has said in the past that if he didn’t play basketball, he would be a wide receiver and play at Ohio State. The university is sponsored by LeBron’s Nike division, with athletes on the men’s and women’s basketball teams wearing shoes designed by LeBron and the football team featuring his designed cleats. LeBron has attended many Ohio State sporting events over the years and it would be kind of cool if Brony chose to play for Chris Holtman and his staff.
The Buckeyes do a great job developing guards and have several notable alumni currently in the NBA: D’Angelo Russell, Mike Conley Jr., Duane Washington Jr. and most recently, the No. 20 pick in the 2022 NBA draft, Malaki. Branham. The Buckeyes finished last season 20-12 and fourth in the Big Ten.
Ohio State already has two commitments in the 2023 high school class: four-star power forward Devin Royal and center Austin Parks. There is availability and room for Bronny to come in and compete for early playing time. He is one of the best on-ball defenders in his class and has a solid outside jumper. He is an excellent plug-and-play guard who is becoming more comfortable as a primary ball handler.
There was a report from On3 Sports which singled out Oregon as the frontrunner. LeBron quickly shut down that speculation he says in a tweet“He hasn’t taken 1 visit yet and only had a few calls with coaches and universities. When Bronny makes his choice, you’ll hear from him.”
Oregon is the top school for the Nike brand, and head coach Dana Altman has already attracted top players in the high school class of 2023. Five-stars Kwame Evans and Mookie Cook have already committed to the Ducks along with four-star guard Jackson Shelstad. In fact, Cook has been cast to play a young LeBron in the feature film about his childhood and high school career coming out next year, and he shot the movie last summer.
“It’s kind of hard to play LeBron because he’s literally one of them,” Cook told Yahoo Sports. “Of course, I watched a ton of film and just the way he saw the game at such a young age, man, it’s something else.”
Bronny teaming up with the player who played his father in a movie would be fun to see on the court, but LeBron made it clear that it’s still early in the process and reports that Oregon is the early frontrunner appear to be false.
Coach Juwan Howard and LeBron have had a great relationship for years. Howard has made back-to-back trips to the Sweet 16 in his first two seasons as head coach and has turned the program around.
There are always a handful of things to consider when choosing a college program. Howard played in the NBA for 19 seasons and was an assistant coach when LeBron played for the Miami Heat and won three championships. Trusting a coach and his staff to push Broney every day in practice could give Michigan a slight edge.
The only thing that could hurt Michigan’s chances of landing Bronny is Michigan is a Jordan-funded school. This may not seem like a big deal, but to put things into perspective, all of Bronny’s other potential college programs are sponsored by Nike. Bronny played on Nike sponsored teams throughout his school career. LeBron is one of Nike’s biggest athletes and the Name, Image and Likeness opportunities that could surround Bronny will no doubt be considered.
The Wolverines still don’t have any commitments from any players in the 2023 high school recruiting class, but are in a good position with five-star Isaiah Collier and four-star center Papa Kante. Bronny played alongside elite guards throughout his career. played with NBA guard Brandon Boston Jr. and Ziaire Williams and played ball last year alongside UCLA freshman Amari Bailey.
Head coach Andy Enfield and two assistants sat courtside at each of Bronny’s games at Nike’s Peach Jam in July. USC is the hometown school and it would be relatively easy for LeBron and the rest of the family to be at home games when schedules allow. Bronny’s little brother Bryce is just a sophomore and will play varsity this season with his older brother. Bryce is starting to come into his own game, listed at 6-foot-5, and Bronny would only be an hour away and still be able to be close to family.
USC finished last season 26-8 and third in the Pac-12. The Trojans have yet to commit to the 2023 high school class, but are in a good position with James and five-stars AJ Johnson and Isaiah Collier.
Penny Hardaway is the latest coach to get involved in Broney’s recruitment. Similar to Howard and Michigan, Hardaway brings professional experience at the college level and has landed top players in the past. James Wiseman, Precious Achiuwa and Jalen Duren all played under Hardaway and were first-round draft picks. Last year, Hardaway attracted the nation’s top recruit, Emoni Bates, but due to injuries, Bates didn’t play a ton his freshman year and ended up at Eastern Michigan.
Last season, Hardaway added Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown to his coaching staff. The knowledge and depth the pair brings will be interesting for the James family and an option to explore. Memphis is currently in a good position with one of the top point guards in the class, DJ Wagner, but has yet to land a player in the 2023 high school class.