Fab Melo is ...
A) A hip-hop group consisting of Michigan's Fab Five and Carmelo Anthony.
B) A new soft drink.
C) A consensus top-five national recruit.
|Get to know Fabricio de Melo. (Provided to CBSSPorts.com)|
But guess what?
It did start Monday.
And I've decided the best way to begin this important stretch is to make sure everybody understands the landscape. That's why I've developed something I've creatively named Almost Everything You Need to Know About the July Recruiting Period. I advise you to print it out and refer to it as needed, because much of what I write over the next month will revolve around the happenings on the summer circuit.
So without further ado ...
Almost Everything You Need to Know About the July Recruiting Period
Q: What is the July recruiting period?
A: It's a 20-day stretch (July 6 to July 15 and July 22 to July 31) during which college coaches travel the country and evaluate prospects at various sanctioned events. It is literally where scholarships are gained and lost, where future national championships are somewhat decided. So when somebody tries to tell you that basketball is a "winter" sport, feel free to correct them. Because what happens every July almost always determines what happens in March two, three and four years later.
Q: Who is the best prospect in the Class of 2010?
A: Depends on what scouting service you prefer.
Scout.com has Harrison Barnes (from Iowa) ranked No. 1.
Rivals.com has Brandon Knight (from Florida) ranked No. 1.
I'll go with Barnes if only because I was calling him the Class of 2010's best after I saw him last year at the Nike Global Games in Oregon, meaning I was a little ahead of the curve on this (if you don't mind me saying). Plus, Barnes just carries himself like a pro. I'm not sure what that means, exactly. But if you ever see him, you'll agree.
|Put your money down on Brandon Knight moving from South Florida to Lexington, Ky. (Provided to CBSSports.com)|
A: That remains unclear.
Barnes is still considering a number of schools -- everybody from Florida to North Carolina to Iowa State. But sources familiar with his recruitment believe the 6-foot-6 wing will eventually sign with either Duke or Kansas. One person I trust said Duke. Another guessed Kansas. So take that for what it's worth.
As for Knight, the smart money (and even the dumb money) is on Kentucky.
Knight is a dominant point guard, you see, and nobody has coached more dominant point guards in recent years than new Kentucky coach John Calipari. Assuming things go as planned, John Wall will soon become Calipari's third consecutive point guard to be selected in the top five of the NBA Draft. That's a stretch that'll be difficult for Knight to ignore. And even if it wasn't, did you know that Knight happens to have family in the Lexington area?
Again, the smart money has Knight playing for Calipari at Kentucky.
Q: Who are the other elite players in the Class of 2010?
A: Scout.com and Rivals.com have different top 10 lists, but seven prospects appear in both.
• Harrison Barnes (No. 1 at Scout.com; No. 2 at Rivals.com)
• Brandon Knight (No. 2 at Scout.com; No. 1 at Rivals.com)
• Jared Sullinger (No. 4 at Scout.com; No. 3 at Rivals.com)
• Fab Melo (No. 5 at Scout.com; No. 5 at Rivals.com)
• Josh Smith (No. 8 at Scout.com; No. 6 at Rivals.com)
• Will Barton (No. 9 at Scout.com; No. 10 at Rivals.com)
• Josh Shelby (No. 10 at Scout.com; No. 7 at Rivals.com)
Q: Are they all still available?
A: No, actually.
Barnes, Knight, Melo and Smith remain uncommitted. But Sullinger is committed to Ohio State, Barton is committed to Memphis, and Selby is committed to Tennessee. Worth noting: Barton and Selby are cousins and high school teammates. Thus, they will need tons of family tickets for the Memphis-Tennessee game in 2010-11.
Q: What about the younger guys?
A: Michael Gilchrist, a 6-6 wing from New Jersey, is the consensus No. 1 player in the Class of 2011. After him, a couple of other Class of 2011 stars have (last) names you'll probably recongize -- specifically Marquis Teague (brother of former Wake Forest star Jeff Teague) and Austin Rivers (son of Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers).
Q: Will they be on the road this month, too?
A: Of course.
Everybody will be on the road this month.
Q: Even you?
I'm starting in Akron at the LeBron James Skills Academy, then bouncing over to Cleveland for the King City Classic. I'll attend the Nike Peach Jam in North Augusta, S.C., next week, then conclude the month in Las Vegas with three massive tournaments featuring every relevant prospect in the country.
It's a fun time of year, honestly.
So travel with me (at least in mind if not in body).
And when I see Fab Melo, I'll be sure to send him your best.