|Coach Tom Crean is putting together a top-5 group, hoping to return the Hoosiers to glory. (Getty Images)|
The early signing period is just starting, but it will be tough for any team to catch Arizona in the class of 2012.
The Wildcats have three five-star frontcourt players, including two top-five prospects, as well as another top-40 guard who can score the ball with the best of them. Sean Miller has quickly restocked his cupboard with this recruiting class, a group that could put Arizona in the thick of the national title hunt by next season.
|More on recruiting|
What makes the class of 2012 interesting are the newcomers to the cream of the crop. Mark Gottfried has made a huge impact during his first offseason at North Carolina State, getting two top-25 recruits and remaining in the hunt for several more. The biggest question facing Ed Cooley when he took over at Providence centered on his ability to get the top New England players to play for the Friars. He answered those concerned by nabbing arguably the most explosive backcourt tandem in the high school ranks.
These rankings are nowhere close to a finished product. Unlike in previous years, when most of the top talent had already made a decision on their future destination, nine CBSSports.com five-star prospects are still up in the air. By the time December rolls around, Kentucky or Memphis could make a run at the No. 1 spot. Indiana is still in the hunt for the top spot if they nab Gary Harris. North Carolina State has a shot if it can get a commitment from Amile Jefferson.
For the foreseeable future, though, it's Arizona with a sizeable lead on the rest of the competition.
(CBSSports.com player rankings in parenthesis.)
| Commitments: Brandon Ashley (3), Kaleb Tarczewski (5), Grant Jerrett (23), Gabe York (35) |
The only team with three top-25 recruits, Arizona should end the season atop the rankings barring major moves from another program.
|2. North Carolina State|
| Commitments: Rodney Purvis (18), T.J. Warren (25), Tyler Lewis (55) |
Mark Gottfried has done a dynamite job in his first offseason in Raleigh. All three players are in-state kids that he needed to keep home.
|3. North Carolina|
| Commitments: Marcus Paige (28), Brice Johnson (32), Joel James (54), J.P. Tokoto (59) |
No five-star prospects, but the Tar Heels bring in several impact players, including Johnson, who could be an absolute star one day.
| Commitments: Yogi Ferrell (27), Hanner Perea (29), Jeremy Hollowell (36), Peter Jurkin, Ron Patterson |
This is the group that Tom Crean is banking on to bring glory back to the Hoosiers. They're on the same AAU team, so chemistry is there.
| Commitments: Ricardo Ledo (17), Kris Dunn (24), Josh Fortune |
Ed Cooley will welcome arguably the most potent backcourt duo in the nation, with the emotional Ledo and explosive Dunn.
| Commitments: Mitch McGary (2), Glenn Robinson Jr. (63), Nik Stauskas (98) |
McGary's commitment in early November put this group over the top. No one can question John Beilein's ability to get top-notch talent now.
| Commitments: Cameron Ridley (8), Prince Ibeh (61), Javan Felix (83), Iaonnis Papapetrou, Connor Lammert |
The Longhorns have one of the best inside tandems in the country in Ridley and Ibeh, while Felix is a rising point guard.
| Commitments: Archie Goodwin (6), Willie Cauley (37) |
Expect this ranking to rise in the next few weeks, as we still think John Calipari has at least one or two more five-star guys up his sleeve.
| Commitments: DaJuan Coleman (10), Jerami Grant (48) |
Getting Coleman to stay home was huge for Jim Boeheim, who also dipped into the D.C. area for the younger son of Harvey Grant.
| Commitments: Kyle Anderson (4), Jordan Adams (72) |
Prior to Dominic Artis' decommitment, this was a top-five class. It can get back there if No. 1 recruit Shabazz Muhammad heads to Westwood.
| Commitments: Isaiah Austin (7), L.J. Rose (60), Chad Rykhoek |
Scott Drew continues to make an impact on the recruiting trail, getting top-100s Austin and Rose. Austin will fit in perfectly in Baylor's frontcourt.
| Commitments: James Robinson (79), Steven Adams |
We haven't seen Adams in person yet, but from everything we've heard, he's a top-10 recruit in the class. Robinson is the typical Pitt guard.
| Commitments: Shaq Cleare (26), Jake Layman (57), Seth Allen |
Mark Turgeon is already bringing in more stud recruits than Gary Williams. Cleare is a beast down low, while Layman is versatile.
| Commitments: Justin Anderson (44), Evan Nolte (75), Mike Tobey (77), Teven Jones |
A nice trio of top-100 recruits for Tony Bennett. Anderson is a born leader, while Nolte and Tobey fit nicely into Bennett's system.
| Commitments: Shaq Goodwin (21), Damien Wilson (91) |
The last major pre-signing period commitment was a huge gift for Memphis, which nabbed Goodwin over UCLA. Wilson is an active defensive player.
| Commitments: Ryan Arcidiacono (46), Daniel Ochefu (47) |
Before Savon Goodman decommitted from 'Nova, this was a group of three top-50 recruits. Arch and Ochefu are both talented workers.
|17. Michigan State|
| Commitments: Matt Costello (64), Kenny Kaminski (85), Denzel Valentine |
This class is filled with versatile players that Tom Izzo will love. Costello and Kaminski are bigs that can shoot, while Valentine can do a little of everything.
|18. Wake Forest|
| Commitments: Arnaud Moto (56), Codi Miller-McIntyre (89), Aaron Rountree, Tyler Cavanaugh, Andre Washington, Devin Thomas |
One of the deeper classes in the country, Jeff Bzdelik will be counting on Moto, Miller-McIntyre and the rest to turn around the Deacons.
| Commitments: Adam Woodbury (39), Mike Gesell (94), Patrick Ingram, Anthony Clemmons, Kyle Meyer |
Not a flashy class, but Woodbury proved himself as one of the better bigs around, while Gesell is a very solid guard in the backcourt.
| Commitments: Danuel House (30), Danrad Knowles (78), Valentine Izundu |
James Dickey is getting it done at Houston. House and Knowles both shot up the rankings in the spring and summer. He's not done either.
| Commitments: Xavier Johnson (73), Josh Scott (82), Wesley Gordon, Chris Jenkins |
A very solid class so far. Scott and Gordon should form a good inside tandem down low, while Johnson is talented when healthy.
| Commitments: Ronnie Johnson (86), A.J. Hammons (97), Raphael Davis, Jay Simpson |
If this group plays to its collective potential, this ranking will seem low in retrospect. Hammons and Simpson have plenty of talent.
| Commitments: Braxton Ogbueze (45), Michael Frazier (95), Dillon Graham |
Billy Donovan has a nice group of perimeter players on his hands. Frazier and Graham can gun, while Ogbueze is quick and explosive.
|24. Texas A&M|
| Commitments: J-Mychal Reese (50), Alex Caruso (68) |
Here is the Aggies' backcourt of the future. Reese is an effective combo guard that can score; Caruso is an unorthodox perimeter scorer.
| Commitments: Rosco Allen (70), Grant Verhoeven (88), Christian Sanders |
Johnny Dawkins really developed this class in the last couple of months. Verhoeven and Allen could end up being very good Pac-12 players.