Posted on: November 9, 2011 8:08 pm
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Posted on: November 9, 2011 7:47 pm
And the dust is finally settling on the first day of the early signing period. Hundreds of high school prospects made a binding signature and sent in their letters-of-intent to various colleges.
It was a long day, filled with a few surprises and a couple of commitments. But CBSSports.com had you covered all day, with constant coverage and analysis of the news.
If you missed anything – and we mean anything – check out our complete coverage of National Signing Day.
Thanks for following us all day, and keep checking back throughout the winter for constantly updated info on commitments and recruiting news.
Posted on: November 9, 2011 5:34 pm
Once the early signing period for the class of 2012 is over, the dominoes will stop falling and the dust will begin to settle. There will only be a handful of five-star prospects left on the board, and the late signing period won’t have an overwhelming amount of drama.
The current senior class was certainly talented and had its fair share of impact players and next-level prospects. However, looking ahead, the class of 2013 should blow it out of the water.
At the top, the current junior class might have the three best players in high school basketball right now. Jabari Parker (pictured) is a future NBA star – provided the lockout ends before he gets out of college. Julius Randle is nipping at Parker’s heels due to his outstanding inside-outside offensive ability, and Nerlens Noel is the best defensive player to come across the high school ranks in years.
Unlike the class of 2012, which saw several players move in and out of the top-three spots in the rankings, those three have a stranglehold on the top of the class. If someone ranked the classes of 2012 and 2013 together, there is a good chance Parker, Randle and Noel would be leading the way.
Before moving on, we should mention there is a chance Noel reclassifies to the class of 2012. He said he’s set in 2013 for now, but there is talk that he could go to college next fall or graduate in the spring and then prep for 2012-13. If you were looking for more Andre Drummond-esque drama, here you go.
After those three, the depth continues. Andrew and Aaron Harrison are fantastic guards, Chris Walker has limitless potential, Aaron Gordon keeps getting better and there are scorers galore in the top-20.
It is very difficult to find deficiencies with this class. There was a lack of point guards in 2012, but 2013 doesn’t have that problem. 2012 was loaded with bigs; 2013 can come close to matching it. The juniors are also loaded with high-level wing prospects.
The best part about the class? We should get plenty of decision-making drama at the top of the rankings. Only about five players in the top 50 of the rankings are currently committed, with just Isaiah Hicks (North Carolina) and Marc Loving (Ohio State) off the board when it comes to five-star prospects.
There are certainly going to be heavy hitters involved with these kids. None of the top players seem too far along in their recruitments, with an endless stream occupying these prospects’ lists.
Everyone is still focused on 2012, and rightfully so – there are still plenty of decisions to be made in the senior class.
When we move on to 2013, though, the real fun will start.
Posted on: November 9, 2011 3:17 pm
Edited on: November 10, 2011 11:23 am
Several of the remaining five-star prospects have plans to announce their decisions over the next week or two.
One player who will undoubtedly wait until the spring to make a commitment, though, is the No. 1 prospect in the country, Shabazz Muhammad.
Muhammad, a 6-foot-5 swingman from Bishop Gorman (Nev.), has been atop the rankings for much of the past year. His performance in the summer only cemented his spot at No. 1. The lefty is a dominant scorer, especially going to the basket. He has great mid-range ability and is also very effective finishing at the rim. If Muhammad can knock down 3-pointers with consistency, he is going to be a huge problem.
Of course, a whole list of teams would love to get Muhammad’s pledge for next fall. His list has stayed mostly the same for the past few months, with UCLA, Kansas, Kentucky, Duke, Kentucky, Texas A&M, USC, UNLV and Arizona all chasing the talented prospect.
It’s not a surprise that Muhammad won’t make a decision. He has only taken two official visits – to Texas A&M and Kentucky – and has not seemed to be in a rush to get the other trips out of the way. Muhammad plans to visit Duke for its game against North Carolina in the fall.
The team thought to be the leader for most of his recruitment has been UCLA. The Bruins have received an unofficial visit from Muhammad, and there have been rumors that Muhammad wants to play with current Bruin commit Kyle Anderson. Without a pledge yet, though, UCLA can’t feel safe.
Kentucky, Duke and UNLV are on UCLA’s heels. The Wildcats have made up ground in the past several months, and Muhammad was on campus for Big Blue Madness. John Calipari going hard after other forwards makes one think he has plenty of backup plans. Duke has always been in the mix for Muhaammad; he’s impressed with Mike Krzyzewski. UNLV isn’t the power that the other three are, but the Runnin’ Rebels have the location advantage.
It’s tough to count the other teams out, too, especially since he’s taken unofficial or official visits to each of them and could take more trips throughout the year.
Unlike some other prospects, Muhammad could wait as long as he wants to make a decision; coaches and teams won’t back off of him because he’s taking his time choosing a school. He wants more information on each of the schools; it’s refreshing to see a kid go through the entire process and make an education decision after much deliberation.
Some star players will have stressful decisions to make in the next week, but Muhammad definitely won’t be one of them.
Posted on: November 9, 2011 1:23 pm
Edited on: November 10, 2011 11:18 am
The class of 2012 has been an interesting group of players over the last couple of years. Many of the questions people had about the class – Who’s No. 1? Best point guard? How will Andre Drummond shake out? – have been answered. It’s also had plenty of movers and shakers in the rankings, with Mitch McGary becoming a top-five recruit and people like Danuel House, Adam Woodbury and Kris Dunn going from mid-major to top 40.
With so many different personalities and story lines in the class of 2012, we decided to break it down into 15 categories:
Goodman: Kyle Anderson to UCLA - Ben Howland and the Bruins were struggling on the recruiting trail and needed a big-time player - especially in the backcourt. Anderson, despite being 6-foot-8, is the best pure passer in the class and just knows how to win and make his teammates better. If Howland can find a way to keep Reeves Nelson and Josh Smith for another year, UCLA could get back to the Final Four with the help of Anderson.
Borzello: Mitch McGary to Michigan – John Beilein has never been known to get five-star prospects, and McGary was being pursued by the likes of Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, Florida, Maryland and many others. He was one of the best players in the country on the AAU circuit in the spring and summer, and will make an immediate impact in Ann Arbor. When Beilein gets supremely talented players to run his system, it’s bad news for everyone else.
Goodman: Danuel House to Houston. There's a reason why many have House ranked in the Top 50 - and some even in the Top 20. He's a gifted (especially athletically) wing with size who does a terrific job attacking the basket. If he gets a perimeter shot, he'll be a pro.
Borzello: Danuel House to Houston. House shot up the charts in the late spring AAU period, going from two offers to 35 offers in a two-week span. He’s extremely athletic and is a menace in transition. House is also improving his perimeter game and is tough to stop going to the rim.
Goodman: Kellen Dunham - It's no shock that I'm going with a kid headed to Butler as my top shooter. Dunham has the size, at 6-5, and can really stroke it from, well, just about anywhere. Just imagine he and Rotnei Clarke on the floor together next year.
Borzello: Fred Thomas – When he gets going, there’s not a more fun shooter to watch in the country. Thomas has the swagger of a stone-cold shooter, capable of knocking down several shots in a row and getting his team on a run. He has great size and deep range.
Goodman: Kyle Anderson - There's no one better in this class - and I haven't seen anyone his size pass it like this in a while.
Borzello: Kyle Anderson – It’s a weak class of point guards, but Anderson would win either way. His size and vision put him head and shoulders above the rest.
Goodman: Ricky Ledo - He's got the natural ability, but new Providence coach Ed Cooley is rolling the dice with the Rhode Island native. Teammates don't exactly love to play with him - and he hardly won at all this past summer. He's also bounced around to four different schools. If all that's not a risk, I'm not sure what is.
Borzello: Nino Jackson – Jackson became a household name on the AAU circuit two years ago, when he used his explosiveness to become one of the top guards in the country. However, he didn’t play AAU, he’s nearly impossible to track down and no one has heard from him in months. Might not qualify.
Goodman: Nik Stauskas - The 6-foot-6 Canadian has been overshadowed by Alex Murphy and Kaleb Tarczewski at St. Mark's, but he's the ideal John Beilein recruit. Obviously, Michigan getting Mitch McGary was huge - but Stauskas passes and shoots the you-know-what out of the ball.
Borzello: Semaj Christon – Chris Mack got an absolute steal with this one. He’s not often mentioned among the top point guards in the country, but there might not be anyone better at getting to the rim than Christon. He will shine this year at Brewster Academy (N.H.) under Jason Smith.
Goodman: Isaiah Austin - He looks the part, so long and athletic. The 7-footer, who is headed to Baylor and ranked in the Top 5 by just about everyone, just never gets anything done when I've seen him. I don't ever see his production matching his potential.
Borzello: Rodney Purvis – I think Purvis has great scoring ability, but the North Carolina State commit tries too hard to be a point guard. He struggles with his left hand and doesn’t initiate offense for others too effectively. Moreover, his personality takes a turn for the worse when he isn’t getting his on the offensive end.
Goodman: Olivier Hanlon - The Canadian was a huge pickup for Boston College. He's a pure point guard who knows how to play and makes his teammates better.
Borzello: Fred Van Vleet – Wichita State did a great job of getting him before the summer period – he was one of the best point guards on the AAU circuit in July.
Goodman: Chris Obekpa - The uncommitted power forward from Our Savior plays hard, runs the court well and gets after it on the glass - and is also a big-time shot-blocker.
Borzello: Marcus Smart – The Oklahoma State commit simply plays harder than nearly everyone else. He can guard four positions on the floor, and physicality and nonstop motor make him a pest.
Goodman: Shabazz Muhammad - He's the top-ranked player in the country for a reason. He's got an NBA-ready body and can score the ball in a variety of ways. He shoots it from deep, is athletic enough to get into the lane and strong enough to finish around and above the rim.
Borzello: Shabazz Muhammad – Didn’t want to pick the same as Goodman, but it’s impossible to go against Muhammad. The lefty is impossible to stop going to the basket, and his mid-range game is deadly. He’s not afraid to go against bigger players and finish in traffic either.
Goodman: Mitch McGary - Think Tyler Hansbrough. McGary, who is headed to Michigan, is relentless. He's also strong and is a monster on the glass.
Borzello: Ricardo Gathers – He might not be as tall as some of the other big-time rebounders, but he’s as strong as they come and has an unparalleled nose for the ball.
Goodman: It would be easy to go with Kris Dunn, who is arguably the top point guard in the country and is headed to Providence. But I'm going with a somewhat-under-the-radar guy with Katin Reinhardt heading to play for Dave Rice at UNLV. Reinhardt has the size and athleticism - and can shoot it, get to the basket and finish.
Borzello: I know I wrote that Rodney Purvis was overrated earlier, but he was still a monster commitment for Mark Gottfried. He’s an in-state kid who had previously committed to Louisville and had interest or offers from Duke, Connecticut, Memphis, Missouri, Ohio State and others. He’s a big-time scorer who can be a go-to-guy.
Goodman: C'mon, this one is just too easy. The only answer for this one can be Arizona - as Sean Miller has somehow managed to land the trio of Brandon Ashley, Kaleb Tarczewski and Grant Jerrett - and all three could wind up playing in the McDonald's All-American Game.
Borzello: It’s just dumb not to pick Arizona and its trio of five-star frontcourt players. Brandon Ashley and Kaleb Tarczewski are top-five prospects, and Grant Jerrett is another potential Burger Boy. Sean Miller did a great job getting all three to come to Tucson.
Goodman: There's honestly no one that truly stands out, so I'm going to go with N.C. State - even though I think all three of their guys maybe a tad overrated. The bottom line is that Mark Gottfried and his staff have added a trio of Top 100 players: Rodney Purvis, T.J. Warren and Tyler Lewis. Honestly, I think I like Lewis more than the other two. He doesn't look the part, but he knows how to play and brings a toughness to the table. Purvis can really score it and Warren can really shoot it.
Borzello: Only one team has two five-star guards in the fold, and that’s Providence. Ed Cooley picked up the nation’s best point guard in Connecticut native Kris Dunn, and also received a commitment from Ricardo Ledo, who can be the best scoring guard in the country when focused. They can be the backcourt of the future for the Friars, who also nabbed Josh Fortune – a knockdown shooter who will certainly be useful for Cooley during his career at Providence.
Goodman: Sam Dekker - He's athletic and skilled - and will be a star for Bo Ryan at Wisconsin. There's absolutely no doubt in my mind.
Borzello: Yogi Ferrell – His ability to handle the ball and get into the lane against defenses is impressive. Ferrell will run the show for Tom Crean from the get-go.
Photos: Nike, MaxPreps
Posted on: November 9, 2011 11:38 am
Edited on: November 9, 2011 12:45 pm
Kentucky fans were nervous when John Calipari had no commitments heading into the fall. Despite getting Archie Goodwin (pictured) and Willie Cauley, the legion of Wildcats supporters are still not content with the current class.
Don’t fret, Big Blue Nation. Calipari isn’t done yet.
Let’s start with who they already have in the fold. Goodwin is arguably the best scoring guard in the country. Ranked No. 6 in our Top 100, the athletic Goodwin is explosive going to the rim and can take over a game with his ability to score off the dribble. Cauley had a really impressive spring and summer circuit. The 6-foot-11 big man is a top-40 prospect and is only getting better. Defensively, he can block shots and he runs the floor very well for someone his size.
With those two, Kentucky already has the No. 8 class in the country. If Calipari didn’t get another player in the class, the Wildcats would be fine for 2012-13, especially considering North Carolina State transfer Ryan Harrow will also be eligible to play next season.
Of course, that’s not good enough in Lexington; and with the way Calipari has stocked the cupboard in recent years, it’s tough to blame the fans for wanting more.
Fortunately for Cal, he’s in good shape with plenty of top remaining prospects. Alex Poythress and Gary Harris are both making their decisions this week, and the Wildcats are in the final groups for both players. Poythress will decide between Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Memphis, while Harris also has Michigan State, Purdue and Indiana on his list. Both recruitments are very tough to read right now, but it wouldn’t shock anyone to see Kentucky land at least one of the two.
Amile Jefferson is also planning to decide fairly soon. Kentucky turned up the heat on him in the past few months, and the Wildcats are in his final five. It would take a lot for Kentucky to get him, but don’t count it out.
Jarnell Stokes and Kentucky became a commodity only a week ago, but the Wildcats made enough of an impression on Stokes that he visited the campus this past weekend. Memphis and Arkansas are also in good shape with Stokes, but Calipari is certainly turning up the heat.
Looking down the road a little bit, Kentucky might be the favorite for Devonta Pollard, yet another five-star forward. He plays football, so he has not made much progress in his recruitment, but the Wildcats and Mississippi State seem to be the two schools most associated with him.
Canadian forward Anthony Bennett is wide open right now, with nine schools still on his list. He plans on waiting until the spring to decide, though, so we could see Kentucky make a move on him if it strikes out with some of their fall targets.
Don’t forget Shabazz Muhammad, either. The nation’s top-ranked prospect isn’t close to making a decision, and UCLA is still considered to be the leader for his services. With that said, he was on Kentucky’s campus for Big Blue Madness and is certainly looking at the Wildcats.
Will Kentucky get all of these targets? Of course not. But the Wildcats won’t strike out with all of them, either.
Based on Calipari’s track record, it’s a good bet that at least two of the aforementioned players will end up in Lexington. Be patient, Big Blue Nation.
Posted on: November 9, 2011 1:03 am
Edited on: November 10, 2011 11:22 am
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Posted on: November 9, 2011 12:43 am
Edited on: November 9, 2011 1:12 pm
Recruiting battles within a conference are always heated. Because of the proximity between the schools – excluding the future Big East, of course – there’s normally a battle for territory, which always makes things fun to watch unfold. If one school continually dominates the rest of its opponents on the recruiting trail, it’s likely they’re doing well on the hardwood as well. Who blew away the rest of their league foes for the top targets, and which schools have work to do in the spring in order to get out of the recruiting cellar?
We’ve given you our top 25 overall classes, but here’s a look at the conference-by-conference breakdown.
Photo: US Presswire, MaxPreps, NJ.com