Bruno Fernando's commitment to Maryland on Sunday did two things.
1. It gave the Terrapins their first pledge from the Class of 2017.
2. It pushed the Big Ten ahead of the SEC as it pertains to top-100 commitments.
It's true. As of this moment, 60 of the top 100 prospects in the Class of 2017, according to 247Sports, have committed. And no league has more of those 60 than the Big Ten. Things break down like this:
- Big Ten: 11
- SEC: 10
- Pac-12: 9
- ACC: 9
- Big East: 9
- Big 12: 6
- Atlantic 10: 2
- C-USA: 2
- American: 1
- West Coast Conference: 1
First things first: it's important to note there are still 40 top-100 prospects who will, presumably, eventually commit somewhere, 30 of whom are in the top 50. And Kentucky still has zero commitments from the Class of 2017, which will obviously change at some point and maybe push the SEC to the top. So this is more of a mid-semester progress report than a final grade, meaning the list above could look quite different once the remaining top-100 prospects select a school.
That said, there are some interesting things here -- most notably that a league that hasn't won a national championship since 2000 currently has more top-100 recruits committed than any other league. (Note: I'm not giving the Big Ten credit for Maryland's 2002 title.)
Also worth noting is the fact that the American Athletic Conference -- despite having big basketball brands like Connecticut, Cincinnati and Memphis, historically solid programs like Temple and Tulsa, and on-the-rise programs like Houston and SMU -- only has one top-100 player player committed at this moment. (The player is Makai Ashton-Langford, who is ranked 33rd and committed to UConn.)
That's eight fewer than the Big East, one fewer than both the Atlantic 10 and C-USA, and exactly the same as the WCC, meaning the AAC has fewer top-100 commitments than all five Power 5 leagues -- plus three other non-Power 5 leagues. And that's not a good look for a conference that on the court has finished seventh among all leagues in each of the past two seasons at KenPom.
OTHER RECRUITING NOTES FROM THE WEEKEND
1. Indiana secured its third commitment from the Class of 2017 this weekend when Clifton Moore pledged. The 6-8 forward is ranked 133rd nationally, according to 247Sports. IU's class is currently ranked 15th nationally and fourth in the Big Ten.
2. North Carolina State landed its first prospect from the Class of 2017 when Thomas Allen committed this weekend. The 6-2 guard is ranked 134th nationally, according to 247Sports. He had additional offers from Ohio State, Illinois, Cincinnati and Nebraska.
3. Kansas accepted a commitment from Class of 2019 standout Markese Jacobs this weekend. The 5-10 point guard is just the latest Chicago-area player to pledge to KU coach Bill Self, who previously coached at Illinois. Some other examples are Julian Wright, Sherron Collins and Cliff Alexander.
4. In addition to Jacobs, KU had a long list of elite prospects on campus this weekend highlighted by five-star recruits Trevon Duval, Collin Sexton, Troy Brown and Billy Preston. None of them committed, but their mere presence on campus suggests the Jayhawks are seriously involved with the type of recruits that could lead KU to several more Big 12 titles.
FINAL THOUGHT: The biggest commitment of the weekend was delivered by Chaundee Brown, who picked Wake Forest and thus rejected reported offers from Kansas, UConn, Florida, Indiana, Maryland and many others. The 6-5 guard is the the highest-rated prospect to commit to Wake Forest since Class of 2008 stars Al-Farouq Aminu and Ty Walker pledged to Skip Prosser nine recruiting classes and two coaches ago.
So, yeah, this is a huge development for the Demon Deacons.
Whether it'll actually lead to substantial on-court success is hard to say because, as I wrote last month, Wake Forest is a tougher job today than it's ever been for a variety of reasons -- most notably the additions of Louisville, Notre Dame, Syracuse and Pittsburgh to the ACC. Regardless, Brown's commitment is undeniably good news for a program that hasn't had a whole lot lately. So it should be celebrated and considered a possible next step toward returning Wake Forest to respectability.