April 12, 2007

Top unsigned prospects nearing decisions

The basketball recruiting world is waiting and watching a small handful of players to make their college decisions as the late signing period is now in full swing. Only six players on the Rivals150 remain uncommitted to a program, including five-star forward Patrick Patterson.

Patterson and Lucas to play together?

West Virginia forward Patrick Patterson and Texas point guard Jai Lucas have long been paired together in recruiting conversations. Patterson, the lone five-star prospect to make a decision, and Lucas, the top unsigned point guard in the nation, are both strongly considering Florida and Kentucky.

Lucas is visiting Florida this weekend while Patterson has been to Gainesville a handful of times in the past. The duo visited Kentucky together in the fall for the Wildcats' Midnight Madness.

A decision from both could come around the Jordan Classic all-star game next weekend in New York City. The two will meet up together on Wednesday of next week to travel with their families to the game.

Both Florida and Kentucky would receive a big shot in the arm if Lucas and Patterson picked either program. For Florida, the duo would certainly improve the Gators 2007 class, which currently sits at No. 5 overall.

"If Florida were land both Jai and Patrick, they'd be bringing in possibly three, maybe four potential starters," Rivals.com national basketball recruiting analyst Jerry Meyer said. "With Jai, it will give them a lot of flexibility in the backcourt and Nick Calathes can play a lot of different positions now. Patterson has a great shot of locking down the starting power forward position. It would give them the type of class to rebound from losing the top six players from this year's team."

For Kentucky, the duo would only ignite an already hot fan base because of the new energy from newly crowned head coach Billy Gillispie.

"Already with a 2009 commitment from GJ Vilarino under his belt, Gillispie would just be building on his momentum and the fan support if he could land Patterson and Lucas," Meyer said. "Patterson would give them a big name power forward that the fan base has been hungry for and Lucas can put the offense into a higher gear."

Patterson is also considering Duke and Lucas has visited Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Maryland.

Other Rivals150 players still in limbo

Meyer reported that Texas guard Cliff Tucker will decide his future home, either Maryland or UTEP, later today at a press conference/signing celebration at his Chapin High School.

Anthony McClain, the nation's top unsigned center, is still looking at Cincinnati and Connecticut, according to his National Christian coach Trevor Brown. The four-star big man is taking the ACT this weekend and has tentative plans to "make a couple of visits," according to Brown.

If McClain were to commit to Cincinnati, the Bearcats would almost certainly move into the top 25 national team rankings.

Mississippi wing Jenirro Bush told Rivals.com at the Real Deal on the Hill tournament last weekend that he will be headed to a prep school next year and has re-opened his recruitment. Bush was committed to Arkansas and decided to look around after Stan Heath was fired. Bush said he is open but also looking at Connecticut, Virginia, Oklahoma, Baylor and Oregon. He is claiming offers from each of the schools.

Pittsburgh area wing D.J. Kennedy is making a visit to Xavier this weekend and has a tentative visit set up with Georgia.

Team rankings changes?

May 16 is the final day for prospects to sign a national letter of intent in the regular signing period and with a handful of players still undecided, the team rankings don't project to change too much.

If Florida can land Patterson and Lucas, the Gators could make a push for the top overall spot in 2007. If Kentucky lands both players, the Wildcats would undoubtedly move into the top 25. If Patterson were to pick Duke, the Blue Devils could move into the top five.

Rivals.com will update the final 2007 individual rankings after the post-season all-star games this month. The team rankings will follow shortly.


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