Behind the power of three five-star frontcourt players, the Demon Deacons of Wake Forest secured the No. 1 spot in the initial 2008 team recruiting rankings.
UCLA's guard-oriented recruiting class, led by Jrue Holiday - the No. 3 ranked prospect in the Rivals150 - lands the No. 2 position.
Two Big East teams fall in line behind the Bruins, due in large part to three five-star post players. Louisville, who comes in at No. 3, will sign Samardo Samuels and Terrence Jennings. Georgetown brings in the No. 1 prospect in the country, Greg Monroe.
Rounding out the top five is Florida. Not only are the Gators coming off back-to-back national championships, they also are following up on the No. 1 recruiting class from 2007.
The SEC leads all conferences with eight teams represented in the top-30 recruiting classes. Both the Pac-10 and ACC are represented by five teams each.
Quality big men are hard to come by, but Wake Forest managed to land three five-star big men in its 2008 recruiting class. Al-Farouq Aminu has the versatility to do damage inside and outside. He has the polish to his game to make an instant impact. Tony Woods and Ty Walker still need some seasoning, but have very high ceilings.
UCLA's backcourt is in good hands for the foreseeable future. Led by elite prospect Jrue Holiday, the Bruins' recruiting class also includes four-star guards Jerime Anderson and Malcolm Lee. All three of these guards hail from the Los Angeles area, and the Bruins also snagged energetic big man Drew Gordon out of Northern California.
Minus a point guard, Louisville has every position covered with its five-man recruiting class. Top-10 prospect Samardo Samuels is a dominant low-post player, and fellow five-star big man Terrence Jennings specializes in the athletic play. The Louisville coaching staff loves the versatility of Rivals150 forward Jared Swopshire.
The Georgetown basketball program continues its rise back to national prominence with a stellar 2008 recruiting class. The crown jewel in the class is No. 1-ranked prospect Greg Monroe, who chose the Hoyas over almost every other program in the country. Four-star post players Chris Braswell and Henry Sims - along with four-star guard Jason Clark - round out the class.
Coach Billy Donovan isn't letting up after back-to-back national championships and the No. 1 class of 2007 recruiting haul. The Gators have the No. 5-ranked 2008 recruiting class, largely because of five-star post players Eloy Vargas and Kenny Kadji. Florida's other three recruits are also ranked in the Rivals150.
Ohio State enjoyed the services of athletic 7-footer Greg Oden for a year, and now they will have the services of another athletic 7-footer. B.J. Mullens is on board for at least the 2008-2009 season. Joining the top-ranked center in the 2008 class is five-star shooting guard William Buford. Mullens and Buford comprise the top inside/outside duo in this class.
Arizona is known as Point Guard U, and the Wildcats continue that tradition with top-10 prospect Brandon Jennings. A jet with the basketball, Jennings should pick up right where freshman Jerryd Bayless is likely to leave off. Four-star post players Emanuel Negedu and Jeff Withey have the mobility to keep up with the dynamic point guard.
Kansas might not have a five-star prospect in its five-man class, but there is plenty of talent in the versatile group. Leading the way are four-star twins Marcus and Markieff Morris. Small forward Mario Little is considered one of the top junior college players in the country. Kansas City shooting guard Travis Releford is known for his versatility and high basketball IQ.
After securing five-star forward Ed Davis late in the summer, North Carolina went into Big Ten country and landed another five-star big man. Tyler Zeller, whose brother Luke Zeller is on the Notre Dame roster, will help carry on the tradition in Chapel Hill. Davis and Tyler Zeller are skilled, finesse-type players who should thrive in the up-tempo Tar Heel system. Four-star guard Larry Drew rounds out the class for coach Roy Williams.
Coach Mark Gottfried is bringing a strong 2008 recruiting class to Tuscaloosa. Five-star power forward Jamychel Green leads the class, and his blue-collar approach should translate into a number of double-doubles in the SEC. Andrew Steele, the brother of current Tide star Ron Steele, is a physical combo guard. Wing scorer Tony Mitchell has the athleticism to thrive at the next level.
Oregon and coach Ernie Kent have found a home away from home in the Windy City. Four-star prospects Michael Dunigan and Matthew Humphrey and three-star big man Josh Crittle all hail from the Chicago area. The prize recruit in the class, Dunigan gives Oregon an inside presence it is not used to having. Oregon also went into the Southeast to land ultra-athletic four-star wing Teondre Williams.
If it weren't for USC recruit DeMar Derozan, Scotty Hopson would have been the athletic shooting guard getting all the praise on the travel circuit last summer. Hopson, the No. 9 prospect in the Rivals150, can jump out of the gym and has a feathery touch on his jumper. Four-star Romero Osby gives coach Rick Stansbury a jack-of-all-trades forward. Rivals150 point guard Dee Bost should keep the Bulldogs' up-tempo offense running smoothly.
Coach Lorenzo Romar has consistently landed top-20 recruiting classes, and this year is no different. Four-star forward Tyresse Breshers leads the way with his shot-blocking ability and low-post scoring prowess. Another four-star prospect, Isaiah Thomas, returns home from prep school and will be counted on to be a 3-point threat. Versatile wings Scott Suggs and Elston Turner round out the class.
Coach Leonard Hamilton can celebrate his new contract extension with an impressive signing class this fall. Four-star big man Xavier Gibson has battled recent injuries, but he has amazing with potential. On the perimeter, four-star prospects Deividas Dulkys and Luke Loucks are highly skilled and possess impressive basketball IQs. Loucks is a good passer with size, and Dulkys is an athletic player who can shoot.
The Hoosiers have a star coming to Bloomington in Devin Ebanks. In lieu of an Eric Gordon departure in the spring, Ebanks gives coach Kelvin Sampson another outstanding offensive weapon. Ebanks, a versatile 6-foot-8 wing, is one of the toughest players to defend at his position. Point guard Terrell Holloway is a jitterbug floor general with great speed and solid distribution skills. Matt Roth gives the team a good shooter, and Tom Pritchard is a big-bodied grinder that will fit in well in the Big Ten.
The Trojans are getting spoiled. With O.J. Mayo doing his thing in the Land of Troy this season, USC has another pro prospect coming town in local product Demar Derozan. Known primarily as a top-flight athlete, the Compton (Calif.) native showed off a much-improved scoring touch from the wing over the spring and summer.
Once again the Spartans have landed a class with the following qualities: great motors, good speed, good scorers and versatile players. The gem of the class is Ohio forward Delvon Roe, a likely McDonald's All-American that embodies Tom Izzo's style of play. Korie Lucious is a scorer that will blend in nicely with the current backcourt. Big man Draymond Green is a highly touted in-state forward with a winning resume.
The Tigers went down to the wire for Texas big man J'Mison Morgan, and their patience was rewarded. The five-star center opted for the SEC program, and he gives the Tigers a big body inside. Morgan's presence should open the floor up for Delwan Graham, a player with one of the best motors in the nation. Big man Dennis Harris, a three-star forward, was the first to commit in the class.
Billy Gillispie went right to work in the 2007 class and extended his reach to Chicago for five-star guard DeAndre Liggins. The 6-foot-5 point guard was a major catch for the Wildcats. Landing the five-star prospect in the summer set the tone for the type of recruiting reputation Gillispie will have in Lexington. A month later, Gillispie landed top-50 forward Darius Miller, who should be perfect for the Wildcats' style of play.
In a class thin with point guards, the Huskies locked up one the best in the country in New Yorker Kemba Walker. The Rice High School product is a proven winner who does a great job of gluing talent together. He'll fit in perfectly at UConn. Joining him is Nate Miles, a top-50 talent and one of the best pure scorers in the class.
If the Virginia coaching staff has more grey hairs this year, it is because the recruiting season was certainly stressful. In the end, the Cavaliers were able to land players they coveted. New Yorker Sylven Landesberg, a four-star guard, is the major catch of the class. He should be able to help immediately at a number of positions. Big men John Brandenburg, a top-70 talent, and Assane Sene give the team two mobile post players that are effective in the paint.
Lucky for the WAC school, one of the top players in the nation was right in its backyard. Reno native Luke Babbit originally committed to Ohio State, but decided he wanted to play in front of friends and family instead. Mark Fox was happy to oblige the hometown star. Seattle area shooting guard Mark McLaughlin, a top-100 talent, committed to Washington State early but reneged and pledged to Nevada instead. Texas point guard London Giles rounds out the class.
The Vols looked long and hard for a big forward that could stretch the defense but also crash the boards when needed. They found their man in California – top-60 prospect Renaldo Woolridge. Coach Bruce Pearl and his staff locked up in-state big man Phillip Jurick early in the spring. Jurick should provide the team with toughness inside.
The Salukis have proven themselves on the hardwood for a while now. This year, the Missouri Valley program proved itself as a big-time recruiting power. Chris Lowery locked up Anthony Booker in February, when Booker was just a regional star in St. Louis. Come July, he was a top-30 national prospect. Booker is joined by fellow Rivals150 point guard Kevin Dillard out of Chicago and McCluer North teammate Torres Roundtree. Chris Parrish, an in-state recruit, rounds out the class.
The Blue Devils never cast a big net when it comes to recruiting, and this year it looked as if the fish were simply passing on the bait being tossed out there by coach Mike Krzyzewski and company. But, as is usually the case, Duke landed its top guard target in five-star prospect Elliot Williams of Memphis, Tenn. Williams should get plenty of playing time as soon as he arrives in Durham, N.C. Nevada big man Olek Czyz fills the role of athletic, energetic big man that the Blue Devils seem to always have on the roster.
The Atlantic-10 has no match for Xavier's top dog in 2008, center Kenny Frease. The big man committed to the Musketeers early and could have pledged to almost any high-major school. Frease will help the Musketeers from Day One. Sean Miller also wanted guards in the 2008 recruiting class, and he got them. Mark Lyons, a top-150 prospect, Brad Redford and Brian Walsh should provide depth in the backcourt.
In his first full recruiting season at the SEC school, John Pelphrey dove in head first and was able to land a quartet of players that should help Arkansas immediately and down the road. Point guard Courtney Fortson from Alabama leads the charge. He'll remind Razorback fans of players from Nolan Richardson's days as coach. Fellow Rivals150 prospect Brandon Moore and former Oklahoma commitment Andre Clark give the team a nice 1-2 punch inside, both athletically and defensively. Guard Terrance Joyner was the first to commit to Pelphrey at Arkansas.
The Orange locked up Kris Joseph, a Canadian transplant now in Washington D.C. Jim Boeheim and his staff like Joseph's versatility. James Southerland, a long and bouncy wing from New York City, has the ability and size (6-6) to play multiple positions. The gem of the class came a little later in the game when Peekskill (N.Y.) wing Mookie Jones, a top-40 prospect nationally, pledged to the program.
Bo Ryan knows how to find players that fit perfectly into his swing offense. Minnesota center Jared Berggren, a top-60 prospect, is the headliner of this group. Jordan Taylor, an AAU teammate of Berggren, is a gritty point guard that will fit in perfectly in the Big Ten. Texas center Ian Markolf and Robert Wilson are both sleepers nationally, but make sense for Ryan's style of play.
The Bulldogs have made it a point to lock up the borders and keep the top in-state players at home. That philosophy paid off with top-30 prospect Howard Thompkins, who picked the Bulldogs over Florida and North Carolina. In-state sleeper Dustin Ware is a gamer and will surprise people. So will big man Drazen Zlovaric, a 6-foot-10 forward with good athleticism.