The landscape of the 2009 recruiting class continues to shift late into the summer. The most recent significant news is that five-star shooting guard Andre Dawkins is moving from Duke's 2010 recruiting class to its 2009 recruiting class.
Dawkins was originally in the 2009 class before he transferred high schools and reclassified to the 2010 class. He only needed one more English class to qualify when news broke that Elliot Williams was transferring back home to Memphis.
The addition of Dawkins moves Duke's recruiting class to No. 8 in the national rankings.
North Carolina State, which was ranked No. 21, suffered a serious recruiting blow when four-star guard Lorenzo Brown was ruled academically ineligible and forced to attend a year of prep school. The loss of Brown dropped N.C. State's recruiting class out of the top 25.
Replacing the Wolfpack at No. 21 is Mississippi State. The Bulldogs added five-star big man Renardo Sidney when his recruitment with both USC and UCLA fell apart. The Bulldogs also landed four-star center John Riek, who has had an enigmatic, up-and-down career since coming to the United States from Sudan.
Cincinnati also snagged a big-time late addition with a commitment from five-star guard Lance Stephenson in June, but his star power was not quite enough to squeeze the Bearcats' recruiting class into the national top 25 rankings.
Four five-star signees catapult John Calipari's first Kentucky recruiting class to the top of the 2009 team recruiting rankings. Wall became the final and central piece of Kentucky's recruiting class. Wall's signature came shortly after Bledsoe, the No. 3-ranked point guard, also signed with the 'Cats. Cousins and Orton are both skilled post players who bring a physical presence to the court. Hood is a slashing scorer from the Bluegrass State, and Dodson is one of the most talented junior college prospects in the country.
Who says the Wildcats are just a guard program? Villanova has a pair of impressive post players in Yarou and Armwood to go along with a couple quality perimeter prospects in Wayns and Cheek. Villanova put a lot of effort into landing Cheek, and his addition was just enough to push the Wildcats ahead of Texas with their two elite wing prospects.
The Longhorns locked up one of the best players in the country regardless of position in Bradley, a 6-foot-3 native of Tacoma, Wash. He should prove to be an immediate impact player for the Longhorns. Hamilton, one of the elite scorers in the nation, picked the Big 12 school at the start of October. He came through on his promise to play alongside Bradley. Williams, a 6-foot-7 forward from national powerhouse Duncanville (Texas) High School, is a perimeter threat and a scary prospect if he takes full advantage of Texas' outstanding strength program.
The Yellow Jackets wanted to lock up the foundation of the class early in 2009 and did so with a quick run of pledges in June and July. Oliver was the first to pick the ACC school and did so in mid-June. Holsey announced at the Nike Peach Jam, and a week later Udofia popped in Las Vegas and Rice in Orlando. But the jewel of the class is Favors, an elite post prospect who vaulted the Georgia Tech recruiting class into the top five.
The Tar Heels sprinted out of the blocks. Roy Williams and staff locked up five players all ranked inside the top 70 national rankings. Henson, a 6-foot-10 versatile post, is the gem. Strickland and McDonald are the future of the backcourt. The Wear twins give UNC some size and depth in the rotation.
The Jayhawks continue to recruit well and recruit nationally. Robinson, a top-40 prospect from Baltimore via Brewster Academy in New Hampshire, is one of the elite rebounders in the class. His presence should be felt the minute he arrives in Lawrence next fall. Johnson, a Las Vegas native, is one of the most athletic point guards in the country. When he's at the top of his game, he is one of the best at his position. The last pickup for the Jayhawks was top-10 prospect Henry, who is out of Oklahoma. Henry chose Kansas after being released from his Letter of Intent with Memphis.
The Sooners won a major recruiting battle to land Mason-Griffin, one of the best point guards in the country. He is the best point guard Jeff Capel has lured to Norman since taking over the program. Gallon, an AAU teammate with Mason-Griffin, signed with OU on the last day of the signing period. His addition gives the Sooners another big body down low. Pledger, a Virginia native, gives the team a legitimate threat on the perimeter. In-state commitment Hardrick has been committed to the school since 2006. Fitzgerald, a Baltimore native, is a big body that will have no trouble making the transition to Big 12 competition.
One of the best matchups of the spring grassroots period was Kelly versus Plumlee, ironically, at North Carolina during the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions. The two traded buckets in the showdown. Now, they will get a chance to help the other improve his skill set. The most important recruit, however, in Duke's 2009 class is Dawkins. A five-star shooting guard, Dawkins was originally in the 2009 class but moved down a class to 2010 when he transferred high schools. Once Elliot Williams transferred out of the program, Dawkins went to work in the classroom to become eligible for the 2009-2010 season.
Honeycutt shot up the rankings over the summer with his savvy and skilled play. He headlines UCLA's recruiting class. Nelson has battled injuries over the past year, but when healthy he brings a rugged physicality to the court. Lane, on the other hand, is a skilled, face-up four-man who will stretch the defense for the Bruins. Stover gives the team a long defender that can man the post. Moser, a former Arizona commitment, was a late add for the Bruins and signed with the school on the last day of the early period.
It seems like Oriakhi and Coombs have been committed to the Huskies for a decade. Both pledged to Jim Calhoun very early in the recruiting process, and over time they have improved tremendously. Coombs has developed into one of the top wings in the nation. Look for he and Oriakhi to make early contributions in Storrs along with four-star guard Darius Smith, who signed in the spring.
Watford gives the program a big, versatile forward that should see major minutes as a freshman. Creek was high on Marquette when Tom Crean was at the helm and carried over his fondness when the Hoosiers hired the former Golden Eagles head man. Creek should help from Day One in the guard-oriented style that Crean employs. Indiana fans love the fact that Crean is recruiting the local kids. Hulls, a Bloomington native, embodies the Hoosier spirit with his play. So does Capobianco, an Ohio forward. Elston, a holdover from the Sampson regime, missed the summer due to injury. Muniru, a 6-foot-11 center, gives the team a physical presence inside the paint and will help on the defensive end of the floor.
First-year coach Travis Ford has reeled in a talented six-man class for the Cowboys. Johnson is a big-time athlete at the power forward position and he should shine in the fast-paced, up-tempo attack that Ford employs. Penn is an electric undersized scoring point guard who set Vegas on fire in July. He will be accompanied by high-energy wing Roger Franklin. Dowell, like Franklin, fine-tuned his craft at national powerhouse Duncanville (Texas) High School before making his way to Stillwater. Three-star prospects Fred Gully and Torin Walker will provide depth for Ford's up tempo attack. Ford added Shaw after the early signing period.
Newly hired head coach Sean Miller did some fast recruiting work, amassing a five-man class with three four-star prospects. Hill, a top-30 prospect, is the jewel of the class with his skilled and versatile game. Jones is a rugged combo guard who will share time in the backcourt with Nic Wise. Natyazhko will be counted upon early to provide a physical presence inside. Three-star forwards Parrom and Williams round out the class.
If there was any question about the Illini's ability to lock up in-state talent, the class of 2009 has proven that the program can still keep the locals. The future looks bright, particularly in the backcourt. The trio of Paul, Richardson and Bertrand is a major upgrade at the guard positions. Griffey has the tools to be a grinder down low while being a great forward to run the pick and roll.
The Gators are no strangers to great recruiting classes. This year's class is highlighted by the addition of Boynton, the top player in Florida but also one of the best scorers and defenders in the nation. He was a major coup for Billy Donovan and staff this fall. And Murphy, who will fly south from Massachusetts, is a post player with a highly skilled game.
Rick Pitino and his staff filled several needs. Buckles is one of the most intriguing players in the class because of his size, raw ability and versatility at the power forward position. Siva is a scoring point guard, similar to players the Cardinals have relied on in the past. Marra is an athletic wing with great range on his jumper. Van Treese is a bouncy forward that can run the floor.
First-year head coach Buzz Williams immediately tapped into his recruiting prowess, securing a strong seven-man class. Maymon is a versatile, multi-skilled forward ranked in the top 50. Out of Canada comes a savvy point guard in Cadougan who can both distribute the ball and score it. Williams, a four-star forward, was sidelined with an injury during the travel circuit, but he is loaded with potential. Buycks and Johnson-Odom are junior college prospects who had outstanding seasons. Mbao is a 7-foot-2 center with potential.
Size is the common denominator of the four-man Clemson class. Jennings and Booker should contribute immediately on the Clemson frontcourt. Johnson is a smooth shooter with impressive size for a wing. Hill is a big-bodied and competitive shooting guard.
Thanks to a couple coaching changes at other programs, the Baylor Bears jumped into the top 20 with the spring addition of two talented four-star wing players. Dennis, who was formerly committed to Memphis, is an all-purpose type player with strong ball skills. McLaughlin, who was committed previously to Nevada, is a great wing scorer. Jefferson brings size to the roster, Walton is a steady point guard and Crump is a shooter with length.
The Wildcats continue to mine the Washington, D.C. area, the place that produced Michael Beasley and a host of other KSU players. Judge and McGruder are both went to Arlington Country Day school in Jacksonville, Fla., and both should help Frank Martin's program immediately. Judge, a versatile 6-foot-9 forward, plays a style patterned after Beasley. Henriquez signed in 2008 but spent a year in prep school to tidy up his academics. Russell, a Rivals150 prospect from the Dallas-Fort Worth area, could develop into a very solid guard for the Wildcats.
When the recruiting process fell apart with UCLA and USC and local prospect Sidney, he looked to the southeast where he grew up and signed with Mississippi State. If Sidney and Riek - who has battled injuries and was unable to attend Cincinnati last year because of academic issues - hit the court this year, the Bulldogs will get one of the biggest frontcourt boosts of the year. Throw in Lewis, a physical big man, and you have an impressive freshmen frontcourt trio. Smith, an athletic wing, rounds out the class.
Landing the No. 2-ranked point guard in the country, Abdul Gaddy, pushes the Huskies 2009 recruiting class into the top 25. Gaddy is the type of dynamic young talent who excels at making the players around him better. Three-star prospects Clarence Trent and C.J. Wilco will run alongside Gaddy, and three-star junior college big man Charles Garcia rounds out the class.
New coach Craig Robinson did what few believed was possible, bringing in a top-25 recruiting class. Four-star guards Cunningham and Nelson headline the class. Burton, who is a ranked three-star prospect, brings size and skill to the interior. The Beavers landed a pair of Australian forwards in Brandt and Murphy, who should add needed depth to the frontcourt.
When Tubby Smith landed the Minnesota job, he immediately targeted White and Williams - two of the top players in the state. The work paid off, and the two local products are staying home to play for Smith. The future Gophers will be asked to contribute immediately. White is the second-rated small forward in the 2009 class. Cobbs gives the program a heady point guard that knows how to put the ball in the basket. Mbakwe, a local star, signed with Marquette out of high school before heading to Miami Dade Community College in Florida.
Always known for landing under-the-radar prospects who are perfect fits for his system, coach Jamie Dixon brings five-star prospect Taylor into the lair. Complementing Taylor's prowess in the interior is Patterson, who is a skilled and heady wing player. Texan J.J. Richardson is a blue-collar competitor in the Pittsburgh mold. Zanna, a 6-foot-11 big man, is a sleeper that could emerge as a valuable recruiting coup in time.