Basketball Recruiting - ACC Early Signing Period: Florida State, Duke lead the way
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ACC Early Signing Period: Florida State, Duke lead the way

Duke five-star signee Paolo Banchero
Duke five-star signee Paolo Banchero (Matt Moreno/GOAZCATS.com)

With the Early Signing Period coming to a close this week, most commitments have put pen to paper and made things official. It’s also a perfect time to evaluate the week that was with a conference-by-conference look at the work being done on the trail. Up next is the ACC.

MORE: Reviewing Early Signing Period in Big Ten

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2021 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2022 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team

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TOP CLASS - Florida State

Florida State lost a commitment from five-star Bryce McGowens a month before the signing period opened and still managed to stay on top of the ACC rankings. That says a lot about coach Leonard Hamilton’s recruiting prowess and his 2021 haul, which is headlined by five-star forward Matthew Cleveland. The No. 20 prospect in America, Cleveland came into his own this offseason by adding a more consistent jump shot to his game and starting to look like one of the most well-rounded prospects in the 2021 class.

Cleveland is joined in FSU’s class by four-star guard Jalen Warley as well as 7-footer John Butler and 7-foot-3 Naheem McLeod. Both centers have the size and athleticism to be high-level rim-protectors for Hamilton right off the bat. Warley, meanwhile, is a solid, well-rounded guard with very few holes in his game. He can play either spot in the backcourt, but is best used on the ball because of his ability to create for others.

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SECOND0-BEST CLASS - Duke

Duke will likely challenge FSU for the league’s top class by the time everything's said and done and has put itself in position to do so, in part, by signing No. 2 overall prospect Paolo Banchero. The Blue Devils also signed five-star forward AJ Griffin, who can play multiple positions and will give the program more of its familiar versatility.

When you talk about Duke, however, you have to talk about what’s yet to come. Mike Krzyzewski is still heavily involved with No. 1 overall prospect Patrick Baldwin Jr. as well as five-star Trevor Keels. There’s a solid chance he lands at least one of the two and may well haul in both.

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TOP-RANKED SIGNEE: Paolo Banchero, Duke

Paolo Banchero
Paolo Banchero (https://rivals.com)

The No. 2 overall prospect in the class, Banchero signed with Duke last week. He is one of few prospects that has the ability to be the focal point of a team’s offense as a freshman. He’s a tremendous passer and plays as well as any forward in the country in the high post. A former football player, Banchero is a strong and hard-nosed forward that can finish at the rim with relative ease as well as impact the game from a rebounding standpoint.

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SLEEPER SIGNEE - Ian Schieffelin, Clemson

If you’re looking for a prospect from outside the Rivals150 that could make an impact down the road, look no further than Clemson’s Ian Schieffelin. Schieffelin has solid length and looked impressive in this year’s Georgia Elite Fall League, where he held his own against five-star Jabari Smith. Schieffelin plays tenacious defense and has a decent jumper to go along with an impressive rebounding prowess. He’s likely to move into the Rivals150 during the next update

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SLEEPER CLASS - Wake Forest

Carter Whitt
Carter Whitt (Courtesy of John Wall Holiday Invitational)

Wake Forest added a trio of guards that should help fortify a backcourt that was part of the reason it limped to a 13-18 record a season ago. There’s no way to go but up from here, and point guard Carter Whitt, a mid-season enrollee, should help push the team in that direction. Whitt possesses nice length and good court vision that helps him set up his teammates for success.

Joining Whitt in the class is streak-scoring combo guard Robert McCray, who is a bit of an underrated defender. Cameron Hildreth, whom Wake landed from England, is a bit of a mystery but an intriguing prospect nevertheless.

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