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Bossi's Best: Seven programs to watch as signing period nears

The beginning of the early signing period is less than a month away and while 13 of the top 21 players in the class of 2018 remain available, only 39 of the Rivals150 have yet to make their decisions. As the early signing period approaches and the pool of impact players shrinks, the pressure to land targets only increases. In today's Bossi’s Best, national basketball analyst Eric Bossi has identified seven programs that have a lot on the line between now and the start of the signing period (Nov. 8).

MORE: Bossi's Top 10 candidates for 2017-18 All-America Team


Sean Miller
Sean Miller (AP Images)

Current state of 2018 class: Sean Miller and the Wildcats currently hold the No. 4 ranked recruiting class. Five-star point guard Jahvon Quinerly, five-star power forward Shareef O’Neal and four-star point guard Brandon Williams are committed.

What’s at stake? Ever since Arizona was pulled into the FBI’s investigation into corruption in college basketball, the status of the Wildcats' class has been in question. While Miller has received a vote of confidence from Arizona, assistant Book Richardson was arrested and Quinerly’s recruitment has been called into question. Because of all of that, rumors have persisted that the class could be in trouble and several high profile prospects have dropped the Wildcats.

Miller and his staff need to get to the signing period with the current 2018 core intact or they could be facing serious hurdles this winter.


Bobby Hurley
Bobby Hurley (AP Images)

Current state of 2018 class: The Sun Devils hold a commitment from Finnish shooting guard Elias Valtonen.

What’s at stake? Bobby Hurley and his staff have a chance to really gain a foothold in the Pac-12 and it would surely be extra sweet for them to put together a big class while there is uncertainty down in Tucson. Star Canadian shooting guard Luguentz Dort will be deciding soon and he has the Sun Devils on his short list. Others like four-star guard Bryce Hamilton, Rivals150 guard Devonaire Doutrive and possibly even four-star power forward J’Raan Brooks (recently decommitted from USC) are out there as possibilities for the November period.


Mark Fox
Mark Fox (AP Images)

Current state of 2018 class: With a commitment from four-star power forward Amanze Ngumezi, the Bulldogs class ranks No. 70 overall in 2018.

What’s at stake? There’s not much question that the 2017-18 season is an important one for Mark Fox and his staff. There is pressure to win, and if the Bulldogs don’t make the NCAA Tournament, then signs of progress and a solid recruiting class will help. The Bulldogs already lost a commitment from four-star wing Landers Nolley so they are in somewhat of a scramble mode. But, they still look good for top 50 guard Will Richardson and could really bolster their future if they are able to make a run at top 50 small forward Khavon Moore between now and Nov. 8.


Brad Underwood
Brad Underwood (AP Images)

Current state of 2018 class: The Illini have yet to receive a commitment from the class of 2018.

What’s at stake? In his first year at the helm, head coach Brad Underwood has faced some recruiting trail struggles. However, the Illini’s fortunes could take a huge turn over the next few weeks. Five-star Chicago point guard Ayo Dosunmu was on campus over the weekend and is expected to pick between Illinois and Wake Forest on Thursday. This weekend, another highly ranked Chicago prospect, wing Talen Horton-Tucker, will be on campus. Dosunmu would be a huge win, of course, but adding Horton-Tucker to go along with him would send a big statement about the Illini in Chicago.


John Calipari
John Calipari (AP Images)

Current state of 2018 class: Kentucky’s one-man class of five-star point guard Immanuel Quickley ranks No. 28 nationally.

What’s at stake? History and common sense dictate that John Calipari and the Wildcats will end up with a great class. But, maybe more than any year in his tenure, there’s some question about exactly who Cal and the Cats end up signing. Top five big man Bol Bol was on campus over the weekend and is down to UK and Oregon. No. 2 overall Zion Williamson just wrapped up a visit as well. Plus, the Wildcats are still in the mix for No. 1 R.J. Barrett and five-stars Quentin Grimes and Keldon Johnson. It’s not a question of whether or not they’ll get a few of these guys, it’s more of a question of which ones they will ultimately land.


Shaka Smart
Shaka Smart (AP Images)

Current state of 2018 class: The Longhorns already have a solid class that ranks No. 25 overall. It consists of top 50 wing Gerald Liddell, Rivals150 power forward Jaxson Hayes and three-star forward Brock Cunningham.

What’s at stake? Shaka Smart and his staff aren’t looking to settle for solid - they want to have a great class. To do that they need to land one of the two five-star scorers that they are heavily involved with: Keldon Johnson and Quentin Grimes. The Horns have long been one of the favorites for Johnson and are hoping to beat Kentucky for the second year in a row on a high profile recruit (Texas won out for Mohamed Bamba in 2017) and Maryland and NC State are also lurking. Kansas has been considered the leader for Grimes, but the Longhorns are a legit option. Landing either Johnson or Grimes would allow Texas to compete for the top 10 in 2018 team rankings.


Bryce Drew
Bryce Drew (AP Images)

Current state of 2018 class: The Commodores' current one-man class,which ranks No. 72 nationally, consists of four-star wing Aaron Nesmith.

What’s at stake? There’s no question that Nesmith will be a good addition in Nashville and should be a quality player. However, Bryce Drew is trying to take his program up to big boy status. Vandy is heavily involved with five-star point guard and Nashville native Darius Garland, five-star power forward Simisola Shittu and five-star shooting guard Romeo Langford. Right now, the 'Dores look to be in good shape with Garland. If they could add either Shittu or Langford, to go along with a Garland and Nesmith, the national perception of the program would shift overnight.