Duke's class tops rankings as late signing period begins
So, can anyone catch Duke? Who is left that could make a big move in the team rankings? And finally, which fans should be most proud of the efforts that their staff has already made?
CAN ANYONE CATCH DUKE?
Next week’s final update to the class of 2018 Rivals150 is going to cause some minor shakeups, but barring a major change and some very specific things happening, Duke is going to be awfully tough to unseat for the top 2018 class.
Currently the Blue Devils hold one of the highest-ranked classes in Rivals.com history with No. 1 R.J. Barrett, No. 2 Cameron Reddish, No. 3 Zion Williamson and No. 8 Tre Jones. It’s a great class and if it adds to it at all, it will be even more unlikely to top.
However, John Calipari and Kentucky can still topple the Blue Devils. But, for that to happen, a lot is going to have to go exactly right. With five-stars E.J. Montgomery, Keldon Johnson and Immanuel Quickley, along with top 35 Tyler Herro on board, the Wildcats currently have the No. 2 class. For them to make a move, some players are going to have to switch graduating classes.
Five-star point guard Ashton Hagans is already committed to UK for 2019 and he’s eyeing a possible move to 2018. If he makes that switch – which isn’t likely to happen until late summer – then the Wildcats are in striking distance. To get the job done, though, they’ll likely need another big-time 2019 such as No. 2 James Wiseman – for whom Calipari is battling Memphis and Penny Hardaway – to make the switch to 2018. So it’s not out of the realm of possibility for Kentucky to catch Duke, but it won't be easy.
STILL CAPABLE OF MAKING A BIG MOVE
The immediate standout for potential upward movement is whichever program lands the nation’s top-ranked undecided player, shooting guard Romeo Langford. The No. 6 prospect in the class of 2018, Langford is down to Indiana, Kansas and Vanderbilt. Kansas could move from No. 6 to No. 2 by landing Langford. Vanderbilt would move from No. 8 into the top five by landing Langford while Indiana could make a move from No. 21 all the way up into the top seven if the Hoosiers are able to convince the 6-foot-5 scoring machine to stay home.
With only four-star Devonaire Doutrive on the board, Arizona currently checks in at No. 100. The last year has been a nightmare for Sean Miller and the Wildcats as they’ve seen an assistant coach get arrested as part of the FBI’s probe into college hoops, lost highly ranked commits Shareef O’Neal and Brandon Williams, had Miller accused of recruiting improprieties and suffered an early exit from the NCAA Tournament. But, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. The Wildcats are strongly in the mix for four-star point guard James Akinjo and they are trying to make a late run at five-star big man Jordan Brown. If they can somehow pull off that duo, they could still finish with a top 20 to 25 class. Under the circumstances, that would be a miraculous recovery.
Roy Williams and North Carolina already have a strong class featuring five-stars Nassir Little and Coby White along with four-star wing Rechon Black. The group ranks No. 9 overall and should be able to hang onto a top 10 spot. However, the Tar Heels have recently been looking to get involved with undecided five-star big man Jordan Brown. If they can lure the Californian across the country, they are another team that could move into the top five of the team rankings.
JOB WELL DONE
Riding the wave of 2017’s Final Four appearance, Dana Altman and the Oregon Ducks don’t need any additions for their class to be a resounding success. Headlined by current No. 4 overall Bol Bol, the Ducks have the fourth-ranked class in 2018. They aren’t done ether. The Ducks appear to be the favorites for top-40 point guard Brandon Williams and if they can land the former Arizona commitment, they could potentially challenge for the No. 2 spot. Either way, Oregon fans should be celebrating the haul.
There’s a chance that LSU could still add a late piece or a transfer, but Will Wade is the top dog when it comes to coaches in their first year on the job at a new location. One year after arriving in Baton Rouge from VCU, Wade has put together a top-five class featuring five-star big men Nazreon Reid and Emmitt Williams along with local legend Javonte Smart and tough combo forward Darius Days. It’s possible they could slip to No. 6 or No. 7 as the few remaining big-timers decide, but there’s no disputing the resounding success that is Wade’s first year on the trail.
Vanderbilt is waiting patiently to find out if it can jump into the top five by adding Romeo Langford. Whether or not the Commodores get him, they have this year’s most surprising class. Out of nowhere and without the benefit of a big NCAA run, Drew and his staff have landed their highest-ranked prospect ever in five-star big man Simisola Shittu along with hometown star and fellow five-star, point guard Darius Garland. Add in four-star wing Aaron Nesmith, who may score more career points than either Garland or Shittu, and the 'Dores have pulled off an incredible class.