Early Signing Period: Top players committed by conference
There is still work to be done by the goliaths of the college basketball world, as 12 five-star prospects remain on the board. As the Early Signing Period tips off today, we give a rundown on the top five prospects, regardless of position, headed to each power league, along with a sleeper not ranked among the Rivals150 to track for the years ahead.
Analysis: Given how it has been competing with Kentucky for national recruiting dominance, it’s a surprise to see Duke with only one of the top five committed players in the ACC. In fact, it’s first-year coach Chris Mack who has the league’s best early class (and No. 3 overall) as he looks to rebuild Louisville behind the versatile talent of skilled wing Williamson. Bacot will give Roy Williams another big who can rebound and run the floor. Lecque is arguably the top pound-for-pound athlete in America and should be a fit for Kevin Keatts' high-octane style at N.C. State. Even ranked in the top 40 nationally, the FSU-bound Williams may be underappreciated. Gordon is a former football standout and big-time athlete who could surprise at Virginia Tech.
Analysis: As the Big 12 looks to unseat Kansas from first place, things could be changing as the Jayhawks have yet to secure a top 100 commitment. Texas has an impressive pair in Baker, a mobile big with a jump shot, and Williams, one of the most rapidly improving wings in America. Nobody in the country is getting a player more perfectly suited for its program than West Virginia is in the ultra-competitive Tshiebwe. Ramsey is the highest-ranked player to ever commit to Texas Tech while Harmon could be a four-year starter in Norman. Not a lot is known about Tchewa just yet, but he’s a rough-and-tumble 7-footer who could surprise in Lubbock.
SF Romeo Weems, DePaul (No. 47)
Sleeper: C Dieonte Miles, Xavier
Analysis: Villanova is now a nationally elite program and its recruiting is reflective of that. The Wildcats are already deep and talented but with Jay Wright’s 2019 haul that includes a pair of five-star prospects in Robinson-Earl and Antoine, the Wildcats could be setting up to dominate the conference and compete for Final Fours for years to come. A hard-nosed wing with size, Weems was a major steal for DePaul. It may not be in his first or second year that Miles makes an impact at Xavier, but he’s got size, length, athleticism and major upside.
Analysis: In just his second year, Ohio State’s Chris Holtmann isn’t wasting any time putting his imprint on the conference. The Buckeyes' class ranks No. 8 nationally and features a potential face of the program point guard in Carton and a pair of versatile combo forwards in Liddell and Gaffney. Watts could one day lead the conference in scoring at Michigan State while Wilson is the type of skilled combo forward John Beilein does well with in Ann Arbor. Look for Wahl to develop into a regular starter and potential mismatch because of his motor at Wisconsin.
Analysis: The hiring of Eric Mobley as an assistant coach helped USC to land his son, five-star big Isaiah Mobley. But, the Trojans also came up with another five-star big in Okongwu and a versatile, high-upside wing in Agbonkpolo as part of a class that currently ranks No. 1 nationally. After a year filled with off-court chaos and allegations, Sean Miller has Arizona right back in the thick of it with the five-star duo of Green and Mannion. A four-star juco player, Duarte could immediately be a No. 1 or No. 2 option on the offensive end in Eugene.
Analysis: Mike White and Florida have the SEC’s highest-ranked class nationally at No. 4 overall, and the Gators have an athletic and dangerous five-star duo in Lewis and Mann for their backcourt. However, John Calipari and Kentucky still have the two highest-ranked recruits in the conference in Whitney and Maxey, explosive scorers who both rank in the top 10 nationally. Rick Barnes landing James was one of the biggest recruiting coups of the Early Signing Period. Molinar is a stocky, tough and high-scoring guard who could end up scoring a ton in Starkville.
BEST OF THE REST
PF Drew Timme, Gonzaga (No. 29)
PF Anton Watson, Gonzaga (No. 56)
SF Chris Ledlum, Harvard (No. 94)
Sleeper: SG Brendan Tucker, Charleston
Analysis: A five-star prospect, Timme is a skilled big man and headlines a strong group of future Zags that also features a homegrown talent in Watson. By signing with Memphis, Jeffries will reunite with his former summer coach Penny Hardaway. Bouknight gives Danny Hurley a dangerous scorer while Ledlum has future Ivy League Player of the Year written all over him for Harvard. Had Tucker decided to wait, he would have surely ended up with a high-major but could instead be a big-time scorer for Earl Grant at Charleston.