basketball Edit

Early Signing Period tips off

The Early Signing Period for basketball began today and will last through Nov. 18. While most of the signing drama is reserved for the late signing period following the college basketball season, April 14-May 19, there still will be news to follow over the next week as more than half of the Rivals150 for 2021 is committed and expected to sign.

We'll have all the news throughout the opening days of the signing period compiled right here for your one-stop shopping.

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MORE EARLY SIGNING PERIOD: Rob Cassidy's preview of the Early Signing Period | Where things stand with uncommitted five-stars

2021 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2022 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team

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FIVE-STAR GUARD TO CHOOSE BETWEEN NEBRASKA AND GEORGIA ON FRIDAY


As this very live blog eluded to this morning, five-star Bryce McGowens has now officially elected to commit during the early period. A few weeks back it seemed the former Florida State commit would bide his time and possibly wait to announce a choice next month. That timeline has officially been accelerated, however, as McGowens confirmed a report by Twitter user @TiptonEdits that a public decision would arrive on Friday.


McGowens is expected to sign with the school of his choice after announcing his intentions. The five-star guard has recently narrowed his list to include just Nebraska and Georgia, with the Huskers seeming like the frontrunner. Family ties are likely to play a role here, as McGowens’ older brother, Trey, is already a member of the Nebraska basketball program.


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GEORGIA TECH ADDS THREE FROM THE RIVALS150

Coming off his best season yet on the court at Georgia Tech, Josh Pastner followed it up with his best recruiting haul since arriving in Atlanta four years ago. The Yellow Jackets received letters of intent today from a pair of four-star guards in Deebo Coleman and Miles Kelly along with three-star forward Jalon Moore.

Georgia Tech is not expecting any other additions during the early signing period, but Pastner and his staff will explore options in the transfer portal after the season as they could be in the market for post players. The Yellow Jackets' early signees give them the No. 25 overall recruiting class.

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STRONG EARLY SIGNING PERIOD FOR ALABAMA

The headliner of Alabama’s 2021 class, five-star point guard J.D. Davison, won’t be signing his letter of intent until Saturday when his high school team plays their first game, but the Crimson Tide did already receive paperwork to make it official with four-star small forward Jusaun Holt and four-star junior college power forward Langston Wilson on Wednesday. Holt gives Nate Oats and his staff a gifted shooter that can also defend the other team’s best perimeter player.

Wilson is originally from the Philadelphia area and never played high school basketball because of a heart condition. After being cleared last summer to play, he’s been at Georgia Highlands for junior college and averaged 10.1 points and 7.6 rebounds per game as a freshman. The 6-foot-9 forward possesses elite athleticism and his skill level continues to improve rapidly. He chose Alabama over a long list of high-major offers.

Once Davison becomes official on Saturday, which is only a formality and nothing for Crimson Tide fans to worry about, he’ll give Alabama one of the most explosive guards in the country and an elite playmaker. He has terrific court vision and is a capable scorer with an improved, but still a bit inconsistent jump shot.

The Crimson Tide remain in the mix for four-star center Charles Bediako, the No. 25 overall prospect in the 2021 class.

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FOUR-STAR FORWARD TO ANNOUNCE THURSDAY NIGHT

Top-100 forward Arthur Kaluma wasn't originally expected to sign during the early period, but those plans now seem to have changed. According to a report by the Twitter account @TiptonEdits and since seemingly confirmed by Kaluma himself, the four-star prospect will announce his choice of college on Thursday evening.

Oklahoma, Arkansas and USC are all in the running but it seems as though UNLV remains the frontrunner. Rebels head coach TJ Otzelberger’s team will have just one graduating senior and feels as though Kaluma is the perfect fit for the open scholarship. USC was thought to be the leader not long ago, but the Rebels are the ones to watch in crunch time.


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SYRACUSE INKS FIVE-STAR

A day after receiving the tough news of Dior Johnson backing out on his commitment, Syracuse bounced back with a good day as the Orange were able to make it official with five-star forward Benny Williams. The No. 22 overall prospect in the 2021 class was one of the biggest stock risers of the summer as he jumped 29 spots in the most recent rankings update. He’ll be next in a line of long, versatile and super talented forwards to play for Jim Boeheim.

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OLE MISS SIGNS THREE

Kermit Davis and his staff finished off a strong early recruiting haul by signing three prospects on Wednesday morning. Daeshun Ruffin, a 5-foot-10 point from Callaway, Miss., was the first to pick the Rebels in the 2021 class back in June and will be a fun player for Ole Miss fans to watch over the next few years. He’ll remind some of Stefan Moody with his ability to score despite lacking the ideal size.

Grant Slatten, a 6-foot-6 wing out of Tennessee, hopped aboard early in August and should help the Rebels stretch defenses with his three-point shooting ability. And last but certainly not least, James White gives Ole Miss even more scoring punch in the backcourt. After averaging 25 points per game as a junior at Heritage-Conyers (Ga.), the Rivals150 shooting guard added several high-major offers before choosing Ole Miss.

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RUTGERS INKS JONES WHILE HIS STOCK RISES

Rutgers secured a major victory by locking up Jaden Jones’ letter of intent on Wednesday afternoon, and the recruiting win is a testament to head coach Steve Pikiell’s staff’s early evaluation. Jones was a Rutgers commit long before he helped his stock dramatically at last month’s Wooten Camp. One of the most natural scoring wings in the country, Jones has impressed by filling it up against elite competition all offseason and could turn into a special player as he becomes more well-rounded. The Scarlet Knights seem to be getting more and more of a steal with each passing month and should see their newest signee slide well into the top-100 when rankings update.

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FIVE-STAR GUARD NOW CONSIDERING EARLY ENROLLMENT

Five-star guard Aminu Mohammad may see his timetable accelerated by the Covid-19 crisis, but it is still not expected to announce or sign during the early period. According to Mohammad's legal guardian, Shawn Harmon, the cancellation of a handful of major high school events has the Springfield (Mo.) Greenwood Laboratory School standout considering making the call earlier than expected.

And with that commitment could come an early enrollment.

“We’ll take a week or two to assess everything after the cancellation of those exposure type events,” Harmon said on Wednesday. “Then we'll consider committing before possibly enrolling during that period.”

Georgetown, Georgia and Indiana are all in play for Mohammad. The Hoosiers seem to hold an advantage as things stand.

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NATION’S TOP COMMITTED PROSPECT PUTS PEN TO PAPER

The top committed prospect in America signed his letter of intent with Duke just before noon ET on Wednesday, giving the Blue Devils another one-and-done type player. Paolo Banchero committed to Mike Krzyzewski’s program back in August over Kentucky, Tennessee and a long list of others. Banchero who could still press to unseat Patrick Baldwin Jr. at the top of the 2021 class signed with Duke during a ceremony at his high school, during which he and his family donned Blue Devils gear.

The five-star forward is an incredible ball handler in addition to his reputation for scoring, rebounding and getting to the rim. He can play anywhere on the floor and should be a major part of the Duke program from the moment he sets foot on campus.


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LETTERS BEGIN TO ARRIVE FOR MICHIGAN

The first member of Michigan's top-ranked class to sign with the program was four-star forward Will Tschetter, who tweeted confirmation of his signing at roughly 10 a.m. on Wednesday. Rivals.com was also able to confirm that top-50 forward Moussa Diabate has also signed with the Wolverines. There are credible reports that the Wolverines are also in possession of the letter of intent belonging to five-star Caleb Houstan, but we’ve been unable to confirm that at this time.

You can find more on how Michigan landed Houstan and Michigan's No. 1 class in this column from TheWolverine.com's Chris Balas.

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MCGOWENS TO SIGN AFTER ALL?

Buzz continues to build around the possibility of five-star Bryce McGowens signing during the early period. No news is expected on Thursday, but McGowens making a decision and inking a letter of intent during the window has gone from “unlikely” to “possible” in the span of a week or so.

Georgia and Nebraska are the two programs alive in the race to land the touted forward, with the Huskers seeming to hold the edge. The longer things drag on, the better it is for UGA, as a decision this week would likely mean 6-foot-6 forward has chosen to join his older brother in Lincoln.

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FURST IS FIRST

The first top-50 player to sign his letter of intent during the period seems to be Purdue’s Caleb Furst, whom the school announced as a signee just after 8:30 AM ET. One of half of the touted forward duo Purdue landed in this class, Furst is a wide-bodied banger that will have an impact on the boards and under the basket on both ends of the floor. He lacks truly elite length, but strength and motor will complement the length, finesse and three-level scoring touch of fellow commit Trey Kauffman.

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WICHITA STATE NEWS LEAVES COMMIT IN LIMBO

It seems unlikely, though maybe not impossible, that three-star guard Sterling Chapman will sign during the early period. Wichita State’s lone verbal commit, Chapman committed to the Shockers last month, but news of head coach Gregg Marshall's possible partting of ways with the school because of a player mistreatment scandal has likely thrown his plans into chaos.

There’s certainly a chance that Chapman could elect to sign with the hometown school, but last night’s reports make it seem highly unlikely. Chapman who plays his high school ball just outside of Wichita holds offers from Tulsa, Grand Canyon, Coastal Carolina and others.