basketball

Rivals 2017 basketball team rankings update: Kentucky remains on top

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The next signing period doesn't begin until April, but Kentucky continues to hold onto the top spot in the team rankings.

Re-classification has had some impact on the team rankings as Kentucky's addition of Hamidou Diallo only strengthens their 2016 class -- because he has already enrolled -- and Auburn loses five-star center Austin Wiley from their 2017 class because he also enrolled early.

MORE: 2016 Rivals basketball team rankings

1. KENTUCKY

Commits: PF P.J. Washington (No. 11), C Nick Richards (No. 16), PG Quade Green (No. 23), PG Shai Alexander (No. 32).

Overview: In Washington, John Calipari has found a big-time competitor who can play at the three or the four, pound the glass and score from the mid range. Richards is a mobile big man who protects the glass, runs the floor, rebounds and scores opportunistically. Green is a traditional point guard who gets others involved first and makes tremendous decision. Alexander is a guard with size and excellent floor vision who can play the point or shooting guard.

2. UCLA

Commits: SF Kris Wilkes (No. 17), PG Jaylen Hands (No. 24), PF Cody Riley (No. 34), PF Jalen Hill (No. 61) and SG LiAngelo Ball (NR 3-star).

Overview: UCLA made a major score pulling the versatile Wilkes out of the state of Indiana. What Hands lacks in physical strength he makes up for with extreme quickness and an ability to slip past defenders via the dribble. Riley is a long armed, skilled and tough post scorer while Hill is a hard working and athletic power forward who can run the floor. A barrel chested jump shooter, Ball is the younger brother of freshman point guard Lonzo Ball.

3. ARIZONA

Commits: PF DeAndre Ayton (No. 2), SG Brandon Randolph (No. 53), PF Ira Lee (No. 59), PG Alex Barcello (No. 105)

Overview: Sean Miller and his staff have landed the second ranked playerr in the class in Ayton. The seven-footer is a polished offensive player who should be ready to go the moment he steps foot in Tucson. Randolph is a long and rangy shooter who can fill it up from deep and has plenty of room to expand his game. Lee is a high energy insider who rebounds and runs the floor and in Barcello, they have a tough as nails sharp shooter who can run the point or play off the ball.

4. ALABAMA

Commits: PG Collin Sexton (No. 7), SG John Petty (No. 28), SF Herb Jones (No. 71), PF Alex Reese (No. 89), C Galen Smith (NR 3-star)

Overview: In Sexton, Avery Johnson has landed an explosive scorer who plays with swagger and energy. Petty is a homegrown wing guard with versatility and size while Jones is a lanky shooter with great size and deep range and will arrive in Tuscaloosa with significant upside. Reese is a skilled four man who has good agility and a good frame to build on in the weight room. Smith is the x-factor of the bunch given that he’s raw offensively but has top end SEC athleticism.

5. WASHINGTON

Commits: SF Michael Porter (No. 1), PG Daejon Davis (No. 45), SG Jaylen Nowell (No. 69), PG Blake Harris (No. 142), PF Mamadou Diarra (NR 3-star)

Overview: Once again Romar and the Huskies are putting together an impressive recruiting effort. Porter is an elite talent and perhaps the most pure scorer in 2017 with tremendous size and shooting ability. Davis is an athletic combo guard with upside and his high school teammate, Nowell, is a tough mid-range scorer. Harris is an athletic floor general and Diarra is a mobile big with athleticism.

6. DUKE

Commits: C Wendell Carter (No. 5), SG Gary Trent (No. 13), SG Alex O’Connell (No. 44)

Overview: Carter will be used similar to how Jahlil Okafor was, maybe not quite as skilled with his back to the basket but a better defender. Trent is a physically tough and skilled shooting guard who may be even more dangerous as a post scorer than a jump shooter. O’Connell is a high upside wing with athleticism, a clean looking jumper and an aggressive attitude.

7. LOUISVILLE

Commits: PF Malik Williams (No. 22), PG Darius Perry (No. 88), SF Jordan Nwora (No. 87), PF Lance Thomas (No. 123)

Overview: The Cardinals weren’t first to the party on Williams, but their aggressive pursuit of him during July paid huge dividends. Williams is a shot blocker on the defensive end and a jump shooter with size and a great frame to work with on the offensive side of the ball. Perry is a physical point guard capable of pushing the tempo and providing the type of defensive pressure that Pitino covets while Nwora can stretch defenses while playing on the wing or as a stretch four man. Thomas has the physical tools to far outplay his ranking.

8. WESTERN KENTUCKY

Commits: C Mitchell Robinson (No. 6), SG Josh Anderson (No. 43), SG Taveion Hollingsworth (NR 3-star)

Overview: The Hilltoppers have pulled off the biggest coup in 2017 recruiting by landing Robinson. A high-flying center who is arguably the best shot blocker in the country, he’s starting to show off huge potential on the offensive end as well. Anderson is a lengthy playmaker who can score from the wing or play stretches as a primary ball handler. In Hilltopper classes of the past, Hollingsworth would be a headliner because of his off the dribble scoring.

9. XAVIER

Commits: SG Paul Scruggs (No. 33), SF Naji Marshall (No. 47), SF Jared Ridder (No. 136), SG Elias Harden (No. 139), PF Brady Ernst (NR JC).

Overview: Xavier has it rolling on the recruiting trail and has put together an impressive group of five. Scruggs can play all three perimeter positions and has the tools to be one of the best players in the Big East. A do-it-all wing, Marshall was one of the summer’s most productive players. Harden is a jump shooter with good size and athleticism while Ridder is another shooter with size and deep range while Jones is a space eating big man that will need to develop.

10. KANSAS

Commits: PF Billy Preston (No. 8), PG Marcus Garrett (No. 37)

Overview: A versatile, athletic and tough forward, Preston will be able to play both the high and low roles when Kansas wants to run Bill Self’s famed high-low action. Garrett is a tall and lengthy point guard who will play multiple spots on the perimeter in Lawrence.

11. OREGON

Commits: SG Troy Brown (No. 12), SG Victor Bailey (No. 96), SF Abu Kigab (No. 129)

Overview: In the five-star Brown, Dana Altman has landed one of the most versatile backcourt players in the country and he should be able to play multiple positions. Bailey is an athletic wing scorer with upside while Kigab is a tough guy who will likely play some four in Oregon’s pressing attack.

12. MIAMI

Commits: SG Lonnie Walker (No. 18), PG Chris Lykes (No. 74), PF Deng Gak (No. 94).

Overview: The Hurricanes pulled off the one of the biggest surprises of the early signing period when they landed the explosive, high-scoring Walker. In Lykes, they have a small but electrifying point guard who will excite the crowds. Gak is a long and skilled four-man who simply needs to add strength.

13. ILLINOIS

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Commits: C Jeremiah Tilmon (No. 25), PG Trent Frazier (No. 103), PG Da’Monte Williams (No. 108), SG Javon Pickett (NR 3-star)

Overview: The Illini landed a huge scorer when their top target Tilmon – a defensive stopper – elected to stay and play for his home-state school. The son of former Illini point guard Frank Williams, Williams is a physical guard with size and some bounce around the rim. Like Williams, Pickett is a home-grown kid who has athleticism in the open floor.

14. TEXAS

Commits: PF Jericho Sims (No. 55), SG Jase Febres (No. 63), PF Royce Hamm (No. 115)

Overview: A bouncy and long-armed four-man from Minnesota, Sims is a frontcourt player with huge upside. He cleans the glass, has great hands and a rapidly expanding offensive game. Febres was one of the biggest surprises of the summer and is a big jump shooter with deep range. Hamm is another big time athlete who can finish in transition and help stretch defenses as a mobile four man and capable shot maker.

15. FLORIDA STATE

Commits: C Ikey Obiagu (No. 68), PF Raiquan Gray (No. 118), SF Wyatt Wilkes (No. 119) SG Bryan Trimble (NR 3-star), SF Anthony Polite (NR 3-star)

Overview: The Seminoles have themselves a very strong and physical group. The hope is that Obiagu can anchor the defense and be a premier college rim protector. Gray is a versatile, playmaking four-man with a bit of Draymond Green in his game while Wilkes is a big-time shooter from deep and excellent passer. Trimble is a microwave scorer with athleticism while Polite is a strong wing with some skill.

16. MICHIGAN STATE

Commits: PF Jaren Jackson (No. 10), C Xavier Tillman (No. 86)

Overview: Izzo and his staff did some heavy lifting to make up ground on the others involved to land Jackson. Jackson is highly skilled, keeps getting bigger and is a full year young for his class with Chris Bosh-style game. Tillman is a strong and physical interior player who has the tools to be the typical Spartan enforcer.

17. VIRGINIA TECH

Commits: SG Nickeil Alexander-Walker (No. 29), PG Wabissa Bede (No. 66)

Overview: A product of Canada who has starred since moving to the United States for high school, Alexander-Walker is a versatile guard with size. A natural scorer from spots all over the floor, Alexander-Walker is also a clever enough ball handler and passer to spend some minutes as a point guard. Bede’s middle name might as well be intangibles. He’s a true extension of the coach on the floor, a leader and a winner.

18. Auburn

Commits: PF Chuma Okeke (No. 40), PG Davion Mitchell (No. 56)

Overview: The Tigers lost a big piece of their 2017 class when five-star center Austin Wiley enrolled early making him a 2016 prospect. Chuma Okeke is a versatile forward with mid range skill while Mitchel is an explosive floor general.

19. TEXAS A&M

Commits: SF Savion Flagg (No. 41), PG T.J. Starks (No. 125), SG Jay Jay Chandler (No. 131), PF Isiah Jasey (NR 3-star)

Overview: Billy Kennedy and his staff were in early on Flagg and their efforts were rewarded with a commitment from the versatile, skilled and athletic small forward with size. Starks has a big summer catapulting to four-star status and he can get to the rim with the best of them. Chandler is an athletic combo guard who scores in bunches while Jasey has SEC size and athleticism.

20. UCONN

Commits: PG Makai Ashton-Langford (No. 38), PF Tyler Polley (No. 100) C Josh Carlton (No. 140).

Overview: Kevin Ollie has his next point guard of the future in Ashton-Langford. He has size, toughness and is a traditional pass first floor general who scores when needed. Polley is a skilled combo forward who can really shoot from mid range while Carlton is a big body who will play physically in the lane.

21. VILLANOVA

Commits: SF Jermaine Samuels (No. 46), C Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree (No. 85)

Overview: Samuels looks to be the perfect replacement for senior Josh Hart. He’s an emotional leader who excels from the mid range and attacking the basket. Cosby-Roundtree is a local post player with a junkyard dog mentality. He’s a bit on the slender side, but has quickness and athleticism in the lane that makes him a factor on the glass.

22. COLORADO

Commits: SG D’shawn Schwartz (No. 64), PF Tyler Bey (No. 114), PF Evan Battey (No. 143)

Overview: Tad Boyle and his staff spent the last year chasing Schwartz, a Colorado product, everywhere he went and they’ll love his size and strength on the wing. Bey is a bouncy and tough-minded combo forward who is a high-level rebounder and has really improved his offense over the last year. Battey looks like a left tackle recruit but wields a smooth jump shot, high level of skill and unconventional game that makes him a load.

23. MISSISSIPPI STATE

Commits: SG Nick Weatherspoon (No. 27), C Garrison Brooks (No. 131), PF Keyshawn Feazell (NR 3-star)

Overview: The younger brother of sophomore star Quindarry Weatherspoon, Weatherspoon is a big-time scorer with a tremendous first step. Brooks is the son of assistant coach George Brooks and has size to go with good hands. Originally committed to Iowa State, Feazell is a big time athlete.

24. IOWA STATE

Commits: PG/SG Lindell Wigginton (No. 31), SF Terrance Lewis (No. 116), SG Darius McNeill (NR 3-star)

Overview: Wigginton is a big-time scorer who hails from Canada but has made his reputation at mighty Oak Hill on the high school level. Lewis is a tough and physical wing slasher while McNeill is a bouncy perimeter scorer and driver who has a big upside.

25. WISCONSIN

Commits: PF Nate Reuvers (No. 84), PG Brad Davison (No. 95), SG Kobe King (NR, 3-star)

Overview: A mobile big man who can stretch defenses with his outside shooting, Reuvers looks like the kind of skilled big man that Badger fans have become accustomed to seeing. Davison is a football quarterback who brings his toughness and deft shooting touch to the program. An in=state product, King is a wing scorer who should have a jumper and body ready for the Big Ten.

26. ARKANSAS

Commits: C Daniel Gafford (No. 30), SG Khalil Garland (No. 146), SF Darious Hall (NR 3-star)

Overview: A relative newcomer to basketball, Gafford is a promising homegrown big man who can run the floor, has great hands and shows touch on the interior. Garland is a physically tough and aggressive wing scorer with size and a college ready body. Seemingly out of the “40 minutes of Hell” prototype, Hall is a long and athletic wing who makes hustle plays and competes.

27. TCU

Commits: SG R.J. Nembhard (No. 70), C Kevin Samuel (No. 104), PF Andre Pierce (JC 3-star), SF Lat Mayen (NR 3-star)

Overview: Nembhard is a strong and physical scorer from the two-guard spot. His specialty is his mid-range game but he handles the ball enough to help out some at the point. Samuel is one of the best shot blockers in the class and has legitimate Big 12 size and athleticism. Pierce is an athletic junior college four-man with some skill while Mayen is an Australian wing with upside.

28. BUTLER

Commits: SF Christian David (No.93), PF Kyle Young (No. 111), SG Cooper Neese (NR 3-star), SF Jerald Butler (NR 3-star)

Overview: The Bulldogs have a class that matches their style of play because it is full of shooters and multi-positional players. Both of their four-star prospects David and Young are capable of stretching defenses and can play at either the three or the four. Neese is a dangerous jump shooter from deep while Butler is a strong wing who can drive and make plays in transition.

29. CREIGHTON

Commits: SG Mitchell Ballock (No. 58), SG Ty-Shon Alexander (No. 82).

Overview: By luring Ballock out of the state of Kansas, Creighton pulled off one of the bigger surprises in early recruiting. He can shoot and has a high basketball IQ to go with size and athleticism. Alexander is another shooting guard with range who puts up points in flurries.

30. PROVIDENCE

Commits: PF Nate Watson (No. 76), C Dajour Dickens (No. 110)

Overview: Ed Cooley and the Friars have landed themselves a nice interior duo that should play well off of each other. Watson is an under-the-rim, but skilled and crafty, power forward with touch and scoring ability. Dickens is raw offensively, but he’s big, has great length and is an athlete who can run the floor.

31. CALIFORNIA

Commits: SG/PG Jemarl Baker (No. 80), SG Juhwan Harris-Dyson (No. 149), SG Trevin Knell (NR 3-star)

Overview: Baker has emerged as one of the better three-point shooters on the West Coast. He can bang jumpers from deep or play on the ball as a point guard with size and toughness. Harris-Dyson is a big-time athlete who plays with the type of physicality and toughness that Cuonzo Martin covets. Knell will take his Mormon mission first, but when he arrives on campus in the fall of 2019 he will bring a dangerous shot with him.

32. ARIZONA STATE

Commits: SF Kimani Lawrence (No. 50), PG Remy Martin (No. 127).

Overview: An athletic forward from Rhode Island, Lawrence is a slasher who has enough size to play some at the four in a small ball lineup. Martin is a point guard who plays with speed and effort.

33. MICHIGAN

Commits: SG Jordan Poole (No. 97), PF Isaiah Livers (No. 128), PG Eli Brooks (NR)

Overview: Not surprisingly, the Wolverines' class is heavy on skill. Poole is a polished shooter and outstanding passer. Livers is a power forward who runs the floor and can step out and make jumpers, while Brooks is a bit of a mystery man at this point.

34. NORTH CAROLINA

Commits: PG Jalek Felton (No. 26), SG Andrew Platek (NR 3-star), C Brandon Huffman (NR 3-star), Sterling Manley (NR 3-star)

Overview: The nephew of former UNC star point guard Raymond Felton, Felton oozes natural ability. He is a natural scorer off the dribble who will likely play both the one and the two in college. In Platek, the Heels hope they’ve found a guy who can help soften defenses with his shooting. In Huffman and Manley, the Heels have landed a pair of developmental big men with size and the ability to clean the glass.

35. WEST VIRGINIA

Commits: PF Derek Culver (No. 77), PG Brandon Knapper (NR 3-star), SF Teddy Allen (NR 3-star), SF Wesley Harris (JC 3-star), SF D’Angelo Hunter (JC 3-star)

Overview: Culver is an athletic big man who has huge upside once he gets consistent with his production. Knapper is a hard-nosed floor general with athleticism who should be a fit for Bob Huggins' pressing style. Allen is a skilled forward who has some Georges Niang to his game. The JC forwards Hunter and Harris add athleticism while Harris can probably play as a stretch four.

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