The early signing period recruiting classes are always tough to rate, and this year is made even more difficult with several of the nation’s top prospects waiting until late into the process before making their decisions.
With every player not planning to sign early and some who will undoubtedly change their minds, this list will likely change. Class rankings will be revisited as the late signing period nears and after the NBA Draft.
Jayhawks have national appeal
Although Kansas signed a small class in comparison to others, the Jayhawks and head coach Bill Self proved that the folks in Lawrence are able to recruit from coast-to-coast.
Washington small forward Micah Downs was the first to cast his lot with the Jayhawks. Downs, an athletic, 6-foot-8 small forward, was one of the fastest risers during the summer basketball period.
Alaskan assassin Mario Chalmers, a lighting-quick point guard with a scorer's mentality, quickly followed with a commitment of his own.
However, it was Illinois native Julian Wright, a 6-foot-8, do-it-all, face-up forward who was the crowning jewel. Wright was one of the nation’s most coveted prospects after impressing college coaches while touring the summer basketball circuit with the Illinois Warriors. The Jayhawks won a hard-fought battle for Wright when they outlasted Arizona, DePaul and Illinois for his signature.
Cowboys raid Lone Star state for prospects
The only Texans on Oklahoma State’s current roster, John Lucas III and Ivan McFarlin, will graduate after this season, but taking their place from the Lone Star State are four ultra-talented players. The Cowboys raided their neighboring state for four of the top 11 players from Texas, and the group may be the best recruiting class ever for OSU.
Gerald Green, the nation’s No. 1 player according to Rivals.com, headlines the group. The 6-foot-8 ultra-athletic shooting guard is the first No. 1 player to ever commit to the Cowboys. The big question now remains is whether or not he shows up instead of putting his name in the NBA Draft.
If Green leaves, future head coach Sean Sutton still has an athletic group coming in. Point guard Byron Eaton is one of the elite floor generals in the nation and could step right into Lucas’ shoes next year.
Roderick Flemings is another freak athlete with a nice touch from deep. The star of the NBA Players Association camp wavered with his commitment but came around after seeing the talent coming in with him. Terrel Harris, a sweet-stroking guard, will fit perfectly into OSU’s system.
Kruger playing for high stakes in Vegas
The minute Lon Kruger signed on with UNLV, his NBA coaching experience attracted some of the nation’s top recruits. The former Florida, Illinois and Kansas State head coach aggressively went after a number of top-level players. He drew a winning hand in the class of 2005.
Jovan Adams, one of the quickest and best scoring point guards in the country, spurned a number of major programs to play for the Mountain West school. The No. 19-ranked player alone would have made a good class.
Joining Adams is Davon Jefferson, a top-flight athlete from Lynwood, Calif. Jefferson, a four-star prospect, will contribute immediately at both forward positions.
Utah shooter Joe Darger is a big wing at 6-foot-7, 210 pounds and should give teams headaches trying to defend him on the wing with his range. Forward Gaston Essengue, a 6-foot-8 forward from Cameroon, will be a big body for the frontline rotation.
Huskies headed to front of the Pac-10
Seattle is affectionately known as the Emerald City, and Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar scored two of the city’s crown jewels.
In a year where top-flight players are coming out of the woodwork in Washington state, the top two players decided to stay home and play for U-Dub. Martell Webster, a five-star prospect, and Jon Brockman, a four-star prospect, both turned down offers from some of the nation’s elite programs. Expect the two, especially Webster, to make an impact right away.