Basketball Recruiting - Rivals Roundtable: Early Signing Period discussion
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Rivals Roundtable: Early Signing Period discussion

RANKINGS: 2019 Rivals150 | 2020 Rivals150 | 2019 Team Rankings

The weeklong Early Signing Period for basketball begins on Wednesday. Our Rivals recruiting analysts field a trio of questions regarding the signing period.

MORE: Why do top recruits even sign? | Eric Bossi's Early Signing Period storylines

1. What will be the No. 1 storyline a week from now as the Early Signing Period is coming to a close?

Drew Timme
Drew Timme (Nick Lucero/

ERIC BOSSI: For me it will be the high number of five-star prospects who have taken all, or at least most, of their visits but have decided not to sign early. From No. 1 Vernon Carey, Jr. down to the lowest-ranked five-star, Kofi Cockburn, we don't have confirmation that any of these guys outside of big man Drew Timme will for sure be making their college decision.

COREY EVANS: How many five-star prospects decided to keep their recruitment open and not sign. A large number of the Rivals150 have already come off the board, but eight of the top 10 prospects have yet to commit. Now, one of these elite prospects could throw us a curveball and make for a surprise signing but with where things sit, the team rankings will not change muc during the first signing period.

DAN MCDONALD: I'm always intrigued to see which five-stars at the top of the rankings commit and sign, and which ones decide to keep things open throughout their senior season. Outside of Cole Anthony, who has been pretty firm that he's signing late, it seems like there is more uncertainty about whether some of the top-ranked prospects will sign or not. One in particular, James Wiseman, has my complete attention. His decision feels the like most important one in the country to a particular school (Memphis).

2. Which schools should have most, if not all, of their 2019 targets signed by the end of the early period?

Villanova coach Jay Wright
Villanova coach Jay Wright (AP)

ERIC BOSSI: The top three classes in the country belong to USC, Villanova and Louisville. As things stand I don't anticipate any of them adding more players to their classes. Things could possibly change during the spring but for now they look to be totally locked in, all of their guys are expected to sign and none of them are considered to be serious options for any of the remaining high-level prospects.

COREY EVANS: For the most part, the majority of the top classes are about done this fall. Florida, Louisville and USC have already had to say no to more than one recruit since they had filled all of their scholarships for next year. Each has hit a variety of boxes this fall and should feel great a week from now with each of the members of its 2019 class expected to sign in the days ahead.

DAN MCDONALD: Villanova comes to mind here. Jay Wright and his staff locked down four of their top targets in the early period, giving them an advantage in focusing on their own season and also giving them more time to look ahead to the 2020 and 2021 classes.

3. Which player will provide the most drama between the early and late signing periods?

Cole Anthony
Cole Anthony (Jon Lopez/Nike @NikeEYB)

ERIC BOSSI: It would be easy to go with the No. 1 player, Vernon Carey, but give me Cole Anthony here. He's the top-ranked guard in the country. He's thought to be favoring a blueblood in North Carolina and it badly needs to land him after missing on other guard targets like Boogie Ellis (Duke) and Tre Mann (Florida). Add in that he's popular with the YouTube and social media crowd, and all of the ingredients necessary for a drama-filled recruitment are there.

COREY EVANS: It would have to be Precious Achiuwa. The need for an athletic, versatile and uber-talented forward that can do a plethora of things on either side of the floor is a desirable asset. His recruitment remains wide open, giving those that might miss on a top-five prospect to jump into the race. His talent level is off the charts and with all five of his official visits remaining, Achiuwa’s recruitment will become even more heated.

DAN MCDONALD: I'll go with Vernon Carey. It seems as if there have been multiple schools – Duke, Kentucky, Michigan State and even hometown Miami – that have felt like leaders in his recruitment. I wouldn't be surprised if there is quite a bit of movement in the perceived leader in his recruitment until he announces a final decision.