basketball Edit

Starting Five: 4-star PG Shai Alexander to Kentucky

It took a little time to land their first commitment from the class of 2017, but after starting Monday morning off with a commitment from four-star point guard Shai Alexander, Kentucky is on fire. National analyst Eric Bossi discusses Alexander, previews more Monday decisions and much more in today's Starting Five.


Shai Alexander
Shai Alexander (Nike/Jon Lopez @NikeEYBL)

Make no mistake, John Calipari and Kentucky have caught fire on the recruiting trail. After picking up a pair of five-star commitments in forward P.J. Washington and center Nick Richards late last week, they added a four-star in Shai Alexander first thing Monday morning.

A native of Canada who plays at Chattanooga (Tenn.) Hamilton Heights, the 6-foot-4 senior who currently ranks No. 53 in the Rivals150 was initially committed to Florida. However, during October he backed off of that commitment and Kentucky moved in quickly to make him a priority.

Though he has a slender build and will need to add strength, Alexander is a long and poised decision maker. He gets to his spots off the dribble, has excellent floor vision and is an excellent pull-up jump shooter from between 12 and 17 feet. Though he's already highly ranked, he's also a bit of a mystery given that he wasn't on the summer circuit because he was playing with Canada's senior national team. will see Alexander again on the first weekend of December but he looks to be an excellent addition for the Wildcats.


The only other Rivals150 player scheduled to make a decision on Monday is Philadelphia (Pa.) Imhotep combo guard David Beatty. However, important decisions are also expected from talented three-star big men Mayan Kiir and Nicolas Claxton.

Expected to announce at six o'clock Eastern time, Beatty is down to Connecticut, Indiana, Maryland and South Carolina. He's a high scoring combo guard who plays with physicality and really likes to get his points at the rim and from the mid range. Leading up to his decision, South Carolina has been getting the most talk and the Gamecocks appear to be in good position.

A thin big man from South Carolina who was at one time in the Rivals150, Claxton still has a world of upside. He runs the floor very well, has some touch to 17 feet and is one of those guys who could explode when he gets in a college weight room. It's been a lack of consistency, though, and not a lack of strength that allowed him to slide out of the rankings. If he gets consistent with his production, then look out. Claxton is down to Florida State, Baylor, N.C. State and Georgia and each appear to have a legitimate shot at landing him. We give the slightest of edges to Florida State on decision day.

Defensively proficient, Kiir does a very good job of running the floor, he cleans the glass and he's terrific at sliding into position to take charges as a secondary defender. He's taken visits to Illinois, LSU, N.C. State and VCU. For much of the last few weeks, Will Wade's Rams have been said to have the inside track and it would be a big win for them to beat out three power conference programs.


Officially, five-star point guard Quade Green is down to Duke, Kentucky, Syracuse, Temple and Villanova. Last week, we wrote that it looked to be more like he was down to Syracuse and Kentucky.

We also gave the slightest of edge to Kentucky but it's now getting hard to deny Syracuse is making this one really interesting after Green took another visit to see the Orange over the weekend.

The visit was Green's third in the last month and a half. He is scheduled to announce his choice on Saturday.


Speaking of Syracuse, the Orange got on the board for the first time in 2017 when four-star combo forward Oshae Brissett announced his commitment on Saturday night.

A native of Canada who played the past few years at Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep before returning home for his senior season, Brissett is a long and athletic forward who appears to be a good fit for Syracuse. He's long and quick along the baseline, he is an excellent scorer in transition and he's a good offensive rebounder and mid range jump shooter who is similar in many ways to former Syracuse star C.J. Fair.


Kris Wilkes
Kris Wilkes (

The Sunday addition of five-star forward Kris Wilkes by UCLA and Monday's addition of Shai Alexander by Kentucky means that there is more change to the 2017 team rankings.

UCLA will now move all the way up to No. 1 in the country just ahead of now No. 2 Arizona. Now the question is whether or not the Bruins can hold on to the top spots. Based on those still left to make decisions, Arizona, Duke and Kentucky look to have the best chances to beat them out.

Speaking of Kentucky, the Wildcats now have the second ranked early class in the SEC -- behind Alabama who has the No. 3 ranked class. By adding Alexander, they leapfrog Auburn and move to No. 5 overall.