Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Class rankings analysis: Oct. 9
By Paul Biancardi
In the latest edition of the 2014 recruiting class rankings, UNLV moves in, while last year's title-game participants, Michigan and Louisville, move up. Here's a look at the latest moves and trends in the rankings:
Trending up: The defending national champ made a big move up the charts after adding the commitment of ESPN 100 big man Chinanu Onuaku. He will bring Louisville some much-needed help in the frontcourt. Onuaku will be joined by ESPN 100 power forward Jaylen Johnson, who has a ton of potential at his size with some untapped skill. Finally, ESPN 100 small forward Shaqquan Aaron is a long, athletic wing with ball skills. Louisville might still be in the hunt for one more player, possibly juco prospect Sam Cassell Jr., who has strong playmaking abilities at the point guard position. Regardless, Louisville's current committed trio will bring outstanding positional size, talent and skill to keep the Cardinals a national power as they head into the ACC.
Team that needs to make a move: DePaul. Oliver Purnell has been well-known for building programs and leaving programs in tremendous shape when he makes a move to another school. Purnell led Old Dominion, Dayton and Clemson into the NCAA tournament, and his recruiting success has been a big part of his on-court accomplishments. DePaul is ready to have a breakthrough season as its top two leading scorers return; Cleveland Melvin and Brandon Young combined for 32 points per game last season. The Blue Demons will need to replace those points and productivity in this class. Rashaun Stimage, an ultra-athletic junior college forward, is committed to the Blue Demons and was all-state coming out of high school in Chicago. Purnell now needs to land a combo guard to replace Young and keep the momentum DePaul has going into this season.
What to watch for: Now that No. 10 recruit Kelly Oubre is committed to Kansas, keep an eye on where Stanley Johnson and Justise Winslow end up as they are the next pair of elite small forwards left on the board. These two bring an outstanding attitude and approach to the game, along with skills and athletic ability. Winslow is looking at Arizona, Duke, Florida, Kentucky, Stanford, UCLA and Texas A&M. Johnson is down to Arizona, Florida, Kentucky, Oregon and USC. Looking at their lists, there is a possibility they could end up together. The question now becomes, when are their decisions going to be made? Many programs are anxiously waiting. What makes these two small forwards so coveted is that they bring versatility, college-ready bodies, and a mature disposition both on and off the court. The bottom line is that each prospect will bring a winning mindset to his team. It’s too early to predict where these two will end up, but it’s not too early to start monitoring their progress on each visit.
Bold prediction: Kentucky won’t have the nation’s top recruiting class this year, but the Wildcats will have a top-five and possibly a top-three class depending on how it all shakes out. John Calipari’s success on the recruiting trail since he took over at Kentucky has been unprecedented. The Wildcats have landed the nation’s best class four out of the last five years. Last year’s class was an absolute monster group as Calipari and his staff brought in a total of eight recruits, six of which were in the top 25. Kentucky is still involved with some of the nation’s elite players such as Myles Turner, Trey Lyles, Stanley Johnson, James Blackmon Jr. and Devin Booker. When you add any of those prospects to Karl Towns Jr. and Tyler Ulis, this will be a star-studded group that will translate into a winning team.