Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Breaking down the class rankings
By Paul Biancardi
This week's class rankings see three new entrants: Marquette, San Diego State and USC. But those aren't the only teams to watch. Here are four things you need to know about the class rankings, from LSU's big splash to Kansas' momentum and much more.
LSU undoubtedly made a big move by landing Elbert Robinson and Jalyn Patterson, who will give them a big boost next season. Robinson is a true center who will bring size and a soft touch in the paint. When you add him to LSU’s existing roster -- which includes last year’s top-10 recruiting class -- this program becomes a viable threat. Patterson is known for making the game-winning shot for Montverde Academy in the championship game at the National High School Invitational last season, an elite prep tournament. The Tigers also landed one of the top 2015 players in the nation in Ben Simmons, who was getting recruited at the highest level by elite programs such as Kentucky. In a span of a week, Johnny Jones and his staff have put their program in a strong position for an SEC title and an NCAA tournament run.
Need to make a move
With a full roster this season, St. John’s could be a sleeping giant. It’s only the second time a full team has been in place since Steve Lavin’s arrival, when he had to fill 10 scholarships. He might have the luxury of even redshirting a few kids for the future. The biggest loss for the Red Storm is Orlando Sanchez, a forward with a diverse skill set. No one is committed for 2014 yet, but when you look at Lavin’s success on the recruiting trail with nationally ranked players and classes, it’s just a matter of time. Lavin has shown recruiting results not only in the high school market, but in the junior college ranks and internationally.
What to watch for
Kansas had Midnight Madness back in early October, and it paid big dividends with a verbal commitment from ESPN No. 10 Kelly Oubre. Now Kentucky is having its version, called Big Blue Madness, this weekend. The Wildcats will have verbal commitments Karl Towns Jr. and Tyler Ulis in attendance, as well as Trey Lyles, James Blackmon Jr. and Stanley Johnson. Kentucky is looking to build around Towns and Ulis, and they already had Devin Booker on a visit earlier in September. Four of the past five seasons, this has been a springboard for Kentucky to build a No. 1 recruiting class. Keep an eye on these elite, undecided prospects to maybe make a move.
The ACC leads the SEC in ESPN 100 recruits, 15-9, as we approach the early signing period, with 26 players remaining on the board. The early signing period is Nov. 13-20, which is when a player can sign a national letter of intent. Traditional powers in the SEC, such as Kentucky and Florida, have some excellent recruits already in place but are still in the hunt with many of those uncommitted players. There is a good chance one or two SEC teams are not done yet. The ACC is a bigger league with Syracuse, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh, and the ACC will win out because Duke is involved with a handful of those prospects, and something tells me the Blue Devils will get their share.