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Starting 5: Summer blockbuster

Editor's note: Every week in "Starting 5," we'll roll out five stories, themes and nuggets from the basketball recruiting world to set the table with the stories that need to be told and give you a leg up on the watercooler conversations around the office.

This week we look at Stanley Johnson's rise from star to superstar, what the date of an official visit can mean, Alabama's big week in recruiting, the changing landscape of African basketball and how the American prospects compared to their international counterparts at the Adidas Nations.

1. Johnson is an A-list star

In movie terms, Stanley Johnson (Fullerton, Calif./Mater Dei) went from being Cuba Gooding Jr. to Denzel Washington during the month of July.

We certainly knew the ESPN 100 small forward was a big-time player before July. He is, after all, already ranked No. 12 in the Class of 2014. However (dramatic pause), I think there are a lot of folks, myself included, looking at him in a totally different light as of August.