The early signing period for college basketball came and went, and a there were some notable signees - and some notable things that didn't occur - last week.
The changes had an impact in the team rankings as Rivals.com releases its final top 30 for the early signing period.
Singleton moves Seminoles up
The biggest National Signing Day news was Chris Singleton's college announcement. The four-star forward announced he was taking his game to Florida State. Singleton chose the Seminoles over Kentucky. The news wasn't shocking, but it was important to the Rivals.com team recruiting rankings.
Singleton's decision boosted Florida State from No. 14 to 10th. He joins fellow four-star prospects Xavier Gibson, Deividas Dulkys and Luke Loucks. Pierre Jordan, a high school teammate of Singleton's at Dunwoody (Ga.) High School, also signed with the ACC school.
Florida State also landed a commitment from junior college guard Derwin Kitchen. The 6-foot-4 native of Jacksonville, Fla., committed to Florida out of high school but ended up at St. John's. He never played a minute at the Big East school and is now at Iowa Western Community College.
It pushed Arkansas into the top 30 team rankings, boosting the SEC school from No. 27 to No. 14 overall in the nation.
Clarke, the No. 81 ranked player in the class of 2008, decided on the final day of the early signing period and picked Arkansas over Oral Roberts and Oklahoma State. Clarke is one of the best shooters in the nation.
Payne, a 6-foot-7 forward from Coffeyville (Kansas) Junior College, also considered Illinois, Iowa, Wichita State, Kansas State, Kansas and St. Louis. He was ranked as the No. 2 junior college prospect in the country according to JucoJunction.com.
Minnesota was one of the first schools to actively pursue Canadian shooting guard Devoe Joseph, and the Big Ten program's persistence paid off when the four-star guard signed with the Gophers on the final day of the early signing period.
Minnesota moved into the top 20 after being unranked prior to the period opening.
Warren decides Sooner than later
Willie Warren is the Terrell Owens of high school basketball. The five-star guard is a game-changer. Much like the Dallas Cowboys receiver, Warren seems to always have something up his sleeve when the world is watching.
Warren's decision to play for Oklahoma came as a surprise during the signing period. He and his mother had long declared that they would wait until the spring to make a decision. However, Warren decided to sign with Jeff Capel's program.
The No. 12 player in the nation boosted the Sooners from an unranked team to No. 21 overall in the team recruiting rankings.
Are these ones that got away?
Mississippi State had the No. 12 overall recruiting class in the early signing period a day before prospects could ink National Letters of Intent. Scotty Hopson, a top-10 talent, was thought to be the gem of the class in the early signing period.
Hopson opted not to sign his letter of intent to Mississippi State, but has said publicly that he remains committed to the Bulldogs. Because of Hopson's decision not to sign, Mississippi State is not listed in the updated team rankings.
Connecticut ran into a similar situation. Longtime commitment Nate Miles opted not to sign with the Huskies, who were No. 20 prior to the signing period. Because it signed only one player, albeit a good one in point guard Kemba Walker, Connecticut is no longer in the top 30.
Big East teams flip flop
Louisville did not sign Melquan Bolding and Kyle Kuric, thus moving the Cardinals down one spot to No. 4. U of L flipped spots with Big East rival Georgetown.
Bolding, the No. 143 ranked prospect, is working on his academics at Notre Dame Prep (Mass.) and plans on signing in the spring. Kuric, a three-star prospect, has also opted to wait until the spring to ink his National Letter of Intent.
Quality big men are hard to come by, but Wake Forest managed to land three five-star big men in its 2008 recruiting class. Al-Farouq Aminu has the versatility to do damage inside and outside. He has the polish to his game to make an instant impact. Tony Woods and Ty Walker still need some seasoning, but have very high ceilings.
UCLA's backcourt is in good hands for the foreseeable future. Led by elite prospect Jrue Holiday, the Bruins' recruiting class also includes four-star guards Jerime Anderson and Malcolm Lee. All three of these guards hail from the Los Angeles area, and the Bruins also snagged energetic big man Drew Gordon out of Northern California.
The Georgetown basketball program continues its rise back to national prominence with a stellar 2008 recruiting class. The crown jewel in the class is No. 1-ranked prospect Greg Monroe, who chose the Hoyas over almost every other program in the country. Four-star post players Chris Braswell and Henry Sims - along with four-star guard Jason Clark - round out the class.
Coach Rick Pitino has a post player in Samardo Samuels who has the physicality and skill level to anchor a team in the low post from Day One. His five-star counterpart, Terrence Jennings, has unique athleticism for a big man. Jared Swopshire is a versatile wing who should fit in well into Louisville's system.
Coach Billy Donovan isn't letting up after back-to-back national championships and the No. 1 class of 2007 recruiting haul. The Gators have the No. 5-ranked 2008 recruiting class, largely because of five-star post players Eloy Vargas and Kenny Kadji. Florida's other three recruits are also ranked in the Rivals150.
Ohio State enjoyed the services of athletic 7-footer Greg Oden for a year, and now they will have the services of another athletic 7-footer. B.J. Mullens is on board for at least the 2008-2009 season. Joining the top-ranked center in the 2008 class is five-star shooting guard William Buford. Mullens and Buford comprise the top inside/outside duo in this class.
Arizona is known as Point Guard U, and the Wildcats continue that tradition with top-10 prospect Brandon Jennings. A jet with the basketball, Jennings should pick up right where freshman Jerryd Bayless is likely to leave off. Four-star post players Emanuel Negedu and Jeff Withey have the mobility to keep up with the dynamic point guard.
Kansas might not have a five-star prospect in its five-man class, but there is plenty of talent in the versatile group. Leading the way are four-star twins Marcus and Markieff Morris. Small forward Mario Little is considered one of the top junior college players in the country. Kansas City shooting guard Travis Releford is known for his versatility and high basketball IQ.
After securing five-star forward Ed Davis late in the summer, North Carolina went into Big Ten country and landed another five-star big man. Tyler Zeller, whose brother Luke Zeller is on the Notre Dame roster, will help carry on the tradition in Chapel Hill. Davis and Tyler Zeller are skilled, finesse-type players who should thrive in the up-tempo Tar Heel system. Four-star guard Larry Drew rounds out the class for coach Roy Williams.
Coach Leonard Hamilton can celebrate his new contract extension with an impressive signing class this fall. Top target Chris Singleton selected the Seminoles over the Kentucky Wildcats during the early signing period. Four-star big man Xavier Gibson has battled recent injuries, but he has amazing potential. On the perimeter, four-star prospects Deividas Dulkys and Luke Loucks are highly skilled players. They possess impressive basketball IQs. Loucks is a good passer with size, and Dulkys is an athletic player who can shoot.
Coach Mark Gottfried is bringing a strong 2008 recruiting class to Tuscaloosa. Five-star power forward Jamychel Green leads the class, and his blue-collar approach should translate into a number of double-doubles in the SEC. Andrew Steele, the brother of current Tide star Ron Steele, is a physical combo guard. Wing scorer Tony Mitchell has the athleticism to thrive at the next level.
Oregon and coach Ernie Kent have found a home away from home in the Windy City. Four-star prospects Michael Dunigan and Matthew Humphrey and three-star big man Josh Crittle all hail from the Chicago area. The prize recruit in the class, Dunigan gives Oregon an inside presence it is not used to having. Oregon also went into the Southeast to land ultra-athletic four-star wing Teondre Williams.
Coach Lorenzo Romar has consistently landed top-20 recruiting classes, and this year is no different. Four-star forward Tyresse Breshers leads the way with his shot-blocking ability and low-post scoring prowess. Another four-star prospect, Isaiah Thomas, returns home from prep school and will be counted on to be a 3-point threat. Versatile wings Scott Suggs and Elston Turner round out the class.
Coach John Pelphrey hauled in a six-man class during his first signing period as Arkansas' coach. A couple four-star backcourt players, Courtney Fortson and Rotnei Clarke, lead the class. Athletic big men Brandon Moore and Andre Clark are a good fit for the SEC. Power forward Daniel Payne is one of the top junior college prospects in the country.
The Hoosiers have a star coming to Bloomington in Devin Ebanks. In lieu of an Eric Gordon departure in the spring, Ebanks gives coach Kelvin Sampson another outstanding offensive weapon. Ebanks, a versatile 6-foot-8 wing, is one of the toughest players to defend at his position. Point guard Terrell Holloway is a jitterbug floor general with great speed and solid distribution skills. Matt Roth gives the team a good shooter, and Tom Pritchard is a big-bodied grinder that will fit in well in the Big Ten.
The Trojans are getting spoiled. With O.J. Mayo doing his thing in the Land of Troy this season, USC has another pro prospect coming town in local product Demar Derozan. Known primarily as a top-flight athlete, the Compton (Calif.) native showed off a much-improved scoring touch from the wing over the spring and summer.
Once again the Spartans have landed a class with the following qualities: great motors, good speed, good scorers and versatile players. The gem of the class is Ohio forward Delvon Roe, a likely McDonald's All-American that embodies Tom Izzo's style of play. Korie Lucious is a scorer that will blend in nicely with the current backcourt. Big man Draymond Green is a highly touted in-state forward with a winning resume.
The Tigers went down to the wire for Texas big man J'Mison Morgan, and their patience was rewarded. The five-star center opted for the SEC program, and he gives the Tigers a big body inside. Morgan's presence should open the floor up for Delwan Graham, a player with one of the best motors in the nation. Big man Dennis Harris, a three-star forward, was the first to commit in the class.
Billy Gillispie went right to work in the 2007 class and extended his reach to Chicago for five-star guard DeAndre Liggins. The 6-foot-5 point guard was a major catch for the Wildcats. Landing the five-star prospect in the summer set the tone for the type of recruiting reputation Gillispie will have in Lexington. A month later, Gillispie landed top-50 forward Darius Miller, who should be perfect for the Wildcats' style of play.
Kentucky fans weren't pleased with Tubby Smith's recruiting efforts, but Gopher fans have a lot about which to be excited. Smith's first recruiting class at Minnesota includes three Rivals150 prospects, including four-star prospects Ralph Sampson III and Devoe Joseph. Junior college prospects Devron Bostick and Paul Carter round out the class.
Oklahoma secured the signature of its main target, Willie Warren, during the early signing period. The five-star combo guard gives Jeff Capel a physical, impact player who can be a difference-maker as a freshman. Wing prospect Ray Willis and junior college big men Orlando Allen and Kyle Cannon round out the class.
If the Virginia coaching staff has more grey hairs this year, it is because the recruiting season was certainly stressful. In the end, the Cavaliers were able to land players they coveted. New Yorker Sylven Landesberg, a four-star guard, is the major catch of the class. He should be able to help immediately at a number of positions. Big men John Brandenburg, a top-70 talent, and Assane Sene give the team two mobile post players that are effective in the paint.
Lucky for the WAC school, one of the top players in the nation was right in its backyard. Reno native Luke Babbit originally committed to Ohio State, but decided he wanted to play in front of friends and family instead. Mark Fox was happy to oblige the hometown star. Seattle area shooting guard Mark McLaughlin, a top-100 talent, committed to Washington State early but reneged and pledged to Nevada instead. Texas point guard London Giles rounds out the class.
The Vols looked long and hard for a big forward that could stretch the defense but also crash the boards when needed. They found their man in California ? top-60 prospect Renaldo Woolridge. Coach Bruce Pearl and his staff locked up in-state big man Phillip Jurick early in the spring. Jurick should provide the team with toughness inside.
The Salukis have proven themselves on the hardwood for a while now. This year, the Missouri Valley program proved itself as a big-time recruiting power. Chris Lowery locked up Anthony Booker in February, when Booker was just a regional star in St. Louis. Come July, he was a top-30 national prospect. Booker is joined by fellow Rivals150 point guard Kevin Dillard out of Chicago and McCluer North teammate Torres Roundtree. Chris Parrish, an in-state recruit, rounds out the class.
The Blue Devils never cast a big net when it comes to recruiting, and this year it looked as if the fish were simply passing on the bait being tossed out there by coach Mike Krzyzewski and company. But, as is usually the case, Duke landed its top guard target in five-star prospect Elliot Williams of Memphis, Tenn. Williams should get plenty of playing time as soon as he arrives in Durham, N.C. Nevada big man Olek Czyz fills the role of athletic, energetic big man that the Blue Devils seem to always have on the roster.
The Atlantic-10 has no match for Xavier's top dog in 2008, center Kenny Frease. The big man committed to the Musketeers early and could have pledged to almost any high-major school. Frease will help the Musketeers from Day One. Sean Miller also wanted guards in the 2008 recruiting class, and he got them. Mark Lyons, a top-150 prospect, Brad Redford and Brian Walsh should provide depth in the backcourt.
The Orange locked up Kris Joseph, a Canadian transplant now in Washington D.C. Jim Boeheim and his staff like Joseph's versatility. James Southerland, a long and bouncy wing from New York City, has the ability and size (6-6) to play multiple positions. The gem of the class came a little later in the game when Peekskill (N.Y.) wing Mookie Jones, a top-40 prospect nationally, pledged to the program.
Bo Ryan knows how to find players that fit perfectly into his swing offense. Minnesota center Jared Berggren, a top-60 prospect, is the headliner of this group. Jordan Taylor, an AAU teammate of Berggren, is a gritty point guard that will fit in perfectly in the Big Ten. Texas center Ian Markolf and Robert Wilson are both sleepers nationally, but make sense for Ryan's style of play.
The Bulldogs have made it a point to lock up the borders and keep the top in-state players at home. That philosophy paid off with top-30 prospect Howard Thompkins, who picked the Bulldogs over Florida and North Carolina. In-state sleeper Dustin Ware is a gamer and will surprise people. So will big man Drazen Zlovaric, a 6-foot-10 forward with good athleticism.