One trend in basketball recruiting calls for prospects to spend a year in prep school in order to improve their academic standing and/or enhance their stock as a reclassified prospect.
Suddenly, a new trend is beginning to take shape.
Prior to the 2006-2007 season, USC's Daniel Hackett and Kansas State's Bill Walker accelerated their academic process and entered school a year early.
This trend is starting to gain momentum, and a number of prospects have jumped from the 2008 class to the 2007 class in recent months. Beas Hamga and Angelo Johnson are two prospects who made the change prior to the last class of 2007 ranking. The six prospects below, however, made the change from the class of 2008 to the 2007 class over the summer. They will move into the Rivals.com enrolled 2007 rankings, which are coming soon.
An athletic wing player with good length, Wilks was the No. 52 prospect in the mid-summer 2008 ranking. Loaded with upside but needing to improve his physical strength and refine his skills, Wilks will have to put it into overdrive during preseason practice to put himself in a position to make an immediate impact for the Bearcats. The addition of Wilks to the 2007 recruiting class softens the blow of losing four-star recruit Jason Henry.
A top-notch athlete at the forward position, Dendy was originally a 2007 Clemson commitment before reclassifying to 2008. During the process, he remained committed to the Tigers. Dendy reopened his recruitment in April, the beginning of the travel team circuit. Prior to the beginning of the 2007-2008 school year, Dendy opted to head to junior college instead of spending the year at a prep school. Presently ranked as a member of the 2008 class, Dendy currently stands at No. 58.
A workhorse around the basket, White is the kind of athletic and competitive big man coach Andy Kennedy needs to jump-start his program at Ole Miss. White committed to Ole Miss in March as a reclassified 2008 prospect. However - with additional work over the summer - White was able to move into the 2007 Ole Miss recruiting class. White, who was the No. 67 prospect in the mid-summer 2008 rankings, is expected to start for the Rebels.
A Boston native, Gillenwater has spent time on both coasts during his high school career. He established himself as a national high-major prospect with his stellar play during the spring of 2006. In the winter of 2007 Gillenwater committed to Oklahoma State, only to open his recruitment back up this summer. After playing strong basketball during the July evaluation period, Gillenwater registered a No. 69 ranking in the post-summer Rivals150. Then in mid-August, Gillenwater made a surprise commitment to New Mexico State and enrolled as a redshirt freshman after achieving a qualifying test score.
Ashaolu popped onto the national scene during the 2003-2004 season as an eighth grader playing for McDonough (Ga.) Community Christian High School. Since then, Ashaolu has been a fixture on the Reebok summer travel circuit. Last year the Canadian played at Humble (Texas) Christian Life Center. Heading into the summer, he committed to Rutgers. That commitment lasted a little over a month before Ashaolu opened up his recruitment and then signed with Louisiana Tech at the end of July. He is expected to redshirt during the 2007-2008 season.
An imposing 6-foot-11, 255-pound center, Ezeli actually graduated from high school at the age of 15. He hit the travel circuit this summer as a 17-year-old, and quickly drew a following of intrigued coaches. The original plan was for Ezeli to spend a year in prep school to further hone his skills as a 2008 prospect. Vanderbilt, however, jumped into the mix and snagged the academically minded prospect. Ezeli, who is presently No. 138 in the post-summer 2008 rankings, will forego prep school and spend the 2007-2008 as a redshirt at Vanderbilt.