September 20, 2006

Early enrollee, school switch change team rankings

The Top 25 team recruiting rankings for the class of 2006 had few changes now that the players are enrolled and taking classes at their respective colleges.

Southern Cal will be counting on an early enrollee this season. Tim Floyd will employ the services of Daniel Hackett, who played with the loaded Southern California All-Stars this summer. Hackett graduated a year early in order to help ease the loss of Ryan Francis, who was killed in the offseason in Louisiana.

Hackett's addition helped push the Trojans into the top 25 at No. 21 overall. He joins an already solid class for Floyd and company. USC signed Taj Gibson, Kevin Galloway, Kyle Austin, Kasey Cunningham and Dwight Lewis earlier in the recruiting period.

USC and Kansas State could make a splash at the semester break with two big-time additions.

Southern Cal is holding a verbal commitment from former five-star wing Davon Jefferson. Sources tell he could join the Trojans in December once he becomes fully qualified. Jefferson has instant-impact capabilities and could make a splash with pro scouts in his probable short stint at USC.

Bob Huggins and his staff could add five-star prospect Bill Walker from Cincinnati's North College Hill. Walker was ruled ineligible by the Ohio High School Athletic Association after it was learned that Walker competed in varsity athletics as a freshman in Kentucky before enrolling at North College Hill as an eighth-grader. Sources say Walker is taking the ACT this weekend and could join the Wildcats in late December.

Other notable changes to the top 25 include Memphis' addition of former Florida signee Doneal Mack. Mack will pair with Willie Kemp in the backcourt, giving the Tigers a dynamic 1-2 punch for the future. Memphis cracked into the top 25 at No. 23 with Mack's addition.

While Florida lost Mack to Memphis, the Gators added former N.C. State commitment Dan Werner. The National Champions close the class at No. 20 in the country.

Villanova signee Kraidon Woods is spending a year in prep school and will not be counted in the 2006 class. The Wildcats remain at No. 14. Texas A&M is in the same position with center Brandon Webster. The Aggies slip a spot to No. 22.

North Carolina Tar Heels

Brandan Wright PF 6-9, 201
Wayne Ellington SG 6-4, 190
Tywon Lawson PG 5-11, 182
Alex Stepheson PF 6-10, 215
Deon Thompson PF 6-8, 250
William Graves SF 6-6, 245
Roy Williams could probably create an NCAA Tournament team out of this class alone, but he targeted each signee to fill a specific need. The lanky Wright, who is great at blocking shots, will be a nice complement for Tyler Hansbrough. Lawson gives the team the true point guard it lacked and someone who can create scoring chances for others. Ellington will be a big offensive force on the wing, and Stepheson and Thompson will provide some much-needed depth on the interior.
Ohio State Buckeyes

Greg Oden C 7-0, 240
Daequan Cook SG 6-4, 185
Mike Conley PG 6-1, 170
David Lighty SG 6-5, 180
Othello Hunter PF 6-9, 215
Every member of the "Thad Five" will make an immediate impact. Oden has a chance to be one of the most dominating players in college basketball. Cook, Conley and Lighty will competing for starting jobs and will all play significant minutes. Hunter, the most low-profile of the recruits, could be the sleeper of the group. The JUCO transfer has plenty of upside and something his new teammates lack - two years of college experience.
Texas Longhorns

Kevin Durant SF 6-9, 204
Damion James SF 6-8, 225
D.J. Augustin PG 5-11, 180
Justin Mason SG 6-3, 175
Harrison Smith SG 6-3, 185
Matt Hill PF 6-10, 225
Dexter Pittman C 6-10, 200
The Longhorns were one of the biggest winners in the late singing period, snagging James - who originally signed with Oklahoma. Even without the five-star small forward, coach Rick Barnes had already put together a star-studded class. Durant was's No. 2 overall prospect. The small forward is a great shooter with tremendous range, Durant was voted the co-MVP of the McDonald's All-American game. Mason and Smith were among the top prospects in talent-laden Texas. Hill and Pittman bring some much-needed size to Austin.
Connecticut Huskies

Stanley Robinson SF 6-9, 220
Curtis Kelly SF 6-7, 236
Jerome Dyson SG 6-3, 190
HaSheem Thabeet C 7-2, 245
Doug Wiggins PG 6-0, 160
Jonathan Mandeldove C 6-11, 215
Ben Eaves SF 6-7, 210
Gavin Edwards PF 6-9, 225
Jim Calhoun and his staff may have put together one of the deepest classes college basketball has ever seen. The multi-dimensional Robinson is the key piece and will likely take over a starting job from Rudy Gay. Kelly and Dyson have the games to play big roles next season as well. Wiggins is also expected to be part of the playing rotation. The towering Thabeet, a raw prospect with tremendous upside, was a big addition in the late period. Mendeldove, Eaves and Edwards all have the needed size to play against the physical frontcourts of the Big East.
Duke Blue Devils

Gerald Henderson SG 6-5, 210
Brian Zoubek C 7-0, 250
Lance Thomas SF 6-8, 200
Jon Scheyer SG 6-4, 170
Landing Thomas in the late period boosted the Blue Devils into the top five. Mike Krzyzewski was saving a scholarship specifically for the four-star swingman. After a long recruitment, Thomas chose the Blue Devils over Rutgers in May. Henderson and Zoubek both earned five-star rankings after impressive senior seasons. Scheyer wasn't as sought after as his new teammates, but he does give Coach K another accurate shooter to utilize.
Tennessee Volunteers

Duke Crews PF 6-7, 235
Ramar Smith SG 6-1, 181
Wayne Chism PF 6-8, 230
Marques Johnson PG 6-5, 200
Josh Tabb SG 6-4, 190
Bruce Pearl was voted the AP's SEC Coach of the Year for taking the Volunteers from a 14-17 record to a 22-8 mark last season. He may have done an even better job on the recruiting trail, landing three top-50 prospects in Smith, Crews and Chism. Smith gives Pearl the quick guard that should be a great fit for his frenetic style of play. Crews, who is one of the more athletic players in the class, should be a big asset as well. Chism will bring a much-needed interior presence. Johnson and Tabb both have great size for guards.
Washington Huskies

Spencer Hawes C 6-11, 245
Phillip Nelson SF 6-8, 190
Adrian Oliver PG 6-4, 185
Quincy Pondexter SF 6-7, 195
Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar and his staff have done a tremendous job scouting talent and winning recruiting battles since arriving in Seattle. That trend only continued this year. Hawes, who is from the Emerald City, was pursued by several elite programs, including North Carolina. Add a trio of four-star recruits from the West Coast – Oliver, Nelson and Pondexter – and the Pac-10's top class belongs to the Huskies once again.
Georgia Tech

Thaddeus Young SF 6-8, 205
Javaris Crittenton PG 6-4, 195
Zach Peacock PF 6-7, 215
Brad Sheehan C 6-10, 215
If the Yellow Jackets had more scholarships to give out this year, this class would have been ranked even higher. Young (No. 5) and Crittenton (No. 7) make Tech the only other program besides UNC to land multiple recruits in the top 10. Peacock and Sheehan, three-star post players, are also solid additions.
Louisville Cardinals

Earl Clark SF 6-9, 200
Derrick Caracter PF 6-8, 275
Jerry Smith PG 6-1, 185
Edgar Sosa PG 6-1, 180
Nobody tends to reload quite like Rick Pitino. The Cardinals' head coach proved it again by putting together a class that includes four top-100 recruits. Clark (No. 22) and Character (No. 25) have the talent to be stars in the Big East. Sosa (No. 74) and Smith (No. 82) bring versatility to the backcourt. Each can bring the ball up the court or play on the wing.
Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Anthony Gurley SG 6-3, 185
Jamie Skeen PF 6-8, 215
Chas McFarland C 7-0, 200
Ishmael Smith PG 5-11, 155
L.D. Williams SG 6-4, 185
Casey Crawford PF 6-8, 210
The Deacons can't boast a high-profile recruit like the elite classes, but they make up for it with depth and balance. Their six-man class includes a pair of four-star prospects and four three-star prospects. McFarland is a sleeper with big potential, and Williams has the athleticism and size to create matchup problems.

Brook Lopez PF 6-11, 230
Robin Lopez C 6-11, 225
Landry Fields SG 6-3, 170
Will Paul PF 6-9, 215
Da'veed Dildy PG 6-5, 185
Every program would love to add a great shot blocker. The Cardinal found two in the same class. The Lopez twins are tremendous forces on the defensive side of the ball and will instantly intimidate Pac-10 guards who drive into the lane. Their presence should also create more space to operate for Dildy and Fields, who both signed during the spring.
Kansas Jayhawks

Darrell Arthur PF 6-9, 220
Sherron Collins PG 5-11, 190
Brady Morningstar SG 6-3, 165
How much can one prospect matter to a recruiting class? Ask the Jayhawks. The late addition of Arthur gives them the second-best class in the Big 12. More importantly, KU now has the depth to make a run at the national title. Arthur is extremely athletic and also possesses a polished face-up game. Collins, an explosive offensive catalyst who can play a variety of roles, will also contribute from the start. Morningstar is a dangerous shooter.
Georgetown Hoyas

DaJuan Summers SF 6-8, 225
Vernon Macklin PF 6-9, 191
Jeremiah Rivers PG 6-4, 180
The Hoyas look like a major player in the recruiting world again. Macklin chose the Hoyas over some of the ACC's top programs. Summers and Rivers both had scholarship offers from elite schools. Summers could be an immediate starter, while Macklin has the most potential of the bunch.
Villanova Wildcats

Antonio Pena PF 6-8, 230
Scottie Reynolds SG 6-0, 170
Casiem Drummond PF 6-10, 275
Andrew Ott C 6-10, 230
Reggie Redding SG 6-4, 185
Meet the winner of the second Scottie Reynolds sweepstakes. The McDonald's All-American originally signed with Oklahoma, but was released from his letter-of-intent after the Sooners' coaching switch. He ultimately picked the Wildcats over a handful of major programs. The rest of the class has a lot of local flavor with the five other signees coming from a 100-mile radius of campus.
Arkansas Razorbacks

Patrick Beverley PG 6-2, 175
Michael Washington PF 6-8, 235
Sonny Weems SF 6-6, 200
Stefan Welsh SG 6-3, 180
The Hogs lost out in a tough recruiting battle for five-star guard Ramar Smith with Tennessee, but it didn't take long to recover. Beverely, one of the last four-star recruits available, signed with the Hogs in the late period. Weems, one of the nation's top junior college transfers, could provide immediate help if he gets into school. The athletic Washington has the potential to develop into one of the SEC's premier big men, and Welsh, a three-star prospect, was another solid pickup.
Kentucky Wildcats

Derrick Jasper PG 6-5, 200
Jodie Meeks SG 6-4, 197
Perry Stevenson PF 6-9, 190
Michael Porter PG 6-2, 180
This class lacks the big-name recruits that Big Blue fans yearn for, but it's still full of talent and potential. Jasper is capable of guarding numerous positions and Meeks can score from all spots on the court. The lanky Stevenson is more raw but may have the most upside of the group.
Baylor Bears

Demond Carter PG 5-10, 167
Josh Lomers C 7-0, 250
Djibril Thiam SF 6-8, 210
Bears coach Scott Drew and his staff are among the hardest workers in the recruiting game. Although they just missed on Kansas-signee Darrell Arthur, their efforts were clearly rewarded with this class. Carter (No. 91), Thiam (No. 93) and Lomers (No. 56) are all ranked among the top 100 prospects. Carter was a tremendous scorer in high school and the versatile Thiam, who is from Senegal, is very tough to handle one-on-one.
Michigan State Spartans

Raymar Morgan SF 6-7, 210
Tom Herzog C 6-11, 215
Isaiah Dahlman SF 6-6, 175
Think quality and not quantity when it comes to the Spartans' incoming freshmen. Morgan is the nation's No. 11-ranked small forward and Herzog is one of the nation's top shot blockers. Dahlman is a polished prospect who has the ability to earn minutes right away as well.
Maryland Terrapins

Eric Hayes PG 6-3, 175
Greivis Vasquez SG 6-5, 179
Jerome Burney, Jr. PF 6-9, 204
Landon Milbourne SF 6-6, 195
Bambale Osby PF 6-8, 255
The Terps may have found their backcourt of the future with Hayes and Vasquez. Hayes is a savvy floor general and a solid shooter. Vasquez is highly-skilled and armed with a European-style game. Milbourne and Burney are the type of players that have turned into solid starters under coach Gary Williams. Osby, a JUCO transfer, will provide some depth in the post.
Florida Gators

Jon Mitchell SF 6-6, 230
Marreese Speights PF 6-10, 240
Dan Werner SF 6-7, 215
Brandon Powell SG 6-3, 195
Florida coach Billy Donovan's latest class looks much like the one that carried the Gators to their first national title in April: Full of prospects that aren't among the elite but have SEC-level talent and lots of upside. Speights made big strides as a senior. Mitchell is steadily improving his skill package and Powell is a great defender on the perimeter. Werner was a former N.C. State signee who reopened his recruitment when Herb Sendek left and took over the Arizona State program. The Gators did lose their highest-ranked signee, four-star guard Doneal Mack, who wound up at Memphis.
USC Trojans

Taj Gibson PF 6-8, 210
Daniel Hackett SG 6-5, 195
Kyle Austin PF 6-6, 195
Kasey Cunningham SF 6-7, 210
Kevin Galloway SF 6-6, 190
Dwight Lewis SG 6-5, 190
USC just missed out on the top 25 after the spring signing period with a solid class of Gibson, Cunningham, Galloway and Lewis. Now that the Trojans have added Hackett - who was a four-star 2007 prospect before graduating a year early - and Austin, USC finds a place at No. 21 in the 2006 team recruiting rankings. Hackett may very well fill the starting point guard role left vacant by the untimely death of Ryan Francis.
Texas A&M Aggies

Donald Sloan SG 6-2, 170
Bryan Davis PF 6-8, 225
Bryan Beasley PG 5-11, 170
Jerrod Johnson SF 6-6, 220
Derrick Roland SG 6-4, 185
Bryson Graham SG 6-3, 190
It took Billy Gillispie just three years to assemble what may be the greatest recruiting class in A&M history. The six-man class, which is made up entirely of Texas talent, includes a pair of top 100 prospects - Sloan (No. 55) and Davis (No. 59). Roland, Graham - a JUCO transfer - and Beasley will provide instant depth for what was a thin backcourt.
Memphis Tigers

Willie Kemp PG 6-2, 170
Doneal Mack SG 6-5, 170
Hashim Bailey C 6-10, 245
Pierre Niles PF 6-7, 250
Tre'Von Willis SG 6-3, 165
It looked like an average recruiting year for the Tigers until they snatched up Mack in July. The talented slasher originally signed with Florida, but asked out of his letter-of-intent and headed to Conference USA's premier program. Mack and Kemp could be the Tigers' backcourt of the future. The bulky Niles will be a big force around the basket.
Syracuse Orange

Paul Harris SF 6-4, 220
Mike Jones PF 6-6, 210
Devin Brennan-McBride SF 6-9, 240
Despite giving out just three scholarships, the Orange still boast one of the Big East's top classes. The group is led by Harris, who can play and defend numerous positions. Jones can make big plays on the perimeter or in the paint. Brennan-McBride is a sleeper from Canada.
Arizona Wildcats

Chase Budinger SF 6-7, 190
Jordan Hill PF 6-8, 210
Nic Wise PG 5-10, 175
Lute Olson found his next star in Budinger. An extraordinary leaper who excels in transition, Budinger owns an entertaining game. He excelled at the McDonald's All-Star game, where he earned co-MVP honors. Wise, who had a big senior season, will give the Wildcats a pass-first point guard - a role they've lacked in recent years.

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