On Wednesday, we shared this look at the nation’s top 10 basketball recruiting classes for 2014 at the beginning of the early signing period.
Top-10 prospects set to announce Friday include Stanley Johnson, Cliff Alexander, Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor
Today, we will examine the top 25 prospects for 2014 off of our national top 247 list. Sixteen of these prospects had made verbal commitments prior to the start of the signing period.
It has been widely reported that four of the nation’s top 10 prospects could make college announcements on Friday. That group includes California shooting guard Stanley Johnson, Illinois power forward Cliff Alexander, Minnesota point guard Tyus Jones and Illinois center Jahlil Okafor.
Those four are all due to announce during a special on ESPNU at 4 p.m. Eastern time Friday.
Jones and Okafor have long talked about signing as a package deal. Their top two choices seem to Duke and Kansas. Johnson seemed to be considering Arizona and Kentucky, while Alexander was looking hard at instate Illinois as well as Memphis, DePaul and Kansas. Obviously, the decisions of these top-10 prospects will have an impact on the team recruiting rankings, which will not be finalized until after the late signing period in April.
“The consensus thought is that Okafor and Jones will go to the same school,” said Jerry Meyer, the national basketball recruiting editor for 247Sports.com. “They have talked about being a package deal and it looks like it will hold up. It’s either Kansas or Duke. Right now, the Crystal Ball is in favor of Duke for both of them. I think Kansas made a great run for them.
“For Cliff Alexander, Kansas has been the perceived leader over the long haul. But he visited Illinois and there were some favorable comments from him and others about the Illinois. Most have seen it as neck-and-neck between those two. But DePaul is also a viable player if Cliff decides he wants to stay close to home.”
Meyer said it is rare that so many top prospects will have signed in the early period.
“The past five years or so, everyone says there will be a trend of more guys waiting for the spring,” Meyer said. “Some have said that top players won’t even sign letters-of-intent, they would just sign scholarship papers when they enroll (in the summer).
“We keep saying that and some do wait for the spring. But we have not seen that trend take off. I am a little surprised at so many early signees. I think the number one reason for guys to sign in November is they want to get it over with. These guys get recruited at such an early stage and it is so intensive and exhausting that they want to get it over with.”
Below, we list the 16 national top-25 prospects who had made commitments prior to the signing period. Then, we have thumbnails on the nine national top-25 prospects who were uncommitted at the start of the signing period.
Top 25 Early Commits
Here is a look at the 16 national top-25 prospects who had made verbal commitments prior to the start of the signing period on Wednesday:
1. Emmanuel Mudiay, PG, 6-5, Prime Prep Academy (Dallas), committed to SMU
4. Kelly Oubre, SG, 6-7, Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.), committed to Kansas
8. Kevon Looney, PF, 6-9, Hamilton (Milwaukee), committed to UCLA
10. Karl Towns Jr., C, 7-1, Saint Joseph (Metuchen, N.J.), committed to Kentucky
11. Daniel Hamilton, SG, 6-8, St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.), committed to Connecticut
12. Justin Jackson, SF, 6-8, Homeschool Christian Y.A. (Spring, TX), committed to North Carolina
14. Shaqquan Aaron, SG, 6-8, Rainier Beach (Seattle), committed to Louisville
15. Goodluck Okonoboh, C, 6-9, Wilbraham & Monson Academy (Wilbraham, Mass.), committed to UNLV
16. Chris McCullough, PF, 6-9, Brewster Academy (Wolfeboro, N.H.), committed to Syracuse
17. Trey Lyles, PF, 6-9, Arsenal Technical (Indianapolis), committed to Kentucky
18. Joel Berry, PG, 6-0, Lake Highland Prep (Orlando, Fla.), committed to North Carolina
19. Brandone Francis, SG, 6-5, Arlington Country Day School (Jacksonville, Fla.), committed to Florida
20. Isaiah Whitehead, SG, 6-4, Abraham Lincoln (Brooklyn, N.Y.), committed to Seton Hall
21. Terry Larrier, SF, 6-7, The Phelps School (Malvern, Pa.), committed to VCU
22. Theo Pinson, SF, 6-6, Wesleyan Christian (High Point, N.C.), committed to North Carolina
23. Dwayne Morgan, SF, 6-8, St. Frances Academy (Baltimore), committed to UNLV
Top 25 Uncommitted Prospects
Here is a look at where things stand with the nine uncommitted top-25 prospects, including comments from 247Sports.com’s Jerry Meyer on each prospect:
* Vital Statistics – 6-7 shooting guard, Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei
* The Skinny – Johnson is the nation’s No. 1 shooting guard as well as the top prospect in California for 2014. He has been a fixture in the Team USA developmental program. He made visits to Kentucky, Arizona and USC.
* 247Sports.com Crystal Ball Prediction – Arizona (85 percent) leads Kentucky (15 percent).
* Jerry Meyer Comment – “He’s just a bull on the court. He is physically strong and just punishes defenders. He attacks the body of the defense. I would hate to have to guard Stanley Johnson. He plays so physical and he is always attacking, but then he also has a very good touch. He is a very good shooter and he does a good job of passing the ball. He can defend and rebound. He has a great overall game.”
* Vital Statistics – 6-9 power forward, Chicago Curie Metropolitan
* The Skinny – Alexander is the nation’s top power forward prospect and the No. 1 prospect in Illinois for 2014. He made visits to DePaul, Arizona, Illinois, Kansas and Memphis.
* 247Sports.com Crystal Ball Prediction – Illinois (53 percent) is favored over Kansas (43 percent) and DePaul (4 percent).
* Meyer Comment – “Of all the big guys in this class, he has the most athleticism and the best motor. Unless a big guy is a really good outside shooter or has some other type of niche speciality, it’s that athleticism and motor that matters. He is a great rebounder and shot blocker. He is great in transition. He is good in the pick-and-roll. He needs to improve his shooting range. That’s the big thing.”
5. Tyus Jones
* Vital Statistics – 6-2 point guard, St. Paul (Minn.) Apple Valley
* The Skinny – Jones is the nation’s No. 2-ranked point guard and top prospect in Minnesota. He is a two-time state player of the year at Apple Valley. He made visits to Duke, Kansas and Baylor.
* 247Sports.com Crystal Ball Prediction – Duke (93 percent) has a commanding lead over Kansas (7 percent).
* Meyer Comment – “Very few point guards bring as high a basketball IQ to the game as Tyus Jones does. He has great basketball instincts. He has unbelievable vision. He is a Steve Nash-type player. He shoots the ball well and sees the entire court. He is crafty with his moves. He’s a guy you expect to get double-digit assists every time he walks on to the court.”
* Vital Statistics – 6-10 center, Chicago Whitney Young
* The Skinny – Okafor is rated as the nation’s No. 1 center prospect and No. 2 prospect overall in Illinois for 2014. He has also been a fixture in the Team USA program. He made visits to Duke, Kansas, Arizona, Baylor and Kentucky.
* 247Sports.com Crystal Ball Prediction – Duke (91 percent) has the nod over Kansas (7 percent).
* Meyer Comment – “The appeal for Okafor isn’t so much his upside, but sort of more what he is now. He is a mountain of a man at 6-10 and 270 pounds and he has skill. He knows how to play the game. He is comfortable with the ball in his hands. He is not an overwhelming athlete. He’s not a rebounder like a Cliff Alexander is. But when he and Cliff played together (in AAU ball), Jahlil was great at the high post. He is a great passer. One of the best things he does on a basketball court is pass.”
7. Myles Turner
* Vital Statistics – 6-10 center, Euless (Texas) Trinity
* The Skinny – Turner is rated as the nation’s No. 2 center and the No. 2 prospect in Texas overall for 2014. He averaged 16 points, 12 rebounds and seven blocked shots as a junior at Trinity. He has made visits to Texas and Ohio State and is also considering Kansas, Oklahoma State, SMU and others.
* 247Sports.com Crystal Ball Prediction – Kansas (70 percent) leads Oklahoma State (23 percent) and SMU (3 percent).
* Meyer Comment – “You immediately think of shot blocking with Turner. He has great instincts. He is a quick jumper and is one of the top shot blockers in the class. He is also a good shooter. He can hit the three ball as well as any big man in the class. He has unique assets in that regard. The key for him will be building up his body. He is a very thin player, but his shooting ability and skill with the ball is top-notch.”
* Vital Statistics – 6-5 shooting guard, Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep
* The Skinny – Vaughn is the nation’s No. 3 shooting guard and No. 2 prospect in Nevada for 2014. He is originally from Minneapolis, Minn. He has visited Baylor and has trips upcoming to UNLV, Iowa State and possibly others.
* 247Sports.com Crystal Ball Prediction – Iowa State (44 percent) leads over UNLV (36 percent), North Carolina (13 percent), Minnesota (5 percent) and Kentucky (3 percent).
* Meyer Comment – “He is just a great shooting guard prospect. He is great off the dribble and loves to go left – although he is a righty – and attack the basket. He is a very good finisher. He is a prototypical NBA-type shooting guard. He’s 6-5 and scores at all levels. He will score points in college and the NBA.”
13. Justise Winslow
* Vital Statistics – 6-6 small forward, Houston St. John’s
* The Skinny – Winslow is the nation’s No. 2 small forward and No. 4 prospect overall in Texas for 2014. He has made visits to Duke, UCLA, Florida and Texas A&M.
* 247Sports.com Crystal Ball Prediction – Duke (68 percent) leads Arizona (29 percent) and UCLA (3 percent).
* Meyer Comment – “Strength and versatility are what come to mind with Winslow. He is a beast on the court. He has that Stanley Johnson-type strength. He is not a prolific scorer as Stanley Johnson. But Winslow is just a great all around player. At times, he even played point guard for his AAU team. He rebounds well, passes the ball well and he can play a ton of positions from a ballhandler to a power forward.”
24. Jonah Bolden
* Vital Statistics – 6-9 small forward, Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep
* The Skinny – Bolden is the nation’s No. 6 small forward and No. 2 prospect in Nevada. He is originally from Australia.
* 247Sports.com Crystal Ball Prediction – UCLA (57 percent) leads Michigan (29 percent) and Arizona (14 percent).
* Meyer Comment – “He is sort of the mystery man. He just came to the U.S. from Australia. I caught him at the end of the summer at the adidas Nations and just loved his game. He has great length for a wing player. He is very athletic. He is on the slender side, but he is very skilled. There is not much he can’t do on the court. I could see his ranking going higher.”
25. Jaquan Lyle
* Vital Statistics – 6-5 shooting guard, Huntington (W.Va.) Prep
* The Skinny – Lyle is the No. 8 shooting guard prospect and No. 2 prospect in West Virginia for 2014. He is originally from Evansville, Ind. He has visited Connecticut and Arizona and may also visit Indiana, Kansas and Memphis.
* 247Sports.com Crystal Ball Prediction – Indiana (73 percent) leads Louisville (11 percent), Memphis (11 percent) and Kansas (5 percent).
* Meyer Comment – “Lyle is a big guard who could play the point at 6-5. He is a strong guy. He is up around 220 pounds. He sees the court as a passer and is a great rebounder as a guard. He gives you those qualities. He can score, but that’s not the main asset of his game. It’s more about his rebounding and his passing. His recruitment will be an interesting one. He de-committed from Louisville and a lot of people have him pegged for Indiana. But Kansas could also make a strong push for him.”
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