The start of the 2011-12 academic/athletic year triggered a significant week on the basketball recruiting trail. Action will continue through at least Thursday when No. 11 overall prospect Ricardo Ledo – a prized 6-foot-6 guard – decides between a host of attractive suitors.
Head coach Quincy Lewis of Lone Peak (Highland, Utah) saw two of his star underclassmen make verbal commitments to Brigham Young on Monday night. One of Utah's most successful high school coaches and coming off a state championship 2010-11 campaign, Lewis was glad to see his players decide.
"It's a lot," Lone Peak head coach Quincy Lewis said of the attention and pressure placed on prospects. "It's a lot for the players. It is a distraction and I think it allows them to put the focus where it needs to be – getting better."
"It's a sign of what's to come," CBSSports.com college basketball writer and recruiting analyst Jeff Borzello said. "The dominoes really started falling for the top 100 or 200, especially at the point guard position."
A floor general started the coast-to-coast commitment craze last Wednesday as Kris Dunn
of New London (Conn.)
made a bit of a surprise decision to pick Providence following a campus visit. Connecticut was also in the mix for the 6-2 rising senior point man.
"The top point guard prospects are basically gone, meaning that the second-tier and third-tier lead guards are going to start hearing from schools that weren't necessarily reaching out to them before," Borzello said.
Wednesday also saw four-star center Shaquille Cleare
(6-9, 285, No. 25 overall prospect) announce Maryland as his destination, and 7-4 Sim Bhullar
swapping a commitment to Xavier for one with New Mexico State.
Friday afternoon, Top 100 small forward Jordan Loveridge
stayed in-state with a pledge to Utah, a key addition for the Utes as they attempt to upgrade talent for Pac-12 competition.
No. 2 overall Class of 2012 prospect Andre Drummond
created a huge stir later that night when he indicated via Twitter that he was headed to UConn – and wasn't waiting another year to do it. The 6-10, 255-pound center is going through the process of enrolling immediately and joining Jim Calhoun's program as it attempts to defend the national title.
Borzello sees Drummond, who was originally a Class of 2011 prospect before re-classifying at St. Thomas More (Oakdale, Conn.)
, as a potential trend-setter.
"I think the idea of re-classified players entering college a year early could become even more popular," Borzello said.
A trio of talented forwards came off the board this week, highlighted by Brandon Ashley
(6-8, 220, No. 7 overall prospect) declaring he was Arizona-bound. The Bay Area native gave the Wildcats their third prospect ranked in the Top 30 of the MaxPreps Class of 2012 Top 100.Demetris Morant
will be exchanging one Rice for another. Morant, a bouncy 6-8 forward/center, plays at Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.)
under head coach Grant Rice. He committed to Nevada-Las Vegas, a program now guided by brother Dave Rice.
Recent IMG Academies (Bradenton, Fla.)
transfer Kamari Murphy
(6-8) – a native of New York City – joined Oklahoma State's recruiting class.
Utah POY Nick Emery
(6-1, 165, Jr.) and running mate T.J. Haws
(6-2, 165, So.) of Lewis' Lone Peak program made the call Monday night for Brigham Young, continuing family legacies in the program.
"Nick was leaning this way a little bit since the first of August," Lewis said. "I was a little bit surprised T.J. decided this quickly, but we have a pretty good situation here, Top 20 program with a similar style to what we do here, 20 minutes away. I think this was really good for both of them to get it out of the way."
Emery, who has worked out with recent Sacramento Kings draft pick Jimmer Fredette, is the brother of 2011 BYU senior Jackson Emery. Haws is the sibling of Tyler Haws, who is on a two-year religious mission after playing in Provo as a freshman in 2009-10.
Summer breakout star Dillon Graham
– a Florida pledge – highlighted a string of Tuesday commitments. Borzello reported that DeJuan Marrero
of Bowman Academy (Gary, Ind.)
was headed to DePaul and Shawn Lester
of Mooresville (N.C.)
to Charlotte. More reports indicated 7-1 Obij Aget
of La Lumiere (LaPorte, Ind.)
would join fellow A-HOPE Foundation transfer and 7-footer Chier Ajou
at New Mexico.
More big news lies ahead. Ledo, a one-time Providence commitment, is slated to announce a decision Thursday. Signs point to him joining Dunn with the Friars – potentially bringing a busy week of verbal commitments full circle.
UPDATE: Aug. 31, 8 a.m. – Ledo nixed plans to make an announcement Tuesday night, adding yet another strange twist in his relationship with Providence.