College basketball's early signing period begins Wednesday, allowing prospects to put pen to paper and officially end their recruitment.
For a rundown on where MaxPreps.com's Top 100 seniors are headed, visit our basketball recruiting page. Read on for the CliffsNotes breakdown of the important storylines.
The early signing period ends Nov. 17. The spring signing period begins April 13, 2011 and comes to a close May 18, 2011.
1. Which school has the best recruiting class?
Barring some major shake-ups, Kentucky is headed for a three-peat. John Calipari's magic on the recruiting trail continues with four of the top 19 seniors in America headed to Lexington.
The Wildcat quartet includes the nation's top-rated prospect, 6-foot-7 forward Michael Gilchrist of St. Patrick (Elizabeth, N.J.). Fast-rising Chicago product Anthony Davis of Perspectives (Chicago, Ill.), point guard Marquis Teague of Pike (Indianapolis, Ind.) and Kyle Wiltjer of Jesuit (Portland, Ore.) round out the all-star cast.
Kentucky is also in the hunt for guard Trevor Lacey of Butler (Huntsville, Ala.), but that will likely have to wait until the spring. Lacey is the No. 22-rated prospect by MaxPreps.
2. Which school has assembled the most surprising recruiting class?
Staying in the SEC, Arkansas checked in at No. 3 when we last reviewed the Top 25 recruiting classes Oct. 6 (MaxPreps will publish and updated version Thursday).
Coming off back-to-back losing seasons, Razorback head coach John Pelphrey has secured the services of five Top 100 seniors, including the guard duo of Rashad Madden (No. 43) and B.J. Young (No. 49). In-state forwards Hunter Mickelson (No. 55) and Aaron Ross (No. 90) along with Dallas standout Devonta Abron (No. 83) complete the potentially program-changing group.
Just 9-23 in Southeastern Conference play over the past two years and picked to finish fourth in the Western Division this season, Razorback fans may have to endure another frustrating campaign before things get better.
3. Is Duke primed for another run of Final Fours like 1986-1994?
Not so fast. The Cameron Crazies should be geeked about Mike Krzyzewski's latest class headlined by the nation's No. 2 overall prospect, Austin Rivers. But the loss of Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith after this season combined with the possibility of Rivers being a one-and-done leaves the Blue Devils replacing a lot of stars over the next couple of years.
Duke is also expected to sign Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) point guard Quinn Cook, Benedictine (Richmond, Va.) wing Michael Gbinije and Christ School (Arden, N.C.) forward/center Marshall Plumlee. The latter will be joining brothers Miles and Mason on the Blue Devil roster in 2011-12, making the dream scenario of three Plumlees on the court at once possible.
Duke reached seven Final Fours in the nine seasons between 1986 and 1994 with two NCAA titles and five championship game appearances. Repeating that type of success in today's college basketball landscape is highly unlikely, even for Coach K.
4. Can Baylor become a college basketball superpower?
Expectations are high in Waco (fourth in Big 12 preseason poll) after reaching the regional finals of the NCAA Tournament a year ago. Head coach Scott Drew's work on the recruiting trail has Bear fans dreaming even bigger down the road.
Baylor's 2011 recruiting class isn't big, but it's extremely significant. Drew convinced high school teammates Quincy Miller and Deuce Bello of Westchester Country Day (High Point, N.C.) to bring their game to Waco.
Miller, a versatile 6-9 forward, is No. 4 in MaxPreps.com's 2011 Top 100 and has consistently been in the conversation for the top spot in the class over the past two years. Bello (No. 45) is a 6-4 combo guard widely regarded as one of the most athletically gifted players in America.
Then there is 2012 commitment Isaiah Austin, a 7-footer from Grace Prep (Arlington, Texas) with enough skill to do serious damage on the perimeter. He is currently rated the No. 2 prospect in the class.
Not bad for a program that was embroiled in one of the ugliest messes in collegiate sports history just seven years ago.
5. Who will be this year's Terrence Jones?
To qualify as this year's Terrence Jones, a prospect would have to drag out the process until the spring, call a press conference, play the hat game, pick a school, change his mind 15 minutes later and start the process all over again.
Refreshingly, nobody seems interested.
The 2011 class is almost completely drama-free. The top 16 players – and 44 of the top 50 – in MaxPreps.com's Top 100 are committed and expected to sign.
The top available senior is Amir Williams of Detroit Country Day (Beverly Hills, Mich.), a 6-foot-10 forward/center rated No. 17. He has a long list of pursuers and hasn't offered many hints as to where he may be headed.
California native De'Andre Daniels, prepping at IMG Academies in Bradenton, Fla., and Lacey are the other top 25 prospects still on the board.