It applies for head coaches and assistant coaches across the country at all levels of college basketball.
They need to be ready for anything, and it doesn’t hurt recruits to take the same stance (as we continue to see them do).
As conference play begins and the calendar turns into a new year, one recruiting question begins to pick up steam among college coaches – who’s left?
It’s been a continuing trend in recent years and now more than a few of the top players from this year’s senior class have opted to wait to sign, planning to ink during the spring signing period (April 14) rather than the traditional done November fall period.
Cory Joseph, Findlay Prep
Photo by Lonnie Webb
The 2009 class had All-Americans who waited even past the start of the late period. John Wall (Word of God/Raleigh, N.C./University of Kentucky), Lance Stephenson (Lincoln/Brooklyn, N.Y./University of Cincinnati) and DeMarcus Cousins (LeFlore/Mobile, Ala./University of Kentucky) to name a few impact freshmen in college basketball.
Some will opt to give verbal commitments in the months leading up to the spring signing period, making sure they lock up their spot before another top prospect does. Oak Hill Academy teammates Pe’Shon Howard and Roscoe Smith did just that by pledging to Maryland and Connecticut, respectively, in recent weeks.
A number of factors influence how things play out in the spring;
As a prospect, minutes are always in mind. Style of play, depth and transfers or early entries for the NBA Draft are all on the checklist. The same schools appear on multiple players’ lists – most commonly Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas and Kentucky all battling each other for the same players, and it’s for these reasons.
2. Hot seat
College coaches will be on the move once their seasons end. Players that signed in the fall can find themselves heading to play for a new coach. It happens every year and with it comes a recruiting scramble for the new coaching staff to potentially add a player going through the process again and looking for a new school.
3. Early graduates
It’s more common and practically second nature in football recruiting circles, but this is the wild card being rumored to be picking up steam with some underclassmen.
Student-athletes are taking extra classes during the summer entering their senior year or before in order to enroll in college mid-year. In hoops, it’s been seen only in spot instances recently.
In 2007, Bill Walker finished up at North College Hill (Cincinnati, Ohio) in the fall of 2006 and joined Kansas State for their games over the holiday break. He was originally slated to join the team nine months later in the fall of 2007.
Hollis Thompson enrolled at Georgetown for the 2009 spring semester after finishing his coursework at Loyola (Los Angeles, Calif.). He too was scheduled to enter later that fall.
Andre Dawkins, originally considered a 2010 prospect, joined Duke an entire year early. Once the travel circuit season ended in July following his junior year at Atlantic Shores Christian (Chesapeake, Va.), he was on his way to Durham and admitted to the university for this fall.
Class of 2010 Available Prospects
Brandon Knight, Pine Crest (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) – Considering Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Miami
The national Gatorade Player of Year as a junior, Knight has led Pine Crest to back-to-back state titles and started since eighth grade. He has the Panthers off to a 12-2 start. As a rising junior, Knight led Team Breakdown to the AAU National Championship and Reebok Summer Championship playing alongside Kenny Boynton. This past summer, he was named an All-Star at the NBA Players Association Top 100 Camp, attended the Nike LeBron James Skills Academy and was a member of the adidas Nations program. He entered his senior season having come off an ankle injury during summer play while teaming alongside top junior Austin Rivers for Each One Teach One Elite.
Cory Joseph, Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) – Connecticut, Minnesota, UNLV, Texas, Villanova
Spending his second season at Findlay Prep after winning a high school national championship tournament alongside Avery Bradley (current freshman at University of Texas), the Canadian native played for his homeland’s Under-19 team during this past summer’s FIBA event in New Zealand. He also traveled to France as a part of the 2K Sports All-American team and attended the NBA Players Association Top 100 Camp, along with playing in the Elite 24 Classic. Joseph’s brother Devoe plays at Minnesota and running mate at both Findlay and on the Canadian U-19 team Tristan Thompson signed with Texas.
Ray McCallum, Detroit County Day (Beverly Hills, Mich.) – Arizona, Detroit Mercy, Florida, UCLA
Scored 34 points in big early-season win against Indiana state champion Bishop Luers. Led Team Detroit to Reebok Summer Championships this past July. Also traveled to France as part of 2KSports All-American team, attended NBA Players Association Top 100 camp and Nike LeBron James Skills Academy. Father is head coach at Detroit Mercy.
Best of the rest lead guards
Jamie Adams, Hales Franciscan (Chicago, Ill.) – Increasing his profile this season and following in footsteps of younger brother Jerome Randle (University of California).
Bryon Allen, St. Thomas More (Oakdale, Conn.) – One-time West Virginia commit thriving during senior year in prep school ranks after two years at Oak Hill Academy.
Deonte Burton, Centennial (Compton, Calif.) – After sitting out junior year, earned MVP honors at Westchester’s early-season invitational while posting big numbers against top California competition.
LaBradford Franklin, Great Oak (Temecula, Calif.) – Late bloomer transferred for senior season.
Fabyon Harris (Hyde Park/Chicago, Ill.) – Continues to wreak havoc after summer of leading Illinois Warriors to multiple tournament championships playing in backcourt alongside Oregon State signee Ahmad Starks of Chicago Whitney Young.
Jordair Jett, Notre Dame Prep (Fitchburg, Mass.) – Led St. Bernard’s to first Minnesota state title game as a senior and now doing a post-graduate year in New England prep school ranks.
Jordin Mayes, Westchester (Los Angeles, Calif.) – Transitioning to being full-time point guard for traditional power Westchester.
K.C. Ross Miller, God’s Academy (Dallas, Texas) – One-time Kentucky commit to old staff continues to post big numbers after being on the radar since freshman year.
Daryl Traynham, Lee Academy (Lee, Maine) – Sub-six-foot defensive stopper is a Maryland native spending year up north alongside summer teammate Max Esho (Massachusetts signee).
Josh Selby, Lake Clifton (Baltimore, Md.) – Arizona, Connecticut, Kansas, Kentucky, Syracuse
Leading scorer at June’s NBA Players Association Top 100 camp and Co-MVP of August’s Elite 24 Classic. Member of 2KSports All-American team that traveled to France in spring. Also attended Nike LeBron James Skills Academy. One-time Tennessee commit previously attended DeMatha before transferring during junior season to defending state champion Lake Clifton.
Doron Lamb, Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) – Arizona, Connecticut, Kansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, West Virginia
Native of Queens, N.Y., is one of few Oak Hill players to spend multiple years at school. Ended summer being named co-MVP of Elite 24 Classic in hometown New York City. Also attended NBA Players Association Top 100 Camp and Nike LeBron James Skills Academy. List could grow as more schools continue to inquire about getting involved with prolific scorer.
Trey Zeigler, Mount Pleasant (Mich.) – Arizona, Arizona State, Central Michigan, Duke, Michigan, Michigan State, Providence, UCLA
First-team all-stater as a junior helped lead Team Detroit to Reebok Summer Championship alongside McCallum. Attended NBA Players Association Top 100 Camp and Nike LeBron James Skills Academy. Father Ernie coaches Central Michigan and previously an assistant at UCLA.
Best of the rest perimeter scorers
Aaron Bowen, Quality Education Academy (Raleigh, N.C.) – One-time Marquette commit transferred from Wolfson in Jacksonville, Fla.
Justin Coleman, Huntington Prep (Huntington, W.Va.) – Stock rose with play at NBA Players Association Top 100 camp.
Ge-Lawn Guyn, Scott County (Georgetown, Ky.) – One-time Charlotte commitment.
Jelani Hewitt, Northeast (Oakland Park, Fla.) – Posted big numbers at May’s Tournament of Champions and named All-Star at July’s Reebok All-American Camp.
Stephen Madison, Jefferson (Portland, Ore.) – Transfer from Vancouver, Wash., impressing in move after success in I-5 Elite's title run at Star Vision Classic during end of summer finale in Las Vegas.
Todd Mayo, Germantown (Germantown, Tenn.) – Scoring at high level in early season while brother O.J. is nearby playing with NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies.
James Stukes, Winchendon School (Winchendon, Mass.) – Do-everything player spending prep year in New England after run with New York state champion Rice.
Isaiah Sykes, Finney (Detroit, Mich.) – Lefty looking to settle in after becoming eligible mid-season as a junior. Named an All-Star at summer’s Reebok All-American camp.
Kendall Williams, Los Osos (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) – One-time UCLA commit playing out season before making a new decision.
Terrence Jones, Jefferson
Photo by Juliann Tallino
C.J. Leslie, Word of God (Raleigh, N.C.) – Arizona State, Connecticut, Florida, Florida International, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, North Carolina State
State runner-up as a junior alongside 2009 All-American and Kentucky freshman phenom John Wall. Co-MVP of August’s Elite 24 Classic. Attended NBA Players Association Top 100 Camp and Nike LeBron James Skills Academy. Inside-out presence is a one-time North Carolina State commit as an underclassman.
Terrence Jones, Jefferson (Portland, Ore.) - Kentucky, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, UCLA, Washington, West Virginia
Returning state player of the year leads team in three-peat effort this senior season. Attended NBA Players Association Top 100 Camp and Nike LeBron James Skills Academy. Selected for August’s Elite 24 Classic. Combo-forward led Portland Legends to Star Vision Classic championship at summer finale in Las Vegas.
Terrance Ross, Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.) – Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland
Teamed with Terrence Jones at Jefferson as a sophomore before transferring to Montrose Christian for junior and senior years. Played in August’s Elite 24 Classic after taking summer off from travel circuit. Swingman is a one-time Maryland commit opened up recruitment after not signing in fall period.
Best of the rest forwards/centers
Jonathan Graham, Calvert Hall (Baltimore, Md.) – Four-year starter attended NBA Players Top 100 camp.
Jon Horford, Grand Ledge (Grand Ledge, Mich.) - Brother Al played at University of Florida and now with NBA’s Atlanta Hawks.
Kadeem Jack, Rice (Harlem, N.Y.) – Returning inside presence for defending New York state champs.
Brice Kofane, Miller School (Charlottesville, Va.) – Led Nike’s July event of top teams The Peach Jam in blocked shots, leading to final four run alongside senior All-American candidate Tobias Harris.
Josh Langford, Lee (Huntsville, Ala.) – Transferred from rival J.O. Johnson and is a one-time Louisville commitment.
Tashawn Mabry, Rocky Mount (Rocky Mount, N.C.) – Undersized bruiser is one of more active players and athletic dunkers in class.
Majok Majok, Northfield Mount Hermon (Mount Hermon, Mass.) – Big man posting 20-rebound games of late; cousin Ater plays for Connecticut.
Godwin Okonji, Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) – College-ready body for physical, long shot-blocker and rebounder of one of nation’s top school teams.
Tyler Olander, E.O. Smith (Storrs, Conn.) – Mobile big man selected for All-Star Game at summer’s Reebok All-American Camp.
Dwayne Polee, Westchester (Los Angeles, Calif.) – Swingman is far and away the top leaper in his class, the one-time USC commit opened up his recruitment just prior to senior season. Father Dwayne Sr. is on USC staff.
Gorgui Sy Dieng, Huntington Prep (Huntington, W.Va.) – Six-foot-ten shot-blocker is new to United States from Senegal.
Mo Walker, Brewster Academy (Wolfeboro, N.H.) – Near seven-foot true post presence from Canada is spending year in prep school ranks.
Julian Washburn, Duncanville (Texas) – Insider transferred from Duncanville to St. Patrick’s of Elizabeth, N.J., for start of school year but has since headed back to original school. Father Chris played at North Carolina State.