2010 NCAA Basketball Recruiting Class: Where the Top 10 Recruits are Headed
With the McDonald's All American Game coming up on Wednesday, along with National Signing Day in a couple of weeks on April 15, recruiting talk is the big buzz around campus for those that have already been eliminated from postseason play.
High school standouts are taking their last-second visits and getting the last couple of calls from recruiters as time is running down; who can pull out the best players or the best class?
We will see April 15.
There are tons of talented athletes in this class, and with the probable NBA Lockout coming up in 2011, coaches are scrambling and recruiting their hearts out to grab the kids that could replace their top players entering the 2010 NBA Draft.
So who are the top recruits and where will they call home for at least the next year?
Here are the top 10 recruits according to Rivals.com and where they will be attending school, or the top schools on their list for those that have yet to commit.
I will break down the player and describe how he can help his team, or predict the school where he could end up for the unsigning players.
Take a look into the future of college basketball as we dissect the 2010 NCAA basketball recruiting class.
10. Reggie Bullock, Shooting Guard
STATUS: Signed with North Carolina
Like all North Carolina signees, Reggie Bullock possesses a great upside and future not only in the college game, but the NBA as well. He comes into Chapel Hill as the No. 2 ranked SG in the country.
Bullock will give Roy Williams a much-needed sharp shooter, as he is money from behind the three-point line.
Despite his potential and thrilling future, Bullock will have to get stronger and adapt to the college game. But with college strength and conditioning coaches, he should be able to get better and be a stronger all-around player.
The Tar Heels will only get younger with yet another top recruiting class coming in, but expect Reggie Bullock to step in and have an immediate impact. This kid can shoot, and I can't wait to see him playing week-in and week-out.
Don't be surprised if he shoots lights out in the McDonald's All-American Game.
9. Kyrie Irving, Point Guard
STATUS: Signed with Duke
Though he is listed as a combo guard, to me, Kyrie Irving is a pure point guard. In a class with a surplus of point guards, Irving comes in as the No. 4 ranked player at his position.
Known as a big-time player and for performing at the highest of stakes, Irving will be thrown right into the heart of the ACC, as he will be attending Duke this fall; can he be the successor to Jon Scheyer?
No doubt in my mind that he can excel in Cameron Indoor and in the ACC.
At 6'2", Irving may be the best passer of the class, and deservedly so if you've seen this talent in person. Passing seems to be a sixth sense for the guy, as he makes it look simple and prerequisite.
However, like Bullock, Kyrie Irving lacks the strength and midrange game to be a premiere player in college basketball. But with Duke's outstanding coaches and trainers, expect this to be something of the past come November.
Like I said, with the departure of senior Jon Scheyer coming, Coach K will need someone to step in his spot, whether it be starting or coming off the bench to back-up Nolan Smith. Either way, Irving could be one of the best point guards to pass through Duke when he calls his career quits.
Watch out for this explosive, street-style kid come Wednesday night.
8. Jelan Kendrick, Small Forward
STATUS: Signed with Memphis
This Marietta, Georgia native is the jewel of Memphis coach Josh Pastner's first recruiting class, which looks to have a good future at this point I might add.
Jelan Kendrick is a long and lanky wing player that has the ability to play multiple positions, but after looking at his skills, he lands in at a small forward.
At 6'6" and 185, Kendrick has a great shooting guard body, but as he grows and matures into his body, he will see more time at the three; However, if he is lined up as a shooting guard, he will create matchup problems for most teams that Memphis will go toe-to-toe with, especially in Conference USA.
Like Kyrie Irving, Kendrick puts passion in his ability to pass, as his play shows. He may not be as great a passer as Irving, but he isn't that far behind.
Unlike most players capable of playing multiple positions on the perimeter, Kendrick lacks some ballhandling skills that could be vital to his performance in Memphis. However, with consistent work in the gym, this could be simply fixed.
This kid will just keep getting better as he continues to work. If he wants to be one of the best, he has the ability to do so.
Jelan Kendrick is definitely a player to watch in the 2010-11 season.
7. Cory Joseph, Point Guard
STATUS: Undecided. Top Schools: UConn, UNLV, Minnesota, Texas, Villanova.
Cory Joseph is one of the three top-10 recruits yet to decide where he will be playing next season, but within the next two weeks, we will know.
Joseph is one of the best true, pure point guards in this class, as you can see with his leadership abilities and ball sharing talents. Because of that, he could make the biggest impact of all these ten players.
We I like about Joseph the most is his defensive presence; unlike most players his age, Joseph is still a student of the game, especially on the defensive end of the floor, where he has become one of the elite defenders at the high school level.
While he is a potent shooter as well, Joseph will have to work on his finishing abilities in the lane if he wants to succeed at this level; this isn't the easiest weakness to overcome, so it could take some work.
So, where will the Nevada native end up?
Naturally, it is uncommon to see a top freshman guard head to a team with another top guard that will be a sophomore, but in Cory Joseph's case with Texas, it's different.
Avery Bradley and Joseph were teammates just a year ago at Findlay Prep, so Bradley could sway his longtime bud to come to Austin for his college career.
It looks as if he is losing interest in Minnesota, as Tubby Smith talks have been circulating the game of college basketball.
Don't count out home state team UNLV either.
Ultimately, I see him following in the footsteps of Bradley and going to Texas, whether Bradley goes to the NBA or not.
6. Perry Jones, Power Forward
STATUS: Signed with Baylor
In a very impressive recruiting class put together by Scott Drew, Duncanville, Texas star Perry Jones heads his great class. At 6'10", Jones adds just another athletic body to Drew's arsenal of athletes at Baylor.
Jones doesn't really have the stats to accompany his offensive ability, but with time, it should come. Foul trouble plagued him during his senior season, but look for that to change as he will not be the only threat at Baylor.
Defense seems to be his vocal point, as gametape reveals numerous amounts of blocked shots, which lead to easy layups or thundering dunks on the other end of the floor.
Like many other Bears, Jones will specialize in defense and will run on emotional high throughout the game. There's no doubt that this young man can change the tempo and advantage of a game.
He may not be the biggest impact player in this class, but given time, Perry Jones could be one of the best players in the country.
5. Tobias Harris, Power Forward
STATUS: Signed with Tennessee
Tobias Harris defines hard work ethic, and his game and body shows. As the top-ranked power forward in the country, he gives the Vols just another versatile athlete to play with.
As possibly the best rebounder of this class, Harris will be known as a four, but he has some versatility and could possibly play out on the perimeter for a limited amount of time, or even go to the five if playing against a smaller team.
As his high school game improved and his body matured, Harris developed a nice shot that could prove to be the difference between he and his defenders come next season. He has the great size, and with the ability to shoot the ball, he will only become more and more effective.
Due to the defensive degree in the college game, Harris will have to create secondary and counter moves to deceive post defenders if his primary moves fail the first time. With some practice and hard work (which should be nothing for him), Tobias Harris should be able to develop more moves to improve his skill level.
Harris won't have a DeMarcus Cousins-like impact as a post player, but he will pay dividends for Bruce Pearl as the season rolls around.
4. Josh Selby, Point Guard
STATUS: Undecided. Top Schools: Kansas, Kentucky, UConn, Tennessee, Arizona.
In my opinion, this kid could emerge as the best player ever to originate from this class. Yes, that guy is Josh Selby.
Selby is a combo guard that can score at will, as he showed us at DeMatha High School in his senior season. As a big-time scorer, Selby is one of the most dynamic playmakers in this class, if not the most dynamic.
Like all high school player nowadays, Selby has a weak midrange game, but what player doesn't? Since the installment of the three-point line, it's been layups or three's. The midrange game has become a thing of the past for most players, but with some work, Josh Selby could improve his game in all aspects.
From what I've heard, the race for Selby is between Kentucky and Kansas, both neck and neck at this point.
Ultimately, with Bill Self being the lead recruiter from Kansas on Selby, I believe he is a Jayhawks come next season. However, Coach Calipari has been known to coach great point guards, so that could easily sway his decision.
Whoever gets this player is getting a great player, and who I think has the chance to be the best player of this class.
3. Jared Sullinger, Center
STATUS: Signed with Ohio State
Jared Sullinger is by far one of the biggest players in the 2010 class. At 6'9", he is at average height, but his weight is unbelievable at sub-260 pounds.
And despite his size, "Big Sully" has the ability to move around and create for himself. Sullinger has great vision and has the ability to kick it out of the post for shooters on the perimeter.
The thing that will hurt him is his lack of athleticism, especially playing in the Big Ten. He doesn't have the foot speed that other post players might, but he will try to use his size to make up for such deficits.
An important thing about Sullinger is that he comes from a basketball family and he knows how to win; his father coached his high school team, as they have won an Ohio state championship.
Sullinger heads a great group of Buckeyes that Thad Matta is bringing in next season, all of whom could make an impact.
Expect Jared Sullinger to be named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year come this time next season.
2. Harrison Barnes, Small Forward
STATUS: Signed with North Carolina
After being the No. 2 ranked prospect in all the country, Harrison Barnes has received most of the attention from high school scouts and fans, especially after announcing he would attend North Carolina earlier in the year.
And deservedly so. Barnes could be one of the top freshman next year, and no one expects less from this highly-touted and talented player.
Barnes is by far the smartest player in this class; just check his grades, along with his basketball IQ. No other player even comes close to this young man. Just something else that attracted coaches to him, most notably Roy Williams.
With his tremendous length and height, Barnes should succeed at the next level, especially being on the perimeter. He also owns a great perimeter shot that seems to keep improving each time he enters the gym.
Elite is one word that describes this kid, referring to his versatility and overall play. Like Sullinger, this kid is a winner, as he won a high school championship as well.
Tar Heel fans have been excited over the arrival of Barnes ever since there wretched downfall this year; for them, the 2010-11 season cannot come soon enough, and I'm sure young Harrison Barnes is just like them.
Barnes has the ability to come away with the Freshman of the Year Award not only in the ACC, but the game of college basketball as well.
Here's just another great player to add to Roy Williams's youth in Chapel Hill.
1. Brandon Knight, Point Guard
STATUS: Undecided; Top Schools: Kansas, Kentucky, Syracuse, UConn, and Florida.
The two-time reigning Gatorade National Player Player of the Year and top recruit Brandon Knight is still undecided where he will be going to school in the near future.
However, he won't be unsigned for long.
Knight, out of Pine Crest High School in Florida has been on the national scene for years and now, fans have a chance to see this outstanding talent showcase his arsenal of skills and talent.
Being arguably the best impact player in this class, Knight has the ability to do many things with the basketball in his hands.
The no. 1 ranked point guard has the ability to create for himself, ultimately leading to baskets for him, as well as his teammates as more and more defenders draw closer to him as he scores at his own will.
Despite his excellent offensive skills, Knight lacks the passing skills that other point guards in this class dictate, such as Cory Joseph and Josh Selby. Along with that, he lacks the true point guard status like the two guys mentioned.
But I'm sure top-notch coaches will accept the lack of passing skills if they can get the scoring that Brandon Knight possesses.
So, where will he end up next fall?
With a great Gator recruiting class already, and Knight being from Florida, Billy Donovan would love to add yet another perennial talent to his roster.
Unfortunately for him and other Gator fans, I don't see them getting any Brandon Knight. While he is from Florida, Donovan is loaded with point guards already, and I doubt Knight will want to have to split time with other players.
Ultimately, I think it will come down to Kansas and Kentucky in this recruiting race.
As Signing Day closes in, expect both Calipari and Self to be recruiting harder and harder on this rare talent.
When it comes down to it, whichever point guard commits first (Selby or Knight), the other will be heading in the opposite direction.
Brandon Knight can make those Gatorade National Player of the Year awards translate easily into NCAA Basketball Freshman of the Year. Knight indeed will help any team he decides to go to.
Definitely watch for this kid come November.