Re-Ranking the Top 20 CBB Recruiting Classes After Early Signing Period

College basketball’s early signing period for the 2015 class is in the books, and surprise, surprise, Kentucky was a big winner.

John Calipari landed two top-10 players for his 2015 class and has the Wildcats primed to take home another potential championship-winning group. Kentucky isn’t the only team in an ideal position well before national signing day, though.

With that in mind, here is a look at the top 20 recruiting classes for the 2015 cycle. These classes are strictly looked at and compared against each other in a vacuum, so current rosters were not considered part of the rankings.

Star ratings and recruit information is courtesy of 247Sports‘ composite rankings.

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College Basketball Recruiting: Biggest Winners, Losers from Early Signing Period

As college basketball teams are just getting started on playing this season, work off the court continues to get next year’s roster bolstered with future talent. But not everyone had as good a week in the recruiting department as others.

The early signing period for college hoops began November 12 and ended Wednesday, with dozens of the nation’s top players in the Class of 2015 either signing with schools or announcing their commitments for next season. These decisions made for much movement on 247Sports’ composite recruiting rankings, with schools moving up and down after each high school senior made his choice.

Who won and who lost? We take a look at the teams that had the best and worst early signing periods, detailing what went well (or didn’t).

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Early Signing Period Live: Stars choose schools

Welcome one and all to the USA Today High School Sports Fall Signing Period Live Blog.

      
 

 

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Biggest winners of early signing period (so far)

Four relatively unlikely schools have made great strides that are showing up in signings.

      
 

 

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Bold Predictions for the College Basketball Early Signing Period in 2014

The new college basketball season kicks off this Friday, Nov. 14. But for hardcore hoop heads, there’s a new season (of sorts) starting Wednesday.

It is the early signing period, and it sets the wheels in motion for the influx of new commitments for the class of 2015. Not unlike the early admission option colleges offer to all students who wish to apply early, college basketball’s early signing period—running from Wednesday through Nov. 19—allows players to make their decisions sooner rather than later. 

So who’s going to land where? Any surprises in the offing? There always are. Here are some bold predictions for the recruiting cycle, which all begins now, ready or not.

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Duke Basketball: Latest Buzz on Blue Devils’ Targets in Early Signing Period

Always a major player on the recruiting trail, Duke has already landed commitments from two top-tier players in the 2015 class. But as the official early signing period arrives Wednesday, the Blue Devils continue to pursue several other targets to add to their roster for next season.

Duke landed a commitment in August from Las Vegas power forward Chase Jeter, the No. 8 overall player in the country, and back in March, it landed No. 22 prospect Luke Kennard, a guard from Ohio. Kennard plans to sign his letter on Wednesday night, according to Clint Jackson of Rivals.com, while Jeter hasn’t indicated his signing plans.

High school and junior college players can sign between Wednesday and Nov. 19, but not all of the most notable names will do so. Others will wait for the spring signing period, which begins April 15.

Here’s a look at the other players Duke is most eager to land and what’s going on in their recruiting circles:

 

Brandon Ingram

Duke’s roster only has one current player originally from the state of North Carolina, senior guard Sean Kelly. But Kelly is a walk-on, having joined the team over the summer after serving as a manager.

The Blue Devils’ last scholarship player from the home state was Ryan Kelly, who played from 2009-2013. But that could change if they’re able to get a commitment from the state’s top prospect, 6’8″ small forward Brandon Ingram. The Kinston native, rated No. 18 in the country, has Duke as one of his final six along with fellow in-state schools North Carolina and North Carolina State as well as Kansas, Kentucky and UCLA.

So far, he’s only visited the out-of-state schools, but Blue Devil Nation tweeted last week that Ingram plans on being at Duke’s game Nov. 15 against Fairfield. According to 247Sports, Duke has a 55 percent shot of getting Ingram’s commitment.

 

Caleb Swanigan

One of the most physically imposing big men in the 2015 class, 6’8″, 265-pound power forward Caleb Swanigan is taking his time lining up official visits with a likely eye toward signing during the spring. But The 12th-best prospect has taken several unofficial visits, including this past weekend to Duke.

Though Swanigan isn’t considered a front-runner to end up in Durham—247Sports has Michigan State as an overwhelming 86 percent favorite—the fact that he was in town just recently is noteworthy, according to Jackson Korman of The (Duke) Chronicle:

Although this may not mean anything in the long term, it is interesting to note that Swanigan left East Lansing on the eve of the Ohio State game this weekend, to fly to Durham to watch Duke play an exhibition game.

This could simply be a result of Swanigan‘s busy schedule, but one would think if Swanigan was leaning heavily to Michigan State, he would stick around to see the school’s biggest football game in years. Instead, the big man paid for himself to fly to watch an exhibition game against Central Missouri. With Swanigan being an top recruit and almost ideal fit in the post alongside Jeter, this is certainly a recruitment we will follow closely and continue to update with more details.

Swanigan has also made unofficial visits to Arizona and Kentucky.

 

All recruiting info courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted.

Follow Brian J. Pedersen on Twitter at @realBJP.

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The Top 10 Storylines Ahead of College Basketball’s Early Signing Period

Imagine for a second what it must be like to be 16 or 17 years old and have Rivals, 247Sports.com, ESPN and Scout following your every move. These young men—boys, really—are prodigies, physically gifted athletes, and coaches from on high are trying to get a piece of the action.

It’s early signing time and some have committed, but others are wavering, choosing to keep their cards close to the chest. Some are considering package deals, while others are content to take their talents to an already established team.

Coaches rack up frequent flier miles by the thousands in an effort to squeeze 30 games (more if they’re lucky) out of these young talents. That’s what charges this time of year with a static electricity looking to pop on contact. 

Read on to see some of the storylines ahead of college basketball’s early signing period.

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UNC Basketball: Latest Buzz on Tar Heels’ Targets in Early Signing Period

North Carolina is set to begin its 2014-15 season on Friday, during which it will debut a trio of prized recruits who signed around this time a year ago.

We likely won’t be saying the same thing next November, because as it stands now, the Tar Heels have yet to receive a commitment for their 2015 class as the early signing period arrives Wednesday.

UNC’s coaches have been on the recruiting trail throughout the offseason keeping tabs on numerous targets, though whether the Tar Heels will get any to sign a national letter of intent during the period between Wednesday and Nov. 19 remains to be seen.

To give you an idea of whom the Heels are interested in, here’s the latest buzz on their most notable targets heading into a week of televised commitments and high-profile signings.

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The real reason elite hoopers aren’t signing early

Elite hoopers who aren’t ready to sign early say it’s not because they love the attention.

      
 

 

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Michigan State Basketball: Spartans’ Best Fits in Early 2015 Signing Period

It’ll probably take a year or two, or maybe even three, before head coach Tom Izzo realizes which one of his 2015 commits best fits his Michigan State program. 

Granted, the veteran Spartans coach knows what he’s doing, which is why he recruited (and received commitments from) Deyonta Davis, Kyle Ahrens and Matt McQuaid in the first place.

But players develop at different rates, and it’d be unfair to automatically assume that a 5-star prospect would be quicker to adapt than an unheralded 3-star would. 

According to Verbal Commits, Michigan State has one scholarship remaining for 2015. But we’ll start by analyzing the commits before covering the undecideds. 

 

Counting on Kyle

Remember the unheralded 3-star talk?

That was a direct reference to Ahrens, who has the skill set to develop into a reliable inside-outside option.

At nearly 6’6″ and 200 pounds, the Versailles High (Ohio) star knows how to pick his shot from the perimeter, but he’s also capable of throwing around size while grabbing rebounds, playing defense and setting picks. 

He’s a project player, sure. The foundation is there, and Izzo will probably spend the next two years polishing Ahrens, who could be a gem by his junior year. As of now, he’s a modestly rated shooting guard, ranked No. 44 at his position by 247Sports. 

Every class needs an Ahrens. Conveniently enough, those are the types Izzo loves. 

 

Is Deyonta the Next Adreian?

At 6’8″, 205 pounds, Davis certainly resembles a freshman Adreian Payne, a long and lanky center from Ohio who developed into one of Michigan State’s finest four-year players.

With a couple of years and a few meals, Davis should bulk up, gain strength and play in the way that made Payne a household name in Big Ten basketball. 

Fit-wise, Davis is there. He’s the No. 1-ranked prospect in Michigan, per 247Sports, and the No. 23-ranked recruit of 2015; he’s also the No. 5-ranked center, but he’ll end up as a stretch-4 at Michigan State.

Again, Izzo recruits these guys for a reason, and it’s safe to assume he saw a lot of Payne in Davis, who can handle the ball, pass, create his own shot and physically dominate on defense just like his predecessor. If Izzo follows the Payne plan, Davis will be a 15-point, 12-rebound, two-block-per-night threat for three years. 

 

Getting Matt’s Max

So far, most know McQuaid as a sharpshooter from Texas. That he is—but there’s more. He can knock down shots from just about anywhere, but he’s also capable of taking the baseline all the way to the rim.

The 6’5″, 175-pounder is deceptively aggressive and powerful. According to 247Sports, he’s the No. 19-ranked shooting guard of 2015. 

I’ve mentioned this in the past, but I’ll do it again to make a point: Think of what Nik Stauskas did at Michigan. The former Wolverines marksman needed just two years to morph into an NBA first-round draft pick. He went from stroking three-pointers to dunking on guys. 

I’m not saying McQuaid will be NBA-ready in two years, but I am saying he’s cut from a similar mold as Stauskas, who went through one of the most impressive freshman-to-sophomore transitions in recent memory. 

 

On the Radar

Carlton Bragg is more of a wish-lister, but he’s still worth discussing.

Should he accept Izzo’s offer, he’d add 6’8″ and 205 pounds of power to Michigan State’s frontcourt. The Cleveland-area star is the No. 16-ranked prospect of 2015, per 247Sports, which says he has “cool” interest in Izzo’s team. 

But his upside is obvious. You’ll see that after watching the above highlight footage. 

Also highly unlikely to choose Michigan State, Caleb Swanigan, according to 247Sports, has “warmer” interest when it comes to joining Izzo’s upcoming class. However, I’ve had several lengthy conversations with Spartan Mag’s Paul Konyndyk regarding Swanigan, so I’m going with his information. 

That said, don’t hold your breath—because the 6’8″, 265-pound star from Fort Wayne (Indiana) Homestead probably won’t be heading for East Lansing.

But he’d fit well. Really well, actually. 

He’d help re-establish a physical presence and attitude that’s been absent since the days of Derrick Nix while giving the Spartans a surefire option in the paint, on the glass and above the rim.

As the No. 12-ranked prospect of 2015 and No. 3-ranked center, Swanigan would be worth every piece of Izzo’s remaining scholarship. 

 

Follow Bleacher Report’s Michigan State Spartans basketball writer Adam Biggers on Twitter: @AdamBiggers81

Who is the best fit? Is he already signed, or will that player arrive when the final prospect commits to Izzo’s 2015 class? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section. 

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