Depending on what recruiting website or scouting service you prefer, there are approximately a dozen or so remaining unsigned and uncommitted top-100 prospects remaining from the 2012 high school class. It’s fair to say that many college programs across the land have one or more of this group of players on their holiday wish lists, and some of the listed players are closer to making decisions than others.
Here’s the status of each of the undeclared top prospects that high-major programs are chasing right now, with the next several months being a marathon towards April’s regular signing period:
Amile Jefferson, 6-8, power forward, Friends Central (Penn.)
The talented forward was considering signing a letter of intent in the early period, but didn’t pull the trigger. His final six has been set for some time with Villanova, UConn, Kentucky, Ohio State, N.C. State and Temple. It’s not clear that there’s any favorite at the time for Jefferson, who could push his recruitment out until April.
Shabazz Muhammad, 6-6, wing, Bishop Gorman (Nev.)
Though there are nominally still six schools on the top senior in the country’s list, many believe that only four are realistic destinations: Kentucky, Duke, UCLA and UNLV. During the summer, many believed the Bruins were the clubhouse leader, but the early season troubles affecting the Bruins are believed to have carried over to their recruitment. At this point, expect an arduous several months of recruiting for the involved schools.
Anthony Bennett, 6-7, power forward, Findlay Prep (Nev.)
A top-10 player, and native Canadian, Bennett’s recruitment has been surprisingly quiet. There are theories on where Bennett will end up, but those thoughts can be mostly classified as shots in the dark. Bennett has yet to take an official visit, and still lists nine schools when given the opportunity. At this point, it’s anybody’s guess where Bennett ends up.
Jarnell Stokes, 6-8, power forward, Southwind (Tenn.)
After graduating high school in the last week, Stokes will declare his college intention Thursday, and will most certainly attempt to join the college hoops ranks at midseason. At 250 pounds, he’s a load inside, and a legitimate top-25 prospect. Opinions vary as to how much he will help this season, but there’s little doubt he’ll help going forward. Tennessee is getting the buzz as of late, though Memphis and Arkansas are also frontrunners.
Devonta Pollard, 6-7, wing, Kemper County (Miss.)
Pollard has pushed his recruiting timetable back in order to play football last fall. The bouncy wing is mostly considering SEC programs, with Alabama and Mississippi State having proximity to Pollard, while Texas, Georgetown, Kentucky and others are still involved.
Tony Parker, 6-9, center, Miller Grove (Ga.) – The beefy post prospect hasn’t had much movement in his list, as UCLA, Memphis, and Duke are considered the front-runners at this time. Parker has Kansas and Ohio State on the outside looking in, and could be taking a wait and see approach to UCLA’s fortunes this year.
Ricardo Gathers, 6-7, power forward, Riverside Academy (La.)
Formerly committed to St. John’s, Gathers is a burly forward with a take no prisoners attitude. He’s highly sought after by numerous schools, including the Johnnies. Their chief competitor at this time could be LSU, or perhaps Duke, which recently got involved as a way to hedge their bets on Tony Parker.
Torian Graham, 6-4, shooting guard, Arlington Country Day (Fla.)
After re-opening his recruitment following a commitment to N.C. State, Graham has entertained interest from a variety of schools, but doesn’t appear to be anywhere near making a decision. Graham teams with former South Carolina guard commits Carlos Morris and Ian Baker at Arlington Country Day, which will clearly be a frequent stopping point for colleges in need of guard help this winter and spring.
Winston Shepard, 6-8, power forward, Findlay Prep (Nev.)
The lengthy and lanky athlete is a native of Texas, but could be Mountain West bound, with San Diego State, New Mexico and UNLV all among the schools involved. Shepard could be a sleeper heavy contributor as a freshman in the right situation, if he decides to go with the Mountain West.
Savon Goodman, 6-6, wing/power forward, Constitution (Penn.)
Some believe the former Villanova pledge will ultimately reclassify to the 2013 class and hit prep school next year, though those close to the strong forward say it isn’t so. He’s got a handful of Big East offers, but appears to be far from making a decision.
Nino Jackson, 6-2, point guard, Ardmore (Okla.)
Once considered to be a Kansas lean, the Jayhawks have moved on, and Jackson has battled eligibility and off the court issues after largely disappearing over the summer. He’s considered a likely candidate for maturation in the junior college or prep school ranks.
Wannah Bail, 6-8, power forward, Lamar Consolidated (Texas)
The Bahamas native was set to commit in fall, but canceled. At that time, Houston, Oregon and Texas Tech were options he listed, but it wasn’t clear how any of the three was going to work Bail and teammate Michael Carey on to their respective rosters given their scholarship situations. He could be a sleeper spring pickup, with or without Carey joining him.
Zena Edosomwan, 6-8, power forward, Harvard-Westlake (Calif.)
Though he’s received a variety of high-major offers, all indications are that Edosomwan’s heart is on attending Harvard. He has yet to reach the academic bar set by Harvard just yet, but they appear to be in position to land him if he qualifies.
Top-25 wing Brannen Greene makes Kansas commit
The 2013 recruiting class is shaping up to be potentially a blockbuster group for the Jayhawks, as 6-7 wing Brannen Greene of Mary Persons (Ga.) pledged Tuesday, joining Conner Frankamp, an in-state guard and member of USA Basketball’s Developmental National Team.
Greene is considered by most to be among the top handful of wing prospects in the country in the junior class, as he’s got a unique skill package capable of impacting a game in a variety of ways. Greene had numerous high-major offers, including UConn, Louisville and others.
Several of the elite prospects in the 2013 class are also considering joining Frankamp and Greene at Kansas, and Christ the King (N.Y.) shooting guard Isaiah Lewis is reportedly considering making a post-Christmas college decision, with Kansas considered the favorite.
Kellon Hassenstab runs Hoopniks.com. Follow him on Twitter @hoopniks.