Recruiting rundown: Talent pool thins as signing period closes

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The college basketball regular signing period for the 2012 class officially ends today, and most signings are typically over as the National Letter of Intent signing dates conclude. Still, many athletes elect to sign financial aid documents that become the equivalent in tuition-free attendance, without binding players to schools.

Only a handful of presumed meaningful prospects remain in the 2012 class, with academic and other question marks surrounding the majority of top-100 caliber prospects. The nearly back-to-back announcements from top-20 power forwards Anthony Bennett (UNLV) and Amile Jefferson (Duke) have left the high school cupboards nearly bare.

The most important name to know is 6-7 wing forward Devonta Pollard of Kemper County (Miss.), who is apparently struggling with his decision and not tipping his hat. The most intriguing storyline around Pollard is if LSU has the juice to get involved in the top-25 prospect’s recruitment this late. The Tigers hired Robert Kirby as an assistant coach, and he had a pre-existing relationship with Pollard while at Georgetown.

While Texas and Alabama are deductively expected to be the most major players for Pollard, as time ticks on the unexpected can happen.

Another name that is worth knowing is 6-9 center Chris Obekpa of Our Savior New American (N.Y.), a big man with terrific shot blocking tendencies. Obekpa has a Big East heavy list with Cincinnati, Providence and DePaul, but Oregon is also still in the mix. It’s unclear when Obekpa will make a decision, and he isn’t likely to be an offensive factor as a freshman, but rim defenders are valued at every level of basketball.

Should Virginia Tech signee Montrezl Harrell, a power forward from Hargrave Military (Va.), be released from his letter of intent to the Hokies, he’ll immediately become the second most sought-after player in the country to Pollard, assuming both are still on the board. Harrell is physically ready to contribute next year, and one would figure schools like Kentucky, NC State and others would put on the full court press for his services.

The remaining names of note left in the class are likely considering prep school options. Former UTEP pledge Anthony “Dinner Time” January, a talented wing forward from SoCal, has already announced that he’s headed to prep school. The same is expected for two-time NC State de-commit Torian Graham, who has already been playing extensively on the grassroots circuit.

Other top-100 range talents are more mysterious. Philadelphia power forward Savon Goodman (pictured above), a former Villanova pledge, is reportedly taking official visits, but other reports indicated he is strongly considering doing a fifth year at prep powerhouse Brewster Academy (N.H.). It also remains to be seen what will happen with 2011 St. John’s signee Norvel Pelle, who is running with a Los Angeles-based summer team, and former Louisville, Xavier, and Central Florida commit Michael Chandler, a 6-10 center. It’s safe to say Pelle and Chandler are a mystery at the present time..

Kellon Hassenstab runs Hoopniks.com. Follow him on Twitter @hoopniks.