Top 2013 prospects begin to narrow school lists

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Following July’s evaluation period, many prospects within the class of 2013 are working toward slimming down their college choices to lead to traveling on five or less official visits before signing a letter of intent.

An increase in recent pledges has been notable at all levels, but the top-100 still has plenty of talent available for the taking. Some notable prospects have narrowed their lists, with a recent twist of most of them releasing their lists via Twitter.

Julius Randle, a 6-9 forward of the Dallas-area’s Prestonwood Christian was named the No. 1 player in the country in the class by Rivals on Tuesday, has started to make some movements in his list. He “narrowed” his decision to some likely suspect programs that include Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina and Florida, along with Baylor, NC State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas. He’ll likely utilize some in-home visits to narrow the official visits down to a manageable level. Either way, he’s a star in the making wherever he lands.

Meanwhile, Canadian shooting guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes gets plenty of attention as elite prospect Andrew Wiggins’ running mate at Huntington Prep in West Virginia and on the CIA Bounce travelling team, but he’s a top 30 prospect in his own right in the 2013 class. The scoring wing named Florida State, Baylor, Connecticut, Illinois and Texas as his finalists, in no particular order.

Few power forwards have the upside that Jermaine Lawrence has in the 2013 class, and the New York-native now has St. John’s, Syracuse, UCLA, UNLV, Cincinnati, Kansas and Kentucky as his final seven. He’ll have to cut out some schools before he takes his official trips, and a spring signing wouldn’t be a surprise. Lawrence has the potential to be among the very best players in the class when it’s all said and done.

Bullish forward Semi Ojeleye of Kansas, a top 30 prospect, also narrowed his list to four according to Eric Bossi of Rivals.com. The physically well-build wing forward can just as easily hit a 3-ball as he can power through a defender, and ultimately Duke, Indiana, Oregon or Stanford will have his services for college.

Who will land pure pivot Karviar Shepherd of Texas? There are multiple reports that eight schools remain in the mix for the post presence, with a heavy influence towards his home base of the Dallas area. Texas, Texas A&M, TCU and SMU will be battling LSU, Kansas, Oklahoma and Marquette made the final list. Shepherd is one of only a few actual low block battlers in the class, and he’s clearly a valued recruit.

There should be an increase in activity and commitments in the coming weeks, as football season kicks off and college basketball coaches can showcase their campuses with full houses of fans present to support the gridiron greats. An uptick in pledges is inevitable for this time of the year.

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