SIGNING DAY: The Class of 2016’s best recruiting classes


(The post has been contributed to by Corey Evans, Managing Editor of

Duke: Coach K hasn’t stopped bringing in the top talent to Durham and this class only solidifies the Blue Devils’ case as potential NCAA Champions for years to come. First off, Harry Giles and Jayson Tatum, two of the best prospects in all of high school ball, are headed to the ACC blueblood next year. Throw in versatile combo guard Frank Jackson and hard-playing and super improving forward Javin DeLaurier, and what you have is a four-person class that stands out amongst the elite throughout the land. (CE)

Michigan State: The class that Tom Izzo brought in at Michigan State this season could be the backbone to a potential national title team. Five-star wing Miles Bridges and five-star shooting guard Josh Langford are the headliners of the four-man class while in-state, four-star point guard Cassius Winston and bruising four-star big man Nick Ward are also tremendous pieces. With this class, the Spartans are making a major push to stay with the nation’s elite. (SP)

Kentucky: Another year, another top-five ranking for the Wildcats within the recruiting spectrum as UK welcomes in two of the more skilled big men in America with Sacha Killeya-Jones and Wenyen Gabriel. However, the SEC frontrunner isn’t done just yet as they are favorites for Malik Monk and De’Aaron Fox, the latter committing on Thursday. They are also involved for elite bigs Bam Adebayo, Marques Bolden, and Jarrett Allen where all signs point to Calipari and his staff finishing with another top-three recruiting class come the late signing period in April. (CE)

RELATED:’s National Signing Day coverage

UCLA: The future is looking bright at UCLA as this class has a lot to like about it. Five-star point guard Lonzo Ball has unbelievable court vision and scores the ball with deep range while four-star 6-foot-10 big man Ike Anigbogu has a lot of long-term upside on both ends of the floor. Kobe Paras, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard, has some positive attributes as an athlete and can also hit deep jumpers. The best part for the Bruins? They might not be done with this class yet. (SP)

UConn: Kevin Ollie and his staff traversed all throughout the nation and put together a class full of four, top-125 recruits from Georgia, New York, California, and Florida. The gems of the class are Juwan Durham and Alterique Gilbert, while Vance Jackson, a 6-foot-7 forward from California, is the capable back-up for his former high school teammate and now sophomore forward at UConn in Daniel Hamilton. Throw in super productive and elite rebounder Mamadou Diarra and the class headed to Storrs fills any and every hole the Huskies might have during the 2016 campaign. (CE)

Mississippi State: Since taking over the job this spring, head coach Ben Howland has quickly made the Bulldogs a credible threat in the SEC. This four-man class takes advantage of local recruiting as in-state guard Tyson Carter is one of three guards in the class. Carter is joined by New Orleans native Lamar Peters and Kentucky native Eli Wright to form a talented perimeter trio while center Schnider Herard is a physical big man who should be able to immediately defend and rebound. (SP)

Virginia: The ACC has been led by the Cavaliers these past few years during the regular season but the 2016 class is the revelation of all that built up success on the hardwood. Tony Bennett welcomes in two hard playing and competitive guards with Ty Jerome and Kyle Guy, along with an immediate glue forward with DeAndre Hunter. However, the hidden stud within the class is Jay Huff, a 7-foot sharpshooter with innate toughness who will take a redshirt year and can been perceived as an elite recruit within the 2017 crop of prospects. (CE)

Florida State: Even more perimeter talent is coming to Tallahassee in the Class of 2016 after the Seminoles brought in a loaded group for 2015. The main addition is 6-foot-10 wing Jonathan Isaac, a Durant-esque tall wing who should be a McDonald’s All-American while four-star guard Trent Forrest is a two-way guard who is versatile enough to play multiple spots. Hard-nosed point guard C.J. Walker gives Florida State an additional ball handler who can set up their bevy of talented wings. (SP)

Oklahoma: While the Sooners won’t get a ton of buzz with their 2016 class, Lon Kruger has put together a sneaky good class led by 6-foot-5 wing Kameron McGusty. The Texas native is a fine shot-maker from deep and could be the long-term replacement for current All-American senior guard Buddy Hield. Matt Freeman joins the fray at the 5-spot along with 6-foot-7 versatile forward and productive 15-feet and in guy with Kristian Doolittle, which adds up to be a quality, three-man class headed to Norman. (CE)

Alabama: Avery Johnson deserves a ton of credit for putting in the work to secure a top class. Five-star wing Terrance Ferguson was a major coup for the Crimson Tide and the electric athlete is joined by versatile wing Braxton Key and talented junior college guard Ar’Mond Davis. The trio immediately gives Alabama the kind of perimeter talent needed to reach the NCAA tournament and compete in the SEC. (SP)

Five more groups that will help right away 

  • Harvard: This seven-man class has a little bit of everything and a lot of talented players who could have committed to player at higher levels. Point guard Bryce Aiken will eventually replace Siyani Chambers while a good crop of big men like Chris Lewis, Robert Baker and Henry Welsh should keep Harvard among the Ivy League’s best for years. The key could be Seth Towns, a 6-foot-8 wing with the shooting ability and size to be a matchup problem in the Ivy League. (SP)
  • UMass: The Minutemen enter the 2015 season as a middle-class team in the A10 but the 2016 class is a group of individuals that could put the program atop of the conference pecking order. They obtained the services of top-125 recruits DeJon Jarreau and Brison Gresham, two guys that turned down a bevy of high-major programs. Add in hard playing and tough big man Chris Baldwin, along with highly athletic and a defensive stopper with Unique McLean and what this class gives the Minutemen is…well, a unique and impressive future moving down the road. (CE)
  • Penn State: Patrick Chambers is building Penn State into a credible Big Ten threat and this four-man class is one of the best groups to ever come to Happy Valley. Point guard Tony Carr and power forward Lamar Stevens should be immediate impact players while forward Joe Hampton and wing Nazeer Bostick should add quality depth. (SP)
  • George Washington: VCU, Rhode Island, Davidson, and Dayton have been the talk surrounding the A10 in recent months but what Mike Lonergan and his staff have put together these past few months within the 2016 class is nothing short of impressive. They welcome two quality guards that can play either spot with Darnell Rogers and Jair Bolden, along with long-term shot blocker Collin Smith. However, where the star power comes into play is in volume rebounder Kevin Marfo and tough and intimidating big man Arnaldo Toro; good luck scoring in the paint on this A10 bunch in the years ahead. (CE)
  • Butler: The interim tag is gone from head coach Chris Holtmann and he took full advantage by reeling in four talented pieces in a versatile class. Keeping four-star center Joey Brunk at home was a big key for the Bulldogs and the backcourt of point guard Howard Washington and Kamar Baldwin should give Butler some immediate threats. Small forward Henry Baddley is a solid perimeter shooter who should compliment this group well. (SP)

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Purdue’s Edey returning to school at NBA draft deadline; Kentucky’s Tshiebwe stays in

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Purdue’s Zach Edey decided it was the right call to go back to school instead of staying in the NBA draft. His predecessor as national player of the year, Kentucky’s Oscar Tshiebwe, is sticking with his pro pursuit.

And Connecticut’s reign as NCAA champion will begin with multiple starters having left for the NBA draft and one returning after flirting with doing the same.

The 7-foot-4 Edey and UConn guard Tristen Newton were among the notable names to announce that they were withdrawing from the draft, the NCAA’s deadline for players who declared as early entrants to pull out and retain their college eligibility.

Edey’s decision came in social media posts from both the center and the Boilermakers program that earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament behind Edey, The Associated Press men’s national player of the year.

But Tshiebwe announced late in the afternoon that he would remain in the draft after a college career that included being named the AP national player of the year in 2022.

For the current champions, Newton (10.1 points, 4.7 assists, 4.5 rebounds) is returning after being one of four Huskies to declare for the draft after a run to UConn’s fifth national championship in early April. He scored a game-high 19 points to go with 10 rebounds in the victory over San Diego State in the title game.

The others were Final Four Most Outstanding Player Adama Sanogo, wing Jordan Hawkins and versatile guard Andre Jackson Jr. Sanogo (17.8 points) and Hawkins (16.3) have made it clear they have closed the door on their college careers, while team spokesman Phil Chardis said that Jackson (6.1 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.6 assists) would remain in the draft.

The Huskies have 247sports’ No. 3-ranked recruiting class for next year to restock the roster, led by McDonald’s All-American point guard Stephon Castle.

The NBA’s withdrawal deadline is June 12, but is moot when it comes to college players returning to school due to the NCAA’s earlier timeline to retain playing eligibility.


TREY ALEXANDER: Creighton gets back a 6-4 guard who averaged 13.6 points and shot 41% from 3-point range in his first full season as a starter.

ADEM BONA: The 6-foot-10 forward and Pac-12 freshman of the year is returning to UCLA after starting 32 games as a rookie and averaging 7.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks – with coach Mick Cronin praising his toughness for “competing through multiple injuries for as long as he could” in a statement Wednesday.

EDEY: He averaged 22.3 points, 12.9 rebounds, 2.1 blocks and 1.5 assists while shooting 60.7% from the field. His presence alone helps Purdue be a factor in the Big Ten race.

JOSIAH-JORDAN JAMES: The 6-6 guard went through the NBA G League Combine and had workouts with multiple teams before opting to return to Tennessee for a fifth season alongside teammate Santiago Vescovi.

JUDAH MINTZ: The 6-3 freshman averaged 16.3 points and 4.6 assists for Syracuse, ranking third among Division I freshmen in scoring behind only Alabama’s Brandon Miller and Lamar’s Nate Calmese.

OWLS’ RETURNEES: Florida Atlantic got good news after its surprise Final Four run with the return leading scorers Johnell Davis (13.8) and Alijah Martin (13.4). ESPN first reported their decisions, while Martin later posted a social media statement.

TERRENCE SHANNON JR.: Illinois got a big boost with Shannon announcing his night in a social media post. The 6-6 guard is returning for a fifth college season after averaging 17.2 points.

SPARTANS’ RETURNEES: Michigan State announced that guards Jaden Akins and A.J. Hoggard have withdrawn from the NBA draft. Standout guard Tyson Walker had previously withdrawn in April, setting up Tom Izzo to have five of his top scorers back.


KOBE BROWN: Missouri’s 6-8 swingman opted against returning for a fifth college season after being an AP first-team all-Southeastern Conference pick averaging 15.8 points last season.

JAYLEN CLARK: The third-year UCLA guard averaged 13.0 points and 6.0 rebounds while leading the Pac-12 with 2.6 steals en route to being named Naismith national defensive player of the year. Cronin called him a winner with strong intangibles who made UCLA “a better program because he chose to be a Bruin.”

BRICE SENSABAUGH: The Ohio State freshman averaged 16.3 points and 5.4 rebounds in 31 games before missing his final two in the Big Ten Tournament due to a knee injury. He’s a potential first-round prospect.

TSHIEBWE: The 6-9, 260-pound forward is a tough interior presence who led the country in rebounds for two straight seasons (15.1 in 2022, 13.7 in 2023) while racking up 48 double-doubles. But he faces an uncertain next stop and is projected at best as a second-round prospect.

North Carolina transfer Caleb Love commits to Arizona

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Caleb Love is now headed to Arizona.

The North Carolina transfer tweeted, less than a month after decommitting from Michigan, that he will play next season with the Wildcats.

“Caleb is a tremendously talented guard who has significant experience playing college basketball at a high level,” Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd said in a statement. “We look forward to helping Caleb grow his game at Arizona. And as we near the completion of the roster for the upcoming season, we feel great about how everything has come together. Now it’s time for the real work to start.”

A 6-foot-4 guard, Love averaged 14.6 points and 3.3 assists in three seasons at North Carolina. He averaged 17.6 points in seven NCAA Tournament games, helping lead the Tar Heels to the 2022 national championship game.

Love entered the transfer portal after leading North Carolina with 73 3-pointers as a junior and initially committed to Michigan. He decommitted from the Wolverines earlier this month, reportedly due to an admissions issue involving academic credits.

Love narrowed his transfer targets to three schools before choosing to play at Arizona over Gonzaga and Texas.

Love will likely start on a team that will have dynamic perimeter players, including Pelle Larsson, Kylan Boswell and Alabama transfer Jaden Bradley.

Biden celebrates LSU women’s and UConn men’s basketball teams at separate White House events


WASHINGTON – All of the past drama and sore feelings associated with Louisiana State’s invitation to the White House were seemingly forgotten or set aside Friday as President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden welcomed the championship women’s basketball team to the mansion with smiles, hugs and lavish praise all around.

The visit had once appeared in jeopardy after Jill Biden suggested that the losing Iowa team be invited, too. But none of that was mentioned as both Bidens heralded the players for their performance and the way they have helped advance women’s sports.

“Folks, we witnessed history,” the president said. “In this team, we saw hope, we saw pride and we saw purpose. It matters.”

The ceremony was halted for about 10 minutes after forward Sa’Myah Smith appeared to collapse as she and her teammates stood behind Biden. A wheelchair was brought in and coach Kim Mulkey assured the audience that Smith was fine.

LSU said in a statement that Smith felt overheated, nauseous and thought she might faint. She was evaluated by LSU and White House medical staff and was later able to rejoin the team. “She is feeling well, in good spirits, and will undergo further evaluation once back in Baton Rouge,” the LSU statement said.

Since the passage of Title IX in 1972, Biden said, more than half of all college students are women, and there are now 10 times more female athletes in college and high school. He said most sports stories are still about men, and that that needs to change.

Title IX prohibits discrimination based on sex in federally funded education programs and activities.

“Folks, we need to support women sports, not just during the championship run but during the entire year,” President Biden said.

After the Tigers beat Iowa for the NCAA title in April in a game the first lady attended, she caused an uproar by suggesting that the Hawkeyes also come to the White House.

LSU star Angel Reese called the idea “A JOKE” and said she would prefer to visit with former President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, instead. The LSU team largely is Black, while Iowa’s top player, Caitlin Clark, is white, as are most of her teammates.

Nothing came of Jill Biden’s idea and the White House only invited the Tigers. Reese ultimately said she would not skip the White House visit. She and co-captain Emily Ward presented team jerseys bearing the number “46” to Biden and the first lady. Hugs were exchanged.

Jill Biden also lavished praise on the team, saying the players showed “what it means to be a champion.”

“In this room, I see the absolute best of the best,” she said, adding that watching them play was “pure magic.”

“Every basket was pure joy and I kept thinking about how far women’s sports have come,” the first lady added, noting that she grew up before Title IX was passed. “We’ve made so much progress and we still have so much more work to do.”

The president added that “the way in which women’s sports has come along is just incredible. It’s really neat to see, since I’ve got four granddaughters.”

After Smith was helped to a wheelchair, Mulkey told the audience the player was OK.

“As you can see, we leave our mark where we go,” Mulkey joked. “Sa’Myah is fine. She’s kind of, right now, embarrassed.”

A few members of Congress and Biden aides past and present with Louisiana roots dropped what they were doing to attend the East Room event, including White House budget director Shalanda Young. Young is in the thick of negotiations with House Republicans to reach a deal by the middle of next week to stave off what would be a globally calamitous U.S. financial default if the U.S. can no longer borrow the money it needs to pay its bills.

The president, who wore a necktie in the shade of LSU’s purple, said Young, who grew up in Baton Rouge, told him, “I’m leaving the talks to be here.” Rep. Garret Graves, one of the House GOP negotiators, also attended.

Biden closed sports Friday by changing to a blue tie and welcoming the UConn’s men’s championship team for its own celebration. The Huskies won their fifth national title by defeating San Diego State, 76-59, in April.

“Congratulations to the whole UConn nation,” he said.

Marquette’s Prosper says he will stay in draft rather than returning to school

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MILWAUKEE — Olivier-Maxence Prosper announced he is keeping his name under NBA draft consideration rather than returning to Marquette.

The 6-foot-8 forward announced his decision.

“Thank you Marquette nation, my coaches, my teammates and support staff for embracing me from day one,” Prosper said in an Instagram post. “My time at Marquette has been incredible. With that being said, I will remain in the 2023 NBA Draft. I’m excited for what comes next. On to the next chapter…”

Prosper had announced last month he was entering the draft. He still could have returned to school and maintained his college eligibility by withdrawing from the draft by May 31. Prosper’s announcement indicates he instead is going ahead with his plans to turn pro.

Prosper averaged 12.5 points and 4.7 rebounds last season while helping Marquette go 29-7 and win the Big East’s regular-season and tournament titles. Marquette’s season ended with a 69-60 loss to Michigan State in the NCAA Tournament’s round of 32.

He played two seasons at Marquette after transferring from Clemson, where he spent one season.

Kansas’ Kevin McCullar Jr. returning for last season of eligibility

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Kevin McCullar Jr. said that he will return to Kansas for his final year of eligibility, likely rounding out a roster that could make the Jayhawks the preseason No. 1 next season.

McCullar transferred from Texas Tech to Kansas for last season, when he started 33 of 34 games and averaged 10.7 points and 7.0 rebounds. He was also among the nation’s leaders in steals, and along with being selected to the Big 12’s all-defensive team, the 6-foot-6 forward was a semifinalist for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year award.

“To be able to play in front of the best fans in the country; to play for the best coach in the nation, I truly believe we have the pieces to hang another banner in the Phog,” McCullar said in announcing his return.

Along with McCullar, the Jayhawks return starters Dajuan Harris Jr. and K.J. Adams from a team that went 28–8, won the Big 12 regular-season title and was a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, where it lost to Arkansas in the second round.

Perhaps more importantly, the Jayhawks landed Michigan transfer Hunter Dickinson, widely considered the best player in the portal, to anchor a lineup that was missing a true big man. They also grabbed former five-star prospect Arterio Morris, who left Texas, and Towson’s Nick Timberlake, who emerged last season as one of the best 3-point shooters in the country.

The Jayhawks also have an elite recruiting class arriving that is headlined by five-star recruit Elmarko Jackson.

McCullar declared for the draft but, after getting feedback from scouts, decided to return. He was a redshirt senior last season, but he has another year of eligibility because part of his career was played during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is a big day for Kansas basketball,” Jayhawks coach Bill Self said. “Kevin is not only a terrific player but a terrific teammate. He fit in so well in year one and we’re excited about what he’ll do with our program from a leadership standpoint.”