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November 21, 2007
ACC back in with the big names
The ACC is no stranger to landing the nation's top high school basketball talent.
In fact, seven prospects coming into the conference are ranked in the top 26 of Rivals.com's top 100 players in the nation. All seven are also potential McDonald's All-Americans.
Wake Forest has a lot to do with the talent influx. Skip Prosser's final class at Wake Forest is tops in the nation with three five-star prospects - Al-Farouq Aminu, Tony Woods and Ty Walker. The future Demon Deacons make up the top incoming class in the nation - and set the bar for the rest of the conference.
Florida State was the big winner in the early signing period when forward Chris Singleton committed to the Seminoles. His addition should vault FSU into the top 10 in the team rankings. On Monday night, Leonard Hamilton and staff added yet another player to the fold in junior college guard Derwin Kitchen.
Virginia and Duke also cracked into the top 30 national rankings. The Cavaliers check in at No. 21 and the Blue Devils at No. 25.
Biggest recruiting coup
Raised in Indiana and with 75 percent of his finalists in his home state, Washington High School forward Tyler Zeller decided to leave the Midwest for North Carolina. The Tar Heels made up strong ground and overcame the location factor. Zeller chose UNC over Indiana, Notre Dame and Purdue.
The connections between players, particularly at the guard position, within the conference are tremendous. Duke landed Memphis guard Elliot Williams, who also strongly considered Virginia.
With a brother already on the roster at Georgia Tech, a former high school teammate now playing for Paul Hewitt and the campus being located just a short drive away from his Norcross (Ga.) home, everyone in the recruiting world had Al-Farouq Aminu down as a lock for the Yellow Jackets.
Not so fast.
Aminu, a regular on Georgia Tech's campus since his brother, Alade, enrolled at the school, took a visit to Wake Forest and the interest level swung. Aminu said he wanted to find a place where he could carve out his own niche. Wake Forest provided him with that.
Before Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser passed away on July 26, he was able to do something no one else has been able to do. Prosser and staff landed three five-star prospects (Aminu, Woods and Walker) in the class of 2008. All three haven't wavered since committing.
Wake Forest needs size, and the trio will help - mostly on the defensive end - from the outset. When paired with the current freshmen class, the new Deacons will have the pieces in line to honor Prosser on the court as well.