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October 15, 2008

Weekly Wrap: Five-star impact

POLL: Your pick for commitment of the week | Five-star commits shake up team rankings

Pop. Pop. Pop.

That was the sound of five-star commitments making decisions over the past week. Five of the top high school basketball players ended their recruitment in the last seven days.

Because of that, the team rankings went through a major overhaul at the top as three teams made moves inside the top 10.

MAJOR SHAKE-UP IN TOP 10 TEAM RANKINGS

Texas became the first school to have a pair of commitments from players ranked within the top 10 in the 2009 individual rankings when Los Angeles (Calif.) Dominguez wing Jordan Hamilton committed to the Longhorns.

Hamilton is the top-rated small forward in the nation and the No. 5 overall player in the country. The 6-foot-7 wing joins Avery Bradley, the No. 8-ranked player in the country, and Shawn Williams, a senior rated in the top 65, in the class.

With Hamilton's commitment, Texas checks in at No. 2 in the team rankings. The Longhorns climbed up from No. 8.

Kentucky debuts at No. 8 thanks in large part to the commitment from five-star center Daniel Orton, who pledged to the Wildcats while in Lexington for Big Blue Madness.

Orton, the No. 22-ranked player and No. 3 center in the senior class, joins Jon Hood, the No. 32-ranked player in the nation, and GJ Vilarino, a Texas point guard, in the class.

Duke debuts at No. 9 in the team rankings. The Blue Devils secured a commitment this week from Ryan Kelly, the No. 20-ranked player in the country. His decision was a bit of a surprise because Duke jumped in a little later than most schools. In the end, however, the Blue Devils won out.

Now paired with Mason Plumlee, a top-45 talent, Duke has two of the most skilled interior players in the class of 2009 coming to Durham.

UAB dropped to No. 16 in the rankings after Rivals.com spoke with Chipola (Fla.) Junior College prospects Jon Kreft and Casey Mitchell last week at the Dallas Blowout J.C. event. Both said they were not committed to the Conference USA program but are strongly considering the Blazers.

HIGH-MAJORS ADD PLAYERS

COMMITMENT OF THE WEEK
Kansas picked up its first commitment in the class of 2009. And it's a good one. Thomas Robinson, a 6-8 forward from Wolfeboro (N.H.) Brewster Academy, committed to Bill Self and the Jayhawks last weekend.

Arguably the best rebounder in the class, Robinson gives the Big 12 school an instant impact player in the paint. Robinson is the first five-star player to commit to the Jayhawks since the program won the NCAA title in April.

"I know that nothing is going to be given to me," Robinson told JayhawkSlant.com shortly after committing. "I am going to have to work for everything, which is just fine with me. There are no guarantees when it comes to playing time and things like that. There are no promises. ... I want to make sure that I'm ready to go when I get to Kansas."

He is also the first player in the highly contested recruiting battle between Kansas and Memphis, which lost to the Jayhawks in the national championship game, to commit. The two national powerhouses are still in the mix with five of the top nine uncommitted players left in the class of 2009.

The best players in the class of 2010 aren't wasting any time. Only four of the top 10 players nationally are still uncommitted after San Diego (Calif.) big man Jeremy Tyler committed to Louisville. The 6-8 forward ended his recruitment early, giving the Cardinals a prospect with unbelievable upside despite his inconsistency on the prep circuit.

Tyler continues the trend of early commitments from the top players in the junior class. There are still six players ranked within the top 10 from the class of 2009 who are uncommitted.

West Virginia moved quickly on Turkish import Deniz Kilicli and locked up the 6-9, 250-pound power forward at Beckley (W.Va.) Mountain State Academy. Kilicli was an instant hit with recruiters since coming to the United States.

Connecticut, Kentucky, LSU, N.C. State, Oklahoma and UCLA all made it out to see him play and offered scholarships. Kilicli plays alongside 2010 West Virginia commitment Noah Cottrill.

Eddie Ludwig had to make a choice: Stay close to home and go to LSU or leave and head to Davidson in North Carolina. The forward from Metairie (La.) Metairie Park Country Day opted for proximity and became the second player to commit to LSU in the 2009 recruiting class.

Cincinnati landed reclassified guard Sean Kilpatrick, a New Yorker now at Fitchburg (Mass.) Notre Dame Prep.

Lisandro Ruiz-Moreno, a 5-11 point guard from Argentina via South Kent (Conn.), is headed to Miami.

Concord (Calif.) De La Salle point guard Brandon Smith ended his recruitment this week. His plan is to redshirt his freshman season at Cal and then earn a scholarship the year after.

IMPORTANT COMMITMENTS ALL AROUND

New UMass head coach Derek Kellogg is wasting little time establishing a recruiting pipeline to the fruitful Washington, D.C., area.

The Minutemen landed a pair of important commitments over the last week. Riverdale Baptist wing Javon Farrell and Raphael Putney of Woodbridge (Va.) Senior both picked the Atlantic 10 school.

After being pursued by John Brady and his staff at LSU, Mableton (Ga.) Whitefield Academy guard Brandon Reed decided to commit to the former Tigers staff that is now at Arkansas State. Reed, a three-star prospect, is an important commitment in a good-looking class.

Forward Brandon Davies will walk across the street from Provo (Utah) High School to BYU for college.

Fresno State doubled the size of its 2009 recruiting class in the past week. San Francisco (Calif.) Sacred Heart Cathedral wing Jerry Brown and Pomona (Calif.) Diamond Ranch wing Garrett Johnson both committed to Steve Cleveland's program.

Riverdale (Ga.) power forward Terell Barnes committed to Tennessee Tech.

San Jose (Calif.) Valley Christian guard Tim Harris should prove to be an important recruit for Saint Mary's.

MORE FROM AROUND THE NATION

Griffin (Ga.) guard Shaquil Barber will head to South Carolina State next season.

Worcester (Mass.) Worcester Academy point guard Gabe Kindred is off to Loyola Chicago next fall.

Holy Cross went to Orinda (Calif.) Miramonte in order to land a pledge from Eric Obeysekere.

Princeton went for two this past week, scoring commitments from Scottsdale (Ariz.) Chaparral forward Gus Gabel and Jimmy Sherburne of Whitefish Bay (Wis.).

Boise State landed a commitment from Redding (Calif.) Liberty Christian forward Sam Hicks.

Columbia (Mo.) Rock Bridge forward Jordan Dressler will play at Toledo next year.

Sam Prescott of Philadelphia (Pa.) Imhotep Institute Charter School committed to Marist.

Blake Metcalf from Plainfield (Ind.) High School committed to Albany.



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