The college basketball recruiting period is a time of high anticipation and activity. With the early signing period just around the corner, many questions have been asked about how it will proceed this year. Though there are some challenges that come with player evaluations in January, most analysts believe that games will begin on schedule while keeping an eye out for what might happen afterward.
The “early signing day 2021” is the first day of the early signing period for college basketball. The NCAA will not release any official numbers on how many recruits have signed with their respective schools, but there are some questions that need to be answered.
In men’s basketball recruiting, the early signing period used to be the highlight of the whole calendar. Five-star commitments were always set for the first few days of the period, and the top of the recruiting rankings were frequently shifted from the beginning to the finish.
With the exception of the 2020 class, the era has been less important in recent years. However, we’ve never seen a recruitment cycle like this before.
With Cason Wallace, a five-star guard, committing to Kentucky on Sunday, every five-star talent in the 2022 class is now officially off the market. As the early signing period opens on Wednesday morning, not a single top-20 prospect remains undecided. It’s the first time this has occurred in at least a decade, if not ever.
What caused the abrupt shift?
The coronavirus pandemic, which halted recruitment for the greater part of 16 months, is most likely the main cause. From March 2020 until June 2021, prospects were not permitted to take official or unofficial visits, and coaches were not allowed to perform in-person assessments. Prospects were anxious to go out and tour schools after the NCAA loosened the limitations, and coaches hurried to schedule trips for their recruits. Rather of waiting until the autumn to schedule visits, the majority of prospective did so in June.
It didn’t result in a flurry of commitments before July, but it did shorten timeframes since candidates were no longer required to attend all five of their autumn visits.
Another aspect might be the transfer portal. With practically every club in the nation depending heavily on transfers at this point — even Kentucky went out and signed four transfers last spring — many coaches no longer have the desire to wait until the spring for a recruit.
Rather than risk missing out on a high school player six or seven months from now and having to scramble for a Plan B, many schools will just discover a player or two in the portal in late March or early April and be satisfied. Recruits have seen the heightened interest in transfers and want to secure their position as soon as possible.
A third reason might be because of a person’s name, appearance, or resemblance. Since the law was implemented on July 1, top candidates have been more ready to accept early scholarship offers when they’re linked with the (possibly fictitious) temptation of hundreds of thousands of dollars in NIL money.
Is the 2022 class a one-time occurrence owing to NIL’s newness and recruitment schedule changes? Or will five-star recruits continue to commit earlier in the cycle? At this time next year, we’ll have to reevaluate.
However, we’re not totally free of turmoil as we reach the early signing period. As the early signing period opens on Wednesday, these are the main topics to keep an eye on:
1. So, who’s still standing?
We know there aren’t any five-star prospects left, but the number of ESPN 100 players who haven’t committed is also dropping. After Rylan Griffen (Alabama) and Ven-Allen Lubin (Notre Dame) committed on Tuesday, there are just 12 ESPN 100 players still on the board, and that number might drop to single digits by the conclusion of the signing period.
Collin Chandler (No. 28) is projected to pledge within the next week, and the in-state competition for his commitment has been intriguing to watch over the last month. Earlier in the autumn, BYU was considered the favorite, but in October, Utah turned the script and seemed to be Chandler’s eventual destination. However, in recent days, it’s gone the other way, and BYU now seems to be in the driver’s seat coming down the stretch.
Kimani Hamilton (No. 85) has set a Nov. 10 deadline for his decision, and he’s narrowed his choices to Alabama, Mississippi State, and Ole Miss. Mississippi State had been seen as a significant favorite heading into the final days of the season.
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Given that he’s likely debating between UCLA and Duke and has been doing so for some time, Mark Mitchell (No. 30) might call it quits at any moment. Mitchell visited Duke for its Countdown to Craziness event, but UCLA had the upper hand going into that trip.
Anthony Black (No. 26) was just deemed ineligible for his senior year of high school, and his recruiting seems to have been put on hold for the time being. Earlier this autumn, Gonzaga and Oklahoma State were expected to be in the lead, but Georgia, TCU, and Arkansas are now in the mix. The Cowboys seem to be putting in the most effort.
Yohan Traore (No. 29), one of the summer’s breakthrough stars, has had formal visits to Kansas, Memphis, Michigan, and Texas Tech, but things have been quiet in recent weeks.
Ty Rodgers (No. 49) is another top-50 talent who has down his options to Illinois, Michigan State, Alabama, and Memphis.
Zion Cruz (No. 56) had scheduled various decision dates for August and September, but he chose to postpone them and reopen his recruitment completely. Memphis has emerged as the frontrunner to snag the gifted guard since then.
Kamari Lands (No. 34) just decommitted from Syracuse and reopened his recruitment, so it’s anyone’s guess when he’ll pledge. Earlier this month, he paid an official visit to Louisville. Memphis, Arizona State, and other universities are also participating.
Amarr Knox (No. 67, Memphis) and Rickie Isaacs (No. 78, Texas Tech), two more recent decommits, are expected to re-enter the recruiting process.
The top-ranked player remaining on the board is Eric Dailey Jr. (No. 21), but there’s been no indication that he’ll make a decision this week. In addition, there has been little recent movement for Sadraque Nganga (No. 46).
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Sharpe enrolling for the second semester and no longer being a member of the 2022 class would put Kentucky behind a handful of other schools at the top, and the Wildcats would have to persuade an outstanding 2023 recruit to reclassify if they were to reclaim first place. Duke would reclaim the lead over Kentucky, while Arkansas, UCLA, and maybe others would benefit and move up as well.
The amount of game-changing pledges in 2022 is very limited due to the lack of five-star talents still available.
4. Have any of your committed prospects failed to sign their letter of intent?
The ESPN 100 had 86 players committed at the conclusion of last year’s early signing period. Only Miami’s Bensley Joseph and then-Creighton recruit TyTy Washington have not signed letters of commitment. Washington decommitted from Creighton and landed at Kentucky, while Joseph didn’t make it to Coral Gables until August.
Five committed ESPN 100 prospects in the Class of 2020 did not sign during the early period. Terrance Williams (Georgetown to Michigan) and Donovan Williams (Nebraska to Oklahoma State) were two of the five that went elsewhere, while Isaiah Todd chose the G League Ignite program.
In other words, if any committed ESPN 100 prospects leave next Wednesday without signing the dotted line, it will be a story worth following.
The “national signing day 2021 soccer” is the biggest event for college basketball’s early signing period. It is also one of the most important days for the sport. This article will answer some of the questions that are always asked during this time.
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