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By Paul Biancardi
Top unsigned recruits by position: PGs | SGs | SFs | PFs/Cs
With the early signing period set to begin Wednesday, ESPNU is the place to be for all of your recruiting coverage. The most significant announcement of the week will come on Friday's Signing Day Special (2 p.m. ET), when Harrison Barnes, the nation's top recruit, is slated to pick his school. Also, several coaches from top national programs will discuss their recruiting classes.
ESPNU Signing Day Special, Friday 2 p.m. ET
These three teams have seen their effort on the recruiting trail pay off of late:
Michigan State Spartans
The recent commitment of big man Adreian Payne (Dayton, Ohio/Jefferson Township) gives the Spartans three ESPNU 100 recruits and four total in their 2010 class. Another noteworthy development is the Spartans' success in Detroit. Last week, 2011 recruit Brandan Kearney (Detroit/Southeastern) committed to MSU. After years of struggling to get Motor City prospects to East Lansing, the Spartans have landed three Detroit products in the past three recruiting cycles.
Heading into his second season at Stanford, Johnny Dawkins is beginning to show some of the recruiting skill that he exhibited so routinely as an assistant at Duke. The Cardinal have secured verbal commitments from five 2010 prospects. The gem of the class is Dwight Powell (Toronto/IMG Academy). Checking in at No. 37 in the ESPNU 100, the 6-10 power forward is the highest-rated recruit to commit to Stanford since 2007.
With three 2010 commits and counting, Tommy Amaker is poised to make Harvard a major player in the Ivy League race. Last week, the Crimson secured a verbal from Nigerian center Ugo Okam (Montverde, Fla./Montverde Academy). The 7-footer is a bit of project with raw skills and athletic ability. In addition, the Crimson are also a contender for PG Pe'Shon Howard (Wytheville, Va./Oak Hill), who ranks as the 26th-best prospect at his position.
With some work, these three programs could make a major move in the coming weeks and months:
After decommitments from guards Josh Selby (Baltimore/Lake Clifton) and Aaron Craft (Findlay, Ohio/Liberty-Benton), the Vols' class is in better shape than most think. Presently, Tennessee has skilled guards Jordan McRae (Hinesville, Ga./Liberty County) and Trae Golden (Powder Springs, Ga./ McEachern) on board. Tennessee could use some size, and that could come from either PF Tobias Harris (Brookville, N.Y./Half Hollow Hills West) or PF Jayvaughn Pinkston (New York/Bishop Loughlin), both of whom have UT among their favorites.
The Longhorns have one elite prospect on board in PF Tristan Thompson (Brampton, Ontario/Findlay Prep), but this class was hurt when SG Daniel Bejarano (Phoenix/North) reneged on his commitment to Texas in favor of Arizona. The Longhorns might be able to fill that void quickly, however. Cory Joseph (Toronto/Findlay Prep), who is a prep and club teammate of Thompson's, is very high on Rick Barnes' program.
The Bruins have secured the services of ESPNU 100 SG Tyler Lamb (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei). However, their 2010 class is primed to get an infusion of talent. The Bruins have a good shot with virtually all of the top uncommitted recruits, but their chances could be strongest with Josh Smith (Covington, Wash./Kentwood) and Trey Zeigler (Mount Pleasant, Mich.), whose dad, Ernie, is a former UCLA assistant coach.
These players might not be in the top 100, but they could make a big impact in the college ranks:
Alex Rossi, SG, Cal
Rossi makes tough shots coming off screens and is deadly when his feet are set. He stretches defenses and opens up passing lanes into the post. He knows how to move without the ball and is excellent at reading screens. You can't leave him open for a second. When defending him, if you think you're close enough, you're not.
Tyreek Duren, PG, La Salle
Duren is a tough, cerebral and quick playmaking point guard. A one-man press-breaker, Duren has exhibited excellent leadership ability. He makes open 3s and runs a terrific fast break while seeing the entire floor. Duren is one of the better scoring point men in the class. La Salle got a winner; Duren played for the powerful AAU Team Final with Michael Gilchrist (Elizabeth, N.J./St. Patrick) and Dion Waiters (Philadelphia/Life Center Academy). The straw that stirs the drink, Duren makes other players around him better. That's the sign of a great player.
Brandon Young, PG, DePaul
An athletic point who plays with high energy, Young excels in the open floor and pushes the ball with speed. He's always looking to attack the rim, but if there's a better opportunity for another teammate, he'll give the ball up for the assist. He's tough in the middle game, where he can shoot or get to the basket. He's a tenacious on-ball defender who works at it and does whatever he can to help his team win.