Still some program-changing prospects unsigned
Early signing period is over, but there are still some program-changing prospects out there, writes Reggie Rankin.
The early signing period has come and gone and the world of college basketball recruiting changes faster than the weather, but here's a look at what's next for a few big-timers who have not made a decision.
ESPNU 100 Rank: No. 2
Georgia, Georgia Tech and NC State all are trying to lock up the top remaining player, but word on the street is it will be tough to get this strong, athletic rebounding machine out of the state of Georgia. Still, we all know in recruiting it isn't over 'til it's over. Favors, 6-foot-9 and 220 pounds, is a powerful forward who runs the floor like a perimeter player and is explosive around the basket. When he is not finishing above the rim, Favors is executing his jump hook with either hand. Favors can also face up and knock down the open jumper to about 17 feet with time and space, or attack the basket with one or two power dribbles. On defense, Favors starts the fast break with his tremendous shot-blocking ability. Favors is another player who will make an immediate impact and is a possible program-changing player.
Renardo Sidney (Los Angeles, Calif./ Fairfax)
ESPNU 100 Rank: No. 5
When motivated, Sidney can simply dominate the game. At 6-9, 260 pounds, he has the size of a big man but the skill of a small forward. Sidney has shooting range to the arc and excellent moves in the post as well. He is great at using his big body to hold off defenders and finish with power drop steps or quick spin moves. He is matchup problem because of his ability to shoot over smaller defenders and drive past less mobile post players. Sidney is a terrific defensive rebounder and outlet passer. USC, UCLA and Mississippi State are reportedly leading the pack for Sidney's services. It is important to know that Sidney is originally from Mississippi, so the Bulldogs could be in the thick of things coming down the home stretch. Also, Sidney has reportedly been thinking about exploring options of playing professionally overseas right after his senior season.
ESPNU 100 Rank: No. 6
This super-athletic point guard has great size (6-3, 180), is a terrific ball handler and a great passer with excellent court vision. Wall has blazing speed, quickness and provides highlights in transition, as he plays above the rim on a regular basis. In the half court he can create shots for others or himself as he attacks the lane. He is a streaky shooter, but good enough to keep the defense honest. He's kind of like Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo. Wall has checked out the Kansas Jayhawks, which reportedly is his only official visit to date. The other schools in the hunt for Wall's services are Memphis, Baylor and hometown NC State and Duke. Memphis will sell Wall on John Calipari's NBA experience and the recent success of Derrick Rose, but the Tigers might be out of the picture after signing Xavier Henry (not because they are not the same position, but because of scholarship numbers). Baylor hired Dwon Clifton -- the brother of Wall's traveling team coach Brian Clifton -- as director of player development, which could have an impact on Wall's decision. NC State keeps Wall close to family, Sidney Lowe also has an NBA background and waiting gives Wall time see how the WolfPack fare in the tough ACC. Of course, you also have the powerful Coach K making a push, so there is still a lot of intrigue here.
Lance Stephenson (Brooklyn, N.Y./Lincoln)
ESPNU 100 Rank: No. 7
When it comes to getting buckets, Stephenson is at the top of the list. He is a machine who can score on anyone early and often. His shot selection and inability to get teammates involved is a glaring weakness, but his talent and ability to score is undeniable. Stephenson is always in attack mode on the offensive end of the floor. At 6-5, 220 pounds, he has great size and strength for a wing. In transition he can create shots over or around defenders and in the half court he can score off the dribble or catch. Off the dribble, he drives through contact to get all the way to the rim, but he can also pull up in the lane and can knock down the open 3 off the catch. He does a great job of drawing fouls and is a good passer when he keeps it simple, but this part of his game is not mentioned too often because of his ability to score and the high number of shots he attempts. Kansas, UCLA, Kentucky, USC and local St. John's are reported to be in the mix. Also, there has been rumor that Stephenson is considering the overseas professional route that Arizona signee Brandon Jennings is pursuing. Stay tuned.
Dominic Cheek (Jersey City, N.J./St. Anthony)
ESPNU 100 Rank: No. 11
Cheek has all the offensive weapons at his disposal. This 6-6 shooting guard has long arms, excellent athletic ability and is very smooth. He can shoot the 3 off the catch with range, slash to the rim and finish over defenders with his excellent length. He is also a good pull-up shooter and passer when he draws a second defender. He will need to add strength and work to be more consistent, but he has all the makings of an immediate impact wing at the highest college level. Villanova is putting in overtime, as is Kansas, and Cheek has already visited both. Nearby Rutgers is trying to hang tough and Pitt and Memphis are also reported to be on his official visit list, but Memphis might be out with the signing of Henry and Nolan Dennis, both ESPNU 100 players and shooting guards.
Reggie Rankin was an assistant coach at seven schools for 13 seasons, most recently at Dayton. He played at Ohio University from 1986 to 1990 and was an All-MAC first-teamer his senior season.