Along The Recruiting Trail

Looking at hidden questions from the Fall Signing Period recruiting classes

Nov. 29, 2007

By Van Coleman &


Van Coleman

Van is one of the nation's premier recruiting experts.
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In this first installment of our school season Along The Recruiting Trail column, we take a look at some issues related to the just-concluded Fall Signing Period.


1 - What classes in the Top 25 do you like more than your point system has them ranked? Is there a sleeper in there?


I think the Wake Forest class is the clearest of them all falling into that category.


That trio of Al-Farouq Aminu, Tony Woods and Ty Walker is going to be one of the best inside lineups in the country. I can see all three of them on the court together. Throw in current Deacons' sophomore Chas McFarland and that foursome could be as good as any in the country up front.  It's not only an underrated class, but more so influential for the future.




Alabama is another, having three Top 100 prospects and a Top 20 talent in JaMychal Green, who's a likely McDonald's All-American selection. With Green, Tony Mitchell and Andrew Steele, the Tide fills it needs well as Richard Hendrix and Ron Steele move on after next year.


North Carolina is a class that could rank a little higher. They could have been at No. 9 or No. 10 but sometimes you just have to reward teams that go out in the fall instead of waiting to the spring. Ed Davis and Tyler Zeller will go a long way in replacing Tyler Hansbrough, who probably won't be there next year.


Outside of the Top 25 Classes, West Virginia will be moving up when it's all said and done as they'll still be recruiting for the spring signing period. The three fall signees are Bob Huggins-type players in that they play hard, are aggressive, and they overcome shortcomings. Roscoe Davis is thin, but will get stronger and more physical to go with his ability to swat shots. Kevin Jones comes to play every time out and will only improve thanks to his work ethic, and Darryl Bryant just flat-out wins, like we saw him do all summer long with the Gauchos.


Look for our last update in December of the fall signing period class rankings, where we'll go further into examining how teams filled their needs.



2 -  Which of the classes do you feel will make a team a force or make a big improvement by complimenting what that team has coming back next year?


Right off the bat it's a team that just missed the Top 10, and that's Minnesota.


The Gophers lose their two big inside presences in Spencer Tollackson and Dan Coleman but replace them with the solid additions of Ralph Sampson Jr., Colton Iverson and Paul Carter. Then they get a great scorer on the wing in Devron Bostick and you're looking at a program ready to move forward, something the fans there have been waiting a long time for.


Another program that will be back to familiar days is Nevada. Luke Babbitt becomes their Nick Fazekas as an inside scorer who is capable of dominating games, while Mark McLaughlin becomes a Ramon Sessions. Their class re-establishes them as another of the premier programs in the western states.


Finally, Oregon did really well when you look at the fact they lose Malik Hairston and Marty Leunen up front. Mike Dunigan and Josh Crittle can come in and be solid first-year replacements, and add in Matt Humphrey, Teondre Williams and Drew Wiley with TaJuan Porter, and the Ducks won't skip a beat.



3 - Which No. 1 class from the fall do you think has more talent - the 2008 UCLA Class or the 2007 Syracuse class?


I think Syracuse is just slightly ahead, but then you go back and realize they finished third in the final rankings behind Florida and Indiana, and that tells you the depth of this year's freshman class in college basketball.


We've seen what Eric Gordon and his teammates are doing at Indiana already, and it won't take long for Florida to be back as its freshmen are maturing quickly. Then you've got Donte Greene scoring 20-plus points per game while Jonny Flynn and Scoop Jardine are showing flashes of being a phenomenal young guard duo for the Orange.


I've got to give the edge to the 07s, but the fact that we're seeing them in front of our eyes right now may be bringing some bias.


Don't discount this UCLA 2008 class. They are going to be very good very quickly and be more than adequate replacements for Darren Collison and company.