Cardinal Basketball

The Early Signing Period Has Begun

Louisville’s 2011 class is ranked as high as No. 2 – by Hoop Scoop – nationally. ESPN has the class No. 5, Scout No. 6 and Rivals No. 7.

Here is the Scout Top 10

1. KENTUCKY
2011 commits (National rank)
PG Marquis Teague (2)
SF Mike Gilchrist (3)
PF Anthony Davis (6)
PF Kyle Wiltjer (25)

John Calipari is at it again with his third consecutive No. 1 recruiting class at Kentucky. Teague, a dynamic point guard, and Gilchrist, a versatile small forward, are the top prospects at their position. Power forwards Davis and Wiltjer are both multi-talented post players and inside/outside threats.

2. DUKE
2011 commits (National rank)
SG Austin Rivers (1)
SF Michael Gbinije (31) 
C Marshall Plumlee (82) The top prospect in the country Austin Rivers pushes Duke to the No. 2 spot nationally and top spot in the ACC. Gbinije gives the reigning national champions a multidimensional wing player with a complete game. Plumlee, a four-star center brings length and athleticism to the Duke frontcourt.

3. NORTH CAROLINA
2011 commits (National rank)
PF James McAdoo (8)
SF P.J. Hairston (14)  

Rival programs better have gotten their licks in last year because Roy Williams is adding more top-flight talent to an already deep roster. McAdoo is as quick as any power forward in the country and Hairston is a bruising scorer with deep range.

4. ARKANSAS
2011 commits (National rank)
PG B.J. Young (18) 
PG Ky Madden (27)
PF Hunter Mickelson (98)
PF Devonta Abron (106)
PF Aaron Ross (147)  

The pressure is on John Pelphrey and his staff to produce, and they are doing so on the recruiting trail. Young blew up over the spring and summer, and is among the nation’s most explosive scorers. Madden is a versatile combo guard on the cusp of being a five-star. Mickelson is a swift big man from in-state and Ross is another local product who can score facing the hoop. Abron, another ranked power forward rounds out the class.

5. ST. JOHN’S
2011 commits (National rank)
SG D’Angelo Harrison (41)
SF Jakarr Sampson (44)
SF Maurice Harkless (45)
SF Dominique Pointer (81)
SG Nurideen Lindsey Steve Lavin is making a statement with his 2011 recruiting. He has three four-star forwards headed to St. John’s. Pointer, Sampson and Harkless are athletic, versatile forwards who can contribute in multiple ways. Four-star combo guard D’Angelo Harrison is a scoring machine. JUCO standout Nurideen Lindsey is also known for his ability to fill it up.

6. SYRACUSE
2011 commits (National rank)
C Rakeem Christmas (12) 
PG Michael Carter-Williams (16) 
SG Trevor Cooney  

Syracuse has a second consecutive top 10 recruiting class. Christmas is one of the top shot-blockers in the 2011 class. A talented combo guard, Carter-Williams is loaded with upside. Rounding out Syracuse’s class is Cooney, who will be expected to knock down shots from the wing.

7. LOUISVILLE
2011 commits (National rank)
PF Chane Behanan (23) 
SF Wayne Blackshear (32) 
C Zach Price (72) 
SF Ryan Taylor (103)
SF Angel Nunez  

With his off-the-court drama behind him, Rick Pitino can continue to focus on a potential blockbuster class. Behanan is a tough, physical scorer with offensive skill. Blackshear is a no-nonsense wing. Price and Taylor give the Cardinals added versatility inside and on the wing.

8. ARIZONA
2011 commits (National rank)
PG Josiah Turner (10)
SG Nick Johnson (40) 
PF Sidiki Johnson (71)

Sean Miller is working hard to put Arizona back on top and he’s got the best early class on the West Coast. Arizona native Nick Johnson is a highlight waiting to happen and Sidiki Johnson is a rugged rebounder who can score in the post. Top 10 prospect and the No. 2-ranked point guard Josiah Turner is the jewel of the three-man class.

9. ILLINOIS
2011 commits (National rank)
SF Mycheal Henry (36) 
PG Tracy Abrams (50) 
PF Mike Shaw (58)
C Nnanna Egwu (93)

Bruce Weber and his staff continue to lock down local four-star talent. Henry is a wing with size and scoring punch, while Abrams is among the top floor generals in the country. Shaw is a physical and versatile forward. Egwu needs work offensively, but has size and blocks shots.

10. OKLAHOMA STATE
2011 commits (National rank)
SF LeBryan Nash (4) 
PF Karron Johnson

Travis Ford has two physically imposing athletes on the way in Nash and Johnson. An elite prospect, Nash is also highly skilled and a multidimensional threat on the court. Johnson is considered by many as the top junior college prospect in the country.

Scout Top 20

I think the ranking for the Cards is pretty accurate for the most part. Keep in mind that these rankings will change a couple times before these guys step on campus. Wayne Blackhear, has flip flopped between a 4 and 5 star over the past year and in my opinion, he will likely end up a 5-star. Wayne is the front runner for Illinois Mr. Basketball. Angel Nunez, also has a good chance go get back in the top 100 with a solid season in prep school. Nunez, was once considered a top 50 recruit, but fell put of the rankings over the summer because he didn’t participate a lot on the AAU circuit this past spring. If Wayne finishes as a 5 star and Angel gets back in the top 100 this class will likely end up in the top 5. Just last year, Gorgui Dieng was not ranked in the top 100 before the season started, but was ranked 44 on the final rankings for the 2010 class….A lot of things can change.

Ryan Taylor Update: Taylor is still committed to Louisville, but like I said before, there is a 0% chance he signs with this 2011 class. Academic issues will keep him from joining this group. I am not sure what his options are to join the 2012 class. 

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