Spring Inventory: Who's Left? Who's Hot?

Anthony McClain

There simply aren't enough Anthony McClain's or Patrick Patterson's to go around. On the same note, Jai Lucas has the point guard market all to himself. Here are some names to look for this spring.

Leon Freeman of Boys To Men Academy was omitted in the original story. The Michigan native is the top-rated wing prospect on the board at this stage.

Gene Keady once said, "Recruiting is a lot like shaving. If you don't do it everyday you wind up looking like a bum."

Well, folks, it's the time of year when America's top programs adopt the facial hair policy. The end of February means the end of the season and programs switch from "recruiting mode" to "winning mode" as advancing into the post-season dominates campus talk.

That's not to say recruiting doesn't take place in late February and March; it merely takes a backseat for a few weeks. In anticipation of this annual rite of passage, there have been a few commitments but news is trickling out as opposed to flowing from an open spigot.

A quick glance across the best availables board reveals bad news. The point guard crop is especially picked over. Of the top 25 point guards in America, as rated by Scout.com, a whooping one remains on the board.

Jai Lucas is turning into America's prospect. The Houston point man with super-guard genes has Kentucky, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Maryland fans hanging on his every word. There's even chatter that Iowa is trying to make a late push for the only real impact guard on the board.

Other emerging candidates at the position include high-scoring Bo Spencer out of Baton Rouge and Miami's Javier Gonzalez.

Looking for the quick fix at the shooting guard spot? Not going to happen. There isn't a single Scout.com Top 25 shooting guard available. One-time Florida pledge Gary Clark is hot and getting warmer. Illinois product Justin Bocot may heat up as well. Ditto for Philly area product Terrence Roderick and Massanutten scorer Darion Pellum.

A glance at the small forward list reveals more bad news in terms of elite guys at the position. Decatur Christian talent Darrington Hobson is still out there. So is Floridian Alvin Mitchell. The best recent addition and maybe the late period steal of the year goes to the Big East.

Providence holds the prize. Tim Welsh's crew picked up Jamine Peterson. "Greedy" is exactly the kind of tough guy forward the Friars love to recruit late.

Steffphon Pettigrew out of Kentucky is having a big year. Texan Cliff Tucker remains a strong spring find as well.

A fan of inside players? Boy, we've got increasingly bad news for you. All-American Patrick Patterson is the big prize that still hasn't taken the bait. Talk about anticipation? Duke, Florida, Kentucky, Virginia, Wake Forest and West Virginia are in the dark about his plans as we approach extreme nail-biting time on those campuses.

The recent hot prospect hails from Charis Prep via Illinois. Justin Safford heated up his stock in the fall, injured his hand and now has the attention of mid and high-level programs. Speaking of injuries, Arkansas native Michael Sanchez may prep or could decide to take up a roster spot this spring.

And finally, the center position. 7-footer Anthony McClain out of National Christian is the main attraction. Coach Trevor Brown has cultivated some good ones over the years and McClain is plenty good enough to play as a freshman and still has room to improve.

If your favorite program whiffs on him, then you're off to Stoneridge Prep where Mamadou Diarra and Boubacar Sylla reside.

Surely there's a late bloomer or two out there capable of making an impression. So, if you find one, be sure to pass his name along!

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