Signing Day Superlatives

Will Barton

With Signing Day upon us it's time to take a peak at who the big winners were during the early signing period.

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Biggest Winners


It should be no surprise that Thad Matta's program is at the top of our recruiting rankings.

In fact we are getting accustom to having them near the top our list. In 2006 they scored the second best crop. In 2007 they checked in at No. 7. Then they made their way back to No. 2 in 2008. Now after a year outside the top 25 the Buckeyes hold the top spot.

Matta's 2010 group covers all the bases. They have star power in the best center in the country – Jared Sullinger – and one of the top power forwards – DeShaun Thomas. The Bucks also have J.D. Weatherspoon to provide depth inside.


Sullinger leads the way for OSU
A trio of guards will contribute as soon as they make it to campus as well. Jordan Sibert is a top 15 shooting guard, Aaron Craft is a tough lead guard with winning tendencies and Lenzelle Smith is a utility guy that continues to improve.

In total OSU picked up two five-star prospects, two four-star players and a pair of three-star recruits.

Not too far behind Ohio State' six man group is the class that first year coach Josh Pastner has assembled at Memphis.

Will Barton and Joe Jackson – both five-star prospects -- are Pastner's biggest pulls, but Memphis native Chris Crawford and Antonio Barton are solid pick ups for the Conference USA program as well.

Jim Boeheim and the Orangemen also put together a strong group of prospects, and don't appear to be done.

At this point, Weston (Fla.) Sagemont standout Fab Melo is their best recruit. Melo, who ranks No. 3 at the center spot, is joined by 6-foot-10 big man Baye Moussa Keita and C.J. Fair in the front court. Their lone backcourt recruit is dynamic scorer Dion Waiters, a four-star prospect.

Best Frontcourt?


It's hard to top the frontcourt class that the Buckeyes have accumulated.

Sullinger is currently No. 3 overall, while Thomas checks in at No. 14 overall. Sullinger has the size, toughness and ability to score to be a dominant post presence in the college game. Thomas brings a face up game from the four spot, as he's skilled and can shoot it.

The past few years the Buckeyes have had a history of losing big man early. Greg Oden left after a year, so did Kosta Koufos and B.J. Mullens. While we think Sullinger will be as dominant as those three in college, he'll likely stick around for more than a year.


Payne headed to Big Ten
Sticking with the Big Ten, we like what Tom Izzo has put together for the Spartans 2010 frontcourt.

Adreian Payne, the 19th overall prospect, is a high potential guy that runs the floor well, blocks shots and rebounds. Offensively he's improving and has the raw talent to be a heck of a player for Izzo.

Three-star prospect Alex Gauna is the other post prospect headed to East Lansing. Gauna, a Michigan native, stands 6-foot-9 and is a guy that can step out and knock down jumpers, which has worked well in Izzo's system in the past.

Texas A&M's group of Tobi Oyedeji, Daniel Alexander, Keith Davis and Kourtney Roberson is another group that we are impressed with.

Mark Turgeon will get plenty of effort out of Houston (Tex.) Bellaire standout Oyedeji. He's a hard worker that blocks shots and rebounds very well. Alexander brings an ability to shoot the ball to the table, while Davis is a 6-foot-9 big that is just beginning to scratch the surface of his potential.

Best Backcourt?

Both Memphis and North Carolina have backcourt classes that catch our eye.

For the top spot we'll go with Memphis' group because they have more depth. Their top two prospects – Will Barton and Joe Jackson – are equipped scorers with killer instincts. Barton does his damage from the wing, while Jackson makes things happen with the ball in his hands.

Throw in sharp shooter Chris Crawford, of Memphis (Tenn.) Sheffield, and Will's brother Antonio and you have quite a group of players.

Carolina will grab yet another highly regarded point guard in No. 21 Kendall Marshall. The Arlington (Va.) Bishop O'Connell floor general is one of the best passers in high school basketball and has become a favorite among his peers.


No. 21 Marshall to UNC
Bullock, the second rated shooting guard in 2010, has a deep, pure stroke from long range and is one of the better shooters in the class. At 6-foot-6 he's got great size for the spot and has continued to develop his mid-range game and ball handling.

Although we thought Memphis and North Carolina's backcourt classes were clearly the top two, N.C. State's group of Lorenzo Brown and Ryan Harrow is pretty tough as well.

Brown, originally a member of the 2009 class, is a prep school standout that brings athleticism and a scoring ability to the guard spot. Harrow, on the other hand, is a speedy floor general with a strong handle and a scoring mentality. Together they'll form an impressive scoring backcourt.

Best of the Mid-Majors


For years it's been tough to determine the exact definition of a mid-major program.

Schools like Memphis, Xavier and Dayton don't recruit like mid-level schools, but based on conference some may categorize them that way. With that said, we do not. So those three programs weren't up for consideration in this category.


Quarles takes talent to St. Joseph
Phil Martelli always seems to have talent and his 2010 class is no different. His top prospect is Darius Quarles, who is a 6-foot-7 hybrid forward that has the potential to be an all league player down the road. Throw in three-star prospect Langston Galloway and St. Joseph is getting a strong two-man group.

New Mexico's biggest recruit came from within their state. Alex Kirk, of Los Alamos (N.M.) High, ultimately wanted to play close to home and that was big get for Steve Alford's program. To go with Kirk, a top 100 prospect, New Mexico will also sign Tony Snell.

Florida International, Butler, VCU, Fairfield, BYU and UMass also put together solid classes.

Still A Lot Left


With 17 of Scout.com's top 100 prospects still on the board it's hard to formulate an accurate set of rankings, as they'll certainly be changing as we head into the spring.

To go even deeper 10 of the top 25 players are still contemplating decisions and we expect at least seven of the 10 and likely 13 of the 17 will leave the fall signing period as uncommitted and unsigned prospects.

The top rated guys that are looking like spring decisions are Brandon Knight, Josh Selby, C.J. Leslie, Jelan Kendrick, Terrence Jones, Cory Joseph, Justin Coleman, Doron Lamb, Roscoe Smith, Trey Zeigler, Jayvaugh Pinkston, Tony Mitchell and Tarik Black.

Individual Superlatives


Best Player: Harrison Barnes
Best Shooter: Gary Franklin
Best Defender: Aaron Craft
Best Rebounder: Jared Sullinger
Best Scorer: Will Barton
Best Passer: Kendall Marshall
Best Ballhandler: Trevor Releford
Most Underrated: Keith Davis

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