Ask any college basketball coach and he’ll tell you that, as excited as they are to get commitments from elite players, they don’t fully breathe a sigh of relief until they’re holding a signed National Letter of Intent.
Wednesday kicked off the NCAA’s Early Signing Period and from USA Today’s Chosen 25 stars still mulling over decisions to super teams being formed we’ve managed to zero-in on the biggest news from around the country from day one.
Cade Cunningham made it official
After Cunningham committed to Oklahoma State last week, speculation ran rampant that the top player in the Chosen 25 could potentially hold off on signing until the spring, but at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Cunningham, a point guard at Montverde (Florida) Academy, put pen to paper and made it official to the Cowboys. Cunningham is the highest ranked recruit in Oklahoma State’s history and is projected to be the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Oklahoma State hired Cunningham’s brother, Cannen, to be an assistant on head coach Mike Boynton’s staff in June, which Cunningham said is what ultimately helped the Cowboys win out.
Michigan commit Isaiah Todd to wait until the spring
Todd is the highest ranked (No. 8 in the Chosen 25) committed recruit that does not plan to sign during the Early Period. Todd, a forward at Word of God Christian Academy (Raleigh, North Carolina), said he “can’t wait” to play at Michigan next season, but isn’t ready to sign.
Josh Hall could make the call soon
The Moravian Prep (Hickory, North Carolina) wing is expected to make his decision during the Early Signing Period with a top three of N.C. State, DePaul and Louisville. Hall, a five-star prospect, would be ranked in USA Today Sports’ Chosen 25 if not for his reclassification last season. His come-out party came this summer when he dominated his one and only session on the Nike EYBL with Team CP3 (North Carolina), averaging 30 points a game. Sources indicate that Hall’s commitment could potentially come this weekend.
Best fall signing classes
From Duke’s depth Chosen 25 and four-star talent to Texas Tech’s emergence as a contender we analyze the top five classes for 2020.
1. Duke: When IMG Academy (Bradenton, Florida) center Mark Williams committed to Duke earlier this month, he posed a question regarding Duke’s 2020 class: “What don’t we have?” The Blue Devils have depth and elite talent with three Chosen 25 players (IMG’s Jalen Johnson, Whitney Young (Chicago) combo guard D.J. Steward, Huntington (West Virginia) Prep wing Jaemyn Brakefield), four-star studs (Williams, Virginia Episcopal (Richmond, Virginia) forward Henry Coleman III) and Paul VI (Fairfax, Virginia) point guard Jeremy Roach, who would be ranked in the Chosen 25 if not for sitting out all last season with a torn ACL. Roach will play this season.
2. North Carolina: The Tar Heels have a talented haul with three Chosen 25 players (Montverde Academy forward Day’Ron Sharpe, Christian Brothers (St. Louis, Missouri) point guard Caleb Love, Woodward Academy (Fairburn, Georgia) center Walker Kessler), and two four-star scoring wings (Hillcrest Prep’s (Phoenix) Puff Johnson, Archbishop Stepinac’s (White Plains, New York) R.J. Davis).
3. Kentucky: The Wildcats boast two of the best perimeter players in the class in Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, California) shooting guard B.J. Boston and Brewster Academy (Wolfeboro, New Hampshire) shooting guard Terrence Clarke, both of which are ranked in the Chosen 25. Kentucky also has two four-star forwards (Vashon’s (St. Louis, Missouri) Cam’Ron Fletcher, Camden’s (New Jersey) Lance Ware) in the stable.
4. Tennessee: The Vols landed a big fish last month in IMG Academy combo guard Jaden Springer, a Chosen 25 star. He joins The Webb (Bell Buckle, Tennessee) shooting guard Keon Johnson, a four-star recruit who was just on the cusp of making the Chosen 25, and Hargrave Military Academy (Chatham, Virginia) four-star wing Corey Walker.
5. Texas Tech: The Red Raiders landed Chosen 25 star Nimari Burnett, a point guard at Prolific Prep (Napa, California), to go with two four-star wings in Duncanville’s (Texas) Micah Peavy and St. Augustine’s (San Diego) Chibuzo Agbo.
Most important signings
From historic signings to timely signings here’s a look at the most important names that either came through fax machines on Wednesday or are scheduled to come this week and why.
1. Cade Cunningham (Oklahoma State): Cunningham, ranked No. 1 in the Chosen 25, is the highest ranked recruit the Cowboys have ever landed and is the type of player that other elite players want to play with.
2. Nimari Burnett (Texas Tech): Burnett, ranked No. 15 in the Chosen 25, was arguably the best guard on his summer travel team which featured three other Chosen 25 guards. Burnett could be the steal of the class.
3. Sharife Cooper (Auburn): Cooper, ranked No. 2 overall in the Chosen 25, is known amongst his peers as the point guard that makes everyone better. That could mean more elite commitments for the Tigers. Cooper will sign during the Early Period.
4. Scottie Barnes (Florida State): Barnes, ranked No. 10 in the Chosen 25, has earned the reputation as the most competitive player in the country, and as a playmaker he’s respected amongst his peers.
5. Caleb Love (North Carolina): The Tar Heels will lose Cole Anthony to the NBA Draft this spring and having Love as the next man up eases everyone’s tensions about the transition next season.
Here’s a look at the best recruits who remain uncommitted and are expected to make their decision during the Spring Signing Period (April 14-20, 2020).
1. Jalen Green
Schools being considered: Fresno State, Memphis, Oregon, Auburn, USC
Latest buzz: Green, ranked No. 3 in the Chosen 25, had originally planned to commit on Christmas but will likely make his decision in the spring.
2. Greg Brown
Schools being considered: Kentucky, Texas, Memphis, Auburn, North Carolina
Latest buzz: Brown’s only official visit was to Texas, but he’s taken unofficials to every other school on his list. Brown, ranked No. 7 in the Chosen 25, plans to take officials to the other four in the coming months.
3. Ziaire Williams
Schools being considered: USC, North Carolina, Stanford, Oregon, Arizona
Latest buzz: Williams, ranked No. 9 in the Chosen 25, has already taken official visits to USC, North Carolina and Stanford and is considering taking other officials to Oregon and Arizona.
4. Cam Thomas
Schools being considered: UCLA, LSU, Auburn
Latest buzz: Thomas, ranked No. 11 in the Chosen 25, told USA Today Sports that he still could potentially decide during the Early Period; LSU and UCLA lead.
5. Josh Christopher
Schools being considered: Howard, Michigan, Missouri, Arizona State, UCLA
Latest buzz: Christopher, ranked No. 16 in the Chosen 25, has a long way to go with most of his visits ahead of him; still, most agree that it will be hard to lure Christopher away from the west coast.
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY