Let's have some speculation fun.
Stop for a minute and take inventory of members of the Class of 2002, you'll notice plenty of them are roaming around the country making unofficial visits this month. Maybe, just maybe that means we could see a few more prospects opt to commitment before the start of the summer evaluation period. Some guys are already declaring leaders heading into the summer so things appear to be taking shape.
For instance, could Indiana be sitting on a super recruiting class? Absolutely. At the USA Camp last weekend, there was chatter about the Hoosiers landing a potentially huge 3-man class. The key to the Indiana would be getting one of three players to proclaim their loyalty in the next few weeks. SG Bracey Wright has been high on a few schools lately, but at camp he openly talked of the Hoosiers and how he could decide soon.
Sean May said he basically likes IU and North Carolina and hinted that his recruitment might not drag on as long as initially expected. PG John Gilchrist said Indiana and Florida basically were his leaders. He's on Florida's campus this week. Each one of those guys could wake up and pop for one school over the other. In May's case, it would seem IU would have the edge because he lives in Bloomington and hasn't been on UNC's campus. If he or Wright committed, it could begin a snowball effect that would be very nice for IU.
On Monday, Dee Brown took the point guard scholarship at Illinois. This just days after PG Deron Williams said Illinois led. Brown was ready to pull the trigger because of his familiarity with the program and he was coming off a weekend where he spent time at Illinois' camp. Williams wasn't ready to commit because he hadn't seen the Illini's campus. Williams probably won't eliminate Illinois right away but can two PGs really go to the same school in the same class?
What Brown's decision might do is get Williams thinking that if there's a school he really wants to attend, he had better take some time to go see the campus before July. He's going to adidas Camp and there is some chatter that he might find his way to College Park to check on the Terps just before camp starts.
Down on Tobacco Road, an arms race to lock up big men is being waged. PF Shelden Williams says Duke is his leader. Let's just get ahead of ourselves for a minute and look at what would happen if say Williams took one of Duke's remaining scholarships. The Blue Devils would now have to commitments from two frontcourt players with their eye on Shavlik Randolph for the third. Maybe Randolph sees Williams a great potential teammate or maybe he sees Duke's frontcourt getting crowded.
Either way, it forces him to evaluate a situation. If Williams did commit to Duke and say May were to pick Indiana, North Carolina would immediately be on the big man hot seat. Their remaining targets would be Randolph, Torin Francis, Jason Fraser and Curtis Sumpter. With Randolph being the best scorer of the bunch, he would be a huge key.
Now reverse the situation and say May steps up and commits to North Carolina. Then UNC would all but concede Williams to Duke or Illinois and probably focus in on Randolph. UNC could turn to Randolph and sell him that May is the low blocks guy, thus freeing him up to play combo forward. Then couldn't Duke make the same pitch? The scenarios really are complicated.
What about Francis, Fraser and Sumpter? Francis seems like he's in no hurry, but would a commitment from any one of the big guys spark him on? Ok, now I am confusing myself.
Wait, let's complicate the existing situation with this possibility. Neither Duke nor UNC can afford to have one of it's big men targets pull a "Kwame Brown" and commit but later decide to enter the NBA draft. The schools are just too thin at the post positions to have that happen. So, no matter whom they land, look for both Duke and UNC to use most of their available grants and fill out their rosters with big men. In Durham, that means SF Lee Melchioni is probably on his own his first year and would have to pay his own way and walk-on.
Of course, while all this speculation is taking place, the Florida Gators are almost waiting in an ambush position with Gilchrist on their campus. What if Gilchrist were to pick the Gators? Would that mean Daniel Horton wouldn't be as big a target? Would Sean Dockery or Anthony Roberson? Would Horton's AAU teammate Chris Bosh still then be looking at Gainesville if his buddy weren't along for the ride? Would Missouri, which reportedly may get the pair on its campus later this month, then make its move? Remember now, the Gators are still the "out" school with Randolph should he want to leave the Triangle area.
Get the idea that some dominoes could fall and cause a chain reaction if any one of the big men got an itchy finger? Sometimes all it takes is one key guy to make his decision. In this case, May and Shelden Williams might have the kind of juice to spark a fire and set off a reaction in a number of different ways.
Believe me, a pre-July chain reaction would probably be welcomed by all parties involved, especially the college coaches. A flurry right now would allow them to adjust their July plans in order to allow their staffs to spend time with the key targets and instead of chasing around 10 guys, they would be able to trim their list down and really lock in on just a handful. In turn, they could also spend more time evaluating the young kids, which of course, would give them a jump on next year.
See how the process just comes full circle? It's absolutely wild.