Justin Simon's commitment to Arizona this week obviously proved fortuitous for the Wildcats, but the move hardly was novel. Simon became one of several rising seniors to end their recruitments and increase the pressure on high-major coaches seeking to fill needs.
If you're a major program seeking an established All-American caliber point guard or wing from the 2015 crop, your remaining options are Malik Newman, Teki Gill Caesar, Allonzo Trier, Dwayne Bacon and Jalen Coleman. Indeed, that quintet comprises the only undecided group of prospects within the top 25 who stand 6-5 or shorter.
Overall, six of the top 17 have issued early commitments. And this despite the fact that most major college programs still are scouring the nation hungrily for talent. Clearly, the game of musical chairs feature far fewer seats than it does players.
Point guard is scariest of all. Simon currently is our top-rated point guard, and he's headed to Arizona. The No. 2 floor general, Aaron Holiday, will compete for UCLA. Our third-rated point guard, Jalen Brunson, is undecided but ranked No. 35 in the class. (Caveat: He played very well recently and could be due for a bump upward in the ratings.)
Thankfully, behind Brunson a reasonably good crop of floor generals populates the list. Interestingly, and promisingly for the Pac-12, the West features a very solid group of guards. California's Marcus LoVett was outstanding at the Jayhawk Invitational, joining Simon and Holiday as blue-chippers from that region of the country.
Back at the top, however, the situation is becoming increasingly tense. Arizona and Kentucky loom arguably as the nation's most dangerous recruiting forces, and both continue to actively recruit elite players. LSU, Duke and Syracuse also are on the board with top rising seniors, but those programs haven't yet addressed all of their needs, either.
That's why the evaluation period was so critical. Coaches had an opportunity — and only one — to discover new top targets if they missed on those who pledged early or otherwise feel their odds are too long with certain prospects. And suffice it to say our rankings will shift dramatically between now and the end of summer to include some of the fast-risers and heretofore sleepers.
Quite obviously, if the players are ready to accelerate their timetables, so must college coaches.