Key Visitors This WeekWith the July evaluation periods over, college coaches are doing their best to get their top level recruits on campus as quickly as possible. There are a bunch of key visits this weekend. Here’s your guide to the top ones:
Bluebloods setting the pace
At this moment, eight of our top 25 seniors have announced their collegiate decisions. And while we'll soon release updated rankings, the pattern already has been established: The country's most illustrious programs reside at the apex of the recruiting food chain, and they'll largely generate the reactions from other schools and players that follow.
Western recruiting juggernaut Arizona holds three commitments from among the octet. Guards Justin Simon (No. 14), Allonzo Trier (No. 15) and wing Ray Smith (No. 22) all are headed to Tucson. Sean Miller has established himself as a dynamic big man recruiting during his tenure with the Wildcats, but clearly he has thumb on the pulse of perimeter performers as well.
Meanwhile, Duke holds pledges from center Chase Jeter (No. 9) and Ohio sharpshooter Luke Kennard (No. 19). The Blue Devils reaffirmed their national appeal, reaching into Las Vegas and the heart of Big Ten country to peel away elite prospects. No one will ever express surprise at Duke getting an elite wing, but after some recent struggles the Devils have now pieced together two straight classes with a prime big man (incoming freshman Jahlil Okafor being the other).
Louisville picked up a pledge from forward Deng Adel (No. 18), as the Cardinals continue to target preferred targets very early and push all-out to get commitments in hand. Rick Pitino simply beat a lot of people to the punch on Adel, and Louisville remains a major factor for other fast-risers (not necessarily reflected in the rankings yet) as well.
For Jim Boeheim, recruiting is more precision than casting a wide net. As much, the Orange frequently reel in early pledges and have accomplished the same this year. Malachi Richardson performed up and down during the spring and summer but certainly has legitimate his impact performer status. Given that many were ready to write retirement stories for Boeheim following the 2012-13 season, he has continued to reel in top classes.
The most touted senior to have committed is No. 2 Ben Simmons, headed to LSU. While the Tigers haven't accomplished what the other three programs mentioned here have of late, they have arguably the best player in the country in the fold and have their eyes set on other prime prospects such as guard Antonio Blakeney (No. 20) as well.--Rob Harrington
Ohio 2016 class making wavesComing into July it looked like the class of 2016 in Ohio would be dominated by V.J. King and Omari Spellman. Well both of them have transferred out of state, and still the class is loaded with high-major talent at a level that is rarely seen. Known more as a football state, Ohio is primed to have one of its best years in recent memory in-state and high-majors are flocking there to try and get involved in a big way. Now the two headliners are Matthew Moyer and Derek Funderburk, both of whom have numerous high-major offers, and Moyer is currently one of the most talked about recruits in the 2016 class. Also Jon Teske, Nick Ward, Jarron Cumberland, Seth Towns, and Xavier Simpson have multiple high-major offers. That is just the beginning though, Willie Jackson and Tervell Beck have as much talent as anybody in the state, and players like Derrick Daniels, Frankie Hughes, and Yavari Hall continue to garner significant upper mid-major offers and high-major attention. Overall the state could produce more high-majors in the 2016 class than any time in the last decade, and that is after losing two to transfer. With some of the other areas in the Midwest down in 2016, Ohio looks like the place to be for coaches in the area. --Brian Snow
West Coast schools get jump on 2016The West Coast, compared to other regions, generally doesn't start seriously recruiting prospects until the current class is close to done. Usually, underclass prospects - even many who will end up highly recruited - go without too many scholarship offers until college coaches are about done with the recruiting class at hand. That means you don't see too many early commitments on the West Coast in the average year. Which is why the fact that four programs on the west already having 2016 commitments is such a surprise. On Monday, California landed a commitment from athletic small forward Oscar Frayer, giving the Golden Bears an important early pledge. It marked the third Top 100 2016 prospect on the West Coast to end his recruitment before the start of his junior year. UCLA has a five-star point guard committed in Lonzo Ball, while BYU has a four-star commitment in Frank Jackson. Fresno State also has a pretty good commitment in post Bryson Williams. All four early commitments have something in common; they're all local prospects. Ball plays at Chino Hills (Calif.), just 46 miles from UCLA's campus. Frayer is 20 miles away from Cal at Hayward (Calif.) Moreau Catholic, Jackson is 18 miles from BYU at Lone Peak (Utah) and Williams is just five miles away from Fresno State at Fresno Roosevelt. --Josh Gershon
Evan Daniels, Brian Snow, Josh Gershon and Rob Harrington contributed to this report