Notebook: Tectonic shifts

In our weekly Notebook feature, the national team explores creative and broad topics from the grassroots hoops realm.

Recruiting shift?

One thing that has been interesting to watch this year has been the success of traditional football recruiting powers like Texas A&M, Florida State and Auburn succeeding on the recruiting trail while basketball schools such as North Carolina and Indiana have struggled some, especially relative to schools they historically (and in recent memory) have dominated when it comes to recruiting.

While I fully expect the Tar Heels and Hoosiers to finish with good recruiting classes, it is interesting to see other schools seemingly step things up on the recruiting trail. Heck, the reality is Kentucky and Kansas also have only combined for one commitment, though clearly they are both set up with top targets and should reel in good classes.

Now the question becomes is the recruiting rise of schools who aren't traditional powers on the hardwood going to become a trend, or is it a freakish kind of snapshot in time that is nothing more than a coincidence.

In the end I tend to think right now it is a bit of a coincidence and a combination of once in a decade factors that have led to this development, and it will regress to the norm soon enough where traditional powers dominate recruiting wise, but there is no doubt it has been intriguing to watch how things have developed this year.

— Brian Snow

ACC's new blood paying off

When the ACC announced the additions of Louisville, Syracuse and Pittsburgh, the league did more than cripple the old Big East. The conference established itself as the premier East Coast basketball power and appears poised to regain its former luster nationally as well.

But not everything has gone according to expectation. When the new schools joined, they were billed as elite playmates for conference bellwethers Duke and North Carolina.

Since the time they were admitted, it was Rick Pitino's Cardinals who — not the Devils or Heels — who hoisted a national championship trophy in 2013. Louisville doesn't actually open ACC play until this season, but even prior to undertaking the conference slate the Cardinals established themselves as at least arguably the league's hottest program.

That brings us to Class of 2015 recruiting. The ACC is performing very well, having won commitments from 14 top-100 prospects — including six of the top 25.

Examining the scene more closely, however, it's clear that all three of the newest league members are contributing most meaningfully. Louisville's class is nothing short of spectacular, as the Cardinals hold three top-25 pledges and four of the top 50.

Syracuse, meanwhile, has gained pledges from four top 100 prospects as well. And Jamie Dixon's Panthers hold one top-100 commitment.

Thus, the three newest ACC members have gained nine of the league's 14 top 100 commitments. That leaves Duke (two, both in the top 25) and Florida State (three) as the only other league programs to have notched a win in the top 100.

Your move, old line ACC.

— Rob Harrington

Players flying off the board

Commitments seem to be coming at a ridiculous pace this year.

Already 58 of the top 100 players in the 2015 recruiting class are off the board and committed to their respective schools.

Since Friday, top 100 recruits Dwayne Bacon, D.J. Hogg, Malik Beasley and Haanif Cheatham have announced their future destinations and there are others like Jalen Brunson and Juwan Morgan expected to announce their decisions this week.

Sharpshooter Hogg will play in the SEC for Texas A&M

Historically, a good majority of college decision are made prior to and during the first signing period, but they just seem to be coming a little quicker this year.

With all that said, the elite level recruits aren’t committing quickly. Eight of the top 10 and 12 of the top 16 players are still available.

— Evan Daniels

Lobos on board early with Lightfoot

On Sunday, New Mexico landed its first 2016 commitment, picking up a pledge from 6-foot-7, 200-pound Gilbert (Ariz.) Christian center Mitch Lightfoot.

Lightfoot, who recently transferred from Oro Valley (Ariz.) Ironwood Ridge to Gilbert Christian, was completing a weekend unofficial visit to New Mexico when he made his commitment.

For the Lobos, landing Lightfoot this early was important. While he's undersized, he makes up for it with his athleticism, toughness, motor and skill. He plays very hard and embraces contact.

Lightfoot can score with his back to the basket with a right-handed hook shot and can step out and shoot. He passes the ball well for the position, scores on putbacks, grabs defensive rebounds and blocks shots.

With a frame that can still pack on plenty of weight, look for Lightfoot to be a physical post for the Lobos who helps the team both offensively and defensively. He's a guy who should be very productive at the next level.

— Josh Gershon

Evan Daniels, Brian Snow, Josh Gershon and Rob Harrington contributed to this report

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