For the second time in three years, Duke not only has the best class in the ACC Conference, but also the best class in the nation.
With the addition of Scout’s top player – Harry Giles -- last Friday, Mike Krzyzewski is again collecting a roster of talent that is sure to have the Blue Devils competing for another National Championship next season.
Giles, a 6-foot-10 power forward out of Winston-Salem, N.C., has been regarded as the No. 1 player in 2016 for quiet some time. At his size, he’s a versatile scoring threat that brings tenacity and a rebounding edge to the court.
Tatum, a 6-foot-8 wing, gives Duke a legitimate perimeter scorer. Tatum possesses an advanced skill package for his size and age and is in the conversation for best scoring in the 2016 recruiting class.
Jackson, a five-star combination guard, has good size, strength, speed and scoring ability for a primary ball handler. He’s one of the top distance shooters in the country.
While Tatum and Jackson impress with their abilities to score, DeLaurier, a 6-foot-8 power forward, makes an impact with his motor, energy and rebounding. DeLaurier races end-to-end, contests shots and is an improving offensive threat from mid-range and in.
Even with four players ranked among the top 40 recruits in the country, Duke may not be done in 2016. They are still heavily involved with 6-foot-10 five-star center Marques Bolden, who visited the Blue Devils this past fall.
While Duke has secured the most talent, they are far from the only one. In fact, 10 schools in the league have secured a top 100 prospect and five have locked up pledges from five-star prospects.
Bradley gives the Heels an anchor in the post. At 6-foot-10, he’s a terrific area rebounder with an impressive set of mitts. Robinson, at 6-foot-5, is a very good wing athlete that excels in transition, has potential as a defender and is a much-improved shooter.
Isaac, a 6-foot-9 versatile forward, ranks No. 9 overall in the class because of his combination of size, length, athleticism, mobility, skill and upside. Forrest is an athletic wing prospect, while Walker is a skilled lead guard that will run the show in the future for the Seminoles.
This class will boost UVa’s perimeter, especially in the shooter department, as Jerome and Guy are recognized as the two of best shooters in the class. While Huff hasn’t played on the national circuit, he’s known for his skill and shooting ability at 6-foot-10.
Syracuse has the No. 5 class in the conference with pledges from Tyus Battle, Scout’s No. 24 overall prospect, and Matthew Moyer. N.C. State and Louisville check in at No. 6 and No. 7. Each of the two schools have pledges from five-star recruits.
Who Will Help Most As A Freshman?
This is an interesting category for the future ACC prospects, as there are currently seven five-star prospects headed to ACC programs.
The easy answer would be Giles, but with his ACL injury, we don’t know how impactful he’ll be at the beginning of the season. The same could be said for Dennis Smith , a N.C. State commit that tore his ACL in early August. Regardless, both of those players are expected to make significant impacts at their respective schools.
Another guy to look at is Isaac. The 6-foot-10 versatile combo forward can fill a variety of roles and has significant upside Isaac will be the most talented player Leonard Hamilton brings to campus in years and will certainly compete with Giles, Smith and likely even Tatum for Freshman of the Year in the league next year.
How They Stacked Up
The truth is, even though the ACC has more teams than the other big six conferences, it is bringing in significantly more talent than other conferences.
Seven of the 15 schools in the conference are currently ranked in the top 25 class rankings. The league has the most top 100 prospects currently committed with 17 and also has a clear advantage with the top tier recruits, as seven five-stars are committed. No other conference has more than three five-star pledges.
ACC Conference Rankings