UCLA now has the No. 1 recruiting class in the country.
The Bruins entered the initial signing period with a top five class, but on Sunday they added five-star forward Kris Wilkes to the fold, which catapults them to the top spot in the rankings.
The UCLA staff fought off stiff competition for Wilkes, who ranks No. 18 overall in the class, beating out Illinois, Indiana and a host of others.
Wilkes gives the Bruins a different look in their class, as he’s a big wing with legitimate size and length at 6-foot-8. A quality athlete, Wilkes is effective attacking the basket and from mid-range.
But the real story with the Bruins is the overall success that Alford and his staff are having on the recruiting trial, as they've now reeled in eight five-star recruits and four four-star prospects in their last four classes.
The Bruins finished with the No. 4 class in the country last season and are backing it up with another star-studded group that likely won’t finish at No. 1, but certainly will be another top five group.
To go with Wilkes, Alford is bringing in his point guard of the future in five-star Jaylen Hands. A dynamic guard, Hands is quick, athletic and excels in uptempo basketball. With Lonzo Ball expected to be one and done and Bryce Alford graduating look for Hands to step in and handle the ball handling duties with Aaron Holiday next season.
UCLA also added some firepower to their post attack. Cody Riley is regarded as the No. 30 overall prospect and is recognized as one of the best rebounders in the 2017 class. He’s strong, tough, physical and a capable scorer on the block and from mid-range.
Then there’s Jalen Hill and LiAngelo Ball. Hill, a 6-foot-8, 200-pound post player, is a good athlete that runs the floor well and impacts the game with his rebounding and energy, while Ball will help their depth as a stretch forward.
While Wilkes is a national recruit, the Bruins 2016 and 2017 classes were built on targeting and getting the best local talent. Between their 2016 and 2017 classes, UCLA has brought in five prospects from Southern California ranked among the top 30 players in the country.
The Bruins five-man class could potentially even get better, as they are still in pursuit of west coast four-star wing Chuck O'Bannon Jr..
#1 UCLA Bruins
After a top five class last year, Steve Alford and company currently have the No. 1 class in 2017 with five pledges, including four from ranked recruits. Alford received big news during the signing period when Kris Wilkes opted for the Bruins. Jaylen Hands, an athletic and electrifying lead guard, is a top 30 prospect, while Cody Riley, Scout's No. 30 overall recruit, gives them some serious beef inside. Riley is recognized as one of the best rebounders in the class.
Sean Miller has had a top five recruiting class five of the last six years and it's about to be six of the last seven. Arizona has star power with DeAndre Ayton, the nation's No. 1 overall recruit, in the fold, but they also filled needs at the point guard position, on the wing and inside. Ayton has more potential and upside that anyone in the 2017 class and at nearly 7-feet tall, he brings offensive ability and the potential to be dominant defensively. Brandon Randolph is an equipped with shooter with good size, length and athleticism. Ira Lee is known for his effort, energy and rebounding, while Alex Barcello is an impressive shooter and passer at the point guard spot.
Avery Johnson got his dream backcourt on Thursday as both Collin Sexton and John Petty picked Alabama. Sexton is one of the elite players in the class and arguably the best scorer in the country while Petty has potential as an impact three and D guy with his shot making and athleticism. Also Johnson and his staff reeled in in-state targets Alex Reese and Herb Jones who project to be major four year contributors.
The Kentucky Wildcats got it going in a big way on the second day of the signing period by picking up a pair of five-star frontcourt commitments in Nick Richards and P.J. Washington. Richards will give John Calipari and his staff an instant impact rebounder and shot blocker while Washington also is a phenomenal rebounder who can guard multiple positions and is developing his skill game. Then with three days left in the period, the Cats added 6-foot-5 point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who is known for his passing and ability to distribute.
Bruce Pearl, Auburn sat at No. 1 in the pre-July 2017 class rankings with pledges from five-star burly center Austin Wiley and Scout's No. 37 overall recruit Davion Mitchell. The Tigers have only improved their position since, as they reeled in Chuma Okeke, Scout's No. 41 recruit, before the July evaluations concluded. This is a versatile class that includes impact players at three different position. .
From Marquesse Chriss and DeJounte Murray to current star Markelle Fultz, Lorenzo Romar has had his fair share of studs the past couple of years. Next up for Washington is Scout's No. 5 recruit Michael Porter. The 6-foot-8 wing is arguably the best scorer in the class, and at his size is a heck of an athlete with a pure stroke from deep. Local four-star recruit Jaylen Nowell gives them another scorer on the perimeter, while speedy guard Blake Harris will add depth to their backcourt.
Chris Mack and his staff were looking to ramp up their perimeter play with their 2017 recruiting class. Well mission accomplished for the Xavier Musketeers. Four of the five recruits are guards or wings and each is very different. Paul Scruggs is the highest rated of the bunch and at 6-foot-4, he's, versatile and can impact the game on both ends. Naji Marshall, like Scruggs, is a competitor, but he's at best slashing to the rim or making toughness players. Elias Harden is a perimeter scorer, while Jared Ridder is one of the better shooters in the 2017 class.
Illinois signed three recruits during the early signing period, but attention quickly turned to five-star center Jeremiah Tilmon. Although he committed back in July, Tilmon told Scout that he doesn't plan to sign during the signing period and rumors began swirling about his commitment. Tilmon didn't comment when asked if he was still committed to Illinois. Regardless, John Groce still has three players in the fold that can help him. Illinois also recently picked up their point guard of the future, with the pledge of southpaw scoring lead guard Trent Frazier. Local standouts DaMonte Williams, a combo guard, and Javon Picket, a tall wing, are also expected to sign with Illinois during the early period.
Rick Pitino, Louisville moved quickly in July, picking up pledges from two of their top targets, Malik Williams and Darius Perry. Williams, a five-star recruit, impresses with his skill set at 6-foot-10. Perry is similar to guards of Pitino's past, as he brings toughness, intensity, scoring and on the ball defense to the table. Four-star Lance Thomas and Jordan Nwora were the latest commits. Thomas is an athletic rim runner that has potential as a shooter, while Nwora is one of the better shooters in the class and shot nearly 40-percent from three in the EYBL.
When Rick Stansbury got hired at Western Kentucky there was no doubt he was going to get players. That said, most didn’t expect that he’d be able to land a top 10 player in the nation, which is exactly what he did. Stansbury, who had originally recruited Mitchell Robinson to Texas A&M, was able to reel him in the elite prospect at WKU. Robinson projects as the best player to sign outside of a top rated conference in years. WKU also has top 50 recruit Josh Anderson, a 6-foot-5 athletic, wing on board and picked up Taveion Hollingsworth, a 6-foot-3 score, on Signing Day.
#11 Oregon Ducks
Dana Altman received huge news on Monday of signing week when five-star guard Troy Brown opted for the Ducks. Brown, Scout's No. 11 overall prospect, gives them a versatile, two-way player that impacts the game in a variety of ways. Brown joins a class that consists of elite athlete V.J. Bailey and versatile combo forward Abu Kigab.
#12 Duke Blue Devils
It is no surprise that yet again Duke is set to land an enormous recruiting class. Early on the Blue Devils landed legacy four-star recruit Alex O'Connell, and on Thursday it was five-star prospect Gary Trent who joined the fold. Trent is one of the better pure scorers in the country and is someone who is capable of hitting from deep or getting to the rim. Trent had been a long time Duke lean, and he is also close with fellow five-star Duke target Wendell Carter who could be deciding in the next week.
#13 Texas Longhorns
Shaka Smart continues to show his prowess on the recruiting trail, and the Longhorns are building a strong class. Their top recruit is Houston native Jase Febres, who emerged in the summer and an impressive shooter and athlete. The Longhorns also reeled in fast rising center Jericho Sims, who moved into Scout's post-July top 50 rankings . An impressive athlete, Sims is beginning to transition from prospect to player and has intriguing upside. Smart, Texas also hold a pledge from Royce Hamm, a tough and athletic power forward who runs the floor and rebounds well.
One of the biggest signing day announcements came from four-star center Garrison Brooks. Brooks announced for MSU, picking them over UNC. Brooks' father, George, is an assistant at Mississippi State. Nick Weatherspoon is Mississippi State's highest rated pledge, as he ranks No. 26 in the country. He's an extremely aggressive scorer at the point guard position and someone that Bulldogs fans can count on to be very productive at the next level. Mississippi State also landed a local power forward in KeyShawn Feazell, who Scout ranks as a three-star prospect.
The national champs are looking to use that momentum to sign a great recruiting class and with a pair of recruits ranked among the top 70 in the country, they are well on their way. Jermaine Samuels, who ranks No. 42 overall, is a great athlete who plays hard and brings versatility to the perimeter. Top 75 prospect Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree is a great rebounder and shot blocker with a developing offensive game.
#16 Texas A&M Aggies
The Aggies' impressive three-man class begins with Savion Flagg, a local small forward who will provide Texas A&M with athleticism and versatility. Texas A&M also struck a talented local point guard in T.J. Starks and athletic center Isiah Jasey, whose athleticism and defensive upside give him a lot of value.
Roy Williams and his staff have added some perimeter firepower to this 2017 class. Leading the way is five-star prospect Jalek Felton, the nephew of former Tar Heel standout Raymond Felton. The 6-foot-4 guard is oozing with talent and athleticism, while also having good size and skill, allowing him to play either backcourt spot. Felton is one of the best passers and playmakers in the 2017 class. UNC's second pledge is from Andrew Platek, who is one of the best catch and shoot guys in the class. Platek should prove to be a specialist at UNC.
Mark Turgeon continues to add a lot of talent to the program. Bruno Fernando was a one time commitment to SMU, but he opened up his pledge and the Terps were able to take advantage. Fernando is a big time athlete with strength down low, and has a developing skill set on the offensive end. Morsell was one of the breakout players of July, and his ability to play either guard spot as well as his scoring touch make him one of the best guards in his class. Turgeon and his staff beat out some heavy hitters for this two man class, and continue to stock the roster in College Park.
The addition of Nickeil Alexander-Walker is great news for Virginia Tech as he's one of the most versatile guards in the country. Alexander-Walker not only has the size and length to play on or off the ball, but also the vision and shooting ability. Wabissa Bede gives the Hokies a potentially elite defender.
There might have been a coaching change in Madison, but things remain the same on the recruiting trail. Wisconsin has done a great job in-state and in Minnesota locking down top talent. Nathan Reuvers is a versatile power forward who can play inside and out, Brad Davison is a tough combo guard who can really shoot it, and Kobe King is a versatile scorer who plays on the wing. The trio builds a very solid foundation for coach Greg Gard.
With three four-star commitments, there is a lot to like about the Buffs' 2017 haul. D'shawn Schwartz is a versatile forward who can shoot, rebound and pass. Bey is an athletic forward with a very high ceiling who will be able to play the three and four. Battey is one of the most unique prospects in the country; an undersized post who can shoot, rebound and pass.
Bobby Hurley landed one of the nation's most versatile and productive small forwards in Kimani Lawrence, a player who specializes in his ability to impact the game in a number of ways. Remy Martin is an extremely speedy point guard who can get to the basket or create for others; the Top 100 prospect thrives in transition.
Kevin Ollie made Makai Ashton-Langford a priority for years, and he was able to snag his commitment away from Providence following an intense recruiting battle. Ashton-Langford is a high level athlete who is extremely tough, and has proven to be one of the biggest winners in the class at the point guard position. Carlton provides an interior presence with size and solid athleticism, while Polley is a high upside forward who really began to come into his own during July. This is the clear top class in the American Conference.
The Razorbacks got most of their work done early in this class. Daniel Gafford was one of the first players to commit, and his combination of length, athleticism, shot blocking, and rebounding gives him one of the highest upsides in the class. On top of that Gafford is the top prospect in the state, and was a key statement recruit for the Razorbacks. Darious Hall is a big time athlete who should thrive in an uptempo style while Garland is a tough guard with good athleticism who can also score going to the rim.
Tom Izzo has been a force on the recruiting trail the past several years,and adding five-star pledge Jaren Jackson was another huge win for him. Jackson is a Georgetown legacy and the subject of one of the most intense recruiting battles in the country. A player who is young for his grade, Jackson is really coming into his own, and could see his stock soar. Xavier Tillman is just a typical Izzo recruit. He will be physical, play hard, and rebound giving the Spartans quality minutes on the low block.