The Buzz On The Fall Period

One thing is certain; there have been more eventful early signing periods. The 2003 fall signing period was rather muted compared with a few years past. Here's a sample of what remains undecided as we crawl toward the spring period.

Joe Crawford, the 6-4 shooting guard out of Detroit Renaissance was all set for a press conference last Monday. Three days prior the event, the common school of thought gave Kentucky the edge for his services and a fall signing certainly benefits the school furthest from the hometown.

However, the press conference was scrapped and Crawford remains interested in Michigan and Kentucky. There's a good bet he commits at some point during the season, but will have to wait until the spring to make it official. Crawford is our pre-season No. 14 player.

Sticking with Renaissance, 6-7 small forward Malik Hairston also allowed the period to pass without a signature. Ohio State and Michigan are strongly in the mix with others like Kansas trying to stay in the game.

The strangest signing period tale belongs to Davis Nwankwo (No. 58). As of this writing, Nwankwo had not made a public commitment. In speaking with him on Wednesday night, the big man was thinking of committing but not signing.

Apparently, he was close early in the evening to pledging to Stanford, the school of choice with his parents. Just an hour later, we received information that Miami was still in the hunt and might land the commitment. Nwankwo did not return phone calls later in the evening and his status remains up in the air.

This is a situation where anything can happen. The young man wants Arizona, his parents favor Stanford and Miami could land him as the compromise choice.

There was talk 10 days ago that Shawne Williams, a forward out of Memphis Hamilton, was not going to sign with the Tigers. Well, after a week's worth of drama, Williams signed the papers. However, another Memphis commit failed to materialize. No. 75 Robert Dozier, a small forward out of Lithonia, Ga., opted not to sign. Cincinnati, Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina are in the mix, along with Memphis.

In the committed but did not sign category, No. 6 Lamarcus Aldridge leads that parade. The 6-11 Dallas Seagoville power forward is considering the NBA but remains committed to Texas.

No. 30 Kyle Lowry of Cardinal Dougherty committed to Villanova, but like Aldridge, did not sign the papers.

One third of the Atlanta Celtics frontline is accounted for. Josh Smith, the electrifying athlete on the wings, signed the papers with Indiana. The Oak Hill small forward will also have the NBA option to deal with. Speaking of Indiana, the Hoosiers did not receive basketball paperwork from James Hardy and the receiver is seeking a football scholarship offer from IU.

Smith's AAU buddies, Dwight Howard and Randolph Morris are spring guys that is if they ever sign. In Howard's case, the Southwest Christian Academy center is very likely to bypass college and head straight to the League as a high lottery selection. Morris, a 6-11 big man out of Fairburn (GA) Landmark Christian, is down to Georgia Tech, Kentucky and Clemson.

In Morris' case, no timetable has been set for a decision. Though unlikely out of high school, there exists a chance that he checks his NBA status as well. It would be unprecedented that three AAU teammates make the leap from high school straight to the pros.

Tello Palacios, another Top 30 player and native of Colombia, did not sign. Palacios should be a popular spring target and St. John's, Baylor, Florida State and Pittsburgh are the schools on him right now. Baylor, according to Palacios, is recruiting him the hardest. The senior power forward out of Our Savior in New York said he'd skip college altogether if he would be a first rounder.

There you have it, the latest scuttlebutt on the early signing period.

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