Basketball Recruiting Roundup

In this week's Basketball Recruiting Roundup, we wrap up the early-signing period by releasing our ranking of the Top 10 hoop recruiting classes in the country for the Class of 2005.

Basketball's early-signing period ended last week, and although there are still a few top players left on the board, enough has been sorted out that is ready to release its ranking of the Top 10 hoop recruiting classes in the country for the Class of 2005.

Keep in mind that this list could change come spring based on who signs where in the spring and who ultimately jumps to the NBA. Last year, for example, Indiana, Arkansas, Duke and Louisville's highly rated classes took major hits when Josh Smith, Al Jefferson, Shaun Livingston and Sebastian Telfair jumped to the NBA.

In the ensuing weeks, we'll be diving into a deeper breakdown of these 10 recruiting classes — focusing on a different school each week.

But for now, here's the Top 10:

1. Kansas

Top 100 recruits:
SF Julian Wright (No. 5)
SF Micah Downs (No. 16)
PG Mario Chalmers (No. 18)

Kansas only inked three players from this class, but since all three are Top 20 recruits, that's good enough for a No. 1 ranking in our book. Depth is great, but stars win ballgames. The Jayhawks didn't land any big men, but with Wright, Downs and Chalmers on the perimeter, Kansas should be just fine.

2. Duke

Top 100 recruits:
PF Josh McRoberts (No. 4)
PG Greg Paulus (No. 15)
C Eric Boateng (No. 29)
PF Jamal Boykin (No. 44)

With four Top 50 recruits, Duke could certainly make a strong case for No. 1. But with Paulus' situation somewhat up in the air — he's also a top quarterback prospect in football and didn't officially sign with Duke last week for hoops — we simply can't award the Blue Devils the top spot as many have done.

3. North Carolina

Top 100 recruits:
PF Tyler Hansbrough (No. 3)
PG Bobby Frasor (No. 23)
SG Marcus Ginyard (No. 38)
SG Danny Green (No. 45)

The hard-working Hansbrough is the big prize here and may end up being the best player from the Class of 2005 to actually play college basketball (when you factor in straight-to-NBA decisions). But while they may not be superstars, Frasor, Ginyard and Green are all underrated, versatile, hard-nosed perimeter players who will fit in well under Tar Heel coach Roy Williams. Best of all, unlike almost every other team on this list, there are no question marks with this class.

4. Oklahoma State

Top 100 recruits:
SF Gerald Green (No. 11)
PG Byron Eaton (No. 30)
SG Terrel Harris (No. 57)
SF Roderick Flemings (No. 74)

Green is a stud, plain and simple, but the concern here is whether he's a big enough stud to jump to the NBA. If that happens, Eaton, Harris and Flemings are good enough to make this a very solid haul, but it's Green who makes this a top-five class.

5. Washington

Top 100 recruits:
SF Martell Webster (No. 7)
PF Jon Brockman (No. 24)
PF Artem Wallace (No. 86)

The Seattle area is loaded with high school talent this year, and the Huskies took advantage by landing three of the best in the state. Webster is a threat to jump to the NBA, but if he heads to Washington he'll give the Huskies an instant impact player. Brockman and Wallace, meanwhile, bring toughness and will be leaving Pac-10 opponents with bruises for years to come.

6. Louisville

Top 100 recruits:
C Amir Johnson (No. 20)
SG Terrence Williams (No. 25)
PG Andre McGee (No. 46)
SG Bryan Harvey (No. 77)
C Clarence Holloway (No. 78)
SF Chad Millard (No. 88)

Louisville's class is deep on talent with six Top 100 recruits, but it lacks that one true superstar to push it into the top five. Johnson could become that guy, but he's not there yet after sitting out almost his entire junior season. Regardless, Rick Pitino has mostly found a group of talented guys who should fit well in his up-tempo style.

7. Georgia

Top 100 recruits:
SG Louis Williams (No. 1)
PG Mike Mercer (No. 21)

This is higher than most people have Georgia's class ranked, but whenever you sign the top recruit in the country and one of the best point guards in the nation, you've got a heck of a class. As with many of the teams on this list, the big question is whether Williams will ever make it to college. If he does, watch out for Georgia.

8. Mississippi State

Top 100 recruits:
SG Monta Ellis (No. 9)
C Vernon Goodridge (No. 50)

If Ellis makes his way to Mississippi State instead of the NBA, the Bulldogs have found themselves an offensive bulldog. Ellis can score on anyone and will be an instant impact player in college. In addition to Ellis and Goodridge, Mississippi State also landed highly touted Tennessee twins Reginald Delk and Richard Delk.

9. Memphis

Top 100 recruits:
SF Shawne Williams (No. 13)
PG/SG Chris Douglas-Roberts (No. 19)

If Williams doesn't jump to the NBA, he and Douglas-Roberts will form a lethal scoring combo for the Tigers. Other top players in Memphis' recruiting class include prep school standouts Antonio Anderson and Robert Dozier.

10. Alabama

Top 100 recruits:
PF Richard Hendrix (No. 2)

Hendrix is the Crimson Tide's only Top 100 signing, but that's a good place to start when building a class. The Tide out-recruited North Carolina for Hendrix, which was a major victory for 'Bama. And though he just missed making our Top 100, Alonzo Gee, a 6-foot-5 swingman out of Florida, gives Alabama a second big-time recruit in this class.

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