On Wednesday, Scout’s basketball recruiting team — Evan Daniels, Brian Snow and Josh Gershon — updated the 2017 top 100. With changes in the player rankings there are changes in the team rankings. Kentucky sits at No. 1, while UCLA and Arizona round out the top three.
For the seventh time since he’s been at Kentucky, John Calipari boasts the top overall class at Scout.com. This group is different than pasts, as it’s not full of top 10 players, but it is full of five-star prospects and top 100 recruits. Hamidou Diallo, who enrolled in January, is the highest rated at No. 10. Jarred Vanderbilt and P.J. Washington give them two productive forwards that excel in the rebounding department. Nick Richards is a rim protector and rebounder. Their perimeter is in good shape with the nation’s third best point guard, Quade Green, another versatile guard with size in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and shooter Jemarl Baker. This is a well-balanced class with pieces that fit together.
After a top five class last year, Steve Alford and company currently have the No. 2 class in 2017 with six pledges, including four from ranked recruits. Three of their recruits rank among the top 31 players in the country. Kris Wilkes is regarded as the top prospect. A forward out of Indiana, Wilkes has quality size for the position, good athleticism and can score. With Lonzo Ball off to the NBA, the Bruins needed a dynamic playmaker and they are getting that in Jaylen Hands, Scout’s No. 6 lead guard. He’s fast, athletic and has a good balance of scoring and passing. Inside the Bruins have one of the best rebounders in the country in Cody Riley and two forwards with upside in Jalen Hill and Chris Smith.
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, who finished ranked No. 3 overall. Ayton is a ridiculous talent with absurd upside. If he buys in, he’s the type of player that could lead Arizona on a deep tournament run, especially when you consider what they return and who else is coming in. Brandon Randolph brings size and shoot to the table, while Ira Lee is an energy guy and Alex Barcello is steady and can run a team.
Avery Johnson has built a star studded 2017 recruiting class, led by the No. 6 overall prospect and the top point guard — Collin Sexton. Sexton is a dynamic player and one of the most competitive prospects of the past five years. Sexton is a terrific scorer, which was evident by leading the EYBL in scoring, but he showed he could distribute at McDonald’s and the Nike Hoop Summit. But he’s far from the only player in this class. Alabama has two other top 100 prospects headed there way in John Petty and Alex Reese, both of which can help them immediately.
The Duke Blue Devils check in at No. 5 on this list with a pair of five-star recruits and another ranked among the top 100 players. Wendell Carter is the jewel of the class, as the 6-foot-9 big man is a talented scorer on the block. He has soft hands, good touch and can score the ball in a variety of ways. He’s flanked by Gary Trent, who has built a strong reputation as a shot maker, and Alex O’Connell, a 6-foot-5 guard with athleticism and shooting ability. But Mike Krzyzewski and his staff aren’t done and there’s a strong possibility they move up this list before things are final, as they are still actively recruiting Trevon Duval, Kevin Knox, Mohamed Bamba and others.
After a top five class last year, Shaka Smart is backing it up with four top 100 prospects that fit their needs. Jase Febres is their highest rated at No. 46 and his athletic ability and shot making should help give the Longhorns perimeter a boost. Matt Coleman will as well. Although not ranked the highest, he may be their most important recruit, as the Longhorns needed a point guard to run their team and he can do just that. Jericho Sims, a 6-foot-9 athlete, and Royce Hamm are both low post players that will help Texas, potentially immediately in the paint. ;
Xavier has the best incoming class in the Big East. Chris Mack has a well-balanced class that fills needs. Paul Scruggs and Naji Marshall are the highest regarded players and each will be relied on to contribute early. Scruggs is versatile enough to play all three perimeter positions, while Marshall impacts the game with his toughness, energy and defense. Harden is an equipped scorer, Ridder will bring shooting and Kentrevious Jones is an improving post player that rebounds well and has a soft set of mitts.
Stanford closed well in 2017 and has compiled a top 10 recruiting class. The Cardinal did a tremendous job of identifying Kezie Okpala early on and now he’s developed into a five-star recruit. They also got some help from Washington, as Daejon Davis opted out of his pledge during the coaching change and landed at Stanford, giving them a pair of impressive perimeter prospects in their class. Although not much is known about Oscar Da Silva, the Cardinal will rely on him a great deal. The German big man should help immediately and he drew rave reviews at the U18 European Championships.
With one Top 25 prospect and three four-stars in the class, it’s another impressive group for Rick Pitino and company. This class is headlined by Malik Williams, a 6-foot-10 power forward with long arms who can run the floor, shoot out to 22 feet and blocks shots. Darius Perry is a four-star point guard who will fit right in at Louisville with his aggressive approach to the game on both offense and defense. Louisville landed a high level shooter in four-star Jordan Nwora, while Lance Thomas is a four-star post with the size and length to play the four and five for the Cardinals.
There’s a lot for Jim Lorranga and his staff to be happy with here, especially at the top. Lonnie Walker is a five-star shooting guard with good size, very long arms, plus athleticism, a smooth stroke and ability to score with his jumper and handle. He projects as an instant impact guy in the ACC. Miami should get plenty of…