While March Madness officially tips off Tuesday in Dayton, Ohio, some of the top college basketball programs and their fanbases are anxiously looking ahead to the recruiting madness that will unfold in the coming weeks.
Five elite Class of 2013 recruits remain uncommitted and are expected to make their announcements during and after March Madness.
Among the group of five are three who are considered lottery locks for the 2014 NBA draft: Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle and Aaron Gordon.
One NBA GM recently told ZAGSBLOG.com that all three guys – along with several other committed players – would go first in this year’s draft were they eligible.
“I think conservatively there are probably seven guys in next year’s draft that would have a shot at going No. 1 in this year’s draft,” he said.
Here are the Sheridan Hoops top five uncommitted prospects in the Class of 2013 and where they stand with their college lists and announcement plans. The NCAA late signing period runs from April 17-May 15.
1. Andrew Wiggins, 6-8, SF, Huntington Prep (Huntington, WV)
The son of former NBA guard Mitchell Wiggins and former Canadian Olympic track star Marita Payne-Wiggins, Andrew is widely considered a lock to be the top pick in the 2014 NBA draft. “I don’t see how anybody [else] is in the conversation right now,” one NBA director of scouting told ZAGSBLOG. Yet despite how talented this guy is, he’s a shy kid who doesn’t like the limelight. So don’t expect a big fancy TV announcement or even a news conference when he does make his commitment. He may just Tweet out his decision one day and be done with it. He has set no announcement date and declined offers from the McDonald’s All-American and Jordan Brand Classic folks to announce at their games.
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Wiggins will choose from among Kentucky, Kansas, North Carolina and Florida State. Many, including myself, believe Florida State has the inside track because both his parents went there,
and his teammate and friend, Xavier Rathan-Mayes, is headed there. Yet Kentucky coach John Calipari has been recruiting him the longest, and both Kansas and North Carolina both recently made inroads after he took official visits there. “Fans are important but I don’t think they are as important as the people he is going to be associated with on a daily basis,” Huntington coach Rob Fulford told SI.com. “The staff, the administration, the current players and the incoming recruits, he is going to want to feel total comfort with them all.”
2. Julius Randle, 6-9 PF, Prestonwood Christian (Plano, TX)
Randle chose Kentucky today, giving coach John Calipari (who was knocked out of the NIT Tournament last night) six McDonald’s All-Americans. He had whittled his list down to Kentucky, Kansas, Florida and Texas after previously trimming N.C. State and Oklahoma from his list. A ZAGSBLOG poll had 48 percent of fans believing he will pick the Wildcats, and 42 percent voting for the Jayhawks.
If Wiggins picks Kentucky, too, they will bring Calipari’s club closer to arguably the greatest recruiting class in the history of college basketball. One veteran NBA scout said Wiggins reminds him of “a young Kobe” and Randle reminds him “of a young Lamar Odom.” If Kansas lands Wiggins, it would be a huge boon for coach Bill Self and his program. The Jayhawks lost to Kentucky in the NCAA championship game last season, and they are two of the most storied programs in college hoops history.