The NCAA early signing period for basketball runs from Nov. 13-20, and even with Tuesday’s commitment by Trey Lyles to Kentucky, there’s still a slew of elite prospects and future NBA lottery picks left on the board.
Here’s a look at the top 10 uncommitted and committed prospects in the Class of 2014, including perhaps the projected top three overall picks in the 2015 NBA draft.
STILL ON THE BOARD:
The 6-10 center and projected No. 1 pick in the 2015 NBA draft plans to play college ball with his good friend and former USA Basketball U17 teammate Tyus Jones, No. 4 on this list. The smart money says the duo will land at either Duke or Kansas, although Baylor is still on the list for both. Okafor and Jones visited Duke for an official visit this past weekend, and now everyone waits to see what happens next. Chuck Okafor, Jahlil’s father who carries the Twitter handle @daddyofapro, recently tweeted, “What school will this child choose. ..great problem to have.” That was followed by pictures of Jahlil in Duke, Kansas and Baylor T-shirts. Okafor is expected to commit in the next couple of weeks and sign in the fall.
2. Myles Turner, C, Euless (TX) Trinity High
The 6-11 Turner burst onto the national scene this past spring and summer and is now projected as a top-two or top-three pick in the 2015 draft. His recruitment remains fluid and he is now listing Ohio State, Kansas, Duke, Kentucky, Arizona, Texas and Oklahoma State, with Louisville no longer recruiting him. He has taken only one official visit – to Ohio State – and is still deciding where to visit next. He plans to sign in the spring.
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3. Cliff Alexander, PF, Chicago Curie
Rumors spread Monday that the 6-9 power forward had trimmed his list to in-state schools DePaul and Illinois, but his mother disputed that notion to ZAGSBLOG. Memphis and Kansas also remain in the hunt, with Alexander targeting a Nov. 15 announcement. Kansas has long been considered strong with Alexander and has an in with assistant coach Jerrance Howard. He offered Alexander a scholarship when he was at Illinois, and the two remain close. Memphis coach Josh Pastner hosted Alexander on an official visit and recently visited Alexander at his school. If Illinois coach John Groce or DePaul coach Oliver Purnell could keep Alexander at home, it would be a huge recruiting coup for either.
4. Tyus Jones, PG, Apple Valley (MN) Minnesota
The best point guard in the Class of 2014, the 6-2 Jones has long been considered a Duke lean. Still, Kansas remains in the hunt for the package deal of Jones and Okafor, with Baylor also still on the list. Minnesota officially remains on Jones’ list, and coach Richard Pitino would love to keep him home. However, the Gophers are not on Okafor’s list. In the end, this should come down to Duke and Kansas and nobody – I repeat, nobody – will be surprised if he ends up with Coach K.
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Arguably the best wing in the Class of 2014, Johnson is a winner, pure and simple. His team won the Nike Peach Jam in 2012, when he played alongside current Arizona freshman Aaron Gordon on a team that beat Andrew Wiggins and CIA Bounce in the final. The 6-6 Johnson lists Arizona, Florida, Kentucky, Oregon and USC. He visited USC this past weekend and came away impressed. It wouldn’t be a shocker if he stayed home and played for new coach Andy Enfield, although Arizona and Kentucky remain strong suitors.
6. Justise Winslow, SF, Houston (TX) St. John’s
The 6-6 Winslow is right up there with Stanley Johnson and Kansas-bound Kelly Oubre in terms of the most complete wing players in the Class of 2014. Winslow has kept his recruitment close to the vest and is considering Arizona, Duke, Florida and UCLA, among others. He tripped to Duke last weekend with Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor and has been linked to a package situation with that dynamic duo, as well as to his close friend Johnson. “I would like to play with them, but I gotta do what’s best for me,” he told ZAGSBLOG this summer. “I got other guys, like Stanley I would to play with too, but at the end of the day I gotta do what’s best for me and my family.”
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7. Rashad Vaughn, SG, Henderson (NV) Findlay Prep
Despite rumors that the 6-5 Minnesota native will sign early, his mentor and high school assistant coach, Pete Kaffey, told ZAGSBLOG on Monday that was not the case and Vaughn will sign in the spring. After recently postponing a visit to Baylor, he will take his first official visit to Iowa State on Nov. 17 before going to nearby UNLV on Nov. 25. He told ZAGSBLOG he is also considering taking officials to Kansas, Arizona and North Carolina, the school to which he nearly committed last spring. Minnesota is the seventh school on his list, and Vaughn has already been there unofficially.
8. Jonah Bolden, SF, Henderson (NV) Findlay Prep
The 6-9 Australian small forward has burst onto the national recruiting scene as a hot name and recently cut his list to 10 schools: UCLA, Michigan, UNLV, Louisville, SMU, LSU, Arizona, Oregon State, Auburn and Vanderbilt. He told ZAGSBLOG that UCLA, SMU, Louisville and Indiana were among those recruiting him the hardest, with UCLA assistant David Grace going so far as to visit Bolden’s family in his native Australia. Louisville coach Rick Pitino also recently met with Bolden at Findlay. He is now home in Australia huddling with his family about visits and plans to sign in the spring.
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