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Assessing The Top High Schoolers’ October Decisions

The 2020/21 NCAA season is inching closer with less than a month for the ball to tip-off. The HS class of 2021, although still one year removed from getting to the collegiate ranks, is gearing up with decisions being made all around the nation. Here is the monthly recap of what has happened around next year’s class during the month of October.

HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL: JULY 19 adidas Gauntlet Finale Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Less than a month. Less than 30 days for us to finally watch the basketball bounce around NCAA courts if everything goes according to plan and the pandemic doesn’t interfere. It has been a while since we did for the last time, but with just three weeks to go the longest waiting period is already over. November 25th is the target date, and by the time we go through the 11th month commitment roundup there are chances some games will have already been played.

After a “low” month in September in which only six top-100 players gave word to a college, we’re back to the tens with 11 such commitments happening in October. Those 11 have an average rank of 52.2, pretty much in the middle of the best-prospect leaderboard. In fact, the split was almost even at six players ranking inside the top-half of the top-100 and five in the bottom one.

This last one was definitely a great and exciting month for all of us Upside Followers, that’s for sure.

Who Are The Players And Where Do They Come From?

As I just wrote, up to 11 players inside the 100 best of the 2021 class (as per 247Sports Composite ranks) made their decisions during the last 30 days. We’re about to enter the coldest months of the year, so I guess it’s time to toughen up and pick a college once for all. That also included very seriously talented kids choosing which campus they’ll attend while keeping building their careers, as we had two five-star prospects picking places. Yay!

Those players ranked inside the top-100 are listed next, including their national ranking, position, current high school, bio, and star/ovr rating per 247Sports:

2021 HS Class October Decisions

Yr Rk Name High School Pos Hgt Wgt Stars Avg College
Yr Rk Name High School Pos Hgt Wgt Stars Avg College
2021 5 Jabari Smith Sandy Creek (Tyrone, GA) PF 6'10 210 5 9.986 Auburn
2021 9 JD Davison Calhoun Sch (Letohatchee, AL) PG 6'3 175 5 9.959 Alabama
2021 27 Franck Kepnang Westtown School (Norristown, PA) C 6'11 247 4 9.887 Oregon
2021 39 DaRon Holmes Montverde Academy (Montverde, FL) PF 6'8 195 4 9.841 Dayton
2021 45 Alex Fudge Robert E. Lee (Jacksonville, FL) SF 6'8 175 4 9.809 LSU
2021 49 Dallan Coleman West Nassau County (Callahan, FL) SG 6'6 195 4 9.804 Georgia Tech
2021 69 Jakai Robinson National Christian Academy (Fort Washington, MD) SG 6'4 200 4 9.718 Miami
2021 73 Jordan Nesbitt St Louis Christian Academy (Saint Louis, MO) SF 6'6 180 4 9.714 Memphis
2021 80 Ryan Mutombo Lovett School (Atlanta, GA) C 6'11 235 4 9.661 Georgetown
2021 86 Shane Dezonie Brewster Academy (Wolfeboro, NH) SG 6'4 190 4 9.617 Kentucky
2021 92 Wilhelm Breidenbach Mater Dei (Santa Ana, CA) C 6'9 200 4 9.572 Nebraska
2021 HS Class October Decisions 247Sports Composite Rankings

It is not that you get two top-10 players committing every month, let alone picking fierce rivals in Auburn and Alabama! With completely different profiles as basketball players, no. 5 big-man Jabari Smith will lead the Tigers class next year while no. 9 guard JD Davison will do so for the Crimson Tide. The latter remained in state, but Jabari will be moving from Georgia to Alabama in order to join Auburn next season.

Another borderline top-25 talent chose his college in no. 27 center Franck Kepnang, who will join the Ducks along with no. 17 Nathan Bittle to form the highest-ranked pair of kids to play at Oregon since the college landed both Louis King and Bol Bol in 2018.

To close this group, eight more prospects named their next stops on their—hopefully—way to make the NBA. No college landed two of these kids, and it was interesting finding Kentucky this “low” on the list with the no. 86 prospect choosing to play for the Wildcats. Don’t get accustomed to that, though, as Kentucky will aim way higher with the remainder of its 2021 class open spots—10 of the 20 top recruits of the class have yet to commit, and Kentucky will fight for most of them.

Have Those Prospect’s High Schools Any Track Record Of Top-Player Production?

If we’re honest here, Jabari Smith is a walking miracle roaming the Sandy Creek (GA) landscape. This is the first time the prep has produced a player ranked inside the 135-best prospects of the nation, let alone a top-5 prospect. They have another top-200 player in the 2021 class, but other than that they had only appeared three more times in 247Sports ranks.

Calhoun School (AL) is an absolute newbie to this prospect-ranking thing. Quite a nice debut, though, putting one of their kids in the no. 9 slot of the 2021 class. Not at the same level (no. 49 prospect), but West Nassau County (FL) is also making his 247Sports ranks debut this month. Also debuting in the national ranks is St. Louis Christian Academy (MO), with the 73rd- and the 139th-best recruits in the 2021 class of seniors. Same as Lovett School (GA) with their top-80 prospect Ryan Mutombo.

It took a while for Westtown School (PA) to become a top-tier talent producing prep, but we’re watching the school at their peak these days. They pumped 2017 no. 3 Mo Bamba and 2018 no. 2 Cam Reddish to the NCAA, and they have a couple of kids ranked 24th and 27th in the 2021 class. Keep an eye on the place, as they also have a top-40 2022 prospect coming next year.

Nothing to add about Montverde Academy (FL) if you’ve been following this series or have the slightest of ideas about high school basketball. This prep counts their hits in bunches having given home to the likes of Ben Simmons, RJ Barrett, Cade Cunningham, Scottie Barnes, and D’Angelo Russell in just the past few years.

A talent-producing house in the first decade of the century, Robert E. Lee (FL) had not put any kid in the ranks in the last 10+ years until Alex Fudge popped out of nowhere as part of the 2021 class.

It’s also been more than 10 years since National Christian Academy (MD) dropped a top-100 prospect in any class of HS seniors. They achieved the feat back in 2009 when Dante Taylor was considered the no. 15 talent in the nation. Since then, they had sent three more kids to the NCAA but none ranked above the 247th spot.

In a similar vein to Montverde (perhaps just half a step below) both Brewster Academy (NH) and Mater Dei (CA) are staples in the prospect-nurturing world. Brewster will forever be attached to names like those of Terrence Clarke, Will Barton, T.J. Warren, and Donovan Mitchell, while Mater Dei counts Stanley Johnson, Devin Askew, Tyler Lamb, and Taylor King among their alumni.

And The Most Important Thing... Where Are They Going To Play College Ball?

Here is the recruiting leaderboard from the past five years—which includes the senior HS classes from 2017 to 2021 and only accounts for top-50 players in their respective years, updated to include this month’s decisions:

  • 22 Commits - Kentucky
  • 20 - Duke
  • 9 - North Carolina
  • 8 - Arizona, LSU
  • 7 - Kansas, Oregon, UCLA
  • 6 - Texas, Villanova, Florida State, USC, Memphis
  • 5-to-1 - 47 Combined Colleges

Kentucky and Duke are clearly the top two universities at getting (top) talent. On average, Kentucky has gotten more than four top-50 players per class in each of the past five years, including 2021. And Duke, well, virtually more of the same.

So, have things been different during the past few weeks when it comes to college commitments? Here is how the last month ended looking like:

  • Auburn, Alabama, Oregon, Dayton, LSU, Georgia Tech, Miami, Memphis, Georgetown, Kentucky, Nebraska (one top-100 commit each)

This marks the sixth (!) month in a row in which Florida State has been able to retain the no. 1 rank in the nation for the 2021 season. The Trojans have 66.19 points and two five-star commits now from the 2021 class to go with a three-star one and a four-star too. Villanova (63.7) and Memphis (63.18) close a top-3, which welcomes the Tigers and says goodbye to Baylor (no. 4) this month.

Oregon is now the no. 8 team in the nation, moving up after landing their third three-, four-, or five-star recruit in the 2021 class, having now of each. LSU also boosted his stock, having now the 11th-best class with two four-star players and two three-star ones.

No top prospect opted to turn pro this month among 2021 HS seniors and the path toward the G League is rather murky these days with the NBA still trying to come up with a plan to schedule next season and the developmental league facing a potentially lost-season in 2021.