While last month saw 17 players pick places, this month we’re down to 16—not that concerning...—and 14 of those 16 kids are top-75 prospects compared to just 11 who made their decisions through September. All of it per 247Sports Composite Ranks. The average rank of those 16 players comes out at a fantastic 44.
It will be slim picks from this point on. Every top-6 player already knows where he’ll be balling once graduated, and only five more top-25 players (two in the top-10) remain uncommitted.
We’re clearly past the peak of the recruiting season, upcoming classes are more than outlined, and it’s just a matter of ironing out some details now. So much so, that without even noticing the 2021-22 NCAA Men’s Basketball season will be tipping off in a matter of days with the first game involving a top-25 school taking place Nov. 9 while pitting Villanova (4th in the pools) against Mount St. Mary. Honestly, can’t wait.
Who Are The Players And Where Do They Come From?
While no top-10 player committed during the month of October, as many as four top-25 prospects and a total of seven top-30 kids called places through the past four weeks. Don’t get that wrong, though. The talent among the kids naming their next-step locations is far from bad even though there are no 1-to-10 players in the group. Just a quick look at the schools landing them tells you all you need to know about how high the stakes are and how tough the battles to snatch those top-tier prospects have been of late with six players graded as 5-star prospects.
The players themselves are listed next, including their national ranking, position, current high school, bio, and star/ovr rating per 247Sports:
2022 HS Class - September 2021 Commitments
|2022||11||Brandon Miller||Cane Ridge (Antioch, TN)||SF||6'8||200||5||9.952||Alabama|
|2022||15||Julian Phillips||Link Academy (Branson, MO)||PF||6'8||200||5||9.943||LSU|
|2022||19||Adem Bona||Prolific Prep (Napa, CA)||C||6'9||225||5||9.928||UCLA|
|2022||24||Cam Whitmore||Archbishop Spalding (Severn, MD)||SF||6'6||200||5||9.906||Villanova|
|2022||27||Jordan Walsh||Link Academy (Cedar Hill, TX)||SF||6'7||190||5||9.904||Arkansas|
|2022||28||Dillon Mitchell||Montverde Academy (Montverde, FL)||SF||6'7||180||5||9.901||Texas|
|2022||29||Ernest Udeh Jr.||Dr. Phillips (Orlando, FL)||C||6'10||230||4||9.887||Kansas|
|2022||31||Chance Westry||Hillcrest Prep (Phoenix, AZ)||SF||6'6||190||4||9.881||Auburn|
|2022||33||JJ Starling||La Lumiere School (Baldwinsville, NY)||CG||6'4||180||4||9.876||Notre Dame|
|2022||37||Jett Howard||IMG Academy (Bradenton, FL)||SF||6'7||220||4||9.853||Michigan|
|2022||52||Rodney Rice||DeMatha Catholic (Clinton, MD)||CG||6'4||185||4||9.792||Virginia Tech|
|2022||68||AJ Casey||Whitney Young (Chicago, IL)||PF||6'8||180||4||9.717||Miami|
|2022||72||Chris Bunch||Wasatch Academy (Mount Pleasant, UT)||SF||6'7||185||4||9.710||Syracuse|
|2022||73||Otega Oweh||Blair Academy (Blairstown, NJ)||SG||6'6||210||4||9.701||Oklahoma|
|2022||91||Zach Keller||ThunderRidge (Littleton, CO)||PF||6'9||220||4||9.572||Wake Forest|
|2022||93||Jalen Reed||Southern California Academy (Castaic, CA)||PF||6'10||220||4||9.564||Florida|
This was a month for wings and big men, as 13 of the 16 players shown in the list above are labeled as either SF, PF, or C while measuring at least 6-foot-6 or over. Only one shooting guard and two combo-guards broke that tendency while landing in VTech, Kansas, and Florida, but none of them ranked above the no. 29 spot in the 2022 class of Seniors.
Five no. 1 players of their respective states made the list, but not a single no. 1 player at his respective position was part of it—no. 2 PF Julian Phillips, from Link Academy and future LSU Tiger is the best prospect (from the positional perspective) to choose a school in October. Also, and although it might feel a little impossible, only one prep (Link Academy) got two top-100 kids committing this past month while not a single college landed two of the 16 players involved in this month’s decisions. Talk about equity.
Have Those High Schools Any Track Record Of Top-Player Production?
Link Academy (MO) is a new high school to go along with the established Link Year Prep. The basketball squad just got put together this year, but it’s already pumping talented folks out as the two top-27 kids—both five-star recruits—they will be sending to LSU and Arkansas prove. They also have two more kids ranked inside the top-50 of this class going to Michigan and Ohio State, and three more top-75 prospects in the 2023 class of HS Seniors including no. 7 Omaha Biliew.
As ridiculous as it sounds, it took Archbishop Spalding (MD) as many as 14 (!) years to put one of their players in the 247 composite board and have him ranked inside the top-400 players of the nation. If you want the latest Arch-rooted player inside the top-100, though, you need to go all the way back to 2004 (18 years) to find a certain no. 5 by the name of Rudy Gay.
After a nonsensical run of talent production in the 2017-to-2019 span, La Lumiere School (NY) is back at pumping top-50 talents once more. The likes of Jaren Jackson Jr., Brian Bowen, Isaiah Stewart, and Keion Brooks paved the way back then, and it’s now down to JJ Starling to keep things up for La Lu after a two-year period in the past two seasons in which the best they could do was nurturing 2020 no. 81 player Jaden Ivey—eventually a Purdue Boilermaker,
I have written so much about IMG Academy (FL) here, that instead of looking at the track record of the prep I think I’ll be looking to what is coming soon instead. IMG have an impossible nine top-100 players in the 2022 class of Seniors, which is unheard of, but things don’t look so good for the 2023 crop. Only three players from the prep are currently appearing on 247Sports Composite ranks and none of them is a top-100 talent (no. 111 Gus Yalden is the best in the class coming out of IMG).
It is probably not the case, but it’s incredible to see how DeMatha Catholic (MD) seemingly doesn’t know how to produce players outside of the top-100 of late. Since 2016, eight players from the school have ranked inside the top-57 nationally ranked prospects, while only three have been outside of it. The track record was good historically, but definitely not to such an extent.
Good to have Whitney Young (IL) making the list after a one-year hiatus in 2021 in which they didn’t have a single senior ranked. Certainly, 2022 no. 68 AJ Casey is far from no. 1 Jahlil Okafor’s level at his age, but he’s just the second top-70 player (along with 2020 DJ Steward) to come of the Chicago prep since Jahlil and Paul White did so all the way back in 2014.
If a name fits a school, that must be Prolific Prep (CA). Jokes aside, the Cali-based prep has put out top-tier prospects for five years running, but truly starting with no. 17 of the 2017 class Gary Trent Jr., then no. 19 of 2018 Jordan Brown, no. 49 in 2019 Zach Harvey, no. 2 in 2020 Jalen Green, no. 27 in 2021 Nathan Bittle, and now nos. 14/19/22 Dior Johnson, Adem Bona, and MJ Rice. Talk about a fabulous track record.
Long gone are the days of having two top-10 prospects coming out of Blair Academy (NJ) as they did in 2003 with no. 2 Luol Deng and no. 7 Charlie Villanueva. Not a single player from the school has broken into the top-35 prospects since that year with Jabri Abdur-Rahim (yes, the son of former NBA player and current G League President Shareef Abdur-Rahim) the highest-ranked kid as 2020’s no. 37 talent.
Dr. Phillips (FL) is not the most productive of preps, but it has put out 10 players in the ranks spanning from 2004 to this year’s class of seniors. Back in 2004, the no. 32 prospect (Jason Rich) of the nation came out of the Orlando school, and no one since then has ranked higher from this place other than 2022 no. 29 Ernest Udeh Jr. (RaSahwn Powell is the other top-100 player to come out of Dr. Phillips, almost 10 years ago in 2013).
The very fresh Wasatch Academy (UT) is kind of a newcomer to this whole top-tier recruiting thing. The prep from Mount Pleasant didn’t have any player ranked in 247Sports Composite boards prior to 2016 when Koby McEwen first made it as the top-175 kid in the nation. It’s been better after that, though, with four top-100 prospects honing their talents in Wasatch. That group will include two more names as soon as next year, as both Roddy Gayle Jr. (no. 64) and Chris Bunch (no. 72) are part of the 2022 class of seniors and have both picked universities already.
Only four players appear on ThunderRidge (CO) logs, but they span from 2006 to this year’s class of Seniors, with entries in those two years on top of a couple from 2012 and 2018—one each. Matt Bouldin went on to play college ball in Gonzaga back in the late aughts as the no. 53 player in the nation, still the best prospect ever produced by ThunderRidge to this day.
No prospect had come out of Cane Ridge (TN) nor Souther California Academy (CA) prior to those part of the 2022 class of HS Seniors.
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 2018 to 2022 and only accounts for top-50 players in their respective years, updated to include this month’s decisions:
- 20 Commits - Duke, Kentucky
- Prep-to-Pros - 10 players
- 10 - North Carolina
- 9 - Oregon, Kansas
- 8 - Michigan
- 7 - Florida, USC, Memphis, Texas, USC, LSU
- 6 - UCL, Gonzaga, Villanova, Tennessee
- 5-to-1 - 48 Other Colleges
Kentucky and Duke are clearly the top two universities at getting (top) talent. On average, they have gotten four top-50 players per class in each of the past five years and are leading the way, as they have done for most of the last couple of decades. Not even Coach K’s departure seems to be affecting that, not at least for now. We’ll keep an eye on how this thing progresses, though.
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:
- 1 Prospect added — Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Kansas, LSU, Miami, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Syracuse, Texas, UCLA, Villanova, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest
Duke was able to stay on top of the team rankings for another month and will probably stay there for good. Ohio State, on the other hand, dropped to no. 2 last month and is now even further down the list at no. 4. Arkansas (no. 2) and Kansas (no. 3) round up the top-3 entering November with the NCAA almost back and rolling.
Fierce OSU rivals Michigan sits just below the Buckeyes at no. 5, none of the two schools with a single 5-star caliber player in their 2022 recruiting classes. The same is going on for North Carolina (no. 7) and Virginia (no.8). Syracuse (no. 12) is the only other top-16 school without a 5-star player among their recruits.
LSU (no. 29) is the lowest-ranked university with a 5-star kid in its class, while Oregon (no. 21) and Texas (no. 23) are the lowest-ranked ones with at least two such players.
Shouts out to Penn State (no. 19) and Nebraska (no.35) for making it to the top-35 with only one 4-star player at most (Penn State; Nebraska did it by the way of recruiting four 3-star kids).