By Joe Henricksen
The big day isn't quite what it used to be, that's for sure -- at least not for the fans of college basketball. With so many players committing earlier and earlier, the early signing period in college basketball, which begins this Wednesday, doesn't offer a whole lot of drama or anticipation. Of the top 30 prospects in the latest City/Suburban Hoops Report rankings, only 11 remain uncommitted. And of those 11 several will not be signing anything anytime soon due to academic issues. And the rest? They also will very likely be waiting until the spring signing period to ink that letter-of-intent.
The Hoops Report can't remember a group like this, meaning players that remain uncommitted this late in the process that have left so many people guessing throughout their recruiting process. It's been difficult to get a clear read on many of these prospects.
Illinois Prep Bulls-eye stated on its site recently that it wouldn't be surprised to see both Chris Colvin of Whitney Young and Darius Smith of Marshall both wait until the spring to sign. Whatever the factors are behind both Colvin and Smith waiting, the Hoops Report agrees with that observation in that they will likely wait it out. In fact, don't be surprised if all the top uncommitted players in the Class of 2009 bypass the early signing period and wait until spring.
Angus Brandt, the talented 6-9 forward from Lake Forest Academy who has risen to No. 5 in the Hoops Report's Class of 2009 rankings, is going to wait it out and sign in the spring. "He wants to take his time, really examine things, check out schools," says Full Package coach Steve Pratt, who coached Brandt in a few events this past summer.
No one outside the trusted inner-circle of the Marcus Jordan camp can say they have a good read on the Whitney Young star's recruitment, especially after things fizzled out with Miami-Florida. So, yes, Jordan will be in the group that will commit after the early-signing period.
And while Dyricus Simms-Edwards of Washington has attracted plenty of interest, it looks as if unfortunate circumstances will prevent the 6-1 guard from committing and signing early. He will play out the season and sign next spring. Simms-Edwards suffered a tough-luck injury prior to the July evaluation period, which obviously hurt his recruiting stock from an evaluation standpoint. You better believe Simms-Edwards, who is just a terrific kid, is anxious to showcase his abilities this coming season for his high school team.
Other odds, ends and thoughts...
While it will be a little bit down the road before it reaches its pinnacle, the future backcourt at Mt. Carmel of sophomore Tracy Abrams, the No. 1 prospect in the Hoops Report's Class of 2011, and talented freshman Malcolm Hill-Bey will be awfully special.... Barrington's 6-8 big man Mack Darrow has committed to Princeton.... Mike Mullins' Illinois Wolves program will have an impressive number of players signing this week. Don't be surprised to see 6-9 Zeke Schneider of Metamora add his name to that list this week as he is, according to Mullins, mulling offers from SIU-Edwardsville, Mercer and American.... Batavia's David Bryant, another Wolves player, looks like he, too, will be playing out the season before he decides on the right fit.... Tough break for St. Ignatius recently, losing its best scorer in 6-3 Mario Knezovic until likely January with a broken bone in his foot. Throw in the fact that rising star Nanna Egwu, a 6-9 sophomore, was recently in a walking boot with a broken bone of his own, and coach Rich Kehoe will have a rough start to the season when practice officially opens Nov. 10. Egwu is expected to be out four weeks.... The Pac-10 Conference continues to covet the Chicago area. Oregon has obviously pounded the area, with Joevan Catron (Thornton), Josh Crittle (Hales), Matthew Humphrey (Hales) and Michael Dunigan (Farragut) all on the roster. Oregon State has already secured a commitment from Whitney Young junior guard Ahmad Starks. And while it hasn't materialized just yet with offers, both Stanford and Washington State could be battling for New Trier's Alex Rossi and Mundelein's Ben Brust.... DeKalb's 6-9 Jordan Threloff is a mid-major dream as a legitimate back-to-the-basket player with great size. But a trio of Big Ten schools continue to increase their interest in the big man as Minnesota, Iowa and Indiana all are keeping close tabs.... Who might you guess are the ones most anticipating -- or experiencing maybe the most apprehension -- the national signing period this coming week? How about Division II and Division III coaches? They patiently wait to see just what players truly do have those Division I scholarship offers. There will then be a feeding frenzy for the leftovers.