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September 25, 2008

Weekly Wrap: Changes in team rankings

POLL: Your pick for 2009 commitment of the week | Your pick for 2010 commitment of the week

The recruiting period has offered a number of changes and commitments each week.

The past seven days shook up the team rankings, while the class of 2010 is starting to shape up as a number of big commitments took place.

Rivals.com's Justin Young looks back at the goings on in the recruiting world.

BIG CHANGES IN NEW RANKINGS

The class of 2009 team recruiting rankings had quite a big shake-up due to the numerous commitments and changes over the last seven days. The biggest change is expanding the team rankings from 15 to 20 teams.

UAB trades junior college player Casey Mitchell for Tuesday night commitment Dexter Fields and remains at No. 7 overall. Mitchell, a Georgia native playing at Florida's Chipola Junior College, visited Tennessee last week and is hoping to land an offer from the Vols. UAB didn't waste time finding a replacement for Mitchell in Fields, a 6-foot-2 combo guard from Orlando (Fla.) Olympia.

Texas makes an impressive debut in the team rankings, checking in at No. 8 overall, thanks in large part to the star power of Avery Bradley. The No. 8 overall player in the class of 2009, Bradley is the third-best shooting guard in the nation. He was the highest-rated player to make a commitment over the last week. The Tacoma, Wash., native joins Duncanville (Texas) wing Shawn Williams, giving the Longhorns an impressive 1-2 punch.

UCLA, last year's winner in the team rankings, debuts at No. 13 thanks to the commitment of Tyler Honeycutt. The top-30 prospect from Sylmar (Calif.) High School gives the Bruins a long presence on the wing. He made the biggest debut of any player in the Rivals150 after a very impressive summer showing. The four-star prospect joins Reeves Nelson and Brendan Lane, both Rivals150 prospects, in the recruiting haul for the Bruins.

Oklahoma State drops to No. 16 overall after it was learned that junior college prospect Brad Reese quickly reneged on his commitment to the Cowboys. The Gulf Coast (Fla.) Community College star is down to LSU and Texas Tech, he recently told Rivals.com.

Southern California went across the country to land Fayette County (Ga.) star Noel Johnson, a top-40 prospect. He was one of the many big-time visitors for the Ohio State-USC football game on Sept. 13. He is the first player of the group to commit to the Trojans. Because of his decision, USC checks in at No. 18 overall. He joins Rivals150 prospect Demetrius Walker.

While Oklahoma and UNLV didn't land any commitments this week, the two check in at No. 19 and 20, respectively, because of the strong three-man classes each school has locked up so far.

HIGH-MAJORS LOCK UP IMPORTRANT TARGETS

There were a dozen players in the 2009 and 2010 Rivals.com national rankings that committed in the last week.

COMMITMENT OF THE WEEK
For the second straight week, a big-time big man made a big-time decision to attend a not-so-big school. Patterson (N.C.) big man Rashanti Harris committed to Georgia State last Friday, surprising the recruiting world with his decision to play for the budding CAA program.

Harris, a Mississippi native, is the No. 26-ranked player in the class of 2009 and the highest-ranked player since Beas Hamga committed to UNLV in 2007 from a non-Big Six school. Hamga was also the No. 26-ranked player.

Citing his long-standing relationship with Rod Barnes during his time as the head coach at Ole Miss, Harris turned down the likes of Memphis and other high-majors to set up shop in Atlanta.

Harris' presence in the middle and Barnes' post-oriented offense should have the Panthers playing for the top spot in the super-competitive CAA. Georgia State has not been to the NCAA tournament since 2001. With Harris on board, that could change quickly.

Just how good is Harris? He dominated the 2007 City of Palms tournament and was the talk of the tournament. He won the individual battles against the likes of Eloy Vargas (Florida) and Greg Monroe (Georgetown).

Wake Forest won the race for Ari Stewart. The four-star wing from Marietta (Ga.) Wheeler favored a number of schools during his wild recruitment. At one point, Xavier was at the top of his list, then Oregon and finally Wake Forest. He gives the Demon Deacons a big-time athlete on the wing and joins an impressive group of combo forwards already on the roster.

Despite being injured and out for the year, Forsyth (Ga.) Mary Persons power forward Terrance Shannon looked at all of his options and decided Florida State was the right fit for him. The Rivals150 forward committed last Friday.

Getting a chance to get back home, Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep forward Clarence Trent is off to Washington. The Gig Harbor, Wash., native has been away for the past two years at Findlay Prep - a school in the Las Vegas area - to improve his academics.

Minnesota was in search of a point guard and found one in Justin Cobbs. The three-star guard from Torrance (Calif.) Bishop Montgomery visited the Big Ten school last weekend and committed on the trip.

It was one of the worst-kept secrets in the class of 2009, so Brandon Triche finally made his commitment to Syracuse over the last week. The 6-2 guard from Dewitt (N.Y.) Jamesville-Dewitt gives the Orange a physical scorer on the wing.

Charlotte (N.C.) Latin big man David Chadwick will move across the country to Washington State.

Los Angeles (Calif.) Campbell Hall guard Keegan Hornbuckle verbally committed to Colorado on Tuesday night.

Mike Stovall, a former Oregon State player now at Mineral Area College (Mo.), is headed back to his native Chicago. The 6-5 wing committed to DePaul.

2010 CLASSES TAKING SHAPE

Apparently, good things come in twos in the class of 2010.

Ohio State locked up the early lead for the top spot in the team rankings after a huge week of commitments. Five-star guard Jordan Sibert of Cincinnati (Ohio) Princeton became the third player ranked inside the top 20 to commit to the Buckeyes.

Sibert is the ninth five-star player to commit to Ohio State since the class of 2006. That is the most of any school in the nation during that period.

Sibert wasn't the only player to join Thad Matta's program last week. Rivals150 prospect Lenzelle Smith Jr. also pledged to the school. He also considered Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Virginia and Marquette.

Tennessee double dipped over the weekend, too. Five-star guard Josh Selby of the famed DeMatha High School in Maryland committed to the Vols while on an unofficial visit to Knoxville. Tennessee beat out the likes of UCLA, Louisville, Texas, Florida, Memphis and Wake Forest.

Liberty County (Ga.) guard Jordan McRae also visited Tennessee's campus and had a chance to get to know Selby a little deeper while on the trip. McRae also committed when on campus. He selected the Vols over interest from Indiana, Wake Forest, Texas, Kentucky and Cincinnati.

Purdue secured a commitment from Rivals150 guard Terone Johnson. The 6-2 guard is a perfect fit for the Boilermakers.

MID-MAJOR MADNESS

It was an outstanding week for commitments at the mid-major level.

Chester (Pa.) prospect Rahlir Jefferson will stay home and attend Temple. The 6-6 do-everything forward projects to be a fine player at the Atlantic 10 level.

South Holland (Ill.) Seton Academy guard Tony Nixon is a major commitment to Northern Illinois. The 6-4 guard is a big-time shooter on the perimeter and should prove to be a major threat in the postseason.

The same can be said for David Brown of Rockton (Ill.) Hononegah. The 6-2 guard committed to Western Michigan and should be a major shooting threat from Day One.

Steven Bjornstad, a center from Vancouver (Wash.) Columbia River, is off to Nevada.

George Mason locked up St. Patrick (N.J.) wing Paris Bennett after his weekend visit to the Colonial Athletic Association school.

Cordova (Tenn.) Christian Brothers guard Drew Barham is headed to Southern Illinois.

Arkansas State has a potential star coming to town in Birmingham (Ala.) Erwin High School forward Brandon Peterson.

His Birmingham Ice AAU teammate, Edward Daniel of Birmingham (Ala.) Woodlawn, committed to Murray State. Daniel joins Kennesaw (Ga.) North Cobb wing Colin Slotter, who also committed this week.

Chicago (Ill.) Hales Franciscan point guard D.J. Cooper, one of the best mid-major point guards in the class of 2009, will play for John Groce at Ohio. The Bobcats also received a commitment from Solon (Ohio) power forward Reggie Keely.

Missouri City (Texas) Hightower forward Garlon Green will head north to Fort Worth to play at TCU.

Huntersville (N.C.) North Mecklenburg forward Kyle Gaillard is off to William & Mary.

Jordan Stevens, a 6-5 wing from Saratoga Springs (N.Y.) High School, is headed to Holy Cross.

Kennesaw (Ga.) North Cobb Christian center Milos Kleut verbally committed to Lipscomb.

Mendota Heights (Minn.) Sibley forward Chris Halvorsen is a major score for Homer Drew and Valparaiso.

Dacula (Ga.) center Brian Cole visited UNC Greensboro over the weekend and committed to the school on the trip.

Asheville (N.C.) wing Wakefield Ellison pledged to East Carolina.

Gainesville (Fla.) P.K. Yonge shooting guard Josh Snodgrass committed to American.



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