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November 30, 2007

What's left after early signing period?

With the ink dry on many National Letters of Intent, college basketball fans want to know who is still available in the class of 2008.

Rivals.com knows the top prospects still on the board, and which stones to turn over in order to find some hidden gems.

Rivals150 players still on the board

Only 13 players in the Rivals150 remain uncommitted to a college following the early signing period.

Philadelphia guard Tyreke Evans, a player who could have a big impact as a freshman, is still considering Memphis, Louisville, Villanova, Connecticut, Seton Hall and Texas.

Georgia wing Wesley Witherspoon may be the most recruited player in the nation. He has yet to trim his list, and he's listening to all comers. Fellow Peach State prospect Travis Leslie is a hot target for ACC and SEC schools.

Illinois point guard Verdell Jones continues to lie under the radar. The long and lanky prospect has a good feel for the game, good height and clearly has potential.

Terrelle Pryor, the No. 1 player in the nation for football, will also be a name to watch over the next couple of months. He'll sign a National Letter of Intent for football, but remains intent on playing basketball.

John Riek, the top-ranked uncommitted player in the class of 2008, will likely examine his professional options once his season is complete at Winchendon (Mass.).

Scotty Hopson's recruitment has been watched, discussed and dissected more than any other player in the class of 2008. His decision not to sign with Mississippi State has opened all kinds of doors for questions about his future. Answers are hard to come by, but until he publicly states otherwise we are considering Hopson a Mississippi State commitment.

There are a number of prospects that have academic hurdles to clear. They include: Bud Mackey, Matt Simpkins, Rashanti Harris, Teeng Akol, Latavious Williams, Murphy Holloway and Freddie Riley.

Who is left?

Every year after the early signing period, college coaches ask this question: "Where can I find a big man?"

The hottest name right now might be Ater Majok, a bouncy big man now at Heat Basketball Academy in Martinsville, Va. The 6-foot-10 forward is from Sudan via Australia. He could very well be the most sought after player at his position right now.

Nearly every high-major school looking for a post player has contacted his coach, Jason Niblett.

Other names of note at the big man spot include: Corey Smith (Pleasant Grove, Ala.), L.A. Pomlee (Davenport, Iowa), Edgar Garibay (Compton, Calif.), Aziz N'Diaye (Chicago), Krystopher Faber (Los Angeles), Jarrod Jones and Maurice Sutton (Largo, Md.)

Point guards always come at a premium, and like the big men, finding a quality point guard in the senior class is becoming a true scavenger hunt. Los Angeles point guard Oscar Bellfield might be the best available going into the season. Seattle area floor general Patrick McCollum also comes to mind.

On the schedule

Rivals.com continues to travel the country to evaluate the nation's top players, uncover hidden gems and report from the top high school events in the nation. The December slate is busy as usual.

Dec. 8 - Marshall County Hoopfest, Benton, Ky.
Dec. 10-15 - Ocean View Tournament of Champions, Huntington Beach, Calif.
Dec. 18-22 - City of Palms, Fort Myers, Fla.
Dec. 19-22 - Amare Stoudamire Invitational, Orlando, Fla.
Dec. 27-30 - Beach Ball Classic, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Dec. 27 - GlaxoSmithKline Holiday Invitational, Raleigh, N.C.
Dec. 28-29 Bojangles High School Basketball Shootout, Charlotte, N.C.

We'll get another look at a number of class of 2008 five-star prospects, including a potential matchup featuring of No. 2 Demar Derozan and No. 3 Jrue Holiday. Another possible matchup could pit Greg Monroe, the nation's top prospect, against Samardo Samuels - No. 7 overall in the class of 2008.

With the class of 2008 almost completely in the books as far as recruiting is concerned, the focus now shifts to the class of 2009 and beyond. Only 17 players inside the Rivals100 for the class of 2009 have made a commitment.

The field is ready to harvest and we, along with the college basketball world, are ready to start digging.



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