College basketball’s early signing period in late November ended with the majority of ACC school’s making big waves securing an infusion of promising young talent.
Just three schools (Clemson, North Carolina and Pittsburgh) in the conference ended the period without at least one signee, and several schools have wrapped up their recruiting for the 2015 class and are on to 2016.
It’s not just the usual suspects either. A number of the most promising prospects have signed with schools other than the traditional conference “blue bloods” which will serve to make the ACC stronger and more balanced in the coming years.
Florida State brought in a strong group of four led by a trio of guards and five-star prospect Dwayne Bacon. 247Sports ranks Bacon the 12th overall player in the 2015 class and the third best shooting guard. He’s prepping at Oak Hill Academy. He’s joined by another five-star Malik Beasley and Terrance Mann. That makes three athletic wings, but all are listed at shooting guard.
A pair of new coaches impressed by sneaking into the top half of the conference recruiting rankings with their first full classes at Wake Forest and Virginia Tech.
Danny Manning signed three players at Wake Forest with an eye towards the frontcourt. 7-footer Doral Moore is an impressive big man from the prestigious Montverde Academy in Florida. He needs to add some bulk to his 220-pound frame, but his ability to shoot with range will make him a difficult to defend by most post players.
6’3″ point guard Bryant Crawford is considered by many to be the top player in the District of Columbia and makes a fine addition to this class, but flying somewhat under the radar is forward John Collins.
At 6’9″ he shows good athleticism and while he needs a bit more development, could very well pair with Moore to create one of the most dominant frontcourts in the conference in a couple years.
At Virginia Tech, Buzz Williams snagged a strong class that adds to depth at wing and in the frontcourt. 6’5″ wing Chris Clarke is the jewel of this class for Buzz. The top player in Virginia initially committed to Tennessee before a change of heart saw him switch to the Hokies. He’ll provide an immediate boost and some versatility to the lineup with his incredible athletic ability and high-energy.
Clarke is joined by four-star forward Kerry Blackshear who will provide some vital relief on a team with so few big men available. Point guard Justin Robinson will be a productive player as well and has time to grow behind Maryland transfer Seth Allen.
Business As Usual
Of course, recruiting is still led by the schools you would expect in this conference including new member and perennial championship contender Louisville.
The Cardinals have assembled a group of top-40 talent that many experts rate No. 1 in the ACC led by five-star shooting guard Donovan Mitchell. Mitchell has tremendous athleticism and excellent range on his outside shot. He shows good passing ability as well for a two-guard and will provide a spark in the Louisville backcourt.
Deng Adel is a very talented small forward prospect with a high upside.Adel can handle the ball, pass, rebound, score in transition and he shoots well with range. Power forward Raymond Spalding is another talented frontcourt player who fills out what is about as well-rounded a three man group as you con hope for.
It’s no surprise that the Orange have assembled yet another class of consensus top 100 recruits. This year, Jim Boeheim has an eye on the frontcourt which is no surprise as Rakeem Christmas will graduate and forwards Michael Gbinije and Dajuan Coleman will both be seniors next year.
Enter 6’9″, 240-pounder Moustapha Diagne. This kid is special. He’s already developed a nice baby hook shot and shows soft hands around the rim when he needs to. He’s even shown the ability to drive to create his own shot. He will be very tough to defend and comes in with a big body ready to contribute day one.
Fellow 6’9″ forward Tyler Lydon has needs more development as he tips the scales at just 200 pounds, but he has the skill to become a potent weapon in a couple years.
Malachi Richardson and Franklin Howard add depth on the wing for Syracuse and give the Orange another nicely balanced group.
Duke has one of the top classes because both prospects are five-star talent.
Chase Jeter is a 6’11” forward rated the No. 14 player in the nation by 247Sports and the fourth best power forward in his class. He may not come in and make the kind of impact that Jahlil Okafor has this season, but he will still be a major talent down the road for the loaded Blue Devils.
Luke Kennard is a top shooting guard with good size at 6’5″, 180. He can make jumpers from anywhere but he isn’t just a spot up shooter. He has great vision and can create in transition and in the halfcourt.
These are impressive groups that you’ll be hearing from for years to come, and it gives you a sense of the talent in this league. For a bit more perspective, that solid Hokie class above is rated 17th in the nation by 247 but that’s good for just the sixth best class in the ACC.
It takes an incredible effort to make waves in the ACC and it’s only become more difficult with the addition of Syracuse and Louisville.
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