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Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Class rankings analysis: Oct. 30

By Paul Biancardi

As we come down to the wire for basketball's early signing period in November, many of the best players in the nation have finished their visits and are ready to make their decisions. Here’s a look at how some of the recruiting classes are shaping up as we get closer to the signing period:

Steve Fisher
Steve Fisher is putting the finishing touches on a top-10 class for San Diego State.
Trending up: There has been plenty of talk about USC and UCLA out West during the fall recruiting period, but the school that has done the most damage is San Diego State. The Aztecs recently landed ESPN 100 Zylan Cheatham, who is ultra-athletic and best in the open floor and finishing in the lane. This class is now No. 6 in the 2014 class rankings with three ESPN 100 players. Don’t forget Steve Fisher and his staff successfully recruited Kawhi Leonard in 2009 as he slipped through the cracks of the Pac-12 and went on to have a great career at SDSU. He was drafted No. 15 in the 2011 NBA draft by the Indiana Pacers and now plays for the San Antonio Spurs.

Need to make a move: Minnesota got out of the gates slowly, which is normal for a new head coach, especially someone who is only in his second year as a head coach anywhere. Richard Pitino will establish himself in recruiting circles over time as recruits, parents and fans attend his practices and games. For the 2014 class, the Gophers have a few good starting pieces with Nate Mason, Josh Martin and junior college player Carlos Martin. If they can land ESPN 100 Minnesota natives Reid Travis or Rashad Vaughn, it will ignite a fire on the recruiting trail for the Gophers program.

What to watch: As we come down the stretch toward the early signing period, keep an eye on the big powers: Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville and Arizona. They are all competing for the biggest names left on the board as we get down to crunch time. Arizona is trying hard with Stanley Johnson and Justise Winslow. Duke has action all over the board with Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones, Kevon Looney, Winslow and Travis. For Kansas, Okafor, Jones and Cliff Alexander are all seriously considering the Jayhawks. Kentucky is far from done as it makes a hard push for Winslow, Trey Lyles, James Blackmon Jr., Devin Booker and Johnson. Louisville is the other finalist for Lyles.

Bold predictions: Devin Robinson will pick Florida over Indiana, Notre Dame and Oklahoma State. Looney, who will announce on Thursday, will choose Tennessee over Duke, Florida, Michigan State, UCLA and Wisconsin. Booker will also announce Thursday and will pick Kentucky over Missouri, Michigan and Michigan State.