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Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Class rankings analysis: Nov. 6

By Paul Biancardi

We are one week away from the national signing period for men’s basketball. Seven of the top 17 recruits in the country are still on the board. Here's the latest on some schools rising and falling in the ESPN class rankings:

Trending up: Kentucky. The Wildcats just secured two top-20 commitments which have put them in the number one spot. Trey Lyles, who is ranked No. 7 in the ESPN 100, and Devin Booker, who is ranked No. 18, will bring exceptional skill and scoring ability to the court. Kentucky's class also includes big man Karl Towns Jr., who is a good scorer for his size with a soft touch, and the player who will keep everyone happy in point guard Tyler Ulis. The Wildcats are not done yet as they would like to land Stanley Johnson or Justise Winslow.

Trey Lyles
The commitment of Trey Lyles helped Kentucky surge to the No. 1 recruiting class.
When you look at coach John Calipari’s 2013 class combined with this year’s group, I notice a tremendous amount of emphasis being placed on ball skills and shooting ability. With four top-40 commits, Kentucky is ranked No. 1 heading into signing week.

Need to make a move: Kentucky made its big move by landing Lyles and Booker and it might not be done. It’s now time for Duke, Kansas and Arizona to flex their logos and see if they can lock up one or more of the top players left on the big board. Duke's top priorities are Jahlil Okafor and Tyus Jones, along with Travis and Winslow.

Kansas would love to get Okafor, Jones and Cliff Alexander. Arizona is trying to get both Johnson and Winslow. When you have programs that have all won national championships fighting for the same talent, it's clear these players are the kind of talent who can produce special seasons.

What to watch: Reid Travis will be making his decision on Friday, Nov. 8 and no one really knows where he's headed. His decision is coming down to Duke, Minnesota and Stanford. Travis' game blew up this summer and so did his recruiting stock when his AAU team Howard Pulley won on ESPNU this past summer. He visited Gonzaga early but now it seems as though it is out of the race. Will he go out west to Stanford where coach Johnny Dawkins has been on him hard since the spring? New Minnesota coach Richard Pitino has been putting a hard press on the local star, but will it be enough? Duke was the last school to jump into the race but not let up on him since. Will he and AAU teammate Tyus Jones go to Duke together? Wherever Travis decides to attend, he will be a player of influence because of his all-around game.

Bold prediction: Okafor, Jones, Myles Turner, Alexander, Johnson, Winslow, and Rashad Vaughn still need to decide. We know the final list of schools but we don’t know any winners just yet. The prediction here is that all will commit early except for Vaughn and Myles. Vaughn is starting to take his official visits and Turner has said he is going to take his time. Both could decide during the season but it’s likely they let others commit before them to see what shakes out and to make their visits as both will impact their respective choices.