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The top storylines, latest buzz and what’s next for the men’s basketball recruiting early signing window

The early signing period doesn’t carry the same sort of significance it once did, when most of the elite prospects announced their college decisions and recruiting drama ruled the day. Now, it’s become more of an administrative week, where prospects make previous commitments official and sign letters of intent with their chosen school. Much-anticipated commitment news conferences have been replaced by signing ceremonies.

With all that said, this week promises to bring some intrigue to the 2024 class. While the vast majority of top-100 prospects are already off the board, almost half of the top 25 remain uncommitted — and because most of them have finished their visits, multiple commitments could occur in the coming days.

Here are the storylines we’re following over the next week.

1. The latest buzz on uncommitted seniors

While the number of uncommitted ESPN 100 prospects is quickly dwindling, there are still 10 top-25 recruits on the market. Here’s what we’re hearing on each of them and the other three top-50 prospects:

Dylan Harper (No. 2): Rutgers is the perceived favorite for Harper, although Duke is still in pursuit. He’s taken his visits, but a commitment is not expected in the next week.

Tre Johnson (No. 4): Baylor and Texas have been battling head-to-head for Johnson and it’s impossible to make a prediction. He could commit at any time, although he doesn’t have a date set.

V.J. Edgecombe (No. 5): He scheduled a slew of visits and still has one coming up to St. John’s. The Red Storm are one of the two perceived leaders in his recruitment, alongside Duke — which might have the edge entering his visit.

Derrion Reid (No. 9): Reid was expected to commit late last month, when Georgia was the clear favorite entering decision day. But he delayed his announcement and now it’s unclear when and where he will end up. Alabama was squarely in the mix along with Georgia in the final weeks.

Jayden Quaintance (No. 14): Quaintance has rolled through a few visits over the past two months, but Kentucky has emerged as the favorite. Florida also made an impression on his visit, Missouri has been involved for a long time but the Wildcats appear to be the leader.

Derik Queen (No. 15): Queen cut his list to four schools recently, although Indiana, Kansas, Houston and Maryland making up the quartet wasn’t a surprise. The two schools with the most buzz heading down the stretch are Maryland and Indiana. A decision could come this week.

Karter Knox (No. 16): There doesn’t seem to be much of a rush for Knox to make a decision. Kentucky, Louisville and South Florida are in the mix, as is the G League route.

Bryson Tucker (No. 20): There’s really nothing to know here just yet. He visited Michigan State, but that’s about it.

Khani Rooths (No. 23): Rooths is another player who could make his decision in the coming days. Georgia was the perceived favorite for most of the past few weeks, but Michigan hosted him on a visit this past weekend.

Zoom Diallo (No. 25): The favorites in this recruitment have shifted a few times over the past several months, although right now it feels like Gonzaga and Washington have the edge. Don’t count out Arizona or USC, however. There might be another twist or two here.

Vyctorius Miller (No. 32): The heavy favorite in this one appears to be LSU.

Billy Richmond (No. 34): Kentucky and Memphis have been engaged in a battle for Richmond, although the Wildcats might have the edge heading down the stretch.

Naasir Cunningham (No. 47): Cunningham visited Alabama this past weekend and the Crimson Tide have emerged as the favorite should he decide to commit in the coming days.

2. What’s next for Duke’s top-ranked recruiting class?

Duke has a huge lead on No. 2-ranked North Carolina for the top recruiting class in the country, a gap that only increased after Saturday’s commitment from Patrick Ngongba. The Blue Devils aren’t done, either. As mentioned earlier, they’re arguably the leader for top-five prospect Edgecombe and are still in the mix for Harper. Now, what happens if they land a pledge from Edgecombe? Are they done in 2024? And what does it mean for the currently committed players? Does anyone get second thoughts?

3. Who will be left after the signing period?

We went through the remaining top-50 prospects earlier in the column — but outside of that group, there’s not really many players left to commit. As of this writing, 80 prospects in the ESPN 100 are committed. Another handful should announce in the coming week or two, meaning the 2024 cycle will likely enter the winter with only a few top-100 prospects still remaining.

4. Who doesn’t sign a letter of intent this week?

Every year, there is a notable player or two who lets the early signing period come and go without making things official and signing a letter of intent. Last year, Garwey Dual never signed on the dotted line for Providence during the early period — although he still ended up with the Friars after decommitting and then recommitting following the coaching change.

Two players worth watching are Duke commit Isaiah Evans (No. 8) and North Carolina pledge Ian Jackson (No. 17). There has been speculation regarding Evans’ status since the summer, but he reiterated his commitment over the weekend via a post on X.

Meanwhile, Jackson has been linked to a potential decommitment almost as long as he’s been committed to the Tar Heels, which came last January. He visited Chapel Hill this past weekend and has constantly maintained he’s steadfast in his commitment to North Carolina. Jackson even told 247Sports in the summer that he’s “100% committed to UNC.”

5. Who will reclass from 2025?

Only four players in the ESPN 60 for the 2025 class are committed and zero in the top 48. Moreover, three of the four had strong connections to the program. Moustapha Thiam was very close with assistant coach Mamadou N’Diaye, Patton Pinkins is the son of Ole Miss assistant Al Pinkins and Jacob Wilkins is the son of Dominique Wilkins, who played at Georgia.

From a short-term perspective, though, it’s worth watching which players might end up in the 2024 class — a la Cooper Flagg, who reclassified over the summer. Perhaps the two biggest names to watch in that area are Jasper Johnson (No. 8) and Joson Sanon (No. 10), both of whom have already taken college visits this fall.

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