Amile Jefferson commits to Duke; more spring signing period notes
Duke signed touted PF Amile Jefferson in the final days of the spring signing period
Montrezl Harrell has requested a release from Va. Tech; the Hokies won't grant it
Pitt is in the hunt for both center Christopher Obekpa and guard Terrence Samuel
Wednesday was the final day of the spring signing period. Now, there is a dead period, with no visits and no evaluations, until May 27. It puts a temporary cap on the recruiting scene. It also provides a chance to analyze many of the nation's top classes.
Here's a look at the biggest stories from each of the six power conferences, starting with a huge get in Durham, N.C.
Duke really needed to add at least one interior player to its 2012 class. And though it took them until one day before the end of the signing period, the Blue Devils added a much-needed prospect by landing Amile Jefferson of Philadelphia (Pa.) Friend Central Monday afternoon.
Ranked No. 36 nationally, the 6-foot-8 power forward is a versatile player that can help Duke in a number of ways. He's not the biggest, strongest or most athletic big, but Jefferson is certainly among the smartest. He understands how to use different angles, contort his body around the rim and finish along either baseline. Best of all, he's unselfish. He generates stats by doing the dirty work and playing fundamentally sound.
Add Jefferson with five-star shooting guard Rasheed Sulaimon, the No. 18 player in this year's class, and Duke has a quality crop, albeit a small one.
ACC rival Virginia Tech wasn't as fortunate this week. Four-star big man Montrezl Harrell has requested a release, but the Hokies are refusing to grant it. At some point, Virginia Tech will have to decide how much Harrell is worth in comparison to the long-term damage this could cause on the program's recruiting. On the bright side, it was announced Wednesday that UNC-Wilmington transfer Adam Smith will transfer to Blacksburg. A 6-foot-1 combo guard, Smith averaged more than 13 points as a freshman.
Several Big East teams remain in the hunt for four-star center Christopher Obekpa. The 6-foot-9 prospect out of Centerreach (N.Y.) Our Savior New American hasn't made a decision yet, and the end of his recruitment doesn't seem to be anywhere in sight. Obekpa's top options are currently Cincinnati, UConn, DePaul and St. John's. He has also been linked to Oregon, but a visit has yet to materialize.
According to class of 2013 four-star combo guard Terrence Samuel, Pittsburgh has been making a charge in his recruitment. The 6-foot-3 junior says that he's looking to set up a visit within the next few weeks and is heavily considering the Panthers. Samuel also holds offers to Louisville, Villanova and Rutgers in the conference.
Illinois recently hosted 2014 small forward Keita Bates-Diop on an official visit. The 6-foot-6 sophomore is a sharpshooting wing who ranks among the top 50 prospects in his class. While the Illini appear close to making an offer, they have yet to extend a scholarship to the in-state talent.
Over the last few days, Indiana hosted 2013 shooting guard Stanford Robinson on an unofficial visit. A 6-foot-4 slasher out of Fairfax (Va.) Paul VI, Robinson has a close connection with the IU staff. Newly hired assistant Kenny Johnson formerly coached at both Paul VI and Team Takeover, Robinson's summer team. Robinson is expected to declare within the next few weeks, and Indiana and Villanova appear to be the clear frontrunners.
Not to be overlooked, Minnesota has offered 2015 forward Henry Ellenson. A product of Rice Lake (Wisc.), Ellenson could add to his family's presence on campus. His older brother, Wally, signed with the Gophers in the fall.
Kansas recently hosted three-star shooting guard Milton Doyle on campus. However, the 6-foot-4 prospect finished his trip in Lawrence without landing a scholarship offer. Doyle initially committed to Florida International (before Isiah Thomas was fired) and has also made an official visit to Bradley. Lacking an offer from the Jayhawks, he will begin to mull over other options.
Kansas also remains in the running for South Carolina transfer Damontre Harris. No timetable has been set for his decision, but the 6-foot-9 sophomore has visited both the Jayhawks and Florida. By all indications, those are the only two programs in consideration.
Arizona State scored a wing from the class of 2013 Wednesday, with 6-foot-4 shooting guard Egor Koulechov giving the nod to the Sun Devils. A product of Weston (Fla.) Sagemont, Koulechov is a three-star prospect who can shoot and play with a physical edge. He was born in Russia and also lived in Israel before relocating to the United States last August.
Given his latest academic update, point guard Stevie Clark could become a major target for Missouri. The four-star junior out of Oklahoma City (Okla.) Douglass now possesses enough credits to graduate and is pondering a move to the class of 2012. While he won't make his decision for another week or so, the Tigers are among the favorites. Others in the running: Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Marquette, Stanford and Florida State.
Elsewhere in the SEC, Alabama hoped that 2012 five-star prospect Devonta Pollard would have made his decision by now. Unfortunately, he hasn't -- and the end of his recruitment isn't anywhere in sight. Pollard is debating between Alabama, LSU and Texas.
New Mexico added a late signee in 6-foot-4 shooting guard Cleveland Thomas from Louisiana. Thomas is a terrific athlete and a streaky shooter from deep.
Marshall picked up another nice piece from the 2012 class in Ryan Taylor. A 6-foot-5 wing who initially planned to attend Louisville, Taylor is a tough inside-out player who can contribute on the glass.
Fresno State scored a great final day addition in Broderick Newbill. A 6-foot-5 wing from Kansas City (Mo.) Hogan Prep, the three-star prospect is a fine athlete and an explosive scorer. Newbill has been rapidly improving over the past few years and has the tools to emerge as a multi-year starter in Fresno.
For more recruiting coverage, visit Rivals.com basketball recruiting hub.
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