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November 13, 2012
Embiid makes news as signing period nears
The opening of the early signing period is less than 24 hours away. As expected, some dominoes are starting to fall and some plans are starting to change. Four-star center Joel Embiid has made his pick and lots of other news is starting to break as signing day nears.
First he was going to announce on Thursday at a school function. Then he was going to announce earlier but sign at a school function and then it was Wednesday and then back to Tuesday. As it turns out, the timing didn't matter because Joel Embiid is all Kansas Jayhawk.
Word began to leak late last week that the Jayhawks were the team to beat for the near seven-footer out of the Gainesville (Fla.) Rock School. He made it official with a simple tweet on Tuesday morning.
"Proud to be a Jayhawk," Embiid tweeted before confirming to Rivals.com that he is indeed heading to Kansas.
A fast rising big man who has been elevated to four-star status, Embiid is on track to land -- at a minimum -- somewhere in the top 35-50 range in the class of 2013 rankings and he has potential to end up much higher.
He rebounds, runs the floor and is a shot blocker with touch and good shooting touch. He's still developing and new to the game, though, and Bill Self's track record of developing and involving big men in the offense played a big part.
Embiid joins what was already a top five class for the Jayhawks. Perimeter players Brannen Greene (No. 25), Wayne Selden (No. 26) and Conner Frankamp (No.31) are all high end four-stars like Embiid and three-star point guard Frank Mason ranks in the Rivals150 as well.
Early or late?
Will Stevie Clark sign early? Or, will the high scoring point guard from Oklahoma City (Okla.) Douglass wait until the spring to make his choice?
According to his mother Dorshell Clark-Billbury, Clark has yet to make up his mind.
"He doesn't know yet what he's going to do," said Clark-Billbury. "I'm going to ask him again on the way to school tomorrow and we'll try to figure out what he's going to do."
According to his mother, Clark is struggling with the decision of whether to sign early or late and is feeling the pressure of a life-changing decision.
For now, there are now favorites being stated but the two programs receiving the most buzz with Clark are Baylor and Oklahoma State. Florida State and UCLA have also gotten visits and others like Missouri and Kansas have been in contact.
Though things can change quickly, it is starting to look more likely that Clark waits until the spring.
Around the Country
One of the best remaining guards in the country is high-scoring combo guard Brandon Randolph of Inglewood (Calif.) High. A one-time Pepperdine commitment, the 6-foot-2 senior has seen his recruitment heat up dramatically over the last week. Over the weekend he tripped to Xavier and the buzz leading up to the weekend was that Randolph could pull the trigger for the Musketeers.
But Randolph made it through the weekend without making a commitment and will now take at least one more trip before deciding.
This weekend Randolph will trip to Missouri and Frank Haith and the Tigers are making a major run. Randolph should have a decision after his visit to Columbia. The Tigers and Musketeers appear to be in a dead heat. Regardless of where he signs, Randolph is heavy on the watch list for the final 2013 Rivals150.
Sticking on the West Coast, Jordan Bell will indeed be making his decision during a 3 p.m. assembly at his school. The four-star power forward is down to Oregon and Auburn and just returned from a visit to Auburn. The Ducks have been considered the clubhouse favorite and the fact that Auburn took commitments from two big men in the last 24 hours could be a telling sign.
Auburn picked up two big men, so let's discuss them. Tony Barbee's Tigers landed Floridian Ronald Delph and Benas Griciunas. Rivals.com recently saw Griciunas in workouts and the 6-foot-9 big man has good touch, plays with a physical edge and looks the part of a big man who should develop into a high major player.
Delph is more of an unknown but word out of IMG Academy this fall has been that he's got an intriguing combination of length and athleticism and that he could really take off as he adds strength.
No specific time has been set yet by Tyler Roberson to make a decision. However, the 6-foot-8 forward is still expected to make a decision sometime this week from among Kansas, Syracuse and Villanova. 'Nova has been generating the most buzz of late but they shouldn't be considered a lock just yet.
One player is not likely signing this week is UCLA commitment Allerik Freeman. Not to worry Bruin fans, the four-star shooting guard at Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep is still very solid with his commitment to UCLA. However, his family wants to be able to witness his college signing and won't be able to make a trip to Vegas to watch him do so until the spring.
There will be signings at Findlay on Wednesday, though. Nigel Williams-Goss, Stanford Robinson and the previously mentioned Griciunas should all be signing. According to Findlay coach Todd Simon, they will hold a signing ceremony at 11 a.m. on Wednesday.
Finally, five-star shooting guard Isaac Hamilton wrapped up his visit to UNLV on Monday night. His next step is murky. Different lists have been given to different people and whether or not he will sign early seems to be up in the air. The Rebels are obviously a major player and UTEP, Baylor and UCLA (where Hamilton has stopped by two weekends in a row) are all still in play.