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Kansas and Memphis vie for No. 2 basketball recruiting class

Early signing period opens Wednesday

11:59 PM, Nov. 13, 2012 EST

East (Memphis) small forward Nick King is one of three top recruits from Tennessee expected to sign with Memphis this week. / US PRESSWIRE

Kentucky is widely expected to have the best recruiting class when the week-long early signing period begins Wednesday for men’s college basketball, so the pending question is “Who’s No. 2?”

It could be Memphis, which is expected to land five Top 100 players, including a Tennessee trio: power forward Austin Nichols from Briarcrest (Eads, Tenn.); small forward Nick King from East (Memphis); and shooting guard Markel Crawford from Melrose (Memphis).

“Memphis coach Josh Pastner has put a wall around Memphis,” said Scout.com recruiting analyst Evan Daniels.

Pastner said he recruits nationally, not just in his backyard. It’s just that he has a great backyard.

“Our current team has five players from Memphis and seven from out of state,” Pastner said. “We want to recruit nationally, but we’re fortunate that in our locale, we have so much talent. If you do recruit locally, you want to be sure they can actually play for you.”

The No. 2 recruiting winner could also be Kansas, which is expected to sign guards Conner Frankamp from Wichita (Kan.) North and Brannen Greene from Tift County (Tifton, Ga.) as well as small forward Wayne Selden from the Tilton (N.H.) School. The Jayhawks got another boost when Joel Embiid, a 6-11 center from The Rock (Gainesville, Fla.) said on Tuesday he plans to sign with Kansas.

“The top recruiting classes filled team needs,” Daniels said. “Kansas needed some shooters and went out and got them.”

Though few elite men’s recruits are expected to sign Wednesday, nearly all of the top recruits have announced a college choice. The undecided exceptions include the top three players: Andrew Wiggins, a senior guard from Huntington (W.Va.) Prep; Simeon (Chicago) power forward Jabari Parker; and Prestonwood Christian (Plano, Texas) power forward Julius Randle.

“With the elite players. I don’t understand why they would sign a National Letter of Intent early,” said 247Sports.com analyst Jerry Meyer. “Even if they don’t sign early, they’re set because they have leverage.”

On the women’s side, North Carolina and Tennessee appear to have helped themselves the most, each of whom landed two All-USA Preseason girls basketball players.



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