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November 14, 2012

SEC is luring talent better than most

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MORE: Rivals 2013 team rankings

Although Rivals won't rank the conferences until after the signing period, the SEC will be awfully tough to catch.

Currently, 10 members of the top 25 are committed to SEC programs. The ACC (three) and Pac-12 (two) are the only other conferences to have more than one of the top 25.

Still, Rivals provides a look at the best five prospects headed to each conference. We've also included the top five headed to non-"Big Six" power conferences, and one less-heralded player from each group who could be a surprise star.

Players and teams are grouped by the conferences they are expected to play in during the 2013-14 seasons.

2013 commits (National rank)
SG Aaron Harrison (4) Kentucky
PG Andrew Harrison (5) Kentucky
PF Chris Walker (No. 8) Florida
PG-Kasey Hill (No. 9) Florida
SG James Young (No. 10) Kentucky
Could surprise: Damian Jones
(No. 82) Vanderbilt
The SEC has cleaned up in 2013 hoops recruiting. A football power, now the basketball side has to be watched. By locking up five of the nation's top 10 players between them, Kentucky and Florida dominate the list. Aaron Harrison is a big and burly shooting guard with a high level of skill who can also slide over to play the one. Andrew Harrison is every bit as strong as his brother and a clear choice as the best point guard in the class of 2013. Walker and Hill are a high-flying duo who have teamed up on the grassroots circuit the past few summers. Walker has been an above-the-rim finisher, rebounder and rejector, while Hill has been the most exciting point guard in the country. Young is an effortless scorer with room to grow as an off the dribble attacker. Jones is relatively highly ranked, but the Vanderbilt-bound big man doesn't get enough credit and could ultimately emerge as one of the best big men in the conference.
2013 commits (National rank)
PG Anthony Barber (No. 11)
N.C. State
PF Isaiah Hicks (No. 14)
North Carolina
PG Tyler Ennis (No. 24) Syracuse
SG Xavier Rathan-Mayes (No. 28) Florida State
PG Demetrius Jackson (No. 30) Notre Dame
Could surprise: London Perrantes (NR 3-star) Virginia
Looking at the top end of ACC-bound prospects, it's obvious that the conference has landed some fine point guards that will battle for years to come. Barber is the quickest and most established of the group but he's got to keep improving to keep his lofty ranking. Ennis is the model of consistency and the steady decision maker is a perfect fit for Syracuse. Jackson came on strong during the summer and is a major score for Notre Dame because of his tenacity on each end of the floor. Hicks should give North Carolina another bouncy frontline athlete while the Florida State-bound Rathan-Mayes is amongst the nation's most polished scorers. Perrantes isn't the most athletically wowing point guard in the country, but he sure is smart and seems like an ideal fit to run Tony Bennett's system at UVA.
2013 commits (National rank)
PF Austin Nichols (No. 20) Memphis
PG Chris Jones (JC four-star) Louisville
SF Kuran Iverson (No. 27) Memphis
SF Nick King (No. 40) Memphis
PF Yanick Moreira (JC four-star) SMU
Could surprise: Jameel McKay
(JC four-star) Marquette
No other major conference's recruiting is influenced more by new membership and junior college players than the Big East's. In particular, Memphis' move into the conference has a major impact on things. Local five-star Austin Nichols is an athletic, hard-nosed forward making him the top-ranked incoming prospect to the conference and Iverson and King are the best incoming wing players. Outside of the two SEC-bound stud point guards, there's not likely to be a PG who will have as much of an impact as Jones. For new member SMU, Moreira gives them a top shelf rebounder and post scorer. Another four-star junior college player people probably don't know near as much as they should is McKay. He's got a Kenneth Faried-type motor and ability to dominate on the glass.
2013 commits (National rank)
PF Noah Vonleh (No. 7) Indiana
SG Zakarie Irvin (No. 34) Michigan
SF Troy Williams (No. 38) Indiana
PG Derrick Walton (No. 47) Michigan
SG Stanford Robinson (No. 51) Indiana
Could surprise: Nick Fuller (NR 3-star) Nebraska
At the top levels of the conference, Indiana and Michigan have locked up the best players. Vonleh is the best incoming Big 10 prospect by a landslide and he'll have mountainous expectations. Irvin is a smooth wing scorer with great size, while Williams is the most athletic incoming player. Walton is a tough-as-nails point guard who should give the Wolverines leadership, while Robinson is a hard-defending and playmaking two guard who will give the Hoosiers lots of wing depth. At Nebraska, fans will quickly grow to love Fuller's tenacity and strong all-around game on the wing.
2013 commits (National rank)
SF Brannen Greene (No. 25) Kansas
SG Wayne Selden (No. 26) Kansas
PG Conner Frankamp (No. 31) Kansas
C Joel Embiid (NR 4-star) Kansas
C Dominic Woodson (No. 39) Baylor
Could surprise: Wesley Iwundu (NR 3-star) Kansas State
Clearly, Bill Self and Kansas have an impressive recruiting haul landing the four best incoming prospects in the Big 12. Greene is a big sharp shooter with deep range while Selden is a big, physical and athletic guard capable of playing three positions on the perimeter. Frankamp is amongst the nation's premier shooters while Embiid is a near seven-footer with loads of upside. If Woodson gets serious about his shape and game at Baylor he could easily outplay his ranking and develop into the top low post scorer in the conference. Headed to Kansas State, Iwundu lacks bulk right now but the three-star wing from Houston is a high level athlete dripping with upside.
2013 commits (National rank)
SF Rondae Jefferson (No. 19) Arizona
SG Jabari Bird (No. 23) California
SG Zach LaVine (No. 44) UCLA
SG Allerik Freeman (No. 55) UCLA
PG Nigel Williams-Goss (No. 61) UCLA
Could surprise: Hallice Cooke
(NR 3-star) Oregon State
So far, it's been a bit of a tough go on the recruiting front for Pac-12 programs as a whole. But, it's no surprise to see the top incoming prospect, Jefferson, headed to Tucson. Jefferson is a tough and versatile wing capable of playing on the interior if needed. Cal landed the guy it had to get in the smooth-scoring and mid-range pullup ace Bird. UCLA has a pair of two guards who really like to score in LaVine and Freeman, and Williams-Goss should give Washington a welcomed infusion of toughness. Finally, it's not going to surprise us at all if Cooke ends up developing into one of the conference's better guards before his time in Corvallis is up.
2013 commits (National rank)
PF Christian Wood (No. 36) UNLV
SF Jelan Kendrick (JC 4-star) UNLV
PF Zena Edosomwan (No. 69) Harvard
PF Eric Mika (No. 72) BYU
PG Mamadou Ndiaye (No. 84) Rhode Island
Could surprise: Alec Peters
(NR 3-star) Valparaiso
Dave Rice and his staff really have things cooking in Vegas. Wood is a long and athletic big man who likes to face the hoop and bomb away from three. In Kendrick, the Rebels have landed a guy who has been well traveled and gotten himself into some trouble. But, if it’s all in the past he could end up a steal for UNLV. Edosomwan is a butt kicker on the interior who brawls for everything. Look for him to be an All-Conference player and eventually a potential player of the year type in the Ivy League. Mika is another physical low post brawler who will help draw attention from the shooters at BYU while Ndiaye is the biggest player in the country and incredibly intriguing because of his aggressive nature that comes with his 7-foot-5 size. He’s just outside of the rankings, but Valpo flat out stole one in Peters. The sharp shooting 6-foot-7 combo forward would have entertained several high major offers had he waited until the spring to sign.

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