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November 20, 2008

Last-minute decisions highlight signing period

MORE: Tigers, Bruins move up in team rankings | Top Dogs: Best signee at each position

There was a collective biting of fingernails by college coaches from coast to coast who eagerly awaited signed national letters of intent from prospects on the final day of the early signing period.

There were 10 commitments on the final day players could sign. Four of them all Rivals150 prospects came after 4 p.m.

BIG ADDITIONS

Here are the five biggest commitments and signings that happened during the early signing period week:

Xavier Henry to Memphis. The five-star guard was thought to be a Kansas lean since eighth grade but momentum shifted to the Tigers as the recruiting process wore on.

Memphis was the big winner during the early signing period week. The Tigers won the services of Henry, the nation's third-ranked player. With Henry on board, Memphis climbed for No. 17 to No. 4 overall in the team recruiting rankings.

Henry joins top 50 guard Nolan Dennis and four-star junior-college transfers Will Coleman and Darnell Dodson in Memphis's 2009 recruiting class.

Michael Snaer to Florida State. Snaer became one of the hottest shooting guard targets in the nation after his dazzling summer performance. He visited Kansas, UCLA, Missouri, Marquette and Florida State in the fall. In the end, the five-star guard inked with Florida State, the first school to show him serious interest.

Keith Gallon to Oklahoma. The 6-foot-8, 300-pound (plus) center nicknamed "Tiny" made a big decision on the last day players could sign. The Houston native signed with the Sooners after some major behind-the-scenes drama. He also strongly considered Mississippi State. Gallon's addition helped push the Sooners up the rankings from No. 18 to No. 11 overall.

Durand Scott to Miami. Frank Haith has changed the landscape of Miami hoops. The Hurricanes are winning more than ever and that has led to major signings. Last year it was DeQuan Jones. This year it is Scott, one of the best players in the Big Apple.

Mike Moser to UCLA. The former Arizona commitment withstood the sudden uprooting of coaches in Tucson and went on a fast and furious official visit tour to Oregon, Oregon State, Southern California, Arizona and UCLA. The Portland, Ore., native ended up inking with UCLA late Wednesday. UCLA climbed to No. 8 from No. 14 after Moser announced he would sign with the Pac-10 program.

The Bruins now have a plethora of talent and versatility at the power forward position. Moser joins Reeves Nelson and Brendan Lane. UCLA also signed Tyler Honeycutt and Anthony Stover.

THE WEEK'S MOVERS AND SHAKERS

Arizona State started the week by parting ways with top 100 point guard Jared Cunningham due to academic concerns. The 6-2 guard from California is one of the top unsigned point guards on the board now.

The Sun Devils filled Cunningham's scholarship by inking former Southern California commitment Demetrius Walker. Walker moved to Phoenix over the summer when his mother's job relocated the family to Arizona. That's when Walker looked at his recruitment and eventually changed allegiances.

Arizona State also landed Montverde (Fla.) center Ruslan Pateev of the first day of the early signing period. The 7-footer also considered Florida State and NC State.

Providence and Iowa State understood the importance of landing a point guard early in 2009. The Friars snagged Johnnie Lacy, a Wisconsin native who is now at Notre Dame Prep (Mass.), and the Cyclones inked Chicago native Chris Colvin. Both are Rivals150 prospects.

Virginia Tech pulled off a surprise on the last day of the signing period when Oak Hill guard Lamont Jones committed to the Hokies. The three-star guard, however, didn't sign with the ACC school.

Seton Hall went to the junior-college ranks for big man Cliff Dixon out of Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College. The Washington, D.C., native is a high-potential player.

DePaul looked to Los Angeles for Tony Freeland, an athletic combo forward. The 6-6 SoCal native signed Wednesday with the Big East school.

German big man Christian Standhardinger signed with Nebraska, according to the school. The 6-9 post player has put up impressive numbers internationally and could be a nice sleeper for the Huskers.

The mid-majors made a splash over the week's time. Central Florida locked up local star Keith Clanton from Orlando (Fla.) Christian. Saint Louis inked Jeff Reid, a three-star guard from Topeka, Kan.

Will Cherry, a decorated point guard from Oakland, Calif., inked with Montana. Dallas Skyline point guard Cameron Miles will leave Texas for sunny San Diego. Jacksonville (Fla.) Arlington Country Day wing Emarri Bailey is off to Georgia Southern.

MISSED OUT DURING SIGNING WEEK

Kansas was hoping to have its shooting guard of the future locked up after the early signing period. The defending national champions, however, swung and missed with a pair of five-star players.

The Jayhawks were in deep with Henry, whose parents both played at KU, but saw the recruiting momentum shift to Memphis, where his brother C.J. is a freshman on the team.

Any team that missed out on signing a point guard can't be happy that the early signing period is over. The lack of point guards in 2009 has been well-documented and a number of schools at all levels were left empty-handed at the position. This weekend's National Prep Tournament could reveal some new names at the position as teams continue to search for players to run their respective teams.

ON PAUSE

Rivals.com's Jerry Meyer broke the news that DeMarcus Cousins did not sign with UAB during the early signing period.

Five-star big man Renardo Sidney and his family made a very surprising cross-country trip to Virginia for an unofficial visit. The Cavaliers were never mentioned as a player for the big man's signature throughout his recruitment. Of course, Southern California wasn't on the list for O.J. Mayo either.

John Wall, the nation's top player, remains uncommitted as does Derrick Favors, Lance Stephenson, Latavious Williams and Dominic Cheek. A total of 18 Rivals150 seniors are uncommitted or unsigned.



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