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November 29, 2010
Early signing period: Big 12
MORE: Overall | No. 1 SEC | No. 2 Big East | No. 3 ACC | No. 4 Big Ten | VOTE: Big 12's best?
It's no surprise to see Texas, which checks in at No. 8 nationally, sitting atop the Big 12's recruiting rankings. Point guard Myck Kabongo is one of only three five-star prospects headed to the conference and he's joined by four-star in-staters Sheldon McClellan, Jonathan Holmes and Julien Lewis.
Oklahoma State is No. 12 nationally, thanks to the signing of five-star Texan LeBryan Nash and perhaps the nation's top junior college recruit, four-star Karron Johnson. At third in the conference and 13th nationally, Scott Drew's Baylor program signed the only other five-star prospect, Quincy Miller, while also earning a signature from Bello's high-flying high school teammate, four-star Deuce Bello. At No. 4 in the conference, Texas A&M's class is led by four-star Jamal Branch, while Kansas State was the only other program in the conference to ink more than one member of the Rivals150 by signing three-stars Thomas Gipson and Adrian Diaz. The only other conference program to sign a ranked player was Kansas, which signed four-star point guard Naadir Tharpe.
Best recruiting battle
The recruitment of LeBryan Nash turned into quite a battle. The winner, Oklahoma State, got the early jump on Kansas and Baylor because the five-star wing's brother Byron Eaton played for the Pokes and because of assistant Butch Pierre's close relationship with Nash's summer coach, Tony Johnson.
Baylor became strong during the middle of the recruitment but ended up focusing its efforts on Quincy Miller and Deuce Bello. Kansas made a late rally and nearly got Nash to change his mind after visiting for the Late Night festivities.
However, an argument can be made that the best recruiting battle in the conference is one which has yet to reach a resolution. Five-star Ben McLemore is still on the board and the native of St. Louis has become the center of an intense recruiting battle between Kansas and Missouri. McLemore had originally hoped to sign early and the general consensus is that he favors Kansas. But, many in his family feel that Missouri is the best place for him and have convinced him to hold off until the spring before making a decision.
Tech strong in Texas
Pat Knight and his staff at Texas Tech took what could prove to be an effective approach to the class of 2011. Rather than waste time chasing well-known targets, the Red Raiders focused on the state of Texas and went to work on some guys with high-major ability but had been overlooked. The results won't be known for a few years, but Knight feels his class of five Texans - Kevin Wagner, Terran Petteway, Jordan Tolbert, Toddrick Gotcher and Hershey Robinson - is the best group that he has ever signed during his time as head coach in Lubbock.
No center of attention
If not for Kansas State's signing of three-star center Adrian Diaz, the Big 12 would have completely whiffed on signing a center prospect. Size is certainly at a premium, but it's not often you see a conference with 12 teams come so close to being entirely shut out at such a needed position.
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