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Early Signing Period 2023 - Exploring the Big 12

9, Nov 2023

Early Signing Period 2023 - Exploring the Big 12

Welcome to the early signing period for the class of 2024. Sure, sure, transfers seem to rule the realm for roster building but the incoming high school guys are better than the narrative. In this class of 2024, several players can help right away, even more, who will help in time and an equal number of players who will help a team that isn’t the one they sign a National Letter of Intent with. Welcome to college basketball in 2024 (and beyond). 

So, we try our best to introduce you to the next wave based on our experience with the said players. 

Let's dive into the Big 12, shall we? 

Flory Bidunga

Kokomo, IN

6' 10"
School Team
National Pos. Rank
State Pos. Rank

TOP DOG: Flory Bidunga, Kansas

Bill Self plus elite big man equals fun for people like us and pain for opposing programs. 

No. 4 overall, No. 1 center, Flory Bidunga is a force unlike no other in the 2024 class. 

Big, physical, athletic with a high motor, Bidunga is a dominant force around the basket on both ends of the court. 

He can bend rims, swat shots into the third row. With Self as his coach, there’s plenty of confidence that Bidunga will have the Phog abuzz. 

Bill Self


Recently, Bill Self said, “now it’s time to go for the throat.” Really, Bill? You, uhhh, you’re the preseason No. 1 team, you just won it all two seasons ago, the throats are already hurting. 

I get it though. He was referencing how the NCAA infractions cloud hanging over the program impacted recruiting. He lamented the fact that they haven’t been able to get as many top recruits as they did prior to the scandal and hooplah. 

Well, Kansas certainly reeled in its fair share of dudes in this class. 

It starts at the top with No. 4 Flory Bidunga. The big fella is the kind of center we’ve seen dominate inside Allen Fieldhouse in the past. He dunks everything, he rebounds everything, he blocks everything. 

On the perimeter, the Jayhawks landed commitments from a pair of the south’s most prolific scorers in No. 24 Rakease Passmore and No. 34 Labaron Philon

If recruiting was the only department holding Kansas back in Bill Self’s eyes, he doesn’t have too much to worry about anymore. They have one of the very best classes in the country coming in. 



1. Arizona

I’m going to struggle with this for a year or two at minimum. Arizona is in the Big 12. Arizona has a great, cohesive recruiting class coming in. If not for Bill Self and Kansas, this would be the league’s best class. 

A trio of AAU teammates, Tommy Lloyd is bringing three top-60 recruits to Tucson, and we love what this group can be under his tutelage. 

Highlighted by a pair of five stars in Carter Bryant and Jamari Phillips, the high-end talent is there. That’s the expectation Arizona fans have too. 

The steal of the class could end up being four-star center Emmanuel Stephen. The Wildcats had a ton of success playing through their bigs a season ago, and Stephen can play a similar role. Run the floor, protect the rim, dunk everything. 

It’s a great introductory class for their new conference. 

2. TCU

This might be the best recruiting class that TCU has had in the modern era. Seriously. Per 247 Sports’ all-time commits tracker, this 2024 group includes three of the 10 best recruits since recruiting services moved online in the early 2000s. 

The four-star trio features power forward David Punch, center Malick Diallo and small forward Micah Robinson. So, not only has Jamie Dixon brought in some of the most talented players the school has seen, he’s also brought in depth. 

The point guard position is covered as well with three-star Ashton Simmons coming in. 

It’s a great time to be a Horned Frog. 

3. Baylor

Did anyone see Baylor’s first game of the season? Ja’Kobe Walter and Yves Missi look poised to have monster seasons as freshmen. That means that they won’t be around for too long in Waco. Luckily for Bears fans, Scott Drew has another solid class coming in, and it has potential to vault from solid to one of the best in the country. 

Jason Asemota is one of the more talented players in the class. His upside is as good as it gets at 6-foot-8 with an ability to shoot from deep and play with next-level athleticism. 

Four-star Rob Wright is as good of a pure point guard as there is in the class. He’s a stat-stuffer that impacts the game across the board. The guy makes winning plays. 

Five-star Tre Johnson is still on the board. He’s down to Baylor and Texas. Should he commit to Baylor, fans can expect a player to carry the torch left by Keyonte George and Ja’Kobe Walter. Johnson is an explosive scorer in the same way that both of them proved to be in college. 


David Punch

My last memory of watching Punch was from Peach Jam when I saw him lead his team in an upset win over Team Thad—one of the favored teams in the event. 

He didn’t do anything particularly flashy, but he simply outworked everyone else on the floor. 

Go look at the classic, best Jamie Dixon teams. They all thrived with physical, hardhat players, and that’s what Punch is. 

He’s like an updated version of a Dixon forward from the Pitt days because Punch has legitimate skill away from the basket while also bringing that toughness around it. 

He could be leading TCU to some upset wins in the league throughout his career. When he does, I’ll pull the Peach Jam memory out of my back pocket.


While it’s hard to not to look at Flory Bidunga’s dominance and give this to Kansas, Arizona has to be the pick with two in the top 60 coming in to bolster their frontcourt. 

No. 15 Carter Bryant is one of the most high-upside players in the class. He has natural, physical gifts when it comes to size, a strong frame, and athleticism. Bryant’s upside is in his developable skill. He’s shown promise across the board in that department, but can further refine that part of his game. 

No. 56 Emmanuel Stephen is one of the most imposing players in the class. A 7-foot specimen, Stephen combines size and strength like few others in the 2024 group. His ability to impose around the rim on both ends is going to give the league problems. The eventual battle between Stephen and Bidunga is going to be a must-see. 



Right now, the Labaron Philon, Rakease Passmore duo locks up the best backcourt in the league for the Jayhawks. 

Philon can play either guard spot, and Passmore can add perimeter versatility as well. 

This pair shines in transition, and that aligns well with Flory Bigunda’s rim protection and rebounding down low. 

Now, if Baylor lands Tre Johnson, this conversation will need to be revisited. It won’t automatically knock Kansas out of the top spot, but it will give us something to think about. 


Labaron Philon’s commitment to Kansas was a slight surprise, but the Alabama native has shown that he was worthy of blue blood attention for years. That’s not where the surprise stemmed from. It was more so that he left the south that caught people off guard. 

Nevertheless, Philon has taken over the HoopSeen stage in big ways before. Let’s rewind to the 2022 Bama Jam when Josh Tec wrote this about the Jayhawk guard. 

“When thinking about next-level prospects, there weren’t many better than Philon at Bama Jam. In his weekend-opening salvo, Philon put up 32 points and didn’t appear to break a sweat. He can kill you in a variety of ways too. Above the rim in transition? Philon can fly. 3-point line? Philon can knock ‘em down. Take his man off the bounce and attack the rim? Yup, you guessed it, he does that too. I’m not the Alabama expert, but I’d venture to guess that Philon is at or near the top of the list of the state’s best prospects.”


TOP PG: Rob Wright, Baylor
TOP SG: Labaron Philon, Kansas
TOP SF: Rakease Passmore, Kansas
TOP PF: Carter Bryant, Arizona
TOP C: Flory Bidunga, Kansas
TOP SHOOTER: Mercy Miller, Houston
TOP SCORER: Jamari Phillips, Arizona
TOP DEFENDER: Flory Bidunga

Josh Tec

Josh Tec is a Georgia State graduate with a degree in journalism. Tec aspires to work in basketball media as his career continues. At Georgia State, he graduated with Summa Cum Laude honors and was recognized as a leader in the classroom. Outside of basketball, Tec loves movies and perpetually seeks out his next favorite film.