The tail end of the early signing period finished up this past week as some of the top available prospects came off the board while a slew of others put pen to paper in cementing their future. While Kentucky has once again put together the best class throughout the land this fall after landing two elite playmakers in the backcourt in the past few days, it is actually Miami that earns the commitment of the week from the power-conference rung. Take a step down a bit and it is New Mexico State that landed a major standout from the Sunshine State, giving them also a commitment of the week honor.
POWER CONFERENCE COMMITMENT OF THE WEEK
THE U LANDS LONNIE WALKER
One of the more talented and explosive scorers in all of high school basketball, Lonnie Walker has all of the physical tangibles in tow to become a standout at the college realm, possibly parlaying things into an NBA Draft selection sooner rather than later. For some time now, the Reading High guard had been thought to be down to the likes of Syracuse, Arizona, Kentucky, or Villanova as to where he would attend college next fall; well, Jim Larranaga had different plans.
Picking up the most highly touted college prospect of his impressive coaching career, Lonnie Walker is just a stupendous addition to the Miami basketball program. A 6-foot-4 shooting guard with a plus-six wingspan and athleticism to boot, there isn’t much else that you look for in a next level 2-guard prospect that Walker doesn’t possess. While the Pennsylvania native has been hindered some by streaky production on the playing floor, when he is engaged and active, there aren’t many better around than the five-star recruit.
Beating out some of the top college programs and brands for a prospect that is far outside of Miami’s locale is pretty impressive within its own right. Sure, the U has gone towards the Mid-Atlantic in recent years landing the likes of Bruce Brown, JaQuan Newton, and Chris Lykes, but picking up the talents of Walker and in such a heated recruitment is a totally different thing.
Miami now sits within the top-10 of the 2017 HoopSeen Top-25 Class Rankings and sits second within the ACC’s rankings. Explosiveness and room for growth is the name of the game for Walker, someone that should immediately add firepower to the backcourt at Miami and become a capable go-to scorer during crunch time situations beginning next college basketball season.
NON-POWER CONFERENCE COMMITMENT OF THE WEEK
NEW MEXICO STATE PICKS UP LJ FIGUEROA
One of the better available wing recruits that was left on the board, New Mexico State didn’t just pick up a talented prospect from the other side of the nation; the Aggies landed a go-to scorer and someone that can become the face of the program in the years ahead.
For one reason or another, the recruitment of LJ Figueroa dropped off severely in recent months. Don’t blame NMSU to swooping in and landing the Dominican native as the 6-foot-6 small forward, primarily known for his vast scoring skills, has now added value to his game on the defensive end of the court.
A more svelte looking and athletic Figueroa is now on the table and because of the added boost to his energy levels, the West Oaks product is more than capable of bringing some value to the defensive side of the ball. He has all of the traits to become a 3-and-D prospect, someone that can guard various spots but also be seen as a reliable three-point shooter. Due to his skills and production abilities, Figueroa will immediately become one of the more talented and star-studded prospects within the WAC next season.
Add it all up and Figueroa is not just the non-power conference commitment of the week, but better yet, one of the biggest steals this fall. The dearth of talented swingmen was becoming more evident by the day as chances were that a bevy of top-flight programs were due to add some heated attention to the top-75 recruit. Too late now as New Mexico State found its go-to piece on the perimeter of the floor, someone that has improved and bettered his game in recent months and has the chance to lead the WAC bunch to another NCAA Tournament berth in the years ahead.
- Lonnie Walker, 6-foot-4 shooting guard, Reading High School (Pennsylvania) – NATIONAL RANKING: 24
- Mayan Kiir, 6-foot-8 power forward, Victory Rock Prep (Florida) – STATE RANKING: 21
- Duncan LeXander, 6-foot-7 forward, Williston Northampton School (Massachusetts)
- Nojel Eastern, 6-foot-5 shooting guard, Evanston Township High School (Illinois) – NATIONAL RANKING: 47
- Billy Preston, 6-foot-8 forward, Oak Hill Academy (Virginia) – NATIONAL RANKING: 17
CAL STATE FULLERTON
- Josh Pitts, 6-foot-9 center, Memorial High School (Texas)
- Jarvis Doles, 6-foot-8 power forward, Mt. Zion Prep (Maryland)
- Travis Ingram, 6-foot-3 swingman, IC Norcom High School (Virginia)
- Luis Hurtado, 6-foot-5 combo guard, Sagemont School (Florida) – STATE RANKING: 26
- Milos Supica, 6-foot-8 power forward, Freedom Christian Academy (North Carolina)
- Nic Claxton, 6-foot-9 power forward, Legacy Charter School (South Carolina)
- Shai Alexander, 6-foot-4 point guard, Hamilton Heights Christian Academy (Tennessee) – NATIONAL RANKING: 51
- Quade Green, 6-foot point guard, Neumann-Goretti High School (Pennsylvania) – NATIONAL RANKING: 18
- David Beatty, 6-foot-3 shooting guard, Imhotep Charter School (Pennsylvania) – NATIONAL RANKING: 95
- Jay Jay Chandler, 6-foot-3 combo guard, Cinco Ranch High School (Texas) – NATIONAL RANKING: 97
STEPHEN F. AUSTIN
- Stefon Fisher, 6-foot-8 power forward, Oldsmar Christian School (Florida)
- Malik Burnett, 6-foot-2 shooting guard, Lee High School (Alabama)
NEW MEXICO STATE
- LJ Figueroa, 6-foot-6 small forward, West Oaks Academy (Florida) – NATIONAL RANKING: 66