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Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated
SI Staff

Kentucky Downs Duke for No. 1 in 2023 Basketball Recruiting Rankings

Jon Scheyer was well on his way to going back-to-back on No. 1 recruiting classes, until Kentucky snagged a commitment Monday from elite point guard DJ Wagner.

That gave John Calipari the slight edge he needed to claim the top spot as the NCAA’s early signing period drew to a close Wednesday.

The Wildcats’ five-man haul includes two of the most talented point guards in the country in Wagner and Robert Dillingham, arguably the top wing (Justin Edwards) and center (Aaron Bradshaw) and one of the country’s best combo guards in Reed Sheppard.

Duke is nipping at their heels with another stellar class including Mackenzie Mgbako, Caleb Foster, Sean Stewart, Jared McCain and TJ Power, while Tom Izzo has Michigan State back in the top tier of the rankings with a balanced four-man class highlighted by 6’10’ unicorn Xavier Booker.

Here’s how the rest of the SI All-American basketball recruiting team rankings shake out.

Dillingham, a Kentucky signee, is arguably the most lethal scorer in the country.


1. Kentucky

Commitments: DJ Wagner, Robert Dillingham, Justin Edwards, Reed Sheppard, Aaron Bradshaw.

The two-point guard lineup of Dillingham and Wagner should be a devastating obstacle for the opposition next season, and Edwards' all-around dominance has him in the conversation for the country's top prospect. Sheppard is an elite combo guard and Bradshaw, arguably the country’s top center, impacts the game on both ends.

2. Duke

Commitments: Mackenzie Mgbako, Caleb Foster, Sean Stewart, Jared McCain, TJ Power.

Analysis: Mgbako went No. 1 overall in Sports Illustrated's all-high school NBA Mock Draft in June; his versatility will put him in contention for All-ACC accolades in year one. McCain, Foster and Power are the most lethal trio of perimeter scoring in the country and Stewart is a strong, athletic forward who checks off lots of boxes on both ends.

3. Michigan State

Commitments: Jeremy Fears, Xavier Booker, Gehrig Normand, Coen Carr.

Booker is a 6'11" unicorn of a prospect with guard-like ability, making him a matchup nightmare. His presence has Spartan fans thinking about the Final Four in Phoenix in 2024.

4. Memphis

Commitments: Mikey Williams, J.J. Taylor, Ryan Forrest, Carl Cherenfant, David Tubek, Ty-Laur Johnson, Ashton Hardaway.

The Taylor-Williams-Johnson trio is a devastating blend of speed, athleticism, versatility and tenacity. Hardaway, Penny’s son, is a sniper from the perimeter.

5. Connecticut

Commitments: Stephon Castle, Solomon Ball, Youssouf Singare, Jaylin Stewart, Jayden Ross.

Castle has NBA size (6’6”) and the ability to play both guard positions efficiently. His length and scoring ability will give Dan Hurley a star from day one on the perimeter. Ball is a dynamic scorer and Ross and Stewart are versatile wings that score in a variety of different ways. 

6. Oregon

Commitments: Kwame Evans, Mookie Cook, Jackson Shelstad.

Evans is one of the most versatile prospects in the country whose skill set is a headache for the opposition. Cook is a bulldog of a wing with efficient three-level scoring ability.

7. Ohio State

Commitments: Austin Parks, Scotty Middleton, Taison Chatman, Devin Royal.

 Middleton is one of the most versatile wings in the country and Chatman and Royal give Chris Holtmann interchangeable athletes on the wing and in the paint.

8. Tennessee

Commitments: Freddie Dilione, Cade Phillips, JP Estrella, Cameron Carr.

Dilione is likely the most underrated point guard in the country and Estrella is a multi-skilled big who impacts both ends of the floor. Rick Barnes’ haul is loaded.

9. USC

Commitments: Arrinten Page, Silas Demary Jr., Isaiah Collier.

Andy Enfield got the prize of the 2023 class in Collier, a complete point guard that raises the level of play for everyone else. Page, his high school teammate, is a versatile forward and Demary is one of the most underrated guards in the country.

10. Iowa State

Commitments: Jelani Hamilton, Jelani Fish, Milan Momcilovic, Omaha Biliew.

Biliew is the highest-rated prospect the Cyclones have ever landed and fits the mold of a program-changing prospect. A 6’6” wing who does it all and defends multiple positions.

11. Kansas

Commitments: Elmarko Jackson, Chris Johnson, Jamari McDowell.

Jackson is a dynamic lead guard who can take over a game at any time but thrives as a playmaker who runs the offense. Johnson and McDowell are at their best when they’re in attack mode. 

Wilcher will be a star in Hubert Davis' system at North Carolina.

Under Armour/Elite 24

12. North Carolina

Commitments: Simeon Wilcher, Zayden High.

Wilcher is one of the top-scoring guards in the country with optimal size (6’6”) for the position and the ability to guard multiple positions on the defensive end. That should pair well with High, the perfect stretch-four for Hubert Davis’s four-out system. 

13. Maryland

Commitments: Jahnathan Lamothe, DeShawn Harris-Smith, Jamie Kaiser.

Kevin Willard added a three-man class that’s oozing with athleticism, versatile scoring, length and playmaking ability. Kaiser, Harris-Smith and Lamothe impact the game in multiple ways on both ends. 

14. Colorado

Commitments: Cody Williams, Assane Diop, Courtney Anderson.

Tad Boyle landed the program’s highest-rated recruit in Williams, a 6’8” slasher with length and an unrelenting motor. Diop is a blue-collar center who should be able to contribute from day one for the Buffs.

15. Alabama

Commitments: Davin Cosby, Mouhamed Dioubate, Sam Walters, R.J. Johnson.

Dioubate will give Nate Oats a strong and versatile defensive presence in the paint, while Walters serves as a 6’9” do-it-all forward on the offensive end. His ability to stretch the defense will make him an impact player early.

16. Oklahoma State

Commitments: Justin McBride, Jamyron Keller, Brandon Garrison, Connor Dow.

McBride's ability to dominate from the wing and in the paint made him one of the top players in the prestigious Nike Peach Jam this summer. Garrison is a steady 6’9” center with great hands who serves as a capable defensive presence.

17. Xavier

Commitments: Kachi Nzeh, Reid Ducharme, Dailyn Swain, Trey Green.

Sean Miller snagged one of the quickest, shiftiest point guards in the country in Green. His ability to make NBA-range three-pointers under heavy duress will keep him on the floor next season. Ducharme and Swain are versatile wings that score in a variety of different ways. 

18. Houston

Commitments: Joseph Tugler, Kordelius Jefferson, Jacob McFarland, Cedric Lath.

Tugler is the star of Kelvin Sampson’s 2023 haul, a 6’8” athlete who gets to the basket at will and serves as a shot eraser on the defensive end. His motor is electric and tends to energize his teammates.

19. Kansas State

Commitments: Macaleab Rich, Dai Dai Ames, RJ Jones.

Jerome Tang made his presence felt in a big way in year one with the addition of Jones and Ames, dynamic guards who score in bunches. Ames is one of the shiftiest point guards in the country and should pair well with Jones off the ball. 

20. Ole Miss

Commitments: Josh Hubbard, Jacob Gazzo, Rashaud Marshall, Jordan Burks.

Marshall is a strong, 6’9” forward with great hands and elite athleticism. A finisher on the offensive end, Marshall also serves as a shot eraser in the paint. Hubbard is a bulldog of a point guard, who gets where he wants on the floor and has elite vision and efficient scoring ability.

21. Baylor

Commitments: Ja’Kobe Walter, Miro Little.

Scott Drew landed the best two-way perimeter prospect in the class in Walter, who possesses elite athleticism and innate toughness on both ends of the floor. Little is a versatile playmaker who scores efficiently all over the floor. 

22. Missouri

Commitments: Trent Pierce, Anthony Robinson, Jordan Butler.

Pierce is a versatile stretch-four who plays passing lanes like a seasoned defensive back, erases shots and knocks down shots efficiently. That should pair well with Robinson, a heady point guard who can score in bunches. 

23. Marquette

Commitments: Al Amadou, Zaide Lowery, Tre Norman.

Shaka Smart got a steal of a scoring guard in Norman, whose high IQ on the offensive end enables him to dominate the game in a multi-faceted way. His scoring ability will make his impact felt from day one. 

24. Oklahoma

Commitments: Jacolb Cole, Kaden Cooper.

Porter Moser held strong and kept Cooper home, despite formidable pressure from the outside. What he got was an electric athlete who can guard all five positions and score in a variety of different ways. Cooper has one of the best motors in the class.

25. Cincinnati

Commitments: Rayvon Griffith, Jizzle James.

Wes Miller is taking a big step toward solidifying his standing as a major player in the recruiting game with Griffith and James. Griffith is a 6’7” versatile wing who can fill it up and James, son of former NFL great Edgerrin James, was one of the top guards at the Nike Peach Jam.

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