With the start of the NCAA Early Signing Period beginning this week (Nov. 14 - 21st), some of the top prospects in Arizona's 2019 senior class are now off the recruiting board. The normal signing period begins in April, but, for some, the early signing period is realized. For some of Arizona's top prospects who have signed this week, the long wait is over in there recruitment, while, for others, the high school season will become their proving ground.
This week, the top prospect to sign a national letter of intent was Pinnacle High School's superstar guard Nico Mannion, who signed with the University of Arizona. Mannion is scheduled to graduate a year early to play for the Wildcats next fall. Mannion is a huge signing for the Wildcats program that has had a big fall signing period. Mannion is among the most heralded prospects in the country and his signing has changed the complexion of Wildcats' recruiting. Former Arizona standout Josh Green, who transferred schools to play for IMG Academy in final two years of high school, and leaving Hillcrest Prep, also signed with Arizona to join Mannion.
Also joining Mannion and Green will be Bella Vista Prep 6-foot-7 senior wing Terry Armstrong. I had believed that Armstrong would also sign with the Wildcats, so when he did, it confirmed his desire to want to be a part of a tremendous freshman class for the Wildcats. Armstrong is high-energy wing prospect with a live body and serious athleticism, and he gives the Wildcats a different look from what they have, but so will Mannion and Green. The Arizona staff is getting it done and the program is back with the signings of these top Arizona prospects.
Shadow Mountain's dynamic duo of Jaelen House and Javon Blacksher will stay in state respectively for college, as House has signed with Arizona State and Blacksher has signed with Grand Canyon. These two prospects have had terrific high school careers and will conclude this season with another state title before moving on to play their college basketball. House deciding on ASU is big, since his father Eddie House was a star guard for the Sun Devils and an NBA Champion for the Boston Celtics. Blacksher's signing will boost Grand Canyon's recruiting class, and add even more talent to a loaded Antelope's roster.
Mountain Pointe's 6-foot-9 senior post Jalen Graham and Perry's 6-foot-4 senior guard Jalen Williams will join each other at Santa Clara, after both decided to sign with the program this week. Graham had many high-major offers before choosing Santa Clara, and was one of the hottest post prospects in the country, after a dominant defensive performance in this summer's Nike Peach Jam. Williams is one of the top shooters of the basketball in the West. The two prospects will really bolster the future of Santa Clara recruiting.
Hillcrest Prep 6-foot-11 senior post Antwan January impacted the state immediately upon arriving, and his signing with the University of Illinois was big for Arizona's 2019 Class, when you consider the level of schools that each of the state's members of the class have landed. January's Big-10 signing was a big addition to an already good class of signings.
Many more of Arizona's top prospects will look to the late signing period in April, but these young men and some others will now focus on their college preparation for the future. Arizona high school basketball is definitely on the rise and the early signing period proved the value of our state's top prospects in this year's senior class.