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September 20, 2012

Gators sit atop 2013 team rankings

MORE: Past Team Rankings | 2013 Rivals150

We are used to seeing a program from the state of Kentucky make strong moves in the team recruiting rankings. However, this time around it is Rick Pitino's Louisville Cardinals who are making major noise in the team rankings, while perennial power Duke makes its first appearance. Florida holds onto the top spot in the ranking of the top 20 class of 2013 recruiting classes.

Billy Donovan and the Gators did lose non-ranked three-star Schuyler Rimmer to a de-commitment, but for now the fact that they have two five-star prospects -- point guard Kasey Hill and power forward Chris Walker -- that rank within the national top seven keeps the Gators in the top five.

Making a huge move, though, are the previously mentioned Louisville Cardinals who move all the way up to No. 2 from No. 8.

Rick Pitino and his staff aren't playing around on the recruiting trail this year and an already solid class was made very good during the last week.

It started when junior college point guard Chris Jones gave a verbal nod. A Sherron Collins play-a-like, Jones is a compact, powerful and tenacious competitor who can score the basketball.

He's a high-end, four-star prospect who will receive strong consideration for five-star status.

He should be able to step in and play like a Final Four-caliber point guard. Already in the fold were slashing four-star wing Anton Gill and class of 2012's No. 80 player Terry Rozier. Inside strength was added on Wednesday night when four-star power forward Akoy Agau joined the fold.

By adding the nation's No. 30 player Semi Ojeleye to the No. 32 player Matt Jones, Coach K and the Blue Devils make a strong debut in the team rankings at No. 4.

Another big mover inside the top 20 is Illinois. The Illini already had a solid top 20 class, but the addition of top 50 shooting guard Kendrick Nunn allows John Groce's first real class in Champaign to move all the way up to No. 9 at this juncture.

Other teams making their debut in the rankings include Arizona (No. 11), UCLA (No. 12), California (No. 13) and Ohio State, which comes in at No. 16.

With the recent addition of five-star shooting guard Robert Hubbs, the Tennessee Volunteers lead a group of teams that are knocking on the door of the top 20.

2013 Team Rankings
1. Florida
2013 commits (National rank)
PF Chris Walker (6)
PG Kasey Hill (7)
Head coach Billy Donovan and his staff are off to one heck of a start in the class of 2013. The Gators shut down the state borders to lock up a five-star point guard in Hill and a five-star big man in Walker. Walker and Hill also provide the athleticism and have plenty of experience playing together in the summer.
2. Louisville
2013 commits (National rank)
SG Anton Gill (45)
PG Terry Rozier (2012 No. 80 4-star)
PF Akoy Agau (No. 83)
PG Chris Jones (JC 4-star)
Thanks to a big-time junior college player and another solid high school big man, Rick Pitino and the Cardinals staff have put together one heck of a class. Point guard Chris Jones is arguably the best junior college player in the country and will warrant five-star consideration. Akoy Agau is a big man with skill and they join four-star shooting guard Anton Gill and 2012 holdover Terry Rozier to make a nice class.
3. Kansas
2013 commits (National rank)
SF Brannen Greene (22)
PG Conner Frankamp (28)
The Jayhawks are looking to get a big haul in the class of 2013 and Bill Self and his staff are of to a terrific start. While they still want to find another ballhandler and an impact big man, the Jayhawks have landed two of the top shooters in the land in Greene and Frankamp. Greene gives Kansas more size and length to go with his shooting while Frankamp can play either the one or the two.
4. Duke
2013 commits (National rank)
SG Matt Jones (32)
SF Semi Ojeleye (30)
The Blue Devils should be feeling pretty good about the wing help they've secured. Both shooting guard Matt Jones and small forward Semi Ojeleye are active scorers and both will be in contention for McDonald's All-American honors.
5. Marquette
2013 commits (National rank)
PG Duane Wilson (53)
SF Deonte Burton (54)
PF Jameel McKay (JC 4-star)
The city of Milwaukee has been producing more and more talent of late and Buzz Williams and his staff look to be building a fence around the city. Wilson is an attacking guard who is built to score while Burton is a big-time athlete with strength who rebounds and competes. In McKay, Marquette has a high volume rebounder and one of the premier junior college players in the country.
6. Michigan
2013 commits (National rank)
SF Zakarie Irvin (31)
PG Derrick Walton (44)
PF Mark Donnal (104)
The Wolverines continue to load up their roster with high-level talent. Irvin's game has taken a huge leap over the last year and he's a versatile wing with terrific size. Walton is one of the toughest playmakers in the country and Donnal gives them a big man with skill and a body on which to build.
7. Memphis
2013 commits (National rank)
SF Nick King (37)
SG Markel Crawford (50)
PG Rashawn Powell (98)
Nick King is a strong wing who can play some on the interior if the Tigers want to play small. Markel Crawford is a big time athlete and defender who was just starting to blossom as a scorer before a knee injury took him down. Point guard Pookie Powell is quick and can score.
8. Arkansas
2013 commits (National rank)
C Bobby Portis (14)
C Moses Kingsley (58)
Those who saw Portis a few years ago can't have expected he would blossom like this. The high energy big man has made a steady climb up the rankings since committing to Mike Anderson and his combination of size, skill and relentless pursuit of the ball should allow him to be an impact player. Moses Kingsley gives the Hogs a tireless rebounder and defender to pair with Portis.
9. Illinois
2013 commits (National rank)
SG Kendrick Nunn (42)
SG Malcolm Hill (64)
PF Maverick Morgan (148)
John Groce and his staff are off to a good start during their first year in Champaign. Hill is an in-state product with good size for a two-guard and a nicely developed mid- range game and jump shot. Morgan is a good athlete with a strong frame and will be capable of playing either the four or the five in the Big Ten. The Illini made an impressive charge to land a key Chicago recruit in Nunn.
10. North Carolina
2013 commits (National rank)
PF Isaiah Hicks (11)
PG Nate Britt (73)
As usual, Roy Williams and his staff are doing well on the recruiting trail. Hicks is a long and athletic local with huge upside who is really just starting to gain experience and will benefit greatly from college coaching. Since busting onto the scene, Britt has been in a funk but if the point guard gets his mojo back this class get much stronger.
11. Arizona
2013 commits (National rank)
SF Rondae Jefferson (No. 16)
SG Elliott Pitts (No. 117)
Sean Miller continues to recruit very well out in the desert. Rondae Jefferson is a tough guy small forward who plays with terrific energy. Elliott Pitts can shoot with range and is a good passer.
12. UCLA
2013 commits (National rank)
SG Zach LaVine (41)
SG Allerik Freeman (52)
Thanks to their 2013 efforts, the Bruins won't lack for scorers at the shooting guard position. Zach LaVine is a slender, explosively athletic slasher who can also play some at the point. Al Freeman is a mid-range scorer with a Pac-12 ready body.
13. Cal
2013 commits (National rank)
SG Jabari Bird (No. 20)
SG Jordan Mathews (No. 85)
The Bears are doing what they can to keep a hold on some top level local talent. Jabari Bird is a five-star wing scorer whose father played at Cal. Jordan Mathews is a four-star who can score off the dribble and is the son of an UCLA assistant.
14. Indiana
2013 commits (National rank)
SG Stanford Robinson (48)
C Luke Fischer(113)
SF Devin Davis (119)
SF Collin Hartman (NR 3-star)
On the heels of 2012's monster class, Tom Crean and his staff have already put together a pretty good group. Robinson is a playmaker off the dribble who can defend while Fischer is a big body that will be bulked up into a Big Ten banger. Davis is a high-energy combo forward who rebounds and defends while Hartman is an excellent spot-up jump shooter.
15. Purdue
2013 commits (National rank)
SG Kendall Stephens (56)
PG Bryson Scott (77)
The son of former Boilkermaker Everette Stephens, shooting guard Kendall Stephens can really rip the nets from deep and is blessed with size and length. Scott is a hard-nosed kid who can score, defends and can play some at the one or two. Smotherman has matured physically and is coming on as an athlete that can board and play a little inside and out.
16. Ohio State
2013 commits (National rank)
PF Marc Loving (No. 60)
SG Kameron Williams ( No. 80)
The Buckeyes have landed a pair of guys who can shoot the ball in combo forward Marc Loving and shooting guard Kameron Williams. Loving has to get stronger but has upside while Williams is one of the best shooters in the class.
17. Iowa State
2013 commits (National rank)
SG Matt Thomas (55)
SG Monte Morris (91)
When it comes to shooters, Thomas just may be the best in the entire country. The Wisconsin native's jumper is a thing of beauty. A tough kid from Michigan, Morris is a combo guard with leadership ability. Fred Hoiberg and company are making some early noise on the recruiting trail.
18. Alabama
2013 commits (National rank)
C Jimmie Taylor (57)
PF Shannon Hale (90)
Anthony Grant and the Crimson Tide have gone big with their first two commitments in 2013. With more focus and some physical maturity, Taylor has the tools to climb much further up the rankings. Hale is a four-man who can face the basket a bit and he's become a more dedicated rebounder.
19. BYU
2013 commits (National rank)
PF Eric Mika (No. 69)
SG Nick Emery (No. 103)
PF Jakob Hartsock (NR 3-star)
PF Braiden Shaw (NR)
PF Luke Worthington (NR 3-star)
A rugged big man, Mika really burst onto the scene during the summer after sitting out his junior season due to transfer rules. His high school teammate, Emery, is a highly confident gunslinger from deep who plays with swagger. Hartsock and Shaw add quality depth to the post rotation.
20. West Virginia
2013 commits (National rank)
C Brandon Watkins (No. 124)
PF Elijah Macon (2012 No. 56 4-star)
PF Nathan Adrian (3-star)
Similar to that of Louisville, the Mountaineers' class gets a boost from a guy not qualifying in 2012. A native of Ohio, Macon is a big man who has a Big 12 body and plays with a great deal of physicality. Watkins is a thin big man who can block shots and has a little scoring pop while Adrian is a local product who should develop into a solid contributor during his time in Morgantown.

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