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Isaiah Collier’s Decision Looms As NCAA Early Signing Period Hits Home Stretch

Top basketball recruits decide to stay home, push announcements to this week or plan to hold out until the spring.

The three-day countdown is on as the end of the NCAA’s early signing period swiftly approaches. 

At this point, most of the top committed players have signed a letter of intent, giving their future coaches reassurances, while other prospects are waiting until the late signing period, which starts April 12.

From weekend signees to impending news, here’s the latest intel on what’s happened and what we can expect.

Isaiah Collier on the clock

By far, the biggest news that looms is where arguably the top prospect in the 2023 class will land. On Wednesday, Isaiah Collier will choose between Cincinnati, USC, UCLA and Michigan. 

The 6'4" point guard invited Sports Illustrated in on the decision-making process with his family and said his decision could likely be made the day before or the day of the big announcement.

Given that all four of his contenders make sense basketball-wise, Collier’s focus is on relationships, saying the school he shares the deepest bond with across the entire coaching staff will likely earn his commitment.

Kaden Cooper

Cooper is an elite-level athlete who dominates both sides of the ball.

Kaden Cooper stays home

In July, Cooper, who was born and raised in Oklahoma, told SI that he was feeling the pressure to stay in-state. On Saturday that culminated in his picking the Sooners over Alabama, Gonzaga, Kansas and LSU.

Cooper is arguably the most gifted athlete in the class with the potential to be a lockdown defender and unstoppable slasher at the next level. This past summer those skills were on full display, pumping in 14 points and 10 rebounds while running with Team Trae Young (Okla.) in the Adidas 3SSB this summer.

Expect Cooper to be near the top tier in the SI99 basketball recruiting rankings for the 2023 class, which will be released early next month.

Cooper was a major win for Porter Moses.

Cousins set to commit

Elite centers, teammates and cousins Baye Fall and Assane Diop will announce their decisions Tuesday.

Fall's list is down to Arkansas, Seton Hall, Auburn and Rutgers, while Diop will decide between Colorado, Arkansas and Seton Hall.

The logical question is whether the family members will decide to team up once again at the next level either at Seton Hall or Arkansas. Backchannel chatter has Arkansas in strong position for Fall, while intel on Diop has been harder to come by.

Both have all the tools to make an impact in Year 1 at any school on their lists.

Committed recruits holding out for spring

Don’t expect a press release from N.C. State regarding the signing of its top commit Dennis Parker Jr. this week. The 6'6" wing is deciding to hold off until April.

The waiting game is not uncommon in recruiting, though it typically raises questions about whether the recruit is waiting to see whether everything and everyone he committed to stays in place once the season is over.

That said, it’s no secret that Wolfpack coach Kevin Keatts (90–68 in five seasons) needs to show and prove this season.

Sometimes the early signing period provides even more incentive.

Red Storm breathe a sigh of relief

After some speculation surrounding whether St. John’s top recruit Brandon Gardner was planning to skip the early signing period, the versatile 6'8" forward put the rumors to rest revealing to SI his intentions to sign with the Red Storm Wednesday.

Gardner will make it official at a ceremony at Christ the King (Middle Village, N.Y.) at 2:30 p.m. ET.

The signature is a major win for Mike Anderson, who needed Gardner in the fold to serve as the building block to potentially lure other prospects to New York.

Penny Hardaway gets it done

Hardaway has the recruits rolling into Memphis.

Hardaway has the recruits rolling into Memphis.

Good luck finding a harder-working staff than Penny Hardaway and his crew at Memphis. This weekend, the Tigers landed elite point guard Ty-Laur Johnson, who picked Memphis over N.C. State and Seton Hall. Johnson is the sixth commit in Memphis’s 2023 haul and the fourth commitment for Hardaway in the last seven days.

Johnson joins Mikey Williams, JJ Taylor, Carl Cherenfant, Ryan Forrest and David Tubek to give Hardaway a class that should land in the top 10 of the SI All-American team recruiting rankings, which will be released Thursday. 

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