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The North Carolina Tar Heels have the #1 recruiting class of 2013 which includes Diamond DeShields, the No. 1 player in the country, Jessica Washington, Allisha Gray and Stephanie Mavunga. All four players are ranked in the Full Court Fresh 50. We interviewed the fab four about their blockbuster deal to attend UNC.

UNC, Duke top the 2013 recruiting rankings

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November 23, 2012 - 9:33am
North Carolina signed Diamond DeShields, the No. 1 recruit in the nation and three other top 50 players, giving the Tar Heels the top recruiting class of 2013. (Photo by Kelly Kline)

North Carolina signed Diamond DeShields, the No. 1 recruit in the nation and three other top 50 players, giving the Tar Heels the top recruiting class of 2013. (Photo by Kelly Kline)

Now we know why Maryland is leaving the ACC -- North Carolina and Duke have the top two 2013 recruiting classes and on paper, look to be national championship mix for some time to come.

OK, the truth is the only reason the Big 10 wanted Maryland was because now the Big 10 network can add the DMV to its market share -- and on top of that, Maryland isn't far behind its ACC rivals, they also had a top five recruiting class. Then again, the correlation between recruiting class rankings and AP poll rankings four years later isn't much better than the correlation between Rush Limbaugh's ratings and the Republican electoral college vote, so there's hope for schools that aren't mentioned. All in all, though, you'd still rather be in on the best recruiting classes than not at all. 

If you like to compare the major conferences, the ACC (including Notre Dame and Maryland) looks to be the major winner of 2013 talent pulling in 17 players ranked in the Full Court Fresh 50. The Southeastern conference is second with 11 players, the Big East nabbed 6, the Pac-12 and the Big 12 both signed 5 top players and the Big 10 just two.  Only two top 50 players remain unsigned, No. 16 Ieshia Small and No. 18 Jessica Jackson, both are waiting until the spring to announce their decision. 

(note: all top 50 players are linked to their Full Court Fresh 50 profile page)

1) North Carolina: No. 1 Diamond DeShields, No. 11 Allisha Gray, No. 23 Stephanie Mavunga, No. 24 Jessica Washington

Any class that starts with the best player in the country has great promise, but Sylvia Hatchell didn't stop there. Gray is a smooth lefty who will pair with DeShields on the wing, while Mavunga is tough inside and Washington has the potential to be a first-class point guard. And Xylina McDaniel is starting for the Heels as a freshman right now, so UNC looks to be in great shape for the next three seasons, at least in terms of raw talent. How that talent will develop, however, might be another story.

2) Duke No. 5 Oderah Chidom, No. 8 Rebecca Greenwell, No. 20 Kendall Cooper, No. 32 Kianna Holland

Joanne McCallie plucked Chelsea Gray from Northern California, and now did the same with Chidom, a 6-3 wing who is far from reaching her peak. Greenwell is a sweet-shooting wing with size, Cooper is a Chante Black clone (though a little shorter) and Holland might just be the successor to Gray. 

3) Tennessee No. 2 Mercedes Russell, No. 12 Jannah Tucker, No. 40 Jordan Reynolds

After losing to Chattanooga to start the season, many were ready to write off Holly Warlick and the Volunteers -- but haters of "Rocky Top" better keep those ear plugs handy, because Russell is the best post in the class and Tucker and Reynolds are both very good wings. Pat Summitt may be gone, but the talent is still flowing.

4) Maryland No. 13 Alexis Brown, No. 17 Brionna Jones, No. 39 Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, A'Lexus Harrison

Some say Brown is right there with DeShields, and the 6-3 Jones is a force in the paint. Walker-Kimbrough is a superb athlete who could make great strides once she focuses solely on basketball.

5) Notre Dame No. 4 Taya Reimer, No. 21 Lindsay Allen, Kristina Nelson, Diamond Thompson

Muffet McGraw may have finally gotten herself a post player in the unranked Thompson, who's 6-4, but Reimer and Allen are much closer to the sure-thing category. Reimer is a wing who just plays the game really well, and Allen is a consummate point guard.

6) Stanford No. 9 Kailee Johnson, No. 10 Erica McCall, Briana Roberson, Karlie Samuelson, Khaliyah Thompson

Johnson is a skilled 6-3 stretch four who might even be able to play the three -- and the same could be said of McCall (sister of DeWanna Bonner), who's a little shorter but a little more athletic. And Karlie Samuelson can shoot it, just like her older and younger sisters.

7) Kentucky No. 7 Linnae Harper, No. 43 Makayla Epps, Kyvin Goodin-Rogers

Harper is one of the great conundrums of the class. She's maybe 5-7, and plays power forward in high school -- but for USA Basketball, she's played the point. Whatever the position, Harper plays the game as well as anyone in this class, and she has both strength and a high basketball IQ. Epps should be a solid guard, but doesn't project quite as high as some others.

8) Vanderbilt No. 15 Rebekah Dahlman, No. 42 Marqu'es Webb, Kylee Smith

Melanie Balcomb doesn't always get great talent, but Dahlman not only has ability but fits the Vandy system. Marqu'es Webb has a superfluous apostrophe in her name, but she's got a powerful inside game and is the kind of player the Commodores often lack.

9) California No. 34 Courtney Range, No. 38 Kendall Waters, Hind Ben Abdelkader, Mercedes Jefflo

The mystery woman is Hind Ben Abdelkader from Belgium, but since the last highly touted international recruit -- Avigail Cohen -- didn't do much, this class most likely will rise and fall on Northern Californians Range (6-2 wing who can shoot threes) and Waters (solid inside game).

10) Georgia Tech No. 2 Kaela Davis, Donnaizha Fountain, Gabrielle Holston

The only reason the Jackets are here is Davis, and there are still a lot of people who don't know the reason Davis spurned every national power to play for Tech. But MaChelle Joseph isn't complaining about landing a 6-2 wing who, when motivated, is as good as anyone in the country.

11) Rutgers No. 6 Tyler Scaife

C. Vivian Stringer has always been able to recruit, and she plucked Scaife from Arkansas, which is generally not a happy hunting ground for New Jersey colleges. Scaife can score, though Stringer has been known to transform high school point machines into defensive specialists in Piscataway. 

12) South Carolina No. 14 Alaina Coates, Mia Cooper

Dawn Staley did what good coaches do: She kept the tall girl at home. Coates, who won a state championship with Dutch Fork High School, will give the Gamecocks the inside presence they've lacked, and is the kind of post player programs can build around.

13) Florida State No. 19 Kai James, Brittany Brown, Gabrielle Bevillard, Ivey Slaughter

You want strong? Then Kai James is the player for you. She'll give the Seminoles power in the paint, though there's work to do otherwise. And like South Carolina, picking up this kind of center lays a great foundation.

14) Northwestern No. 22 Nia Coffey, Alexandra Tuttle, Ashley Deary, Christen Inman

It's taken Joe McKeown a little longer to turn things around in Evanston that people expected, but Coffey, a smooth lefty from the dominant high school team in Minnesota (Hopkins), should give the program another boost.

15) Penn State No. 25 Lindsey Spann, Peyton Whitted, Aketra Sevillian, Alexandria Harris, Infiniti Alston, Jenny DeGraaf, Kaliyah Mitchell

Spann is a very nice player from the highly competitive DMV scene, and Whitted has earned some national attention. But none of the recruits can be counted out, especially with Coquese Washington's ability to get the most out of her talent.

16) Baylor No. 26 Imani Wright, Breanna Hayden, Khadijiah Cave, Nina Davis

Imani Wright isn't going to replace Brittney Griner (who could?), but she's a wing who can score and defend -- and will ease the transition into Baylor's next phase. Nina Davis could surprise as well.

17) Virginia No. 27 Sydney Umeri, Amanda Fioravanti, Breyana Mason, Tiffany Suarez

Umeri and Fioravanti will give Joanne Boyle the kind of frontcourt muscle she had at Cal, and Boyle knows how to leverage inside talent.

18) LSU No. 29 Raigyne Moncrief, Jasmine Rhodes

There are those who thought Nikki Caldwell would step right into the SEC and start landing elite players, but it hasn't quite worked out that way. Raigyne Moncrief is a good defender who can get to the rim, but she's going to need help to elevate the Tigers into the the SEC's upper echelon.

19) Louisville No. 28 Emmonie Henderson

Henderson is a talented 6-2 player who's got moves to spare -- but the Cardinals need to get reinforcements to get back to the glory days of Angel McCoughtry.

20) St John’s No. 30 Jade Johnson-Walker, Aaliyah Lewis

Johnson-Walker will anchor the Red Storm's post game, and inside strength is her calling card.

21) Georgetown No. 31 Shayla Cooper, Faith Woodard, Jade Martin, Kelsey Briggs, Natalie Butler, Tyshell King

Cooper might just be a steal because she plays with DeShields in high school and for talent-rich Essence in the summer -- which means she may be able to do more than expected. 

22) Miami No. 33 Adrienne Motley, Jessica Thomas, Nigia Green

Slightly undersized, Motley can't lift the Hurricane to the Riquna Williams/Shenise Johnson level, but she's a solid point guard who should make those around her better.

23) Connecticut No. 35 Saniya Chong

Does this mean there's hope for UConn-haters? Not until Breanna Stewart graduates. And Chong is a scorer, which will make a nice complement to the young Husky roster.

24) Georgia No. 48 Halle Washington, Samantha Glodis, Sydnei McCaskill

Andy Landers isn't getting the great recruiting classes he used to get, but the Dawgs just keep on winning. And stealing Washington from LSU (she's a Louisiana girl) has to make the veteran coach smile.

25) Florida No. 37 Ronnie Williams

At 6-1, Williams could turn into a big-time star if she can develop a perimeter game -- but you can only go to the rack so many times.


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