Although there are still some high-profile recruits left on the board in the Class of 2013 -- namely top-five prospects Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle and Aaron Gordon -- the 2014 class is already starting to take center stage thanks to some recent early commitments. In the past two weeks alone, ESPN 60 prospects Shaqquan Aaron (Louisville) and Parker Jackson-Cartwright (Arizona) have come off the board, and last month North Carolina snagged elite junior point guard Joel Berry.
In each of those cases, the players committed after taking advantage of a new NCAA rule allowing recruits to take official visits beginning Jan. 1 of their junior year. Previously, juniors could take unofficial visits but had to wait till their senior year to take official visits, with the difference being that official visits allow the school to pay travel expenses for the prospect and a parent/guardian. The rule change was actually adopted in October 2011 but did not go into effect until Aug. 1, 2012, meaning this is the first chance for juniors to take advantage of the new rule.
And so far, many 2014 recruits have clearly done just that. What is less clear is how much of a role the new rule is having on early commitments or whether this is the continuation of an already-growing trend. So to sort things out, we’ve enlisted our RecruitingNation basketball experts to weigh in on the impact of the new official visit rule.