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Rivals Rankings Week: Updated Rivals150 released

The Rivals150 for 2022 has received its penultimate facelift, and there are no shortage of significant moves. The fact that Duke signee Dariq Whitehead has seized the No. 1 spot will spark most of the discussion, but wasn’t the only significant shift by any means.

Below, Rivals.com’s Rob Cassidy has a look at some of the most important rankings-related storylines

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RIVALS RANKINGS WEEK

Previews: Biggest rankings questions to address during the next refresh | Toughest rankings decisions

Monday: Top five countdown for 2022

Tuesday: New 2022 Rivals150 released

Wednesday: 2022 position rankings

Thursday: 2023 Rivals150

Friday: 2024 top 65

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THE ONCE-VACANT TOP SPOT HAS BEEN FILLED … AGAIN

The top of the 2022 rankings has been in flux for some time, as the last two No. 1 prospects (Jalen Duren and Shaedon Sharpe) have reclassified into the 2021 class and are already on college campuses. So with Duran playing at Memphis and Sharpe on the roster at Kentucky, Rivals.com has tabbed Duke signee Dariq Whitehead as top dog.

The leader of a loaded Montverde (Fla.) Academy team, Whitehead is as battle-tested as prospects come and is equipped with one of the highest floors of any prospect in America. Whitehead is a true three-level scorer that comes with the body and length capable of giving him tremendous defensive versatility at the college level. The decision to go with Whitehead over fellow Blue Devil signees Dereck Lively and Kyle Filipowski was a difficult one based on consistency, competition level and NBA appeal.

So while cases can be made for both Lively and Filipowski, Whitehead’s full body of work made him the safest pick of the trio, even if Lively carries a bit more upside due to his length. mobility and fit within the modern NBA.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH DUKE FANS AT DEVILSILLUSTRATED.COM

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EVERYTHING COMING UP DUKE

The trio of Whitehead, Filipowski and Lively check at Nos. 1, 2 and 3, respectively. So while there’s one more rankings update to go before the class is set in stone, it would mark the first time in the Rivals era that a program has landed the top three overall prospects in a class should things hold.

We’ve used a lot of keystrokes writing about this Duke class and how the stars seemed to align at the perfect time to prevent a shaky changing of the guard as Mike Krzyzewski gives way to Jon Schyer. It’s insanely difficult to replace a legend without a period of recruiting uncertainty, but it seems as though the Blue Devils may do just that with a transitional class that packs more firepower than even the most optimistic fan could have predicted.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH DUKE FANS AT DEVILSILLUSTRATED.COM

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FUTURE RAZORBACKS MAKE GAINS

Arkansas fans have every reason to be excited for the future under head coach Eric Musselman, as the success he’s had in his time as the program's head coach now seems to be compounding. Musselman has two five-stars, in the form of Nick Smith and Jordan Walsh, in the fold for 2022, and both saw significant gains in the rankings refresh.

Smith, who has NBA scouts already talking about his potential in the 2023 draft, becomes a more complete point guard with each passing month. He went from No. 16 to No. 4 in the update while entering the conversation for the top spot. Walsh used a strong season at Missouri-based juggernaut Link Academy to crawl up to No. 19 from his previous ranking of 31.

Smith’s No. 4 ranking draws him even with class-of-2004 center Al Jefferson as the highest-ranked prospect ever signed by Arkansas. Jefferson never played a game in Fayetteville, however, as he landed in the NBA straight from high school.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH ARKANSAS FANS AT HAWGBEAT.COM

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TWO JAYHAWKS ADD FIFTH STARS 

It’s been a good month for Kansas signees M.J. Rice and Gradey Dick. First, both were named to the 2022 McDonald's All-American Team. Now, each has added a star in the Rivals rankings. Dick (Sunrise Christian Academy) and Rice (Prolific Prep) both play at high-exposure high schools and have made the most of the eyeballs on them as seniors.

Long known as a high-level shooter with impressive athleticism, Dick has progressed as a ball-handler and a shot-creator this season, while Rice has added a more consistent deep jumper to his trademark ability to get to the basket and finish through contact. KU fans should be encouraged by the duo’s upward trajectory and by the fact that Bill Self is set to sign multiple five-star prospects in a class for the first time since 2018.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH KANSAS FANS AT JAYHAWKSLANT.COM

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NOTRE DAME SEES ITS POINT GUARD JUMP 17 SPOTS

Few did more to improve their game this season than La Lumiere School point guard J.J. Starling, who will suit up for Notre Dame next season. Starling is having a nice season as a whole but made his loudest statement at this year’s Hoophall Classic where he looked miles more controlled and efficient than he has in the past.

Starling is showing the ability to take defenders off the dribble in addition to the reliable jumper for which he’s known. The four-star guard is also playing harder on the defensive end. He scored 20 points on 53-percent shooting in a game against an Oak Hill team full of Division-I prospects at Hoophall and played smart basketball in transition, showing off a skillset that goes well beyond shooting the three.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH NOTRE DAME FANS AT INSIDENDSPORTS.COM