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Curie's Cliff Alexander lays up a shot on a breakaway. | Patrick Gleason/For Sun-Times Media

Recruiting has become a closely watched facet of the game. Fans following players go through with ups, downs and emotions as they would a team. The apex of the recruiting season is the early signing period in November.

Here is an early signing period rewind.

Biggest Recruiting Battle

■ The fight for Curie’s Cliff Alexander

The slugfest for an Alexander commitment is one that will likely go down among the all-time recruiting battles in state history, especially considering two local programs were in the hunt. Drama, rumors and constant speculation surrounded the deeply entrenched final four schools, with Kansas and Illinois fighting it out in the final hours. 

Biggest Recruiting Coup

■ North Chicago’s JayQuan McCloud to Murray State

There were several mid-majors involved with McCloud, a smooth-scoring shooting guard, but for an Ohio Valley Conference school to land a player with this much potential was a steal. Now, Murray State is not your ordinary OVC program, but the Racers now have themselves a player who can shoot and score at a very high level.

Most Important Recruit

■ Northwestern landing St. Rita’s Vic Law

What else would you call the highest-ranked player the Northwestern basketball program has ever signed? Law is currently ranked No. 66 by ESPN.com, No. 70 by Scout.com and No. 86 by Rivals.com. Throw in the fact he’s a local product, and it’s something for the NU fan base to get excited about. Perhaps more important, Law spearheads what is the best recruiting class in Northwestern basketball history, which is a boon for any first-year head coach. 

The Rising Recruit

■ Fenwick’s Scott Lindsey

A year ago it was Bolingbrook’s Ben Moore. This year it was Lindsey, whose stock skyrocketed in July when he added multiple high-major offers. Northwestern may have landed a diamond in the rough. There’s still a tremendous amount of room for the versatile Lindsey to grow as a player. He’s still learning as he plays. He shoots well and is now making plays in transition and finishing at the rim.

Most Underrated Signing

■ Simeon’s Donte Ingram to Loyola

Loyola did its homework this fall, checking in on Simeon open gyms multiple times and finding a 6-5 player who has grown more comfortable and confident while no one was looking. Ingram, who brings dynamite perimeter size, length and playmaking ability, may be just as valuable as the other bigger-named wings in the class.

Best Uncommitted Player

■ Josh Cunningham, Morgan Park

When all the commitments have been given and letters of intent signed, there will be one name left that will keep college programs coming back to Chicago this winter: Cunningham. The highly athletic 6-7 forward is active, plays with a high motor and has decided to play out his senior year and sign in the spring.

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