Monday, May 19, 2008
Gary Parrish's Top 10 Recruiting Classes (Memphis 4th)
UCLA's bear of a class best of recruiting bunch
May 19, 2008
By Gary Parrish
CBSSports.com Senior Writer
The nation's top uncommitted prospect is now committed.
His name is Devin Ebanks.
He announced Sunday that he'll enroll at West Virginia.
Ben Howland is no loser on the recruiting trail.
And that should pretty much do it for the Class of 2008 -- except for the ongoing Emmanuel Negedu saga, of course -- considering there are now only two players in Rivals.com's Top 150 that remain uncommitted. One is Bud Mackey, who is currently in jail and facing felony drug charges after allegedly taking 1.6 grams of cocaine into his school. The other is Rashanti Harris, who is expected to land in a prep school rather than a college program because of grades.
In other words, those guys are irrelevant to this class.
So now seems like as good a time as any to look at the landscape and try to figure out which programs had the best recruiting classes and are, in turn, adequately equipped to do well in the coming years, though you should remember none of this ensures immediate success. I mean, Florida and Syracuse had two of the best three recruiting classes last year and used them to make an NIT run.
It's safe to assume UCLA and Wake Forest expect more this time around.
Anyway, here's one man's view of the nation's top 10 classes ...
Best recruit: Jrue Holiday (Rivals.com's No. 2 prospect)
The Bruins have signed papers from four Top 50 prospects, including future pro Jrue Holiday. That alone was probably good enough to secure the top spot. But UCLA clinched the honor when J'Mison Morgan got his release from LSU and committed to UCLA last week to give Ben Howland a five-player class that when grouped with Darren Collison (and perhaps Josh Shipp and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute) seems good enough to lead the Bruins to their fourth straight Final Four.
2. Ohio State
Best recruit: B.J. Mullens (Rivals.com's No. 1 prospect)
The Buckeyes trend of luring NBA-level big men has continued thanks to B.J. Mullens. He's one of two top 25 prospects Thad Matta landed, and his ability to grab the ball and dunk it in a way Kosta Koufos never embraced will be a welcomed addition to OSU.
3. Wake Forest
Best recruit: Al-Farouq Aminu (rated No. 7 by Rivals.com)
It's honorable that all three Wake Forest recruits stuck with their commitments even after the untimely death of Skip Prosser because they didn't have to, you know? A different kind of kid might've used the tragedy as an excuse to look elsewhere. But Al-Farouq Aminu, Ty Walker and Tony Woods all signed as planned, meaning Dino Gaudio has three top 20 prospects set to enroll.
Best recruit: Tyreke Evans (Rivals.com's No. 6 prospect)
The Morris twins decommitted early and Ebanks chose West Virginia at the last minute. Still, the Tigers managed to sign a splendid class, which is a testament to just how many elite prospects the Memphis staff developed relationships with. Tyreke Evans is an NBA talent, the kind of one-and-done player who could fill the scoring role vacated by Chris Douglas-Roberts. Three other top 100 prospects are expected to join him on campus, among them fellow late signee Wesley Witherspoon.
Best recruit: Samardo Samuels (Rivals.com's No. 9 prospect)
Rick Pitino has another stellar class, just like always. Throwing Samardo Samuels into the lineup with Terrence Williams and Earl Clark will make the Cardinals a legitimate national title contender. Terrence Jennings, a top 20 prospect, will add depth in the frontcourt and give Pitino several solid options while searching for a lineup that works.
Best recruit: Marcus Morris (Rivals.com's No. 29 prospect)
The Jayhawks needed a big class because of expected personnel losses, and they secured one by any standard. Like Florida's class, this collection of prospects is light on one-and-done players but high in terms of quality contributors. There are four signees ranked between 29 and 77, and Mario Little might be the best junior-college player in the country.
Best recruit: Eloy Vargas (Rivals.com's No. 26 prospect)
Billy Donovan signed another great class even if there isn't an obvious star in the bunch. Of course, that shouldn't worry Donovan too much. Who among us thought Al Horford and/or Joakim Noah would be stars coming out of high school? (Note: Horford was rated two spots behind Sasha Kaun and Noah was rated two spots behind Lorenzo Mata).
Best recruit: Greg Monroe (Rivals.com's No. 8 prospect)
All four Georgetown signees are top 85 players, including Greg Monroe -- a 6-foot-10 forward from Louisiana who chose the Hoyas over LSU and Duke. He's not a traditional big man in the mold of Roy Hibbert or Alonzo Mourning. But Monroe likely will develop into a great player, though there are questions about whether he's consistent enough to be a star immediately.
Best recruit: Ater Majok (Rivals.com's No. 13 prospect)
Kemba Walker is the best-known of the UConn recruits given his McDonald's All-American status. But Ater Majok might be the better NBA prospect considering he's a 6-foot-10 forward capable of playing away from the basket, and the presence of Hasheem Thabeet will ensure Majok will be given that opportunity.
10. North Carolina
Best recruit: Ed Davis (Rivals.com's No. 15 prospect)
No recruiting list is complete without the Tar Heels, who will forever be a dominant entity in terms of securing prospects. This year was no different with UNC signing three top 75 players who should help Roy Williams carry the No. 1 ranking in most preseason polls.