When it comes to college basketball recruiting, certain teams are in need of some good fortune more than others. Luckily for this group of teams, they’re all poised to bolster their rosters with some seriously good recruits in advance of the 2012-13 season.
Keep in mind that this list is very fluid; we all know how often college prospects change their minds about where they want to play ball. I would expect some of these 17- and 18-year-olds to get cold feet at some point in the ongoing recruiting process and switch schools.
So, as of right now, these 16 teams are counting on a big recruiting haul in 2012.
For fans of the Providence College Friars, the class that first-year head coach Ed Cooley has assembled is shaping up to be a godsend. The last time Providence attracted a McDonald’s All American to campus was 1996, when God Shammgod suited up for the Friars.
Now, it appears that two potential McDonald’s All Americans are coming to town in the same season to play for Cooley.
The Friars have locked up the nation’s top shooting guard for 2012-13 in Ricardo Ledo. Add the third-best point guard in Kris Dunn and sharpshooter Joshua Fortune, and Providence finds itself with the Big East’s best recruiting class and the sixth-best class overall, according to Rivals.
That’s nothing but good news for a once-proud program starved for renewed basketball success. The Friars haven’t made the NCAA tournament since 2004.
First-year North Carolina State head coach Mark Gottfried was given the unenviable task of keeping up with ACC foes North Carolina and Duke on the hardwood.
At least he is doing so on the recruiting trail.
Gottfried has put together the top class in the ACC and fourth best overall for 2012-13, according to the experts at Rivals. Leading the class is stud point guard and hometown hero Rodney Purvis, a versatile guard known for his offensive firepower.
With this group of future Wolfpack ballers coming to town, Gottfried is poised to bring the glory days of the 1980s back to Raleigh, when NC State regularly competed with the Tar Heels and Blue Devils for conference supremacy.
When head coach Ben Howland’s UCLA tenure began, it seemed like the Bruins were Final Four regulars. Those days seem long gone, thanks to his teams’ troubles both on and off (remember the Reeves Nelson saga?) the court.
Luckily for Bruins fans, the potential arrival of one player could quickly turn around UCLA’s basketball fortunes. Bruins recruit Kyle Anderson out of New Jersey (by way of the famous St. Anthony) is the nation’s top point guard prospect and second-best player in the class of 2012-13.
His current commitment to UCLA means that Howland suddenly has a Top 10 recruiting class on his hands. Anderson is 6’8” (scary height for a point guard) and is apparently a lockdown defender, which has to have the defense-first Howland salivating.
It isn’t that crazy to envision Anderson playing a major role in leading the Bruins back to the Final Four real soon.
For those of you not old enough to remember, the Houston Cougars used to be Final Four regulars back in the days of Hakeem Olajuwon, Clyde Drexler and Phi Slama Jama.
Now, a new era of Cougar basketball dominance could be upon us, thanks to the recruiting efforts of Houston head coach James Dickey and his staff.
Dickey has convinced two star forwards—Danrad “Chicken” Knowles and Danuel House—to stay in the Houston area. That means the Cougars suddenly boast the 12th-best class in the Rivals rankings.
Houston fans will surely welcome another Phi Slama Jama era, given that the Cougars have only made four NCAA tournament appearances since the days of Olajuwon and Drexler back in the mid-1980s.
The Pittsburgh Panthers are in the midst of an uncharacteristically sluggish season, thanks partially to on-court struggles and the departure of highly touted freshman Khem Birch (who recently transferred to UNLV).
It looks like head coach Jamie Dixon and the Panthers are trying to recapture their swagger through the recruiting trail.
The Panthers currently boast the ninth-best class of 2012-13, according to Rivals. The class is led by New Zealand power forward Steven Adams, who looks to be in the same mold as former Pittsburgh big men Aaron Gray, DeJuan Blair and Gary McGhee.
If Adams can become the next great blue-collar Panther interior player, then Pittsburgh will be back atop the Big East in no time.
It’s hard to believe that the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets made the national championship game back in 2004. Although that memory becomes more distant, first-year head coach Brian Gregory could have his Tech team creating new memories on the heels of an impressive recruiting class.
Georgia Tech has locked up the 14th-best class nationally, according to Rivals. The big get for Gregory here is power forward Robert Carter, who has the makings to be the next Derrick Favors.
Carter is complimented by two solid wing players in forward Marcus Hunt and guard Chris Bolden. Collectively, the trio of Carter, Hunt and Bolden could have the Yellow Jackets stinging the ACC opposition in no time.
The Villanova Wildcats have been a solid, but not necessarily spectacular, program the past few years.
They’ve made the NCAA Tournament every year since 2005 but haven’t advanced past the opening weekend since 2009 (when they made the Final Four).
If Jay Wright’s solid 2012-13 class comes through, then ‘Nova may soon make another deep tournament run. Daniel Ochefu is the fourth-best center in the Rivals class and will be joined by 4-star point guard Ryan Arcidiacono, out of Pennsylvania.
The inside-outside combination of Ochefu and Arcidiacono will give Big East opponents fits, not to mention the spell checking folks at the Villanova sports information department.
The once-proud Indiana Hoosiers men’s basketball program has fallen on hard times in recent years. But it looks like coach Tom Crean is finally starting to turn around IU’s fortunes.
His team is off to an impressive start this season and is poised to land the nation’s second-best overall recruiting class for 2012-13. Five-star prospects Hanner Perea and Kevin Ferrell give Indiana fans needed hope for a bright future.
Pair them with star freshman Cody Zeller, and you could realistically see the Hoosiers competing for a national title within a year or two.
And that’s good news for college basketball fans, because quite frankly, Indiana has been out of the national spotlight for far too long.
Michigan head coach John Beilein has assembled a recruiting class that could give the Fab Five a run for its money.
Actually, that’s probably not true. But the 2012-13 group could be good enough to help Wolverine fans relive the dominant Fab Five glory days.
Coming to Ann Arbor is Mitch McGary, the top power forward and third-best player in the 2012 class, according to Rivals. Joining McGary is small forward Glenn Robinson III (yes, the son of the Big Dog) and 4-star shooting guard Nick Stauskas.
With the fifth-best recruiting class under his belt, Beilein may have the ammo needed to supplant Tom Izzo as coach of the best college basketball team in the state of Michigan.
Just when it looked like Virginia was destined to continue its run of basketball mediocrity, coach Tony Bennett has turned around the fortunes in Charlottesville. The Cavs have been nationally ranked for much of the season and are poised to land an impressive recruiting class in 2012-13.
It’s a group that’s ranked 21st nationally and included three players in the top 120: forward Justin Anderson, center Mike Tobey and forward Evan Nolte.
This class may give the Cavs a needed boost in competing with perennial powers North Carolina and Duke for ACC supremacy for the next few years.
It looked like Notre Dame’s luck on the basketball court had run out. Fan favorite Ben Hansbrough had graduated, while the underrated Tim Abromaitis was lost for the season with a torn ACL.
But it looks like the Irish have regained some luck, thanks to the recruiting efforts of coach Mike Brey. His staff has rounded up the 17th-best class for 2012, according to Rivals.
Four-star forward Cameron Biedscheid is a wing player who can make an immediate impact, thanks to his polished offensive skills. And Zach Auguste is an agile big man who can create mismatch problems in the Big East.
It was imperative that Notre Dame secure a solid class to keep up with Indiana, Butler and Purdue in terms of basketball supremacy in the Hoosier State, and it appears that the Irish have done just that.
It looked like all of the momentum that Arizona head coach Sean Miller generated in his first year in the desert was destined to be compromised after star point guard Lamont “MoMo” Jones transferred to be closer to his ailing grandmother back in New York and tournament star Derrick Williams left for the NBA.
It’s safe to say that Miller has done a spectacular job in keeping that momentum.
The Wildcats currently boast the nation’s best recruiting class for 2012. They have four players in the Rivals Top 50 class, three of them being frontcourt players. It’s a class anchored by Kaleb Tarczewski (the top center) and stud power forward Brandon Ashley (of Findlay Prep).
With a monster frontline, Miller’s coaching acumen and guard Nick Johnson’s tenacious perimeter defense, Arizona is in good shape to seriously compete for its first national title since 1997.
The days of Billy Donovan winning consecutive national championships with the Florida Gators seem like ancient history. Still, Donovan has a trio of backcourt players that could help the Gators get back to at least the Elite Eight, like they did just last spring.
Point guard Braxton Ogbueze and shooting guard Michael Frazier give Donovan a solid backcourt to build his team around.
There’s also some sharpshooting amongst the trio, thanks to 3-star shooting guard Dillon Graham.
When Roy Hibbert and Jeff Green led the Georgetown Hoyas to the Final Four back in 2008, it seemed like the Hoyas would become regulars on championship weekend; that simply hasn’t transpired.
But the duo coming to Georgetown is looking to change all that. First, combo guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera is physical and can create his own scoring opportunities—always welcomed in the rough-and-tumble Big East.
Second, center Brandon Bolden will give the Hoyas some always-welcomed athleticism on head coach John Thompson III’s frontline.
Matt Painter knew he needed to replace the accomplished Purdue trio of Robbie Hummel, JaJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore with quality recruits if the Boilermakers were to remain competitive in the Big Ten.
It looks like Painter has done exactly that.
While the Boilermakers don’t necessarily possess a spectacular class, they do have four solid players committed. The quartet consists of point guard Ronnie Johnson, power forward Jay Simpson, shooting guard Raphael Davis and center A.J. Hammons.
The Memphis Tigers have continued their slide from national power to decent mid-major these past few seasons. Maybe Josh Pastner and the Tigers are capable of stopping this slide through their solid 2012 recruiting class.
The Tigers have a formidable duo coming to town in Shaquille Goodwin and Damien Wilson. Goodwin is an athletic power forward who is expected to thrive in Pastner’s up-tempo system. Wilson is also built for the fast-break game, as the left-handed small forward is among the better slashers out there.
With Goodwin and Wilson leading the way, future Tiger teams might somewhat resemble those that John Calipari coached to dominance not too long ago.