This year's winners and losers in the current NCAA men's basketball standings are already vying for position within the rankings of the top 20 recruiting classes for next season.
This time of year within the college basketball season is wondrous for its simultaneously intriguing plot lines, including the looming conference tournaments, the march to madness and the projections towards next year's results through the commitments made by recruits during the current schedule.
What follows is a list of the top 20 recruiting classes to date.
The Buffaloes are currently 19-9, putting them in fourth place in the Pac-12, so far in the 2011 season. Although they will be losing their current leading scorer, senior Carlon Brown after this season, they will be welcoming a bevvy of frontline talent in 2012.
Purdue has recruiting wealth spread out amongst several on court positions. Among their four star recruits, two of them, power forward Jay Simpson and shooting guard Raphael Davis both played in state for La Lumiere School.
In addition, the Boilermakers were able to land center A.J. Hammons from the basketball factory in Virginia, otherwise known as Oak Hill Academy.
Anderson played his high school ball at some school in Jersey City named St. Anthony's, which sounds vaguely familiar. At 6'8”, Anderson has the vision and frame of a point forward.
He has the potential to become one of the next in a perpetual line of all-time great Bruins, even despite the size of his fore, well five head actually. The boy has a big forehead and the big-game potential to match it.
The Panthers, who are currently closer to the cellar than the ceiling in the Big East standings, went out and recruited a possible vehicle for rejuvenation in the form of big man and 5-star recruit Steven Adams.
Not only is he ranked as high as No. 2 in the nation at his position, but he is also ranked in the top five among recruits overall, according to Rivals.com. Upitt also landed 4-star guard James Robinson out of Hyattsville, Maryland.
The Jayhawks historically have never been a team that collectively had to look towards the saving possibilities of an incoming class of recruits. This is because they perpetually are able to supplant recruiting classes year after year with enough higher-starred recruits to prevent any significant lag between seasons.
Currently atop the Big 12 and poised to potentially become one of the top seeds come tournament time, the Jayhawks have the arrival of several players in 2012 to look forward to.
This includes three 4-star rated recruits, all of whom are frontcourt players; Landan Lucas, Andrew White and Perry Ellis. Ellis is ranked as high as No. 6 among power forwards in the 2012 class, and at 6'8” and 221 pounds he already possesses NBA physical dimensions.
Michigan State is currently in the Big Ten driver's seat at 24-6, with several other teams vying for shotgun in the conference. They also have viability as a potential top seed in that basketball tournament that begins sometime soon, if I am not mistaken.
This is a team frontloaded with young players. Although they will lose their leading scorer and rebounder, currently played by the same man—Draymond Green—due to seniority, they have sustenance and an influx of complimentary youths for 2012.
In a class that features commitments from two 4-star players, Matt Costello and Kenny Kaminski, the sparkle of the Spartans' 2012 class surely belongs to 5-star recruit Gary Harris out of the Hoosier state.
Harris is ranked by Scout.com as the top shooting guard in the class, going on to say that, “One of the elite talents in the class, Harris has the ability to be special.” Additionally, ESPN has him at No. 11 on their Top 100 list. Harris is the answer to the question of how exactly an elite team remains elite—they do so by adding players of his caliber to an already thriving, young and talented team.
The Orange have lost one game this season and are currently ranked No. 2 in the land, and are a familiar name to any list ranking the best recruiting classes. The prime recruit so far being 5-star center DaJuan Coleman, who putting it bluntly, is a big boy, who “has a great set of hands, and soft touch around the basket,” according to Scout.com.
Cuse also landed 4-star power forward Jerami Grant out of Dematha Catholic High School in Maryland. In addition, the man considered to be the top prospect in the country, center Nerlens Noel, has the Orange on his short list of potential destinations for himself and his perfectly coiffed box haircut.
If Jim Boeheim is able to land Nerlens, it will not only cause Cuse to displace many in the top 10 of best recruiting classes, but it will most certainly and directly result in a mass movement to rekindle the era of box, slope and Gumby cuts campus wide.
Despite dwelling second from the bottom of the Big East cellar, the Friars have a young team featuring four players that are averaging double digits in PPG—all of whom will return next season.
Adding to the mix in 2012 will be two guards ranked in the top five at their positions in the nation—shooting guard Ricardo Ledo, and point guard Kris Dunn. Dunn is rated as high as No. 1 by Scout.com and No. 2 by ESPN.
Even in a rare year when their in state rival NC State is considered to have claimed a more superlative stash of recruits, it still does not come without challenge. The Tar Heels, more specifically Roy Williams, can adequately justify the use of the adjective "sterling" to describe the 2012 class.
Among those committed to the Tar Heel institution are point guard Marcus Paige, who is rated No. 1 at his position by ESPN, and three other frontcourt 4-star recruits, including Brice Johnson, J.P. Tokoto and Joel James.
Coach Rick Barnes currently has a guard-heavy roster, which is comprised of 50 percent freshman. However, he made sure to recruit two stellar bigs to bolster the balance between back and front court for the 2012-13 season.
Including 4-star recruit Prince Ibeh, and 5-star center Cameron Ridley, who is in the top five at his position. Out of George Bush High School in Texas, according to Scout.com, “By the end of July 2010 he was a household name because of his size, length, touch and ability to score in the paint.”
In addition, the Wolverines landed 4-star shooting guard Nick Stauskas out of St. Mark's in Massachusetts, and Glenn Robinson III.
Robinson is the son of Glenn Robinson Jr., who happened to be one of the most prolific scorers in Big Ten history during his collegiate career—only proving that Robinson III comes from an excellently rooted genetic basketball tree.
How do you compete with an insurmountable force within your own state, much less the rest of the formidable foes whom reside in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Your recruit better be better than them to begin with.
Most years, recruiting is an area in which NC State does not draw even with the rest of the ACC heavies, but 2012 has revealed them as progressing past the in-conference and in-state competition.
Their list of premier recruits includes a small forward, shooting guard, and point guard ranked in the top 10 in their positions nationally—T.J. Warren, Rodney Purvis and Tyler Lewis, respectively. Lewis out of Oak Hill Academy is ranked as the No. 4 point guard in the nation by ESPN.
Of the five top-level 2012 recruits that have signed LOI's to Indiana, four of them are retained from within the state. Jeremy Hollowell is a small forward ranked in the top 10 at his position by ESPN, and point guard Kevin Ferrell is ranked as the No. 3 player among his competition at the position.
The Hoosiers also secured 4-star and top-20 power forward Hanner Perea out of La Lumiere High School (LaPorte, Indiana).
John Callipari's team is 29-1 and atop the national polls, and currently has a team with only two juniors and one senior. In addition, he has two 5-star and one 4-star recruit in the queue for next year.
Archie Goodwin, a shooting guard, and Alex Poythress are both ranked within the top five at their positions among all recruits and Willie Cauley is hovering around the top 10 centers in the nation. Winning and grinning is what they will be doing in Lexington, Kentucky in 2012-13.
With all the hype and attention Baylor University has been receiving through the vicarious glory that is being reflected from some RGIII guy, a lesser amount of ink has been spilled about the men's basketball team's stellar season. Currently at No. 3 in the Big 12 with a 25-5 record, Baylor has an incoming class for 2012 that is stupefyingly stupendous.
Center Isaiah Austin is second in the nation at his position, with only the aforementioned Nerlens Noel in front of him. Power forward Ricardo Gathers and point guard L.J. Rose are both in the top 10 at their positions in the country.
Out of four of their commitments, three are 5-star caliber, with a center ranked in the top three at his position, Kaleb Tarczewski, and two power forwards ranked two and three at their position—Grant Jerrett and Brandon Ashley, respectively. Kaleb Tarczewski is ranked No. 5 in ESPN's Top 100, and Jerrett and Ashley are ranked Nos. 9 and 10 respectively on that list.