Big 12 Basketball: Each Team's Top 2012 Recruit

Ryan ReschContributor IIIMay 5, 2012

Big 12 Basketball: Each Team's Top 2012 Recruit

0 of 10

    The 2011-12 Big 12 regular season ended in an almost perfect bell curve in terms of records and was one of the most competitive conferences in the country.

     However, with the losses of such stars as Thomas Robinson (Kansas), Perry Jones III (Baylor) and J’Covan Brown (Texas), just to name a few, how will the conference respond for the 2012 season?

    Some schools, such as Kansas and Baylor, have continued their tradition of recruiting at a high level, but the following will break down the top recruit for each Big 12 school.

    Note: All ratings come from ESPN Basketball Recruiting Nation

Baylor Bears

1 of 10

    Name: Isaiah Austin

    Position: Center

    Rating: 5 stars, No. 2 at position

    Other Notable Schools Interested: Georgetown, Kentucky and Texas

    Analysis: It has been said before, but Isaiah Austin is the most anticipated recruit for Baylor since at least Perry Jones III, if not ever.

    Standing at 7’0’’, he is a true center that will provide the Bears with another facet of their game that has been lacking in previous years.

    This McDonald’s All-American is only 210 pounds and does not have an extreme amount of strength in his game. That said, his length is more than enough to make up for his size, both offensively and defensively. Some scouts have compared him to Kareem Abdul-Jabar with his body type.

    His length does not hinder his athleticism, which he shows off by running and up down the court ready to play. He is a great shot blocker that transitions to offense with ease. He has a good shooting touch and even pairs a three-point shot with his paint moves.

    With Baylor losing all three of its frontcourt starters, Austin will be an asset for the team next year. 

Iowa State Cyclones

2 of 10

    Name: Georges Niang

    Position: Power Forward

    Rating: 4 stars, No. 14 at position

    Other Notable Schools Interested: N/A

    Analysis: Georges Niang already has a good amount of skill on both sides of the ball. He has a good set of low-post skills and utilizes dribble moves to get an open look at the basket. His shooting technique is usually flawless, making him one of the most consistent shooting power forwards in the nation.

    However, he plays most of his game under the rim, which limits his ability to show off his shooting mechanics.

    His biggest weakness is his athleticism and body, which can give him trouble come the college level. He is 230 pounds and stands at 6’7’’, but he has to work on his conditioning skills.

    If he can break through the physical barrier, Niang can become one of the highest scoring players in the country.

Kansas Jayhawks

3 of 10

     Name: Perry Ellis

    Position: Power Forward

    Rating: 4 stars, No. 9 at position

    Other Notable Schools Interested: Kansas State and Kentucky 

    Analysis: If you are looking for a strict power forward, Perry Ellis is your man.

    He is very strong in terms of his body type and does have the length to dominate if he can pair both correctly. He stands at 6’8’’.

    Offensively, Ellis is very mature, as he is able to score off of transition effectively and has a good set of low post moves. In addition, he plays face up to the basket a lot and can sink a basket until around 15 feet out.

    His length and athleticism allow him to grab a good amount of rebounds and he also has very good ball handling skills.

    As before, Ellis is strictly a power forward and will not be the best at other positions. However, he does have the potential to prove scouts wrong in that sense.

    It will be interesting to see how he pairs with center Jeff Withey over this next year.

Kansas State Wildcats

4 of 10

    Name: Michael Orris

    Position: Point Guard

    Rating: 3 stars, No. 22 at position

    Other Notable Schools Interested: N/A 

    Analysis: Michael Orris has the ability to become one of the best point guards in the Big 12 over the next couple of years.

    He already doles out assists very well, but will have to focus his game at the college level and keep up his numbers. In addition, he will have to mature as a leader in order to become a great chief on the court.

    As for shooting the ball, Orris has a good mid-range jumper, but could improve his long shot.

    His biggest weakness is in his size. He will need to pack on some muscle in order to drive the lane and secure the ball better.

    Orris has extreme potential to grow at the next level. Hopefully first year head coach Bruce Weber will be able to mature this young man. 

Missouri Tigers

5 of 10

    Name: Stefan Jankovic

    Position: Power Forward

    Rating: 3 stars, No. 32 at position
    Other Notable Schools Interested:
    Georgetown, Florida State, Purdue and Wake Forest 

    Analysis: Stefan Jankovic is the length that the Missouri Tigers proved that they did not necessarily need last year.

    However, he does still have work to do. He reminds scouts of Dirk Nowitzki with his ability to sink the awkward shot. He can score from basically anywhere on the floor, and continues to show that he can develop his offense further.

    As for his weaknesses, he does not play forward in the strictest sense of the position. He does not have a developed set of post moves, but he can turnaround on his defenders and shoot over them.

    If he wants to become the go-to guy for Missouri, he will have to mature both as a player and a person, as he can sometimes let his emotions get the better of him. 

Oklahoma Sooners

6 of 10

    Name: Buddy Hield

    Position: Shooting Guard

    Rating: 4 stars, No. 20 at position

    Other Notable Schools Interested: Boston College, Memphis, Colorado and Wichita State 

    Analysis: There is no question that Buddy Hield is a great scorer. Off transition he is one of the most dynamic players in the country and can even show off some dribble moves if need be. That said, he is not the most reliable from beyond the arc and his shooting motion needs work.

    On defense, his length (6’4’’) allows him to pressure smaller guards and force them to pass or take bad shots. He is also quick from side to side, allowing for effective defensive pressure.

    While he does have some dribble skills, his overall ball handling traits have to improve for the college level. As mentioned earlier, his shooting motion needs to be refined as well.

    Hield barely edges out fellow 2012 recruit and highly ranked shooting guard Je’lon Hornbeak based off of potential, but it would not be surprising if the two of them end up battling for the starting job. 

Oklahoma State Cowboys

7 of 10

    Name: Marcus Smart

    Position: Shooting Guard

    Rating: 5 stars, No. 1 at position

    Other Notable Schools Interested: North Carolina and Texas

    Analysis: Marcus Smart is one of the most highly touted recruits for Oklahoma State in years.

    The McDonald’s All American is such a versatile player that he can play all the perimeter positions on the court and play them well. He attacks the rim with ease and uses his athleticism to blow past defenders.

    His rebounding skills are top notch on both ends of the floor, adding another dimension to his already refined game.

    He is a good scorer, but he has to work on his shooting motion. It can be inconsistent at times and can cause him to miss some easy shots.

    He is going to have to find a way to make up for his length (6’3’’), but he has shown that it is not a huge factor right now.

    There is little doubt that Smart will continue to hone his game throughout his time as a Cowboy. 

Texas Longhorns

8 of 10

    Name: Cameron Ridley

    Position: Center

    Rating: 5 stars, No. 5 at position

    Other Notable Schools Interested: Arizona and North Carolina  

    Analysis: The Texas Longhorns will be getting two of the top centers in the country, Cameron Ridley and Prince Ibeh. It is no wonder head coach Rick Barnes is considered one of the best recruiters in college basketball.

    In the end, Ridley may be the better prospect, but that is based off of potential.

    He is a true center that has the length and the strength to succeed. He has fantastic hands, which he uses to attack the rim for scoring and rebounding. He also has a unique and almost perfect jump hook shot to score with.

    On defense, he is a great shot blocker and lock-down defender.

    His conditioning, however, is his biggest weakness and has been for quite some time. He has steadily shredded fat and gained muscle, but he still has some way to go. Yet, he has proven to the college basketball world that he has the attitude to become the best athlete that he can be.

    He has some unique intangibles, such as his attitude and energy, which will certainly aid him in his transition from high school to college. 

Texas A&M Aggies

9 of 10

    Name: J-Mychal Reese

    Position: Point Guard

    Rating: 4 stars, No. 11 at position

    Other Notable Schools Interested: N/A

    Analysis: J-Mychal Reese is a great scorer. He has an impressive set of scoring options in his toolbox, and utilizes his dribble moves to create his own shot. His range extends to about 20-feet.

    He does have the ability to pass the ball well, but he is not a pass first point guard, therefore making him more of a shooting guard. However, he is not overly tall for the scoring guard position (6’2’’). He will have to become a more vocal leader and more reliable passer to make him a true point guard.

    If the Aggies can help Reese mature into one true position, he will be a force to be reckoned with. Right now, he is a scorer with the ability to put up game-changing numbers, which may be enough to earn himself a good reputation in the league. 

Texas Tech Red Raiders

10 of 10

    Name: Josh Gray

    Position: Point Guard

    Rating: 3 stars, No. 18 at position

    Other Notable Schools Interested: Mississippi State and Seton Hall  

    Analysis: The Texas Tech Red Raiders were the worst team in the Big 12 last year, and the rebuilding starts with the most important position on the court: point guard.

    Josh Gray is a good point guard now, but has the ability to become a game changing assist-man and scorer.

    He is very fast and athletic and can blow past defenders with ease. What is most impressive is his ability to drop the ball out to teammates while in transition or in the middle of a play at the basket. When he is not dishing the ball out to others, he is a fantastic shooter.

    The biggest downside for Gray is his height. He stands at only 6’1’’, which hurts his chances at shooting over taller defenders and being a high-pressure defender.

    One man does not make a team, but a player like Josh Gray can certainly help Texas Tech win games next season.